Good News: The Toronto Star Short Story Contest is Here

I have been feeling burnout from some of the awful news this week, but I've got some great news too. For the 43rd year, the Toronto Star is holding their annual short story writing contest. If you've ever had dreams of being published, especially for a rather large readership then this is the contest for you. To really sweeten the deal, there is a grand prize of $5000.00. I should note that the contest is only for Ontario residents, and I am well aware that isn't the largest demographic for this site.

The new year has just arrived, and I am sure many of you made some new year's resolutions. A new year is all about new goals and new energy to pursue dreams, so if writing fiction is a thing that you've always wanted then this is a great contest to break into that world. 

Obviously, this is one of the oldest and most popular writing contests, so you will be competing against many writers (including me) but writing fiction rather than wishing you were writing fiction is a huge win. This is a great motivation to start writing and push yourself a little bit towards a dream.

For me, the hardest part of this challenge is landing the 2500-word limit. For anyone that has read me for some time, understands that brevity is not one of my strengths. 2500 is all about the short and sweet. The key is to really focus in on the story and make it a scene rather than an ambitious story. I tend to spend most of the time cutting back my story than I do crafting the story. If you are anything like me, I recommend starting early so you have a long time to edit and cut.

The best way to tackle a mere 2500-word story is to look at two characters or maybe three maximum. You create one situation that may have one or two twist and turns then start building towards your climax almost from the start. The challenge is to be as focused as possible and to not get stuck in the details or backgrounds. I have on many occasions started out on what I intend to be a short story for this contest, and next thing I know, I am starting a novel. It is all about a snapshot.

I will be writing a new short story for this contest. I will try to share some of my creative process and writing journey as I craft the story over the next two months. If you are living in Ontario, I would love for you to join me and take on this great creative challenge.