10 Free Writing Contests

When you set out on the quest of finding the perfect contest to enter, you have to be careful to not get scammed. Unfortunately, there are many people out there that will try to get your money by promising fame and fortune. Fortunately for you, I have found 10 writing contests that are free to enter that are scam free.

  1. L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future

They have quarterly deadlines of January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1

Submissions have to be 17,000 words or less in science fiction or fantasy. The contest is open to all writers. Winners can get $1,000, $750, and $500, as well as an annual award of $5,000.

2. The Restless Books Prize For New Immigrant Writing

You will have to wait for the 2019 submission time, which has yet to be announced.

This is open to writers who are first-generation immigrants. They can win $10,000 for sharing their real or imagines stories. The contest changes each year as to what kind of writing they want, so keep an eye on their website.

3. Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award

The deadline is March 1 every year.

This is open to all African American poets with an award of $500 and a publication in Broadside Lotus Press.

4. Write the World

They have a monthly deadline.

This is open to writers aged 13 to 18. There is a $100 prize with a $50 runner-up prize. It also works as a writing workshop for the young writers.

5. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Non-Fiction

They have biannual reading periods in February and in August.

This is a contest for a creative non-fiction essay of no more than 5,000 words. The winner will be published in Lunch Ticket and will receive $250. Work cannot be published elsewhere.

6. W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

The deadline is every year on December 1.

The winner gets $5,000 for a piece of writing that is set during a time when the US was a war. Submissions can be YA or adult novels.

7. Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Submissions are accepted between September 1 and December 31.

The work you publish has to have been published the previous year. These should be pieces of fiction or non-fiction that “contributes to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.”

8. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

They have an annual deadline of October 31 for books that were published during that calendar year.

This is meant to honor the best work of fiction published by an American author in a calendar year. The winner will get $15,000, as well as an invitation to read at the award ceremony in D.C. Four other finalists will get $5,000.

9. New Voices Award

The submission needs to be postmarked between May 1 and September 30 annually.

This is presented by the children’s book publisher, Lee & Low Books. This is open to previously unpublished children’s picture books of fewer than 1,500 words by a writer of color.

10. Madeline P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize

The deadline for 2018 has passed and they have not announced the submission time for 2019.

Lake Forest College along with &NOW Books offers emerging authors under 40 a three-week residency. The winner will receive meals and housing, as well as $10,000 and publication of the manuscript. They will have to give presentations during the festival.

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard. – Allen Ginsberg

Flowers in The Attic – My Thoughts

Yes, I’m talking about the V.C. Andrews novel Flowers in The Attic. It was published in 1979 and is considered a Gothic novel. There is even a Lifetime movie based on the book, and, no, I have not watched the movie., but the movie was the reason why I wanted to read the book. Just so you know, there will be spoilers ahead in this post. That means if you have not read it, and you don’t want anything ruined for you, STOP READING NOW. Thank you.

So, a quick little overview of what this book is about:

Four children and their mother go to live with their grandmother when their father dies. Their grandmother turns out to be a fire and brimstone woman, and their mother, at first, seems to be a sweet woman who is doing the best she can.

The children are forced to live in the attic until their grandfather dies because he didn’t approve of his daughter’s marriage, and he doesn’t know she has children.

The amazing thing about this book is that my emotions followed Cathy’s, the oldest girl and 2nd oldest child. At first, I was sympathetic to the mother and optimistic that things would work out. Then, as the story progressed, and the mother became more and more ostentatious in how the dressed and acted, the more annoyed I became with her. She broke promise after promise to her children, but if they said anything about it, she played the victim. She felt that if she brought them enough stuff and expensive things that they would forgive her. She believed that money could solve every problem. While money may help out with a lot, it can’t replace love or the knowing that somebody is looking out for you.

I’ve had to deal with people similar to this. No matter what happens in somebody else’s life, their life is always way worse. Or, nothing that happens to them is their fault, there is always somebody else to blame.

Chris, the oldest child, got on my nerves from time to time because of the way he was willing to stand up for their mother. I get it, though. He was trying to stay optimistic. Who wouldn’t want everything to work out in their favor? For them become rich and not have to worry about anything else.

Then their mother remarries. The man she marries doesn’t even know she has kids. By this point, they have been locked away for over two years, going on three.  She barely looks at the two youngest twins. Who, in their time in the attic, have only grown two inches between the ages of five and eight. She hasn’t even noticed that Cathy’s body has changed, and still brings her little girls clothing as if she were still 12 and not 14.

Cathy and Chris make the decision to escape the room, for the safety of the twins. Unfortunately, they don’t make their escape soon enough to help Cory.

They make a replica of the door key, and Chris would sneak out of the room on the nights their mother said she would be out with her husband. He would go to her bedroom and take some money. They do this until they have over $300. That may not seem like much now, but the book is set in the 60’s, so that would probably last them a good little while.

Now, I’m not going to go through every little detail here, I don’t want to give away the big realization. All I can say is, I was as devastated as the children when they learned about their mother’s secret.

If you love books that send you on a roller coaster of emotions, then this is definitely the book for you. I have yet to read the rest of the books in the series to see how the three remaining Dollenganger children survive, but I have the books and I plan on starting Petals on the Wind today.

This book really has everything: a mean God-fearing grandmother, a deceiving mother, innocent children, money, sex, incest, and arsenic.

If you’ve read the book, tell me what you thought.