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The Alternative Reality Web Zine

Contests


ARWZ Literary Zine is currently accepting entries for our second annual Fiction and Poetry contests. The deadline for entries is 06/01/07. Winning entries will be published on ARWZ Magazine within the months following the deadline.


FICTION: Our Second Annual Fiction Contest is a short story competition. We accept any type of alternative reality fiction, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical and cross-overs. Entries for this contest MUST be short stories or short shorts (i.e. flash fiction). Nothing over 8000 words will be accepted for this competition. Fiction in this competition will be judged on originality, unique and well-drawn characters, compelling conflict and overall good writing style. All submissions must be character-driven (see below). All submissions for this contest must follow our General Submission Guidelines as well as our Plain Text guidelines. Entries which do not follow these guidelines are ineligible and may be returned for reformatting.

PLEASE NOTE: All contest submissions MUST be in the form of complete stories. For our regular fiction publishing schedule, we ask for a query with outline and sample pages, but in order to judge the contest winners we must have the ENTIRE story.

What do we mean when we say that we want "character-driven" stories? Certainly, all stories will be about characters. However, the distinction between "plot-driven" or "idea-driven" and "character-driven" stories is an important one. While alternative reality concepts, themes and ideas are essential for ARWZ stories, unique and intriguing characters are more important. In a "plot-driven" or "idea-driven" story, characters are a vehicle for exploring the concept or incident of the story. In a "character-driven" story, the plot is a vehicle for exploring the character. The most revolutionary speculative concept, fantasy world or plotline is of little interest for us without a unique character through which we can explore it. We would rather see earnest attempts at character-centered stories from writers still honing their craft, than slick plot-centered stories from experienced genre writers.

Before sending your story in for the Contest, please ask yourself if it fits our format. One of the most common reasons we eliminate stories from consideration is that they simply do not fit our format. Make sure your story fits with the goals and content of our magazine by asking yourself the following questions:

1. Is your story character-driven? A story is character-driven if the story is propelled forward by the actions and decisions of its main character(s). A character-driven story starts when a character makes a decision to take action in a way that is out-of-the-ordinary for that character's daily life. It may be a decision to make a change in his/her life. It may be a decision to react to a particular character or situation. The character-driven story moves forward because the character acts, reacts and interacts. The story doesn't "happen to" the character. In a plot-driven story, events from outside the characters' control advance the story. In an idea-driven story, concepts and questions advance the story. In a setting-driven story, the peculiarities of a new world or milieu advance the story. All of these story types are valid formats that particular markets seek to publish, but they are NOT what we are looking for at ARWZ. Your story may have elements similar to these other story types, but it must ultimately be a character-driven story to fit with ARWZ. Character driven stories are about the decisions of the character. In the past, we have received excellently written stories that were not character-driven, and rejected them because they didn't fit our format. Please make sure your story is character-driven before submitting to our Contest.

2. Is your story alternative reality fiction? Our definition of "alternative reality fiction" is not a strict one. However, keep in mind that stories you submit to ARWZ should appeal to our target audience, namely an audience who enjoys science fiction, fantasy, horror and historical fiction. Cross genre and mixed genre are most certainly welcome. We're also open to publishing stories that don't fit strictly under any of these categories. If you would like to submit a story, but aren't sure if it's alternative reality fiction, ask yourself if and how the story would appeal to readers of science fiction, fantasy, horror or historical fiction. If your story isn't clearly identifiable as an offshoot of one or more of these genres, it is wise to explain in your cover letter (see General Submission Guidelines) why you feel your story would appeal to our audience.


Contest winning fiction may be subject to revision requests from our editors prior to publication. Authors will get a final pass on their writing before it is published. As a consequence, authors entering must be easily reached by email in the weeks following the submission deadline. If a winning author does not respond promptly to the notification of their winning, the honor will be awarded to a runner up in his/her absence. By entering this contest and agreeing to publish fiction with ARWZ, authors grant ARWZ non-exclusive publishing rights for six months. We will continue to showcase winners in our archives, unless the original author requests his or her writing to be removed. By entering a story in this competition, you certify that it is not under contractual obligation elsewhere.

Fiction submitted to this competition should generally be between 3000 and 8000 words. Short shorts are an obvious exception. Longer submissions will NOT be considered. Contest submissions should be sent by email to editors@arwz.com. All contest submissions must be submitted with the required email subject line indicating that it is a contest entry. This subject line serves to get your submission into our Contest folder by means of the automatic filtering software in our email. Please use the EXACT subject line indicated below. Copy/paste if you must, to get the brackets, spaces and colons in the right places. Remember, they are sorted into folders electronically, not by human eyes. It only gives our editors extra work and consternation if your entry ends up in the wrong folder, and increases the chances of it getting lost. Use the following format for your subject line:
[CONTEST] SUB: FICTION: Your Title

ARWZ Literary Zine will publish the first place winner within roughly three months of the contest deadline, depending on the speed of winner response and the revisions requested, if any. Runners up may be invited to publish their stories on ARWZ as part of our ordinary publication schedule, if our editors find them sufficiently intriguing.

POETRY: Our Annual Poetry Contest accepts poems inspired by any type of alternative reality fiction, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical and crossovers. Entries for this contest may be in free form or traditional poetic forms. Poetry in this competition will be judged on originality, power of language, strength of imagery and overall good writing style. All submissions for this contest should follow our General Submission Guidelines as well as our Poetry Submission guidelines. Entries which do not follow these guidelines are ineligible and may be returned for reformatting.

Contest winning poetry may be subject to revision requests from our editors prior to publication. Authors will get a final pass on their writing before it is published. As a consequence, authors entering must be easily reached by email in the weeks following the submission deadline. If a winning author does not respond promptly to the notification of their winning, the honor will be awarded to a runner up in his/her absence. By entering this contest and agreeing to publish your poetry with ARWZ, authors grant ARWZ non-exclusive publishing rights for six months. We will continue to showcase winners in our archives, unless the original author requests his or her writing to be removed. By entering a story in this competition, you certify that it is not under contractual obligation elsewhere.

Poetry submitted to this competition should generally be under 100 lines. Longer submissions will be considered on a case by case basis, but significantly longer pieces cannot be considered because of time constraints. Contest submissions should be sent by email to editors@arwz.com. All contest submissions must be submitted with the required email subject line indicating that it is a contest entry. This subject line serves to get your submission into our Contest folder by means of the automatic filtering software in our email. Please use the EXACT subject line indicated below. Copy/paste if you must, to get the brackets, spaces and colons in the right places. Remember, they are sorted into folders electronically, not by human eyes. It only gives our editors extra work and consternation if your entry ends up in the wrong folder, and increases the chances of it getting lost. Use the following format for your subject line:
[CONTEST] SUB: POETRY: Your Title

ARWZ Literary Zine will publish the first place winner within roughly three months of the contest deadline, depending on the speed of winner response and the revisions requested, if any. Runners up may be invited to publish their poetry on ARWZ as part of our ordinary publication schedule, if our editors find them sufficiently intriguing.

If you have any questions about submissions for either competition, please feel free to ask in our Online Help Forum




All materials on these pages (including fiction, poetry, essays, articles, interviews and opinion pieces) are copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission.





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