Duke City Shootout is seeking short pitches for environmental comedy sketches. $500 prize; no entry; 250 words or fewer; deadline is 2/27/2012; details HERE:
Deadline is 11/20/2011; $1,000 prize; $45 entry fee; details HERE:
Literary Laundry’s writing contests: Dec. 1, 2010 deadline; no entry fee; prizes range from $250 – $500; be sure to read details on how to submit HERE:
Several categories; cash prizes; category for young adults; Oct. 31, 2010 deadline; info HERE:
FREE to enter; $100 (pounds, not dollars) prize; The Diana Raffle One Act Play Competition; April 2, 2010 deadline; play must run 30 minutes to one hour; info and entry HERE:
Dylan Days seeks poems, stories and one-act plays; March 15, 2010 deadline; poems of less than 1,000 words and short fiction of 1,000-4,000 words; one-act plays accepted; separate division for h.s. and undergrads
To enter or find more info, go here:
I thought your readers might be interested in learning about Scriptapalooza, the annual screenwriting competition.
Now in its twelfth year, Scriptapalooza has grown to be one of the world’s most recognized screenwriting competitions with over 40 scripts optioned, two Emmy winners and is as the only screenwriting competition endorsed by the WGA.
Every script that is entered into Scriptapalooza is read by a manager, agent or producer at 90 participating companies including Disney, Miramax, Big Light, and Bender-Spink, among others. And unlike other screenwriting competitions, every person who reads a Scriptapalooza script is named on Scriptapalooza.com (http://scriptapalooza.com/participants.htm).
What sets Scriptapalooza apart is that it offers what even the largest grand prize could never buy: a guarantee that an “unsolicited” script will be read by leading industry decision-makers. The first place winner, chosen by Scriptapalooza, receives a $10,000 grand prize. In addition, the Scriptapalooza staff will promote the semifinalists and finalists for a full year after the winners are announced.
Deadlines are as follows:
- “early bird” deadline is January 5, 2010 (application fee $40)
- regular deadline is March 5, 2010 (application fee $50)
- final deadline is April 15, 2010 (application fee $55)
Please visit www.scriptapalooza.com for more information.
EDGAR AWARDS; Nov. 30 deadline;
All books, short stories, television shows, and films [and
plays] in the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue fields are
eligible in their respective category if they were published or
produced for the first time in the U.S. during this calendar year.
Books from non-U.S. publishers are eligible if they are widely
distributed in the U.S. and are readily available on the shelves in
brick-and-mortar stores for the first time during the judging year.
Works should be submitted by the publisher, but may also be
submitted by the author or agent.
Jan. 2, 2010 deadline; 10 minutes max; NO entry free; $500 prize
I was born and reared on a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana; the son of the overseer, at a time when “plantations” were run nearly the same as before the Civil War. Much of my time was spent in the Quarters where the field hands lived. I went to all-white schools and churches, and at a young age, became troubled by segregation and how my friends in the Quarters lived. I graduated the University of Louisiana – Lafayette, the first college in Louisiana to open its doors to African Americans in 1954. In the military, I spent time in Alaska, and then returned to graduate school.
My first book, “The Last Witness from a Dirt Road” is a fictionalized memoir, written in the voice of a twelve-year-old white boy, coming of age with his Black friend Papa, both sons of a Deep South plantation in Louisiana. It was a 2006 SIBA award nominated book, and I’ve lectured it at three universities (assigned reading at two), and one chapter was written into a three-voice, one-hour play, “Black Mama and Saturday Night Ball,” performed at four high schools during Black History Month. The last performance was at a dinner theater for 250 paying guests. Recently, “Willie,” a short story about a smart, strong black woman struggling out of poverty and ignorance in the 1920s in New Orleans, was serialized in an area newspaper. My writings usually have venues with which I’m familiar and happy, and about ordinary people, besieged by extraordinary events in life.
With my wife, I’m retired and live in the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama.
1. Tell us about your latest book.
“A Full-Grown Man” is my second novel. The story begins in 1951 when a seventeen-year-old kid in a small backwater, Louisiana town falls in love with a sophisticated older woman, a visiting artist from New York. With a troubled mother, conniving and difficult, even from her grave, Ben Bennefield loses his future, finding himself bound to a life he didn’t want, a cotton farmer on a family farm, and burdened by the secrets of a dysfunctional family. The intertwined characters are wonderfully defined; time and place envelopes the reader, and an old landmark, The Gold Dust Bridge, becomes an acclaimed character as well as an applauded work-of-art in a museum in New York. “The story has it all: suspense, unrequited love and purloined letters, the grittiness of life couched in polite language that never strays into vulgarity. It’s a book for anyone who wants to understand how early experiences can shape a lifetime.” (K. Middleton, News Courier, June 19, 2009) “Reminiscent of The Bridges of Madison County and The Notebook in its sensitive and insightful exploration of intimate relationships, A Full-Grown Man is a compelling and suspense-filled story of love and loss.” (P.J. Laubenthal, Ph.D.)
2. How did you get started as a writer?
By hand, in a spiral notebook, starting in 1982, I jotted made notes about events in my childhood and youth on a working plantation where I had lived. In 2003, I decided to document the stories on my computer for my children and grandchildren to find one day. A close friend, a retired Judge, saw print-outs on my desk and asked if he could read them. A few days later, he returned them, commenting that they were too good to sit on a shelf. Two weeks later, I had completed a rough draft of my first novel, “The Last Witness from a Dirt Road,” and sent it to a woman in Boston, a Harvard graduate, a librarian. She agreed enthusiastically with the Judge.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Fool around reading papers till nine. Open emails, delete most and answer few. I walk to the Athens Square, a half block away, to Pablo’s, a local book store where everybody knows everybody. Over coffee, or tea, we gossip, fuss about Washington and stretch the truth about unimportant things, and laugh a lot. Around eleven, I return to my office, and open whatever I’m writing. Within five minutes, I know if the day will be a good “writing day” or a day I struggle to pull something out of my head. If I see that I’m going to fight about it, I read instead, or pay bills, or go far a walk to the college. After lunch, EVERY DAY, I take a thirty-five and half minute nap, no clock needed, and then return to my computer. Most of the time, I feel inspired to think-it, and write-it. Sometimes, inspiration last till five or six. If I’m not tired by then, I go home anyway, knowing that my day, all of it, was good.
4. Describe your workspace.
My office is half a block off The Athens Square, where a gorgeous courthouse has sat since 1924, held up by four Corinthian Columns on all four sides. My office is a building twenty feet wide and ninety feel long, where I look up through the rafters and beams to see the ceiling, the roof deck 22 feet up. Three sky-lights bring in the sun. The floors are eight inch yellow pine, stained light brown. The side walls are the brick walls of the buildings on each side. On the wall on the North side are limestone headers and footers of the windows of the first Methodist Church built in 1836. The inside walls are painted white and where I work is mid-way from the front door to the back door, a space 20 by 20, with a fireplace on the South wall. My desk is six feet by four feet, and I’ve sat behind it with a long credenza in back of me for forty-one years. My computer is to my right. Across my desk are two leather chairs, both with cracks in the leather, a lamp on a table and high on the wall is a “muted” TV that has been set on the Financial Channel since around 1991, when I bought these marvelous quarters from a going out-of-business architect. Along the walls are paintings, oils, acrylics, and watercolors, done by my two sisters who taught art for fifty years in Louisiana, and in the past twenty years, I’ve added more art in oils and acrylics done by my identical twin daughters who both teach art … one in a studio on The Athens Square and the other on Goodrich Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve much to inspire me.
5. Favorite books.
“In Cold Blood.” I like Capote’s writing. The story is treacherous. Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I believe she wrote it, not Capote. Pat Conroy is good … Beach Music; and I like bio’s … Marlon Brando’s was excellent, and I never liked him until “The Godfather” movie series came along. A new one: The Kite Runner.
6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.
- The glass is always more than half full for me. As a kid in school, I never knew anyone I “hated,” not even my teachers, and I felt at times that I just might not be normal, because my friends always had someone about whom they would say, “I hate ‘um.”
- I consider myself a “closet writer.” I write first for the joy of uniting words into a believable story, often nothing more than tidbits about ordinary people with exciting events in their normal lives; some with secrets I’ve heard about. Later, I scalp the vignettes for the characters, and maybe for the exciting event.
- I shutter inside when I’m introduced as “the author” or “he writes.” I’ve had no class-room training to be a “writer,” and I feel that two books don’t warrant the compliment. By nature, I’m shy, so I shutter about a lot of things, except when I’m writing or doing a book read. I’m a story teller – that’s all.
- 7. Favorite quote.
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” I never voted for John F. Kennedy; never liked politics, either, but I’m a true patriot for my country. My “stars and stripes” is big, and I wave it often. JFK’s quote is timeless and universal. With variations in wording, I reared my four kids by it.
8. Best and worst part of being a writer.
A new world was opened for me when I started writing, seriously writing, putting thoughts onto paper, thoughts that normally bounced around with inconsistent examination, and no destination. For much of my life, I’ve looked at “confession” as a means for self-examination, and prayer, too; writing is similar. You can argue your case, your story, honestly and genuinely, with yourself, and with God, if you so choose. I like that.
The worst part is asking a person to buy my book.
9. Advice for other writers.
Read what you enjoy reading, hopefully good books by good writers; write the way you write to say what you’re saying; be patient, always patient; don’t ask friends what they “think,” unless you’re such close friends, she or he is willing to break your heart, and you’ll both get over it. (A wife can do it, especially if she’s an avid reader, and still loves you, like mine.) Or pay a critic reader if you’ve reached that point in your manuscript. Study the publishing industry; learn to recognize the gimmickry, and everything they say should be examined during “confession,” and remember, patience, patience, patience. First class query letters, hopefully a great literary agent, can work wonders for authors, but first and foremost, you must write and give them a great story in a near perfect manuscript.
10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.
Finally, after four months, and with my self-composed query letter, a publisher agreed to accept particular info and a summary. I did so, and waited six more weeks before I heard back with encouraging news, and then I asked one more question about time elements in their process. After five weeks, I’d heard nothing and figured I had asked one-too-many questions, so I signed a contract with a publisher with whom I did not want to go, except to end a long and tiring ordeal of querying and waiting. (Impatience.) Two days later, the publisher I’d queried and wanted, asked for my manuscript. No, I’ll never know, but I’m fairly certain they would have published A Full-Grown Man.
Where to buy my book, “A Full-Grown Man”:
Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Borders and all online bookstores. Any bookstore in the USA can order through distributors, Ingram or Baker and Taylor, or direct from publisher: IUniverse.com for an additional discount.