Winning Short Story Competitions

Essential tools for the serious writer. A short story writing guide authored by competition judges L. E. Daniels & C. Sawyer.

Cover of Winning Short Story Competitions
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The Skinny on Short Stories

Like musicians and painters, writers are collectors. We gather high notes and low notes, and seek truant shades to make our palettes fresh again. What better place to test new sounds and colours but from within the cosmos of short stories?

Short fiction is in demand. For emerging writers, it’s a swift path to publication—swifter than that first novel, for sure. Submission calls are global and a few publications will light up your portfolio.

Collectively, over the years, L. E. Daniels and C. Sawyer have judged many short story competitions and seen patterns in what makes stories wobble, and what makes them dance.

When you enter competitions you’re pitting yourself against a legion of other writers who are largely just as talented and passionate as yourself. Competitions are filled with good to great writers. In Winning Short Story Competitions, Daniels and Sawyer detail the difference between the winners and the well-populated layer of the field that score around the 8/10 mark for their work.

Long- or Short-Listing, or better yet, Winning, competitions endorses that you have the skills and talent of a career writer. Nothing beats seeing your work published.

Winning Short Story Competitions is for serious writers on the quest to expand their writing practise from good/very good, to exceptional.

This exceptional writing resource is available now for just $25AU plus postage.

Buy Now 1 Copy Delivered in Australia Buy Now 1 Copy Delivered Overseas Buy 2 for Free Delivery Worldwide

Reviews for Winning Short Story Competitions:

‘Just wanted to say what a fab little book this is. Read it in 2 days and will now have to go back and highlight things and keep it as a reference. I actually think that I have had a lot of the info in previous courses that I have done but you have just pulled out the essence and made it easy to understand. Full of aha moments for me. Really loved it. Thanks for writing it’…

Jo Skinner.

‘I’ve been reading about writing and listening to published authors avidly all year, picking up nuggets of gold as I go. I’ve read enough stories over 48 years to recognise the qualities they describe and agree with them. This book condensed everything and put it in one place. Massive respect to Daniels and Sawyer for making it so clear: they clearly have masses of experience.’ READ FULL REVIEW HERE.

Jackie Morris, United Kingdom

‘I feel that the authors truly want other aspiring authors to succeed. And I’m greedily absorbing (or trying to at least, it’s a lot to take in) all those important writing secrets’…

Lawrey Goodrich.

‘As an aspiring author, I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing. Over the years I’ve purchased numerous writing self-help books. Winning Short Story Competitions is my favourite.’


‘This book gives you the edge to enter and smash literary competitions.’

Geneve Flynn, Author & Editor.

‘Winning Short Story Competitions packs a punch. Encapsulating the skills to not only win competitions, but be a better creative writer in any field.’

Diane Clarke, Author.

‘The authors are well-credentialed winners. Cut to the no B.S., proven strategies for winning.’

C. T. Mitchell, International Bestselling Author.

‘I got so much out of reading this guide. The examples are excellent. I think everyone trying to get published should read this book. Exceptional read. Very instrumental for all emerging writers.’

Caitlyn Leigh.

‘Your book is a wonderful resource. Wish I’d had it 8 years ago. Never could understand POV, meant nothing, till you said ‘Head-hopping’ – light bulb moment. So expressive, it describes the pandemic throughout my writing. Filters – they block-up my swimming pool – now my writing. When will I stop learning? Saturday was the best training session I’ve been to – I understood what you were both speaking about. Both you (Cate) and Lauren were brilliant – engaging – respectful – clear and concise’…

Peter Perkins.

Winning Short Story Competitions Table of Contents:

  • How to Impress Judges
  • Behind the Scenes: How One Literary Judge Approaches Short Story Comps
  • Your Writerly Self
  • Hint, Tantalise, Reel Me In
  • Enter Late, Leave Early
  • BFFs: How Dialogue Makes Plot, Theme & Conflict Shine
  • POV: Who’s The Boss?
  • Let’s Talk Tautologies & Filters
  • The Art of Self-Editing
  • Top Drawer Writing Groups & Peer Review
  • Your Title, Your Promise
  • Recommended Resources
  • Ten Weeks of Creative Writing Exercises to Hone Your Skills

L. E. Daniels is the Director of Brisbane Writers Workshop and a qualified editor, author, mentor and trainer. She has a Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston USA, and a Bachelor of Arts, Creative Writing from Fairfield University USA. Daniels has edited 90+ commercially published books, and runs a series of comprehensive writing workshops for fiction and non-fiction writers.

C. Sawyer is the Director of Hawkeye Publishing and Hawkeye Books. She is an editor, author and presenter. She has a Master of Arts Writing through Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia. The former Newspaper Editor has a published portfolio spanning 30 years, including seven books. She runs workshops on Show Not Tell, The Art of Self-Editing, and Winning Short Story Competitions.

Sawyer is a Literary Judge for the Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Writing Competition, and the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize.

Daniels has judged:

[Total: 19   Average: 4.9/5]

Carolyn Martinez

7 comments to “Winning Short Story Competitions”

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  1. Lawrey Goodrick - July 29, 2020 Reply

    ‘I’m totally loving the ‘tautologies & filters’ chapter. All those redundant words in stories put on a block and guillotined. Love it.’

    • Cate Sawyer - July 29, 2020 Reply

      Thanks Lawrey! Thrilled to receive your feedback. All the best for your writing. Kind regards, Cate.

  2. Carolyn Martinez - July 29, 2020 Reply

    Hi Lawrey, Thanks for letting us know you’re enjoying this writing guide. It’s true that one of the most common problems we see in manuscripts submitted to us are redundant words – (filters) – that add unnecessary length and make the story lag. Cheers Carolyn

  3. Dianne Bates - August 18, 2020 Reply

    Can’t see where it says how much the book (and postage) costs for delivery in Australia

    • Carolyn Martinez - August 20, 2020 Reply

      Hi Diane, The printed book is $25 with $2.75 postage for delivery within Australia, and $10 postage (which is subsidised) for delivery outside of Australia. Thanks for posting your query. The price is visible when you select the buy now button, but taking on your feedback we’ll put the price on the page so it’s clearer. Kind regards, Carolyn

  4. Jackie Morris - August 20, 2020 Reply

    This book really impressed me, energised me, made me realise what I need to do, and I wanted to tell someone.

    Please do pass my deepest respect and thanks to the authors.

  5. Saul Martinez - August 20, 2020 Reply

    Hi Jackie, Your feedback is welcomed. The authors will be thrilled. And we agree with you, the book is gold. Cheers, Saul

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