Thursday 8 April 2021  at 7:30pm - via Zoom

 Writing for competitions (and how to win!) – with Tracy Fells

Tracy Fells


Tracy Fells is an award winning writing for both fiction and drama. She will share her top tips for successfully entering (and winning) writing competitions. The workshop will be appropriate for all genres and cover:
• How to win a writing competition
• How NOT to win a writing competition
• Hints and tips from competition judges
• Short (& fun) writing exercises
• How entering competitions can help your writing
• Where to research and source competitions


Tracy Fells has won awards for both fiction and drama. Her short stories have been published in online and print journals including Granta, Brittle Star, Flash International Magazine, Litro New York, The Nottingham Review, Spelk, Reflex Fiction, Popshot and Firewords Quarterly. She has fiction published in anthologies such as Unthology10 (Unthank Books), Rattle Tales and A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed (National Flash Fiction Day 2016 anthology). She won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Canada and Europe and has been shortlisted for the Fish, Bridport, Brighton and Willesden Herald Prizes. Other competition successes include: Steyning Festival Short Story Prize (winner 2012 & 2018), Exeter Writers, Flash500, Reflex Fiction, Hysteria, ChocLit Short Story, Writer’s Forum and Writing Magazine. Despite being a finalist for the 2018 Richard and Judy ‘Search for a Bestseller’ novel competition she has never met either Richard or Judy. Tracy tweets as @theliterarypig, lives close to the South Downs in West Sussex and shares her garden with blackbirds and hooligan squirrels.


Summary of the meeting

Tracy used her slide show as a prompt to a talk which passed on a treasure trove of hints, nuggets and opinions about successful strategies when entering writing competitions. Tracy spoke from experience, she has won around £5000 from different competitions , and has judged and helped shortlist for many (that she has not entered). She emphasised that entering competitions is good for writers for many reasons besides winning, particularly that the process helps you both to actually write, and, if you study competition criteria, feedback and winning entries, to improve your writing. She talked about what entrants do wrong, many fail to follow a particular competition's rules. Tracy said how important the title was, suggested writers tried not to start with 'The', and told us that fiction was like air travel - the most dangerous parts are takeoff and landing. She recommended 'come in late, leave early,' and suggested trying the effect of chopping off openings and endings to a story.