'Arrest Us' - Announcing LitReactor's Crime Fiction Writing Challenge
Crime fiction is the literary genre that fictionalizes crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred... (Wikipedia)
It's 2014. Time for another challenge. Now we want you to Arrest Us with some down-and-dirty crime fiction!
The opportunities here are endless. You can do noir or hardboiled or cozy or heist or espionage or locked-room mystery. You can gross us out or break our hearts. You can comment on the justice system or give us a good laugh. Crime fiction offers a rich tapestry of situation and emotion, and it's a great opportunity to dig to the root of a character—it often involves people in their worst moments, and there's no better time to get an accurate measure of a person than when they've hit bottom.
Just like last time, this is a public contest. You don't have to be a paying member to participate. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or a seasoned wordsmith. Even if it's the first story you've ever written—anyone can submit. Also, anyone can read and rate stories, and offer comments and criticism.
And, as before, we're going to offer prizes and rewards...
Grand Prize: Publication in Thuglit!
Thuglit, edited by Todd Robinson—author of The Hard Bounce—delivers first-rate crime fiction in print and digital formats once every two months. "A Good Marriage" by Ed Kurtz, originally published in Thuglit issue 5, was recently picked for The Best American Mystery Stories 2014.
After the dust has settled here, Todd is going to read through the top-rated stories and pick three to run in future issues of Thuglit. And you'll be paid just like the rest of the contributors.
Writer prize packs!
As before, we'll be asking accomplished authors and editors to read and comment on stories.
But it's going to be a little more exclusive than in previous challenges. Each person we enlist will only read and comment on one story. As for who's going to do it, and the selection process—well, we don't want to unveil everything just yet...
Reader prize packs!
The five most prolific raters will get a selection of books, picked at random, by one of these excellent publishers of crime fiction!
Run of show
Monday, June 2: The challenge opens, and you can begin submitting stories. The reading period opens on this date, too.
Tuesday, July 1: The challenge closes to submissions, but the reading period remains open.
Friday, August 1: The reading period ends, and we start the process of sorting out of the prizes.
You can't just write whatever you want. There are caveats.
First, you've got your word count: 3,000 to 5,000 words. Go over or under at your own risk; as soon as you do, it's out of the running for the prizes. Sorry, but thems the breaks.
Now for the fun part. In the past we've given you prompts. Things your story needed to include to qualify. We're not going to do that this time.
Instead, we talked to Todd about the tropes that he sees far too often in stories that are submitted to Thuglit. And we're going to make you write a story without using any of them. So here are the things your story cannot include:
No Italian mafia
No hitmen (or hitwomen)
No sex crimes
No serial killers
Anything else is fair game.
Questions? Ask in the comments.
Otherwise, start writing... submissions open in less than a month!
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