Not all short stories are literary musings.
Some are plot based. Things happen. They have a beginning, a middle and an end.
In fact, a lot of shorts are written for fans of genre fiction. The larger number of readers of non-literary stories means that these can be lucrative markets for writers.
Many of the longest running and best supported magazines and publishing opportunities focus on genre fiction.
If you want to read an award winning novel, you'll have to pay, but award-winning shorts can often be found online for free.
Industry awards can provide a gateway to discovering the many magazines and formats for great short fiction. I’ve listed a few below.
Who doesn’t like a good laugh?
One of the best known awards for comedy short stories is To Hull and Back. The anthologies are available from Christopher Fielden, who runs the competition. He also drives the book to Hull and back on his motorbike.
Another more recent comedy competition comes from Smoke Long Quarterly. Read the latest funny winners here.
If you are looking for more ideas, you might want to check the fiction at McSweeney’s.
Can’t get enough of zombies and vampires?
Check out the Bram Stoker awards. They are the premier accolade for horror writers, and there is a short fiction category alongside the other writerly awards.
Among all of the genres listed here, Sci-Fi might be the best supported types of stories. In addition, most of the prize winning stories from the organisations below are available for free via links to their original publications.
Hugo Awards (Fantasy & Sci-Fi)
Nebula Awards (Fantasy & Sci-Fi)
In addition, here’s a list of winners from the British Sci-Fi Association Awards.
There are many other Sci-Fi prizes, magazines and anthologies I could mention, but I may save that for another post.
The Crime Writers’ Association is a thriving British institution. The BBC commissions so many crime dramas, it’s not a surprise that writing police procedurals and detective capers has never been more popular.
On the website you can view all past winners of the CWA’s Short Story Dagger Award.
I’m not sure if in the US there is one particular organisation that is the undisputed No. 1 for crime writing. You can check out this round up of competitions and organisations.
Tolkien lover? Secret Harry Potter fan?
For castles and kings and orks and magic, you might take a look at the fantasy genre.
As mentioned before, the Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards cover both fantasy & sci-fi.
You could also check out the winning short stories from the World Fantasy Awards (USA) or the British Fantasy Society.
Of course, there are many sub genres included in the umbrella term ‘fantasy’, but these sites should give you some idea of tropes current and past.
New story alert!
Night Shift, my story about a Ghanaian nurse in London, was published this month by Five on the Fifth.
Read it here.
I’ve already provided an overload of links this month, so I’ll just add a few recommendations here.
Watch: Love, Death and Robots - a series of dystopian shorts on Netflix.
Listen: look through the genre lists on Fiction Podcasts and pick a favourite.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time.