Hello again all, I’m pleased to announce that the second round of the toothsoup prize has now opened. Huzzah! Based on my experience and the feedback I received during the last round, I’ve decided to make some adjustments to the way the competition is run, so make sure that you read through this post to find out what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.
What is the prize?
As per the first round, the prize starts at $50, but can increase with donations during the submission process. See the ‘What’s with the paid submission option?’ question below for how that works. Again, the competition will open for a month, before closing for a month of judging, and it’s for Australian residents only. However, there are three major changes to the conditions of entry this time. The first is that I’m upping the word limit to 3,000 words. A lot of folks told me that they had trouble fitting their story arcs under the 2,000 limit. Given the quality of the submissions last round, I’m more than happy to be reading more words per entry this time around.
What kind of stories are you after?
The second major change is that this round has a theme. The reason behind this is that it was really hard judging the wide variety of entries I received last round against each other. I talked with a few folks about what I could do to make it a bit more fair to those entering, and a theme was one of the suggestions. As before, there are no restrictions to style or genre, as long as they are challenging, well-written, and original. And I mean ‘original’ in the sense of no fan-fiction, no previously published work, and also just generally original. I don’t want to read the same plot I’ve already read elsewhere, by another author, with a better cover. Experimental fiction is allowed but please don’t make it so purely for the sake of it. So no major changes there; I’m just trying to tighten the variables a bit so that I can more fairly judge entries.
So what’s the theme?
The theme for this round is ‘Dive‘. You’re free to interpret the prompt as widely as you like, either thematically or literally. Here’s some stream-of-consciousness prompts a la the Voiceworks theme announcements:
The moment your feet leave the ground; break the barrier between phases, while the guy behind you clutches his knees and moans to the referee. Making changes, taking action, pushing away, or maybe leaping towards? There’s no room for thought, just action, spinning and adjusting according to ancient muscle memory. Achieve a weightlessness in between leaving and landing, floating in space or some other fantasy realm. How long until your fingertips make contact with the familiar skin of surface tension?
I’m really looking forward to the places people will take the theme. Surprise me!
Where do I submit?
I’ve started up a submishmash account for submissions. You can click the ‘Submit’ button above to see the guidelines or click here to go straight to the submishmash page. Entries must be received by midnight, AWST, on the 2nd of August.
What’s with the paid submission option?
When you go to the submission page, you’ll see there’s an option to either submit with no payment, or with a $5 donation. Any donation made in this way goes straight into the kitty for the prize. So when you donate $5, the kitty goes up by $5. Last round we ended up with a total prize money pool of $115. Not bad! You also have the option of receiving feedback on your entry if you donate in this way. The third major change to the conditions of entry is that I’m reserving the right to break up the prize pool into 1st and runners-up. My preference is still to award the prize to one stand-out entry, but if that’s not possible, I’ll be looking to give honourable mentions a prize.
What if I want to donate some other way? Like EFT, cash moneys, etc.
That’s great! Contact me at the below email address and we can sort something out.
How will you pay the winner?
It’ll be their choice of cheque or direct bank deposit. Alternatively, I’d love to be able to hand them the money myself, but I’m geographically separate from a majority of the Australian writing community. So that may not happen, but you never know!
Can I contact you with other questions?
Sure! My email address is phill [at] toothsoup [dot] com.