Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Whispers" Short Fiction Contest

It usually happens in the night.

The wind turns from the south. The winter constellations descend to skate along the horizon.

Warm rains come.

If you feel it like I do, you know it's time to awake from dark, cold dreams. Spring is coming, my friends. Let's celebrate! Welcome to the "Whispers" Short Fiction Contest.

This contest is the 8th in what has become a wonderfully fun series. Clarity of Night contest wins have been reported in agent query letters, served as inspiration for a novel placed with a major publisher, and provided a springboard for bigger success.

Using the photograph above for inspiration, compose a short fiction piece of no more than 250 words in any genre or style. Send your entry to me by email at jevanswriter at yahoo dot com before 11:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 27th (Eastern Time, United States). I'd prefer attachments formatted in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect (please see the format request below), but if you have something more exotic, you can paste the text into the body of an email. Each entry will be posted and indexed.

To make things interesting, I'm offering the following prizes (not to mention bragging rights):

  • 1st Place: $25 Amazon gift certificate, 8 x 10 print of the "Whispers" photograph (inscribed by Jason Evans)
  • 2nd Place: $20 Amazon gift certificate
  • 3rd Place: $15 Amazon gift certificate
  • 4th Place: $10 Amazon gift certificate
  • 5th Place: $5 Amazon gift certificate
  • Readers' Choice Award: $15 Amazon Gift certificate, 8 x 10 print of the "Whispers" photograph (inscribed by Jason Evans)

But this is about more than prizes. I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to meet and interact with your fellow writers. Our different perspectives, styles, and skills shine when we all start at the same place. It's a great opportunity to learn from each other.

  1. 250 words maximum.
  2. Titles are optional, but encouraged. Titles do not count toward your word count.
  3. One entry per person.
  4. Any genre or style is welcome. If you choose to submit poetry, you must have narrative movement within the poem if you wish to compete with the prose pieces for the prizes.
  5. The copyright remains with you, the author; however, you grant me worldwide first electronic publishing rights to post your entry on this blog indefinitely.
  6. Judging will be conducted by me, Jason Evans. For an explanation of judging and helpful hints, see A Note on Judging. You can also read the winning entries from past contests.
  7. Please provide a name for your byline. If you have a website or a blog, I'd be happy to link your site to your byline. If you don't have a website or blog, feel free to include a short bio. A bio does not count towards your word count.
  8. At the close of the contest, I will give the date and time for the announcement of winners.
  9. After the winners are announced, I will post what I liked most about each entry in the comments.
  10. The Readers' Choice Award is awarded by vote of the contest participants. The entry with the highest number of votes wins. The rules for this portion of the contest will be posted after the entry period closes.
  11. Public critiques in comments are encouraged, but must remain respectful. I reserve the right to delete comments and ban participants who do not abide by the collegial spirit of Clarity of Night contests.
  12. For prior contests and their results, see the links on the sidebar.

Format Request:
These are not rules, and I will not reject an entry which does not conform, but if you follow them, my work in running the contest is much less. For that, I will be eternally grateful!
  1. Single space lines, and double space paragraph breaks.
  2. No tabs or indents on the first line.
  3. If you have italics in your text, please code it for html by putting a begin italics code < i > where it starts and an end italics code < /i > where it ends.
  4. Although it's rarely used, handle bold < b >< /b > and underline < u >< /u > the same way.
  5. Write your title at the top of the document left justified in title case (first letters capitalized). On the next line write your byline left justified (example, by Jason Evans). Add two blank lines, then begin your story.

Welcome to this latest contest! The entry period is now open.

[For the contest underway, click HERE.]


Ello - Ellen Oh said...

I'm in! I'm in! I don't care how busy I am! I don't care if my students complain about their assignments not being graded in time, I am in!

Lovely photo! But for some reason I thought you were going to give us a funny photo of an all you can eat buffet. Don't ask me why, I'm losing my mind. But I had the perfect story for that. Now how do I incorporate all you can eat with a lonely tree?

Rob said...

Thanks for hosting this, Jason. Looking forward to reading all the entries.

Now to figure out what I'm going to write...

Unknown said...

Oh cool! I could do with the diversion from scribbling 80 000 words! ;-) Looking forward to participating - and thanks as ever for organising this, Jason.

DBA Lehane said...

Thanks for the opportunity Jason and count me in!

I hope you don't mind but I've used the photo in a journal entry at Red Bubble to plug the competition too. You can see it at:

Will happily remove if you prefer.

Sarah Hina said...

Gorgeous photo, Jason. And already sparking ideas...

These contests must be a lot of work for you, but I think you can tell from the level of excitement here that we all really appreciate your efforts.

I look forward to reading everyone's entries! :)

Anonymous said...

Jason and Aine - thanks so much for hosting yet another contest! I look forward to reading all the entries.


Aine said...

Good luck everyone!

I'm eager to see the product of your creative minds!

** off to stock up on tea and chocolate...oooh maybe we could have a good snowstorm as well... good excuse to sit and read! **

Precie said...


Thanks for hosting this, Jason! Can't wait!!

Jaye Wells said...

I'm going to sit next to Aine on the bleachers and watch the fireworks. Can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Ello, yeah, the smorgasboard may be a challenge. :) Glad to see you pumped up!

Rob, my pleasure.

AV, yeah, sometimes a break from the novel-writing grind can really be a breath of fresh air!

DBA Lehane, using the picture is perfect! Many thanks for the promotion efforts.

Sarah, thanks, my friend. I don't mind the work at all when folks enjoy the result.

JLB, this one is probably well timed. We all need to shake out the dust.

Aine, they seem like a good group already, don't they?

Precie, you're most welcome.

Jaye, there will be lots of ooohs and aaaahhs from over in that direction, I'm sure. :)

Geraldine said...

Sounds like a great idea, I will definitely be entering. Got here via BrainRipples, glad I stopped in,nice blog!

Anonymous said...

I'll add a link tonight. Thanks again for the contest. I'll post the photo in the contest announcement post photo as well, giving you credit of course.

Exciting times!

Thérèse said...

I'm really looking forward to the entries, yay! I'm so glad that you do this, Jason. I'm sure it sucks up a lot of your time. So thanks!

rel said...

Thank you for doing this!
My entry should be in your inbox as I'm typing this.
Btw. Bare naked trees are a favorite photo subject of mine . Some of my best friends are trees.

Gone said...

This is going to my first attempt at one of these contests after gazing from afar for a while. Looking forward to reading everyone's entries. Good job Jason.

Abhinav Maurya said...

Ah! The fun of a Clarity of Night contest. It's almost like a literary mini-festival of sorts. Thanks Jason. May your tribe increase. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Veggies, great to have you! Brainripples is a great blog.

Raine, I hear the wheels turning....

Strugglingwriter, thanks for all the help, my friend!

Therese, it's fun too. A lot of fun!

Rel, so many of my landscape photos are taken from a moving car. It makes it a very organic process. I have about 1.5 seconds to see a shot, zoom it, frame it, and click. The results are always a surprise.

Grocer, are you delurking? If so, that's so exciting! It's always a very special treat when a regular visitor/reader steps forward.

Abhinav, that's very cool if it feels like that! I always hoped it did, but I'm only seeing it from over here.

AngelConradie said...

i'm in! i'm not missing another one... and i have missed writing fiction pieces!

Precie said...

Jason--a sidenote--Since you're in PA, I thought I'd bring to your attention an upcoming PA writers conference:

Anonymous said...

I'm delurking, thanks to my dear friend Precie. I also linked Clarity of Night over to my BIP (Blog in Progress, sigh) at

Off to work on my entry!

SzélsőFa said...

I advertised it on my blog as well. I'm aspiring to enter with one simple story, too. I will see.

Beth said...

The story's in the mail. I never know to use Perfect Neurotic or Beth or what as the byline, but I just read all the entrants so far and am loving it. Such a terrific break in the bleakness of winter.

bluesugarpoet said...

I'm in. I love the picture prompt, btw!

Christian Seidel said...

Just mailed my entry. Ello asked how to incorporate all you can eat with a lonely tree. Well, I gave it a try...