Shortcuts – Novella Competition

specficnz-imageSpecFicNZ is partnering with Paper Road Press on an all-new novella competition.

Paper Road Press is launching an ebook-only line of New Zealand-themed short fiction, Shortcuts, and SpecFicNZ is happy to offer our members the chance to be offered a publishing contract for the debut line-up, along with cash prizes.

Publisher Marie Hodgkinson is looking for science fiction, fantasy and horror stories that are inspired by or engage with any aspect of Aotearoa New Zealand. “This country has a great history of science fictional writing – one of our early Prime Ministers wrote the first sci fi novel to be published here! – and our Shortcuts series is intended to encourage writers to be inspired by the extra-ordinary possibilities of our land, history and cultures.”

  • Length: 10,000 to 20,000 words
  • Genres: Fantasy, science fiction, horror, slipstream (mix-and-match!) of any variety, in a New Zealand or New Zealand-inspired setting.
  • Content exclusions: Paper Road Press is not looking for erotica, or stories with sexual violence or gratuitous violence.
  • Competition closes: 31 July 2014

First prize: $100

Second prize: $50

Third prize: $25

All entries will also be considered for publication in Paper Road Press’ 2015 Shortcuts line-up.


Who can enter?

All current paid-up members of SpecFicNZ are eligible to enter this competition.

When can I enter?

Submissions open 1 July 2014, and close 31 July 2014.

What do I submit?

A complete, original and previously unpublished manuscript of 10,000 to 20,000 words. This is a SpecFicNZ competition, so all manuscripts must contain at least a small element of the supernatural or science-fictional. Please DO NOT submit previously published or self-published work.

Where do I send my entry?

Please send your submission to [email protected] as a rtf (rich text format) file, following standard manuscript format but without any author identification in the manuscript. This is to ensure that your manuscript can be judged blindly.

There is no fee to enter this competition.

What to submit:

Your e-mailed entry should have the subject line Shortcuts Contest: (Title of the Work) and the body of the e-mail should contain your name, contact information, specific genre of the work, estimated word count of the work, title of the work, and a short blurb describing your story (maximum of 150 words).

Think of your blurb as what you would want to see on the back cover of your published book. This is not a synopsis, but should identify one or two main characters, the genre, and the crisis or turning point the main character faces. It should hook the reader to want to read the full story. Please be advised that your blurb may be used during the course of the contest in promotional posts on the SpecFicNZ and Paper Road Press websites.

You may also include in the cover e-mail a short bio and a paragraph about your writing experience or publications, though these are not required.

Multiple submissions?

No. Only one submission per person accepted. However, you may submit additional stories to the general Shortcuts call for submissions, which closes 1 October 2014.

What is the judging process?

All entries received by the 31 July deadline (midnight NZ time) and which follow the submission rules outlined above will be passed on blindly to Marie Hodgkinson of Paper Road Press. Marie will read submissions through August and choose the top three manuscripts. The winners will be announced on the SpecFicNZ and Paper Road Press websites in September 2014, including author information, links and blurbs.

What do I win, if I win?

First prize: $100

Second prize: $50

Third prize: $25

Prizewinners may also be offered a contract to have their manuscripts published as part of the first set of Shortcuts in 2015; however, publication is not a guaranteed result of winning this competition.

What is Marie looking for?

“What am I looking for? Paper Road Press’ motto is ‘books from beyond the beaten track’, and I think that covers what I am looking for in our Shortcuts line: stories that explore new ideas or ways of looking at the world, with compelling characters and plots. I like creative reinterpretations of well-worn folk stories and myths, comedy, mysteries – my tastes are pretty wide, though, so don’t worry about sending me something I haven’t mentioned here!

“The Shortcuts list is for short novellas, so one of the most important storytelling qualities for these works is the author’s ability to give a strong sense of characterisation and setting without dropping the narrative pace.”

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