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CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition & Debut Dagger!

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

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CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition

Entries are being invited for the CWA Margery Allingham Short Story competition.

This year, the competition has changed the weighting of its scoring system to match Margery Allingham’s definition of a Mystery. Entrants are asked to focus on specific elements to match the definition: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”

Entries should therefore feature the elements: the crime, the mystery, the enquiry and at least a partly satisfactory conclusion, ideally in that chronology.

The submissions have a limit of 3,500 words. It costs £12 to enter and the winner walks away with £500, a selection of Margery Allingham books, and two passes for the international crime writing convention CrimeFest in 2021. Being shortlisted for this renowned competition also brings attention and prestige to the writing CV.

The winner will be announced in early June at CrimeFest 2020 – when the longlist of the CWA Debut Dagger and other Daggers are also made public.

For the rules, and to submit, go to Short Story Competition on the CWA website. The deadline is 6pm on 29 February 2020.

Professional feedback on stories before submission at the CWA Mini Critique is also available for any writing up to 4,000 words, including short stories. The service is open until 19 Dec and then from 2 January 2020 and promises a speedy turnaround.

For more details, contact secretary@thecwa.co.uk before 19 December 2019 or after 2 January 2020. 


CWA Debut Dagger Open for Submissions

Entries are being invited for the coveted CWA Debut Dagger Award.

Authors shortlisted for the Debut Dagger come to the direct attention of interested literary agents and publishers. M W Craven who won the 2019 Gold Dagger for best crime novel for The Puppet Show was shortlisted a few years ago for the Debut Dagger. Entering, Craven said, changed his life, he said: “I’ve been able to leave my job and become a full-time writer. And all this success comes from entering the Debut Dagger in 2013.”

The CWA website has a series of Debuts blog to inspire aspiring authors from those who’ve triumphed. It also features Crime Writing Tips, for advice, where author Cal Moriarty is creating a series of articles on novel-writing that entrants might find useful.

To submit to the award, entries need to include the opening of a crime novel up to 3,000 words, together with a synopsis for the full novel of up to 1,500 words. Novels do not need to be finished, and you can still enter if you have self-published providing you’ve never had a traditional contract for a full-length novel. Debut authors must not already have an agent or contract at the time the competition closes. To enter there is a fee of £36. The winner will also receive £500. Deadline for submissions is 6pm on 29 February 2020.

For those seeking professional feedback, the CWA provides the Criminal Critiques service. The Mini Critique is specially aimed at Debut Dagger entrants. If you want feedback in time to hone and polish for the deadline, the service is open until 19 Dec and then from 2 January 2020 and promises a speedy turnaround.

Go to the Debut Dagger for the full rules and to submit your entry. For more details contact secretary@thecwa.co.uk before 19 December 2019 or after 2 January 2020.

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