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The 2022 contest will:

o Open: April 15, 2022

o Close: June 15, 2022 at 11.59 PM

o The Baltimore Science Fiction Society Amateur Writing Contest contest is open to amateur writers over 18 years old who are residents of Maryland and to students attending any Maryland 2- or 4-year college.

o Winners will be announced at the Capclave Convention that will be held September 30 - October 2, 2022 in Washington, DC.

o The contest is absolutely free to enter.

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society Amateur Writing Contest promotes the creation of quality short speculative fiction and has been held annually since 2013.

The contest is open to adult writers living in Maryland. Any short story that falls into the speculative fiction genre – science fiction and fantasy in all their forms – is welcome. Urban fantasy, hard science fiction, dark fantasy, it all counts so long as the work has a speculative element. BSFS judges award First, Second, and Third cash prizes for the best stories.

"Before I placed in the contest, I didn't really take myself seriously as a writer; writing was one of those things that I enjoyed and did when I got around to it, but I never went out of my way to make time for it and I didn't really think of myself as a writer. Placing in the contest, attending Capclave, and participating at Balticon changed all that. I take my writing much more seriously now. I think I've written as much in the past 18 months than in the preceding 5 years or so. I'm even about 40,000 words into the rough draft of a novel, which I don't think ever would have happened without getting the extra push for BSFS. You mentioned in the page for the original contest that you wanted to help amateurs reach the next level, and you absolutely did that for me." - Rachel Kolar

See the other past winners here.

Who may enter?

o Entrants must be over 18 by the final day submissions are accepted and be legal residents of Maryland or students enrolled at a Maryland 2- or 4-year college. Maryland writers under 18 may instead enter the Jack L. Chalker Young Writer's Contest, also sponsored by BSFS.

o Entrants must be amateur writers. Writers who are eligible for membership in theScience Fiction Writers of America as defined here may not enter this contest whether or not they are an active member of SFWA. If you submit an entry and then get notified that you'll be published in a professional magazine before the last day submissions are accepted, you must inform us and the committee will decide how to handle your entry.

o We reserve the right to verify that potential winners meet all requirements.

o Multiple authors may collaborate on a story. Both must meet the entry criteria. If the story wins, all writers will receive memberships to Balticon and have the opportunity to read the story, but the prize money is not increased.

o Previous winners of the BSFS Amateur Writing Contest may enter a new work provided that they meet other entry criteria.

o BSFS Officers and Board members and the Chair, Vice Chair, and Department Heads for Balticon may not enter.

What writing may be entered in the contest?

The Writers Contest is limited to stories of speculative fiction between 1,000 and 5,500 words that have not have been previously published. Please do not send us anything that has been published anywhere else, including on your own blog/website/Facebook.

This is a short story contest. We do not accept scripts, screenplays, or non-fiction essays for this contest. To avoid potential copyright conflicts, we cannot accept fan fiction. BSFS has a separate Balticon Poetry Contest for poets.

How do I enter?

You may submit only one entry each year.

Entries must be sent in .doc/.docx format from a PC or Mac and formatted using the CLASSIC short story submission format presented on William Shunn's website. Entries that are incorrectly formatted or are of the wrong length will not be considered.

Entries must be submitted electronically. Attach your story to an email sent to bsfs-amc [at] bsfs [dot] org. The subject heading should be "BSFS Contest Submission: [Insert story's title here]". Anything else will be deleted.

Who are the judges and what are they looking for?

The judges are BSFS members and volunteers. Before being sent to the judges all identifying information is removed from the manuscripts. Only the quality of your story will matter.

The judges are looking for stories with gripping openings, good world building, interesting characters, strong plots, powerful images, biting satire, good word choice, and touching endings. No explicit sex or gore please. In judging entries we consider how much we enjoy a story, how original it is, whether we like the style, and whether the story is presented as if to a publisher, that is, spelling and punctuation are correct with grammar and word choices appropriate to the story.

What are the prizes?

Awards will be presented at the awards ceremony at Capclave, the convention put on each year by the Washington Science Fiction Association. Capclave is a con that focuses on the short fiction form, and sponsors the WSFA Small Press Award.

1st place is $250

2nd place is $100

3rd place is $50

The top five entries will all receive free memberships to Balticon, the BSFS convention that is held each year in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend. The first, second and third place winners will be invited read their winning entries at Balticon. The first place entry will be published (all or in part as space allows) in BSFSFan, the Balticon souvenir book. (See below for more publishing details.)

BSFS reserves some publishing rights to the winning stories

By submitting your story to the contest you agree that BSFS may hold some publishing rights to your story if it wins a prize.

If your story wins 1st place, BSFS will hold exclusive digital and physical printing rights until the story is published in the BSFSFan for the next Balticon. While the announcement of the winner is made at Capclave, BSFS holds exclusive publishing rights until the next edition of BSFSFan is released to the public at Balticon. After that release BSFS retains non-exclusive rights to publish the story for 5 years from date of publication in BSFSFan. This is to allow us to perhaps publish an anthology of winning stories or other uses of the story. After the winning story is published in the BSFSFan, we encourage you to submit the story elsewhere and have it published. You do not need our consent for this publication but we would appreciate if you would tell us the good news.

For the 2nd and 3rd place winners we reserve the non-exclusive right to publish the stories digitally or physically for 5 years.

I have a question not addressed here. Where can I get it answered?

If you have any questions, please send them to bsfs-amc at bsfs dot org

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