Mormon Lit Blitz Deadline Extended

Announcement: the deadline for Mormon Lit Blitz submissions (of works under 1,000 words that will speak to language-loving LDS readers) has been extended to April 27th. Any help spreading word about the contest would be greatly appreciated.

Below, I’ve included the text of my recent EMW Editorial post about the contest and detailed submission instructions. 

From the Editors (Everyday Mormon Writer Post)

This fall and winter, things all around us fell apart.

It started with our baby’s body, which entered the world in urgent need of repair. To fix it, though, the doctors had to break it more first. Our son has a scar now on his back and another on his side, more scarring in his throat and the inside of his nose. He’ll be fine; his eyes sparkle when he smiles; we hardly ever wake up in the night anymore panicked he can’t breath.

During the seven weeks he spent in intensive care, our routines fell apart. Also our short-term memories and our ability to focus on any other problem for an extended period of time. After he got home, our own bodies stopped running smoothly. I got quite sick for a few days. Nicole got sick, developed a penicillin allergy while being treated, then got sick again enough to receive a doctor-inflicted wound of her own.

Possessions which have broken since October: my cell phone, Nicole’s glasses, six different components of our car, my Kindle screen (which cracked across John Steinbeck’s face), my laptop screen (which shattered), the Everyday Mormon Writer website (twice), and our oldest daughter’s bookcase (which simply collapsed one day, inexplicably, into a jumbled heap of particle board, picture books, old school papers, and knick-knacks).

Things fall apart. And when they do, we reach for our center, because nothing else seems to hold.

Which is where Mormon literature comes in. The works which move me the most–from Merrijane Rice’s “Stillborn” to Wm Morris’s “Release,” from Emily Harris Adams’s “Second Coming” to Steven Peck’s “When the Bishop Started Killing Dogs”–all seem, in their own ways, to speak to the space between all the craziness that makes up our lives and that sacred, solid center. I love these and other Mormon writers for the way their works speak to me in good times and bad, for ways in which they suggest we might carry our troubles and our joys.

From now through April 27th, we are accepting entries for the Second Annual Mormon Lit Blitz. The prize for the best work under 1,000 words is a Kindle and a small library of Mormon literature in eBook form, but the real payoff of the contest is the chance to come together to celebrate over and meditate on the religious culture we share, to use language to reach for ideas and feelings beyond words.

We hope you’ll support this event by submitting a short work (or two or three) before the end of April and by sharing the finalists when we Blitz the internet once again with a sample of Mormon Lit this May.

 

Mormon Lit Blitz Submission Details

CALL FOR CONTEST SUBMISSIONS

Now announcing the Second Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Writing Contest. Send up to three submissions by 27 April 2013 to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com for a chance to win a Kindle and more.

What we want:
Short work for Mormons to be published and read online.

The details:
“Short” means under 1,000 words.

“Work” means creative writing in any genre, from literary realism to far future science fiction, and in any form: fiction, essay, poetry, comics, playlet, etc. Give us a tiny, polished gem we can show off to people who love Mormonism and love great writing but “know not where to find” a place where the two meet.

“For Mormons” means for committed Latter-day Saints. Yes, that’s an extremely diverse audience (see the “I’m a Mormon” campaign—and your ward members), but it’s also an audience with distinctive shared values and history that don’t often get attention in creative work. We want you to write something that will appeal to us as people who believe in the sacred, who have ridiculous numbers of brothers and sisters we see every week, who worry about being good and faithful servants no matter what our day jobs are and wonder what it will be like to meet our grandparents’ grandparents in heaven. We don’t need your pieces to preach to us. We do need them to combine your creativity and religious commitment in a way that excites us and gives us something cool to talk about with our Mormon friends.

“To be published and read online” means we’re going to post six to twelve finalists’ pieces on Everyday Mormon Writer (everydaymormonwriter.com) and then ask readers to vote on their favorites.

One catch: since even 1,000 words can be intimidating on a screen, your piece needs a strong hook of no more than 120 words (or eight lines for poetry) to be visible on the main blog page. Mark the end of your hook with [MORE]. Even our editors will only read further if you’ve piqued their interest.

Submission Guidelines:
Submissions must have fewer than 1,000 words with a hook no longer than 120 words (or eight lines for poetry). Submissions must be engaging to Latter-day Saints and engage with their Mormon identity in some way.

Authors may submit up to three works. Each submission must be attached to an email as a .doc or .pdf file. The selection process is blind, so the author’s name should not appear on the document.

Email any questions and your submissions to everydaymormonwriter@gmail.com. Submission emails should contain the author’s name, the titles of each submission, and contact information (telephone number or email address).

By submitting, authors give us the one-time rights to publish their work electronically. Previously published work is OK if you still have the rights to the piece and if it meets the above contest requirements (don’t forget to add a [MORE] tag to the end of your hook).

The prize:
The contest editors will select six to twelve finalists. All finalists will have their short works published online in May 2013 and actively promoted across the LDS blogosphere by the Mormon Lit Blitz team.

After all pieces have been published, readers will vote on a single Grand Prize Winner, who will receive a Kindle and a small library with LDS literary works in eBook format, including Parley P. Pratt’s classic short “A Dialogue Between Joseph Smith and the Devil,” Peculiar Pages’ recent Monsters & Mormons anthology, Zarahemla Books’ Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction, the poetry anthology Fire in the Pasture, and James Goldberg’s The Five Books of Jesus.

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6 Responses to Mormon Lit Blitz Deadline Extended

  1. Wm says:

    I’m glad things are going a bit better now and hope that you and your family has less broken-ing in your lives over the next six months (and beyond).

  2. Mark Penny says:

    Man! You guys are living the nightmare! I am definitely praying for you.

    I take it no screens were crackef in the posting of the rules. Thanks, and may tbe bad Karma be swalowed up in the blessings you need and deserve.

  3. emily falke says:

    Oh, no! I am so very sorry to hear about all the trials you’ve been experiencing lately! I hope your baby continues to grow healthy and strong and that things stop breaking in other aspects of your life!

  4. Thank you all for the good wishes. I certainly also hope that things get easier.

    That said, the relevant point for Mormon Lit is that stories do matter during times when life is not so easy. And to me, that’s the true test of great art: does it speak to you in challenging times?

    We have a tendency as writers to focus on craft and define good as “well-written.” I absolutely believe in craft, but for me craft is a means to the end of human connection. The four works I mention are certainly well-written, but in ways that heighten the human connection I feel through the piece.

    “Stillborn” works partly because it effectively uses selective detail to evoke a wide range of the ephemeral expectations that come with pregnancy. The craft connects.

    “Release” is so meaningful for me because Morris effectively juxtaposes the mundane, routine feelings of certain actions with a moment of revealed weight, when things that seemed small turn out to be the same things we’d stake our whole souls on. I love the piece because it gives a voice to that feeling.

    The juxtaposition in “Second Coming” matters to me because it’s at once so flippant and so sincere. The humor of “Second Coming” is a lot like the humor I’ve relied on through the past winter–being able to smile at the troubles of this world, to shrug and get by, while still acutely feeling the problems of being alive.

    And Steven Peck’s tale of caninicide matters to me because it gives me engaging and articulate permission to feel a little like I’m drowning sometimes. If there can be such mercy in the universe as the narrator of that story shows for the title’s bishop, there can certainly be some mercy and breathing room for me when the tiniest little problem suddenly makes me feel like I’m losing my mind.

    This stuff matters. Mormon literature matters. And to me, it matters because craft can concentrate meaning.

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