I'm now the proud recipient of a year's subscription to The Writers' Journal as a result of receiving honorable mention on a recent "Write to Win" contest. I'd recommend it--give it five stars, actually.
There are two more contests for 2009 with deadlines of October 20, and December 20. Each 1500 word entry (that's max) begins with a specific starter phrase. The one I chose several months ago was "About a million. . .", and from that I spun a story called "So Long Ago and Far Away" about an elderly woman who goes to Normandy to finally say goodbye to the boy who fell there on D-Day, shattering her dreams of life and love.
The reading fee is $5 for each entry, and multiple entries are accepted. Stories can be emailed, but there is a specific (although very easy) format to follow.
There is only one prize--$150 and publication--but in the contest I entered, I was one of four honorable mentions who had my name published and also received a year's subscription.That in itself was worth more than $5--and you have to count the experience, too!
Contest entry fees can be expensive, almost prohibitive to the budding author trying to carve out a writing career. But this is a good opportunity on several levels: low reading fee, nice prize, an opportunity for publication and/or seeing your name in a national magazine as an honorable mention---and let me repeat, EXPERIENCE!
So check out the link and consider entering. You know that somewhere you have an unpublished story that could be reworked---or an idea lurking in your mind. Just remember, you have to begin with the story starter. The two left to be written about are In one quick motion (October 20) and As the boot flew across the room (December 20).
Don't just sit there. Go for it!