We want to share your stories about your publishing journey and your writing life here. Write to entertain, to enlighten, and to advise (but not preach). Write to share your gratitude, amazement, and disbelief.

Share the good, the bad, and the silly, but don’t share them all in one submission. Think of a blog post or a short-short story. No epics.

No fiction here. These are real-life stories ranging from 250 to 750 words. Less is more. Make your point clearly and move on. 

Who knows what your experience might inspire?

New submissions will be added quarterly. Send through Submittable,  <!-- Link to the Writer Advice submission manager. --->

<a target = _blank href="https://writeradvice.submittable.com/submit"><img src="//manager.submittable.com/Public/Images/submittable-submit-button.png" alt="submit" border="0" /></a>

$6 submission fee covers our time, possible editing, and the decision-making process.

You get a credit for your resume plus a brief bio and the satisfaction of sharing your experience Sorry that we do not have the income to pay you at this time.


Ends on December 1, 2018$16.50

Writer Advice’s Annual SCINTILLATING STARTS Contest

Curiousabout how the opening of your book might sound to an agent or editor? Enter Writer Advice’s SCINTILLATING STARTS Contest for fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction. Grab and hold us with your opening paragraphs. Send us up to 1250 words of your first chapter by 12/01/18. 

We are known for our feedback, as you can see in the tan box at  www.writeradvice.com, and would love to tell you what's working and what an agent might say. 

How? Maybe it’s my acting training that makes it easy for me to imagine myself as an agent seeking a book that is new, original, compelling, and marketable. I assume the role of a hungry agent who knows there is no one formula that works. I (the agent) want to make money, but unlike some agents, I’ll take the time to tell you what will and won’t work. 

I’ll pick the finalists and guest judges will be last year’s winners. Complete details and the Submittable link are in the tan box on the home page at www.writeradvice.com

If your work is shared on Writer Advice, you’ll be able to tell prospective agents, publishers, and book buyers that you were one of the winners of Writer Advice’s Scintillating Starts Contest. A cash award of $300 will be split among those whose work is shared. This is usually 2 or 3 writers. The submission fee is $16.50.  

This contest is open to anyone who has not signed a contract for the book submitted. That means your book does not have to be completed for this contest, though it should be before you submit it elsewhere. It should not be published. 

Tips for Success:

1. Start in a place where high stakes exist.

2. Let readers care.

3. Write a flawed hero we’ll empathize with.

4. Give me a reason to keep reading.

5. Leave out details that don’t help you tell this story.

6. Know why your story is unique. (If you don’t know, ask your characters.)

7. We only need your contact information instead of your whole query letter, but if you want to send your query, we won’t stop you. It counts in the word total though. NOTE: We had an excellent piece in the last contest that did not win an award because it was too long. The length matters. Following directions matters. 

8. We prefer double-spaced manuscripts with standard, one-inch margins. 

9. We prefer an easy-to-read font. 

10.  Please use the Submittable box on the home page. Manuscripts sent in other ways will not be read. 

Questions? Please write back using the contact form on Writer Advice. 


B. Lynn Goodwin will write a detailed response to every piece, telling what she loves and what trips her up. She’s won awards for her last two books, owned Writer Advice for over 20 years, and has been giving detailed responses to contest submitters for over 10 years. The judge who will help her determine the winners will be announced soon. 


“Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for this feedback. It’s such a refreshing experience to have some exchange — as most submissions disappear into the either like rogue satellites.” --Charles Watts 

“Your insights are excellent” --Dan Dubelman

“You are the first professional to offer feedback and your encouraging words have given me additional motivation!  It is reassuring to know that I was on the right track; you have a remarkable ability to give constructive feedback in a positive way (and you are absolutely correct). I look forward to submitting more stories and continuing to improve.” --Jamie Fouty

“I learned about this contest from the Submittable page. I then checked out your website and felt comfortable submitting my story as you seem like someone who genuinely wants to help and advise others." –Roger Yetzer

“Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts. I'm always striving to improve my writing, and feedback from editors like you make it much easier to do so.”  --Margarite R. Stever

“Many thanks for your response, from it, I can tell you're very good at what you do.” --Kisa, Visually Versed

“Thank you so much for your detailed feedback!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to read and analyze my work . . . It's not every day a contest gives you comprehensive feedback instead of a simple yes/no!” --Lena Crown

“Thank you so much for your feedback, it always makes me feel inspired and motivated.” --Elizabeth Cockle

“Thanks for the wonderful feedback, never, never, got that before in thirty years.” --Jenny Hickinbotham

Writer Advice