White Eagle Coffee Store Press

The Scent of an Ending™  Contest

A Competition for the Really, Stinky Ending of an Imaginary Novel

     Many years ago, I first encountered Frank Kermode's important critical work The Sense of an Ending--a title that I could never get out of my mind.  At the time, I was fascinated by theory but also engaged in reading and writing fiction and eventually teaching creative writing, which I did for many years.

    One of the most basic problems that I encountered in my own writing was endings. Coming up with a good idea for a story was not so much a problem; writing well certainly was. But, endings! Endings that fulfill all the conditions of the story: that seem neither surprising, nor expected; not conventional, nor imitative, nor clichéd; not too quick, nor too slow; nothing forced, and always with a sense of 'rightness.'

    Some annoying endings:  I read Dick Tracy as a child and found it irritating that a plot that took months to develop always finished in 2 or 3 panels. I love movies, but why can't more film writers work their ways out of stories without blowing everything up? Or, getting someone pregnant, or making everything 'cute.' What about the totally confused ending that one of the characters has to "explain"?

    Teaching creative writing, I found that one of the hardest parts of the instruction was to help each fiction writing student find a way to finish a story in a believable manner that remained true to the conditions that the story had inherited from its characters and conflict.

    Doing the preliminary reading for the Long Story Contest, International, before the finalists go off to the judge, I have read hundreds of wonderful stories that fail in the final pages. And, judges tell me that, even of the finalists, usually only a few provide satisfying endings. The winner is always one that gets the ending right.

     So, it must be easy to write bad endings, and here's your chance to prove it.

The Scent of an Ending™      Contest Guidelines

  • EntrySubmit the Title of an imaginary novel and the Final 25-125 Words.

  • How to Enter

           By mail--Send each entry printed double spaced with a check to WECSP for $6.37 to     The Scent of an Ending, White Eagle Coffee Store Press, PO Box 383, Fox River Grove, IL 60021                                                                                                                           

           By e-mail--Send each entry within the body of an e-mail, not an attached file, to

[email protected] and send $6.37 by PayPal to [email protected].  Use subject line: Scent of an Ending.

In either case, be sure to include complete contact information: name, address, phone, e-mail with the entry.

You may submit more than one entry with an additional reading fee attached to each entry.

  • Prize1st Place $89.93,  2nd Place  $67.32,  3rd Place $31.18  plus dubious fame and publication for winners and all finalists. Initial publication on website, then in print.

  • DeadlineRolling Deadline.  Final Deadline for 2011 extended to January 2, 2012.

  • Other ConsiderationsThe entry must be original and unpublished. No restrictions on materials or subject.

  • JudgingWinners and finalists selected by editors of White Eagle Coffee Store Press. All decisions final. Ownership of winning entries will revert to the authors. An entry into this competition is an acknowledgment of its rules.

Go the to The Scent of an Ending™  web site for more information

and for the current crop of finalists.

More about   The Scent of an Ending Contest     

Home Page      |   Poetry Chapbooks   |   Long Story Contest, International   

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