NecronomiCon Providence, the biennial Lovecraft lovefest set in the legendary horror writer's old haunt, opens Aug. 20 — marking Howard Phillips Lovecraft's 125th birthday.In recognition of the festivities — and to honor a native son — The Providence Journal is holding a short-story contest seeking original tales of terror that exemplify the best of Lovecraft's "weird fiction." The top three winners will each get a Barnes & Noble gift card and will be published in The Journal's Rhode Islander section. Deadline for submissions is July 26.And even if you're not entering the contest, you can help as judge it (more on that later).
Stories — no more than 1,500 words — will be judged by Journal staff using two criteria: Is the story good and does it echo (like footsteps in a graveyard) Lovecraft in style and theme?During his lifetime, Lovecraft enjoyed only modest success. Yet since his death in 1937, he and his stories have exerted a truly frightening amount of influence on legions of horror and fantasy writers. Lovecraft fans should feel free to try their hands at mimicking the master's often florid prose. (Warning: it's not as easy as you might think.) For readers who may want a refresher course in the Lovecraft canon, classic stories such as "The Shunned House," "The Call of Cthulhu" and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" are all good places to start.
The writer of the first-place story will receive a $100 gift card to Barnes & Nobles, second place a $75 gift card and third place a $50 gift card. The three winners will be published in The Journal's Rhode Islander section in August.In addition, excerpts of the finalists will be published in The Rhode Islander on Aug. 2. Also that day, finalists will be posted in full online at providencejournal.com — where readers can comment on the stories and choose their favorites. Judges will use readers' comments to help pick the winners.
- Writers may enter only one story. Stories must be 1,500 words or less. Stories must be emailed to The Journal — firstname.lastname@example.org — no later than July 26.
- Stories must NOT have been previously published.In the email, put "Lovecraft contest" in the subject field. The story should be sent as an attachment to the email, and the submitter's name, address and contact information should be in the body of the email.Late entries will not be considered.
- In the case of multi-author stories, only one prize will be awarded per winning entry.Finalists must sign a form granting The Providence Journal Co. non-exclusive perpetual license to the story. Only the top three stories will be published in their entirety in the newspaper.
- The contest will be judged by Journal writers and editors, taking into consideration comments from readers at providencejournal.com. Judges' decisions are final.Employees of The Providence Journal Co. and their immediate families are ineligible to participate.All winners will be notified. Please do not call to ask about the status of your entry. All entries are subject to the rules of The Providence Journal Co.