General Competition Guidelines

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Green Stories writing competitions are a series of free writing competitions across various formats to solicit stories that showcase what a sustainable society might look like. Open to all. Entries must be in English and unpublished.

What are the criteria for winning?

There are two key priorities:

  1. story telling ability – the story should be engaging and
  2. incorporate green solutions e.g. by
    • showcasing what a green/sustainable society might look like and/or how we might get there.
    • smuggling green solutions into a story aimed at mainstream readers – this can be quite subtle.
    • using positive role models

Just as some books/films product place products, we aim to ‘product place’ sustainable attitudes behaviours products and policies. The story doesn’t have to be specifically about climate change or catastrophic shortages, it can be any kind of genre – rom com, crime drama, legal drama, children’s book, sci fi etc. as long as it showcases sustainable technologies, practices, products or ideas in the background.

We ask writers to check out transformative solutions and integrate them into their stories. The story doesn’t have to be about sustainability or climate change directly. A rom-com, for example, could be set in a society that replaces ownership with borrowing and the heroine goes to a clothes library to pick up a posh dress and borrow jewellery for her big date; or the hero in a crime drama could use a carbon credit card and hear the news in the background reporting on the well-being index instead of GDP; or a family drama could be set in a society where people have gardens on their roofs, use green technologies, eat insect burgers and generate energy from their own waste, and so on. We are eager to read what your imaginations can come with! For more examples see http://www.greenstories.org.uk/writing-for-a-cause/ 

Another acceptable approach could be to focus on characters. Currently characters in fiction who are green/ethical are often portrayed as priggish or aggressive, we’d like to see attractive characters behaving in sustainable ways.

Why we are doing this

Research shows that that solution-based stories, or stories that smuggle in green ideas/characters in an otherwise mainstream story, are more likely to inspire greener behaviours than catastrophic tales of climate change. Thus creating a cultural body of work that presents positive visions of sustainable societies is necessary to enable a shift towards a more sustainable society. Most stories set in the future are dystopian, meaning they have a pessimistic view of society. We will consider all stories, but we encourage you to imagine a more positive settings and practices for your stories. You can find out more about why we recommend positive stories by clicking here.

The first output from our green stories short stories competition is now available to buy ‘Resurrection Trust‘ – a collection of funny, dark, mad, bad, upbeat, downbeat and fantastical short stories about living sustainably. It has a foreword by Caroline Lucas and review by Jonathon Porritt. It’s £3.99/£7.99 available on Amazon or even better use Hive which allows you to support your local bookshop. Writers may find it a useful source of ideas.