In late 2015, I announced a writing competition here on The Mental Attic. The challenge was to write a story based on a song. I first set the song, but later revised the rules and opened up the competition to whatever the writers desired. They could write in any genre and setting, including established works aka fan fiction material. The prize for the winner would have been 5 novels of their choice.

I say, “Would have been” because we received no submissions, not a single one. I promised that at the end of the competition I would publish my own song-story and I will, it just needs to wait a bit on me finishing up some other work. It’s a fun story, just need to put it down on virtual paper.

But that’s not the only reason I’m here today talking to you all. While we didn’t receive a single contribution for the Song Story competition, it doesn’t mean there won’t be others. In fact, the next one starts right NOW!

The challenge this time is a Spy Story. I love James Bond, I love George Smiley and spy craft is one of my favourite genres out there, from espionage mixed with crime capers, stories of seduction and deadly intimacy to infiltrations of maximum-security facilities.

And that’s what I want you to write, so here are the rules:

  • Setting: While it may be a spy craft story, you can use any setting you like, any subgenre. It can be set in our world, in the past, the far future or even in wondrous lands. Gangsters, Megacorporations and/or demons are welcome!
  • Style: It’s your story so you decide. It can be a story of a seductress and that one conquest that almost slipped between her fingers. It can be a group of Shadowrunners infiltrating Aztechnology. It can even end in a massive cliffhanger when the rookie spy gets in over her head. First person, third person or even second person narrative, all up to you as well!
  • Length: Maximum count of 7.500 words.
  • Previous work: If you’ve already written a story that falls within the rules, you may submit it for this competition. If it’s been published (on your own site, for example), please provide the link when you submit it.
  • Submission: Via email. Send your story pasted on the email’s body to kevinkutlesa@thementalattic.com, with your name and “Spy Story” in the subject line. We won’t accept submissions as attached documents.
  • Deadline: 30th of April 2016.

Should you win, you’ll receive the collection of John Le Carré’s George Smiley novels:

  • Call for the Dead (1961)
  • A Murder of Quality (1962)
  • Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
  • The Honourable Schoolboy (1977)
  • Smiley’s People (1979)

The winner will receive these novels in either Paperback or Digital formats, whichever they prefer. If they already have one or more of these novels, we’ll discuss alternative prizes. The winner will also have their story published on The Mental Attic.

The clock is ticking and the guards shifts are about to change, so get cracking and escape with George Smiley’s adventures in your backpack. The deadline, once again, is in two months, the end of April.

Best of luck to you all!

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