2015 SELTI Short Story Contest

2015 SELTI Short Story Contest

featuring the Huntsville, Alabama region

Sponsored by
Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative
Alabama Tourism Department
Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau

Official Rules

    • story must be set in a tourism attraction of the Huntsville, Alabama metro area
    • story must use creative angle to encourage readers to visit Huntsville area
    • maximum word count: 2,000
    no entry fee
    • entry deadline: May 31, 2015
    • projected announcement of winner: July 1, 2015
    • Winning story will be published online at SELTI.org and ihearthsv.com and include photos, tourism guide, and a link to the tourism attraction promoted. SELTI receives first time electronic publication rights, and author retains all other rights.
    • Awards will be presented to the top three short stories – fiction or creative non-fiction. 3rd- $50; 2nd – $100; 1st – $300.
    • All entries will be made by the email: 2015contest@SELTI.org. All entries must include the title of the story followed by “Huntsville Short Story” in the subject line. Any questions about the contest or the submission process can be sent to contactus@selti.org with “Huntsville Contest Question” in the subject line.
    • Include your name, phone number, mailing address, and email address at the top of the story. This information will be removed for judging purposes and should only be included at the top of the story.
    • No emails with attachments or other unrequested content will be opened.
    • After winner is selected, a short bio and profile photo will be requested for online publication with the short story on SELTI and for other publicity purposes.

Tips for entrants

The 2015 SELTI Short Story Contest featuring the Huntsville area will use the Morrison-SELTI Tourism Literature Grading Rubric as a guide for writers and judges. This unique rubric was designed by Renee Morrison from Jacksonville State University while she was working as a judge for the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest in 2013. This rubric is the first academic standard for tourism fiction as a genre style and can be adapted as a guide for students, teachers, writers, and tourism organizations everywhere. Please review the rubric below when composing stories for the Huntsville SELTI Writing Contest. Also, please review the links to other SELTI tourism short stories for examples on how different attractions can be promoted through various creative angles, from scary to funny to fantasy.

Morrison-SELTI Tourism Literature Grading Rubric





Does the story promote the Huntsville area (HSV)?

Story focuses on HSV locations with accurate and thorough descriptive writing.

Story focuses on HSV locations with accurate (but not thoroughly descriptive) writing.

Story focuses on too many HSV locations causing each to lose reader impact.

Story has no HSV locations in its content.

Does the story quickly capture reader’s attention?

First paragraph grasps the reader’s attention and pulls the reader to the rest of the story.

Reader’s attention connects with story before the end of the first page.

Reader has to re-read prior portions of the story to understand the flow.

Reader doesn’t connect with the story.

Is the plot easy to grasp?

Story contains exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. The story is easy to follow.

Story development follows story sequence but some components could be better developed for the reader to follow.

Story development needs to be improved or revised. There are pieces missing.

Story development does not exist and does not follow sequence.

Is the story well written?

Story is filled with creative and descriptive language. The writer engages the reader with an entertaining tale of an event that the audience can relate to.

Some creative language is used. Literary devices are used within context but do not allow for the flow of the story to continue on point.

Very few creative terms are used. Potentially terms have been used out of context, but writer makes valiant effort to place them in his/her writing.

No creative language is used. It is evident that the writer did not put forth any feeling or emotion into the story. The story is not made personal.

How does the story

affect reader’s emotional

connection to HSV?

Story causes reader to desire to visit HSV and to retell the character’s story to others.

Story increases reader’s desire to learn more about HSV because of the character’s experiences.

Story stirs an emotional connection to the character but not to HSV.

Story leaves the reader in a negative mood with no inspiration to visit HSV.

SELTI Tourism Fiction Short Stories

“Raisin’ Cain” by Mary S. Palmer, winner of the Mobile Bay SELTI Tourism Writing Contest 2014. Congressman Bradley Byrne presented Mary with the 2014 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award at the Mobile Carnival Museum and honored her on the floor of Congress for her innovative work in promoting tourism fiction in the Mobile area.

“The Totem” by Natalie Cone, winner of the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest 2013. Natalie’s short story “The Totem” won her the 2013 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award, presented by Senator Clay Scofield at Cook Castle on Lookout Mountain. “The Totem” offered a fantasy twist to introduce readers to Desoto State Park on Lookout Mountain. Her story was also published in Lookout Alabama magazine. The stories of the other four finalists in this competition are also being published in quarterly editions of Lookout Alabama magazine.

“Digging Up Bones” by Kathryn Lang, winner of the Inaugural SELTI Writing Contest 2012. Kathryn was presented with the 2012 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award at the Moundville Native American Festival, where she was interviewed for a feature on Alabama Public Radio.

“Moccasin Gap” by Patrick Miller and Paige O’Hanley, a funny tale about kayaking down the Coosa River in central Alabama.

Please keep in mind that the stories above are only examples. Writers are strongly encouraged to harness their unique literary voice to promote places they want readers to visit in real life. Tourism fiction stories should not read like a generic tourism brochure; writers should use the powerful flexibility available with fiction to engage readers on a much deeper level. This engagement should be designed to generate enough curiosity in the reader to inspire a real visit. I have been so fascinated by the many different angles writers have used to promote the same attractions in these contests, so feel free to create your own creative angle.

Getting readers to visit the setting of your story will allow them to connect with your writing on an entirely different level than if they just read your work alone; they will literally be stepping inside the setting of your story, allowing the story to come alive in a way that they have never felt before. Plus, it will help promote the local area’s economy by drawing in new tourists, which will impact real people in very positive ways.

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