NOT everything in life can work out picture perfect, but these images might offer an ideal beginning for your next great work of fiction in the Newcastle Herald's eighth annual summer short story competition.
It's time to let your inner author off the leash and allow your imagination to run wild into fiction. Stories can be of any genre but must be your own work.
The plot must draw inspiration in some way from one of these four images. Entries should specify which image inspired their tale.
Newcastle Herald photographers Simone De Peak, Marina Neil, Jonathan Carroll and Max Mason-Hubers captured the evocative pictures. Stories submitted for the competition must be between 900 and 1000 words.
Judges include Miles Franklin shortlisted author and Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction winner Dr Ryan O'Neill, Hunter Writers Centre's director Karen Crofts and president Megan Buxton, Australian Community Media head of dailies Chad Watson and Herald deputy editor Matt Carr.
The Hunter Writers Centre is a not-for-profit organisation devoted to engaging, employing and educating aspiring and established writers from the region. The centre helps develop authors through workshops and writing groups and seminars (hunterwriterscentre.org).
The Newcastle Writers Festival, also a not-for-profit, is a popular event celebrating local and visiting literary talent.
The seventh annual festival will be held from April 3 to 5 next year around the Civic precinct (newcastlewritersfestival.org.au).
Short-listed stories in the Newcastle Herald competition will run in the paper from December 26 to January 25. The stories will also be published and collated at newcastleherald.com.au
An overall winner, a highly commended entrant and the people's choice winner will be announced on Saturday, January 27.
The winner will receive a library of 50 new books, a double weekend pass to the 2020 Newcastle Writers Festival,as well as a Lenovo TabE7 tablet device courtesy of Domayne Kotara.
The highly commended entrant and the people's choice winner will receive 10 new books plus a weekend pass to the writers festival.
All three will also receive a 12-week subscription to the NewcastleHerald print and digital replica edition.
The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
The Newcastle Herald Short Story Competition is open to Hunter residents aged 18 and over. Entries are limited to one per person.
By submitting an entry, the author warrants the story is original and has not been published elsewhere and that they own the copyright.
Stories must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
They must be emailed as an attachment, with a cover sheet listing author's name, address, email address and phone contacts. Submissions close at midnight Sunday, December 15.