WRITING COMPETITION: The Matthew Ward Pay it Forward Competition

Last Updated on August 30, 2020

Grimdark Magazine is running a writing competition.


The publishing industry is a people industry, and is only as good as the people in it. While acquiring a short story from Matthew Ward (Legacy of Ash) for Grimdark Magazine #24 he asked me to pay his story fee forward to a new author. It was a timely reminder of how good the people in this industry can be. I was reminded of all the readers, fans, reviewers, bloggers, editors, artists, and publishers who spend their time—often for very little or no reward at all—trying to lift each other up.

To pass Matt’s story fee forward GdM will be running a writing competition—the Matthew Ward Pay it Forward Writing Competition. In one month’s time, we will open the submissions inbox for authors who have not yet sold a story above a token or royalty only payment.

What are we after?

One piece of short fiction to be published in Grimdark Magazine during 2021.

Submissions will be:

  • 4,000 words or less
  • No reprints (including stories published anywhere online for free—public forums, etc)
  • Sci-Fi or fantasy
  • A grimdark story (a grim story in a dark world told by a morally grey protagonist)

This writing competition is for grimdark stories

I can’t stress this last point enough. Grimdark elements or flavours is not enough. We want full grimdark. Not rape fantasies or pointless gorefests or pure good versus evil. We want character-driven stories that showcase that evil is a matter of perspective.

When is this happening?

The window will be open for one week only–Sunday 30th of August to Saturday 5th of September, AEST.

What is first prize?

Paid publication in an issue of Grimdark Magazine. Editing, contracting, AU$0.07 per word up to 4,000 words, publication. The full treatment we give to all original stories we purchase.

Is there a second or third prize?

Yes. Second and third will both receive feedback on their stories.

There will be no feedback or reason for non-selection in the top three for any other stories.

Am I eligible?

If you have yet to sell a short story to a market that pays more than either token (up to and including US$100) or royalty only for your work, you are eligible. You can check your market’s pay rate here if you don’t remember.

Caveat: If you are a traditionally published novellist, but just haven’t gotten around to selling a short story above the rates described, sorry but this isn’t for you–that’s not quite the spirit of what we’re going for.


We will accept stories via email only to submissions@grimdarkmagazine.com. Late submissions not accepted. Anything outside our guidelines will not be accepted.

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Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins runs Grimdark Magazine and loves anything to do with telling darker stories. Doesn't matter the format, or when it was published or produced--just give him a grim story told in a dark world by a morally grey protagonist and this bloke's in his happy place. Add in a barrel aged stout to sip on after a cheeky body surf under the Australian sun, and that's his heaven.

Blog Comments

[…] have presented themselves to keep me ticking over in the interim. Grimdark Magazine is opening submissions for a competition in a week or so – I’ll be throwing something hopefully hat-shaped […]

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