“I wanted to make a character who is sometimes good and sometimes bad, yet neither comicially nor tragically so. She’s just misguided, self-absorbed, and wrong,” writes Destiny O. Birdsong in her Craft Capsule essay “Ain’t We Got Enough Problems?” In the essay, Birdsong discusses her relationship with an unlikeable character in her forthcoming debut novel, Nobody’s Magic (Grand Central Publishing, 2022), and how she grew to love her. Inspired by Birdsong, write a story focused on an unlikable protagonist that reveals some of your worst fears about yourself. Show the character’s vulnerabilities as well as their misdeeds so the reader can go on the journey of understanding them.
Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.