Lit Night: Alameda Shorts

Alameda Shorts returns in 2024 after a 4-year absence. We did our best to keep it alive in 2020, but decided to press pause until we could get back out and do it in person at a live venue. We were so privileged to be able to present our version of a story time for grown-ups at Books, Inc. in Alameda. They hosted us for five years and I had no idea how we’re going to replace them. It made me sad just to think about it.

But we’re coming back to Books, Inc. in 2024!

Returning to the outside world to share a night of Alameda Shorts has been the goal since the world opened back up, but weather and early closing hours in our area made finding a venue virtually impossible, especially since we have zero budget for this.

That’s why we ask everyone who comes to Books, Inc. for any of our lit nights to buy a book or a game or whatever strikes your fancy while you’re there enjoying a story time just for grown-ups. They host us for free! It’s the least we can do.

If you’re thinking about submitting for Alameda Shorts, and you’re local enough to the Bay Area to be able to come in and read in person at our live events, here’s how it works:

  1. On the first of the month, I drop the theme.
  2. You get the full month to write a short story or personal narrative (no poetry) that can be read out loud in five minutes or less (emphasis on the less).
  3. You submit your piece and wait about a week to find out if the anonymous panel of readers has selected your piece to be read at Alameda Shorts.
  4. On the second Thursday of the following month, we present Alameda Shorts to a live audience.

Submission guidelines:

  • Theme: Enter
  • Deadline: Midnight, February 29, 2024
  • Event: 600pm Thursday, March 14, 2024
  • Length: Five minutes (800-1000 words, depending on how dense your writing is)
  • Format: Word document attached to an email
  • Font: Times New Roman, 12pt.
  • Submit to: [email protected]
  • Subject line: Alameda Shorts – Your Name – Theme
  • REMEMBER: Put your name inside your document, above the title. I will keep the copy with your name for my purposes and send a copy with your name removed to the judges. Do not embed your name, turn it into a watermark, or do anything else that prevents its removal; sending it from your email address to ours is all you need to prove it came from you.

Immediate disqualifiers:

(take this opportunity to practice being a real writer who follows submission guidelines and check your formatting before sending it in).

  • Google Docs, Pages, or any format other than Word.
  • Any font that isn’t Times New Roman.
  • Ignoring the subject line instructions.
  • Emails received after the deadline.
  • Neglecting to write to the theme.
  • A piece that is clearly going to take longer than five minutes to read out loud.
  • A piece that is clearly a rough draft that hasn’t been edited or polished.
  • REMEMBER: The point of having submission guidelines in place is to give you the opportunity to practice following submission guidelines when it comes to being published.

How to guarantee the panel will select your piece:

  • You can’t. It’s purely subjective. Submitting an edited, polished piece that pays attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation is a good start.