❉ The annual Paul Spragg Memorial Writers’ Competition, now in its eighth year, opens today.
The annual Short Trips opportunity opens today in search of new talent to write a Doctor Who short story, to be released as an audiobook at Christmas 2023.
The Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trip Opportunity honours the memory of the cheerful, much-loved person at the heart of the Big Finish production office, who passed away suddenly on 8 May 2014.
Eight years of competition
This is the eighth year of this competition, which is open from today through to the end of June.
Big Finish’s Executive Producer said: “It’s a bittersweet time of year when we announce our annual Paul Spragg Memorial Writers’ Opportunity. There’s the sadness concerning the loss of Paul, who was one of our most valued colleagues, taken from this life at far too young an age. But then there’s the joy of remembering his unswerving dedication to Big Finish and his boundless positivity. Perhaps most importantly, there’s the enthusiastic encouragement he always gave to potential, new contributors — which is the reason why this competition was set up in his name. Here’s to Paul and all the brilliant writers yet to come.”
Range producer said: “By a happy coincidence, each of the previous years’ winning entries has a different Doctor as its protagonist. This year, we thought we’d design the competition to ensure that continues. So, we’re asking for proposals for one of the following Doctors: First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Eighth.
Helpful advice from previous winners
It’s worth checking out the , to understand what kind of adventures the judges are looking for. The recordings are all available as free downloads, along with the final script and (most helpful for this year’s entrants) the original winning submissions from each year.
This year’s guidelines
Entries must consist of two parts in a single document: a synopsis and an opening excerpt from the story.
A one page synopsis (this tends to be approximately 500 words) followed by:
The opening excerpt from the story (again, approximately 500 words – prose, not drama script). This is to give a flavour of the writer’s ability and intentions, which can change if the story is commissioned. See above for how to download some examples from previous years.
To preserve anonymity during judging, DO NOT include any identifying information on either your synopsis or your excerpt. Entries that include any personally identifying information (such as your name, email, or address) on your synopsis or excerpt documents will be automatically disqualified.
Include your name, contact details, and story title in the body of the email in which you attach your document. Don’t include any details of your background or previous writing experience — your submission should speak for itself.
This year, submissions can be set in the universe of Doctor Who in the at any time in the lives of the Doctor from An Unearthly Child onwards in any one of the following incarnations: First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Eighth.
Elements that you can and cannot use:
DO NOT use established monsters (for example, Daleks, Cybermen, and so on) or villains (for example, the Master, the Rani, and so on), nor established Doctor Who characters (including those from the Worlds of Doctor Who; for example, UNIT, Jago & Litefoot, Counter-Measures, and so on).
YOU MAY use classic series companions (excluding K-9, the Brigadier and UNIT soldiers), plus companions created by Big Finish (such as Charlotte Pollard, Hex, Evelyn Smythe, Naomi Cross, etc.) Note: do not create a new companion for the Doctor in your story.
The story should not have been published anywhere before, nor should the entry have been submitted to the competition before.
The winner will be informed by the end of July, and will be officially contracted to deliver a 5,000 word story. As with all Big Finish writers, they will be expected to agree and meet all conditions, especially with respect to meeting delivery schedules and accepting input from producers. For guidance purposes, it is expected a first-draft would be due early in the Autumn of 2023.
The BBC have the right to approve or veto the content of a selected story. Should there be unforeseen issues with the work, the writer will be invited to submit a new idea.
The competition is to identify talent, enthusiasm, and ability to write to a specification – so everything you need to know is in these guidelines and the terms and conditions. Please note that no correspondence can be entered into, either during the entry period or afterwards, and the judges’ decision is final.
Entry is open only to individual authors who have never written for Big Finish before.
For the 2023 Memorial Short Trips Opportunity, any entrant can send one submission. Multiple entries will be disqualified.
Entry into this competition requires that you have read and accepted the full . By entering, you indicate that you have done so. Submissions should be emailed to — formatted as per the guidelines — before 23:59 (UK time) on Friday 30 June 2023.
❉ News source: Big Finish Productions.
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