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Opening Lines

Opening Lines

Series showcasing first-time and emerging writers

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Submission guidelines

The BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit welcomes submissions from writers new to radio* for their annual series, Opening Lines which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

 

The next window for sending in material is January 6th – February 14th 2014. We are unable to respond to unsolicited stories submitted outside this time-frame.

 

As well as broadcasting the three strongest stories we publish transcripts of the best stories submitted within this period on the Opening Lines programme pages. The three successful writers will be invited to London for an afternoon in Broadcasting House and the chance to see their stories recorded.

 

*Writers who have previously had a story/stories broadcast on network radio or have substantial writing credits in other areas of radio (e.g. comedy and drama) are not eligible for this series.

 

CONTENT & FORMAT

We are looking for original short stories which work being read out loud i.e. with a strong emphasis on narrative and avoiding too much dialogue, character description and digression. Pay particular attention to how the story opens and closes. We’ll be looking to see whether the beginning of a story successfully links to how it ends.

 

We are interested in seeing stories which cover a broad range of subject-matter but material which explores particularly dark, harrowing themes is not best suited to Opening Lines. We recommend visiting the Opening Lines programme pages to read transcripts of stories which have featured in recent series (bbc.in/r4openinglines).

 

Stories must not contain defamatory, obscene or any other unsuitable material which is likely to cause offence to a wide audience of all ages.

 

The time allotted for each story is up to 14 minutes, which means submissions must be between 1,900 and 2,000 words in length. We are unable to consider stories which fall outside these parameters.

 

SUBMISSION DETAILS & PROCESS

When submitting your work, you must include a brief covering letter giving your name, e-mail address (if applicable), the story’s title, word count and details of writing track record. Please could you also tell us how you heard about the creative window and Opening Lines. Stories can be submitted either electronically or typed and double-spaced on A4 paper. We regret that we can only accept one submission per writer. Please send us a copy of your story, not your original work as we are unable to return submissions.

 

We will read all eligible submissions and get in touch with those writers whose stories have been shortlisted for the 2014 series of Opening Lines by Friday 16th May, 2014. We regret that we are unable to respond to those writers whose stories haven’t been selected.

 

If you would like to submit work to the London office you can e-mail your story to us at OpeningLines@bbc.co.uk or you can send it to BBC Radio Drama Readings, Room 8015, Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA.