Here’s a few science-fiction and fantasy writing competitions to keep you busy in the downtimes between the holiday feasting and socializing.

If you have time over the next week, try writing something for the Twitter-based micro-story competition at the new SF/Lit annual, Unstuck Books. The theme is “Lovemarks.” Entries close December 31.

Another option is the PARSEC science fiction and fantasy short story contest. Stories cannot be more than 3500 words, but you can enter up to four stories, so there’s plenty to keep you busy here! Entries close April 2012. This year the theme is “The Morning After: Consequences. Repercussions. Recriminations. Regrets. What happens after the night before under the light of a new day? For good or ill, it is a brand new day.”

Or you might try writing a piece (up to 17,000 words) for the first 2012 quarter of L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest for amateur writers. Good quarterly prizes and an even better annual prize.

Last but not least, you could start working on your entry (10,000 words max)  for the 2012 first-quarter round of the Aeon Award, run by Ireland’s Albedo One speculative fiction magazine. Technically this one’s not free … but only €7.50. The competition opens on 01 Jan every year.

Happy writing!