Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Entering Competitions...

Writers have so many opportunities to enter a variety of competitions nowadays that we're really spoilt for choice.

Over the last few years I've started to enter more competitions, not just those at my writers club.

Actually making that move to outside competitions was a big step for me- it meant I felt my writing was now good enough to be inflicted on strangers. :-)

Last year I entered the Mail on Sunday novel competition. I didn't actually need a complete novel, just the first 150 words with the word 'row' in it. The results are due sometime in the next few weeks.

It was a free competition, so I expect a large number of entries were received-they have in previous years. Only the best entries will get shortlisted, and like any competition, one judge's preference is not going to be the same as another's, so not getting into that top percentage doesn't necessarily mean my writing is bad.

But the positive aspect, is that I've got a start to a story or novel that can be worked on in future.

At the moment I'm trying to come up with a short story for a club competition that has a deadline of next week. Hmmm, this isn't going very well, and it's not that it needs to be long- only a maximum of 1500 words but it has to fit a criteria. I know the setting, but my character/s are being reluctant.

The only downside of competitions in the outside world is that sadly there will always be the occasional rogue, a competition that is badly run, or worse, designed only to part writers from their money, and it can be difficult to spot them.

I follow this strategy: Does it have clear contact details given- a postal address, or is there just an anonymous contact form? I print out the competition details or note them down, so if the page or the rules change or the site disappears I have the relevant information. And check, have there been any adverse comments from writers or other groups about their previous competitions mentioned on the internet.

(Writers share the news about bad things, as well as good stuff.)

Competitions can help you improve your writing and develop your style, as while you're writing you're learning what works for you- and hopefully you will then go on to win, and that is one feeling you can't beat...


Rosemary Gemmell said...

I've always liked competitions because it gives me a deadline, which I often really need! Trying not to enter many that have a fee these days. Good luck with your entries, Carol.

Carolb said...

Thanks, Rosemary.
I've noticed that some competition fees have been going up this year. I wonder whether it is the increased postage, or other reasons...

Anonymous said...

Hello Carol, you've given good advice there about thinking first before entering some competitions.

Your readers may be interested in looking at (as I know you are already aware, Carol) Erewash Writers' Group competition website www.erewashwriterscompetition.weebly.com/ We are running two free entry competitions, close date Thursday 8th November.

Unlike some competitions, we don't intend to raise the fee for our open competition 2013, it'll remain at £3 for one entry, £5.00 for two.

Thanks for the information about the bus rides competition. It has roused my curiosity and seems worth a nosey at.

That's good news about the exam results in your house, Carol. You must be chuffed about that. Well done to your boys.

Best wishes,
Debbie W

Carolb said...

Thank you Debbie, and also for the news on the Erewash Competitions- congratulations on the professionalism shown with this year's short story competition, it is a tough job to undertake.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me about that Mail comp, Carol - I'd forgotten I'd entered that one!

Well done to your boys on their results, BTW - you must be very proud! :]


Maxi said...

Good luck with the Mail comp - fingers crossed. That's a good idea about making sure you thoroughly check out comps before committing your entry. I'm hoping to enter more so will be keeping an eye out.

Carolb said...

Thank you Marion.
A friend is checking each weekend for the results of the Mail competition. So far, no news, but hopefully soon.

Thank you Maxi.
It's worth the time taken checking out all the terms and conditions first, just in case there's a condition you aren't happy with.

Good luck in the competitions you enter.