Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Writing Competitions - and how to win them!

Writing competitions are increasing in popularity. Not only do they give writers the chance to practice and try different genres but also to win prizes or have their work published. And if tempted by a competition, the following tips could hold you in good stead.

1. Make sure you comply with all the rules. This includes how to present your work, where to include your details plus anything else that may be required. Failure to do this and your work will stand little chance.

2. Make sure your writing meets the requirements. This includes not exceeding set word limits and sticking to the writing guidelines.

3. Allow yourself plenty of time. Many competition entries tend to be written at the last moment but if you allow time to formulate your ideas and to revise your writing, your submission is likely to be all the stronger. Rushed work tends to look rushed and with mistakes often creeping in. Make sure what you submit is good, well thought through and the best you can make it.

4. Be original. If given a title or theme for a story, think around this. And think also what other writers might be tempted to write. For instance, a title with the word 'love' in it will lead to many writing a romance. But a story involving war - but which draws in love - could stand out among the other entries. By being original your work is more likely to be singled out and make an impression.

5. Take care with your presentation. Looks count and by using good quality paper and making sure your print outs are clear and crisp (and not smudged) this will add to the overall quality of your work.

6. Learn from feedback. Sometimes judges do include feedback on entries and if you do receive feedback, take careful note and see what you can learn and take from it. The more you practice and write, the better your writing and chances will be.

Good luck!

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