Contests and Writing

This month I am entering a contest for short stories. In reality, short stories are not really my thing. I tend to be verbose and detail oriented, and am a better world builder then I am a crafter of plots. Which means that in general, I need lots of words to tell the story I want to tell *just right*.

Which, quite naturally, makes writing short stories an entirely beneficial exercise for my writing muscles. It forces me to leave out most info-dumps, because there is no space. I have to craft a clear, compact plot-line, and leave out the details I tend to get boggled down by. I forces me to work on increasing the speed of my story, which I value greatly.

But the fact that doing it in itself is an educational experience is not entirely why compete in these contests. That’s more of a pleasant side-effect. I compete, because the contests I enter into tend to give you feedback. Feedback written by people that genuinely want you to improve and who get nothing out of it except the honor of saying they judged the contest. People that tend to know their craft, so the feedback they give tends to be very useful.

After I finish the story for this contest, I will work on the next one, although that contest is not one you can ‘win’ in the traditional sense. Also not a contest that provides the marvelous gift of feedback. It’s not even for short stories. I am entering NaNoWriMo. And the contest is writing a lot of words. The reward is having written a lot of words. I hope I’ll manage, and I am greatly looking forward to it.

If you enter contests, what do you get out of it?

4 thoughts on “Contests and Writing

    1. liserozenrood Post author

      Thank you!

      Contests can be a great learning experience, especially if there are professional authors among the judges and you get feedback from them 🙂 Just make sure if you’re just starting out participating in contests, that you enter into a legit one.

      Good luck finding a contest that fits your writing, and the with that contest!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  1. kaisywmills

    Hello! My writing partner and I entered several writing contests last year. It was a complete bust! I am NOT saying that our pieces had to win, but most (not all) writing contests felt like a scam. The best contest we entered was free of charge (we write dystopian sci-fi, so it was a genre specific contest). The moderator (the person in charge) was very nice, he communicated well, and he gave us feedback (feedback that was helpful – and something I missed while editing). However, the contest was small, so he was able to do that. With others, I felt that some were just in it for the money – money that YOU will probably never see again. We were disappointed. Again, we were not disappointed that we lost, James and I wanted constructive feedback – positive or negative. All we wanted was a simple “Why did we not make the final four?” or “Why was our story thrown to the wolves?” Unfortunately, no feedback was provided (except for the contest I mentioned above). We just wanted some form of communication, and with most contests, there is no feedback after submission.

    In my opinion, be very careful of the contests you enter, especially the ones that require an entrance fee. You do not know where that money is going! 🙂 James and I always wondered if some of these contests were scams or if the contests just chose their friends as winners. But hey, the free ones never hurt… 🙂 BUT… friends of the judges may win the free ones, too.

    If you are looking for constructive feedback, do a couple beta reads. Readers in your genre are willing to help and provide great feedback.

    As for our writings, we will probably not enter another contest for a while. 🙂

    I hope this helps! 🙂 Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. liserozenrood Post author

      Thank you for the tips! They are very valuable.

      When I started selecting contests to enter a couple of years ago, I ran into a lot of these warnings and took them to heart 😉 If I enter a paid contest, I make sure feedback is guaranteed up front (as in, that it’s not something they might do, but something they will do for all the participating authors) and that I have a clear idea of where the money is going.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s