5 Mistakes That Will Have You Lose A Short Story Competition

Posted on: 27th June 2014

Short Story CompetitionDo you have an excellent flair for writing and love short story competitions, yet you never win anything? Are you puzzled at how other who seemingly do not write half as good as you win the prize, and you win nothing? Time and time after time? Check out the following errors; you might be sabotaging your entries unwittingly:

  1. You missed out on the rules – every contest has its set rules. Do not just scan through the rules. Read them line by line, word by word; and follow them to the T. You miss out one detail of the rules, and your entry is rejected. For example, pay attention to the word number limit, genre, deadline for sending your entry in, the method of submission, fees if any, and so on.
  1.  The story’s plot is lukewarm – do not send in stories that do not have you delighted while reading them. If you feel the story “could have had more fire”, so will the judges. Better still run it by your friends or family and get their critique. If it falls flat, start writing another story or re-writing what you already penned down. Send only those entries that completely delight you; that leave wanting to read more.
  1. You never edit the story – editing to a story is like fire to gold; it is the only thing that brings out its highest value. You need to go back read the story carefully looking for grammar, punctuation, spelling mistakes as well as the flow of the story. You need to edit brutally to make the story crisp and captivating.
  1. Stay away from the “expected” – sometimes, writers twist the plot because it is expected to do so. Stay completely away from any type of “expected” twists and turns in your plot. Surprise the reader with originality and creativity. The best story is the one which has the reader saying, “I was never prepared for the end”. Judges will have to read hundreds if not more stories; if it lacks originality and it is predictable, the story will end up rejected.
  1.  The language is weak – your story should use language that engages the reader totally. You cannot do that as long as you use weak or passive sentences. Avoid as much as you can passive language; instead use active, powerful verbs that engage the reader.

Check your entry before submission and check out whether any of these mistakes have not crept in. Sometimes, it takes just one slip here or there for your story to be disqualified or rejected. Be careful you are not the one who sabotages your chances to win.

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