Great Advice for Short Story Competitions

Posted on: 21st July 2014

Short Story Competitions TipsDo you want to get the top prize or get the chance to be shortlisted on short story competitions? The answer is obviously yes. Practically everyone who joins this kind of competition is hoping that somehow his/her entry is chosen by the judges.

No matter how good or bad their work is and how much their chances are, in the back of their mind they really hope that by some twist of fate the judges would choose and find their work very interesting.

Your hopes don’t have to remain just a dream, there are several steps you can follow that can help you get a better chance of improving your work, or being shortlisted, or even win the whole thing.

•           If you really want to be a serious writer and win competitions, the first thing you must do is to analyse your capabilities, being honest and truthful helps. If you think you are not yet good enough it is ok. It doesn’t mean you are in the wrong field. You’re probably just new at this and needs more experience.  It just means you really have to do your homework, starting with improving your writing skills, honing your talents, etc.

•           You also need to read a lot, read a lot of good quality, famous, great and winning works.  Reading, studying and learning other peoples work help you understand how other writers put things into words. It will probably help you get some ideas on how to express your own thoughts into mesmerizing words.

•           At the same time if your cup of tea is for writing competitions instead of writing for pleasure, well, you really have to know and learn how and what judges look for or what they look at, and you also need to know the steps on how they judge the entries in a competition. You must know and understand all the technical requirements judges expect to hear or see in a short story. So you can increase your chances each time you join a contest.

•           Read carefully the rules and requirements of the competition to avoid disqualification. There are many ways and reasons you can be disqualified. Here are some examples you can avoid. Some competitions require a certain number of words. Do not exceed the limits they have set. If they are asking for a certain specific genre, do not submit a story that is off genre. Submission can be online or snail mail or both, it depends on the organizer, so pay attention to their preference.  Always submit early especially if you are using snail mail. Never forget to write down your contact details. Some competitions may require some fee, do not forget to enclose it with your story.

•           Once you are done with your story, check your title if you need to improve it. A great title is always a must in short story competitions. Then carefully and dutifully proof read your work, check your grammar and spelling and once you’ve done it, do it again, proof read again until you are satisfied.

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