How Not To Lose A Writing Competition

Posted on: 14th November 2012

WritingIt is a common belief that anyone can write; judges of writing competitions would disagree. Beginning writers tend to make a number of the same mistakes, ranging from simple writing skills to presentation error. If you are interested in entering a contest, there are some things to keep in mind if you want to win a prize.

Presentation is the unofficial first round. A manuscript must be what judges are expecting, with no frills. The judges are expecting a manuscript that has been printed on letter-size white paper in a regular 10-12 point font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, preferably held together with brads. However, most writers listen to piece of advice about distinguishing yourself from your competition; you need to distinguish yourself by your writing, not your manuscript.

Too many writers send in a manuscript that is on colored paper, uses fancy fonts, or essentially looks absolutely nothing like the manuscript that the judges are expecting, and are disqualified right off the bat.Some writers forget that the contest is all about writing skill. You should let someone else look over the manuscript before you submit it to make sure that the manuscript reads like a story and that there are no simple grammatical mistakes.

Too many manuscripts are riddled with grammatical mistakes, and the prose tends to be a little purple, or filled with adverbs and adjectives that simply do not belong; this makes it hard to read at the very least. Some stories are simply disqualified because they look like just part of a story, with no proper beginning, end or sometimes even middle. A good reading by someone else would usually discover these errors.If your story has survived that, and you have avoided all of the major cliches and not a few of the minor ones, and your story should do okay in the contest. The judges are aware that there are few original plots, and it seems that some writers are out to prove that. Have some fun with your plot and make sure your characters are reasonably consistent, and you will be well on your way to winning a prize.

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