Win Writing Competitions – 5 Rules You Must Follow

Posted on: 10th June 2014

Win Writing CompetitionsWhen you enter writing competitions you must follow the rules set by the sponsors. Besides those rules, there are a few more that might not be always written down or spelled out, but are as important. Break any of these rules and your entry will never win. Check it out – are you aware of these 5 unwritten rules?

  1. Clarity of the story/ poem – the subject of the story/ poem you write should be crystal clear. Try this small test – after completing the piece, write a line stating what the story is about. If you cannot write a clear statement in one line, you need to revisit the story/ poem.

There is another way to find out whether your story/ poem is appealing. Have it read by your friends and family – people who would be free enough with you to give you a true feedback – and ask them their opinion.

  1. Impeccable grammar, punctuation, and spellings – nothing can put a judge quicker than incorrect grammar, punctuation and spellings. Proof read your piece at least twice before turning it in. It pays to be meticulous in this aspect. You also need to pay attention to the style you are writing the story/ poem. It should suit the theme of the contest.
  1. Enter the writing under the right category – this is no-brainer, but you would be surprised to see how many entries are wrongly entered – only to be rejected. At the submission time, do not hurry. Go through every step carefully reading all instructions on the screen and double checking that you are not missing out anything.
  1. No length restriction does not mean endless – you will find many contests that say, “no length restrictions”. Take this rule with a pinch of salt. No judge would like to wade through 10,000 words short story or article. Normally stick to a length of 1,500-3,000 words; for poems maximum should be 6 stanzas. Keep in mind that the judges have to go through hundreds, maybe thousands of entries before they chose a winner. Long entries would normally be quite taxing.
  1. Choose to go against the expected subject without straying from it – a winning story stays on the subject, yet puts it in a totally different light. Say, you are writing about sexual harassment at office. Most would assume and write about women’s plight; and of course, every story would have its merit and novelty. However, if you write about men sexual harassment here – your story would stand out and the judges would more often than not love you for the whiff of fresh air you brought in.

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