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A Writer On Writing: Writing Competitions – The Way To Win

"In my quest for success I’ve started reading ‘Writing Competitions – the way to win’ by Iain Pattison and Alison Chisholm. It covers short story, poetry and article writing contests,'' writes Sally Jenkins.

Chapter 2 deals with targeting the right sort of competitions to increase your chances of success. Iain http://www.iainpattison.com/ and Alison http://www.writersbureau.com/writing/video-writingpoetry.htm advise a few ways of doing this:

• Forget the big internationals and concentrate on small competitions that will attract fewer entrants. Not many of us are likely to get anywhere in something like the Bridport http://www.bridportprize.org.uk/ but we might stand a chance of being placed in a local writing competition. I would much rather win a book token in a small competition than see my entry disappear into the black hole of well-publicised literary contest.

•Choose a competition with a difficult theme – this will put many entrants off because it’s too much of a challenge and a previously written story can’t be recycled to fit the subject. Competitions with an open theme attract the most entrants.

•Try competitions where entry is limited by the rules – for example competitions restricted to unpublished writers or to writers of a certain age or to those living in a specified area

Iain and Alison also advise targeting contests where the entry fee is high compared to the prize fund. This is because we are all naturally mean and therefore the number of entrants will be low. I’m afraid my own natural meanness won’t let me endorse this advice but I can see that there is logic in this method of choosing where to send your work. So if you’re not as tight with money as me, you might want to try it.

And speaking of relatively small competitions (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way), Bev Morley is running a short story competition on the theme of ‘Christmas’ via her blog. First, second and third prizes are £50, £25 and £10 respectively plus publication in a Kindle anthology, up to 12 further stories will also be included in the anthology. The word limit is 3,000 and closing date 30th September. Entry by email only and the fee is £3. Full details are here. http://bevmorley.blogspot.com/2011/09/do-you-have-tale-to-tell.html

‘Writing Competitions – the way to win’ is worth a read if you want to increase your chances of success in competitions.


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