Writing Competitions – Want to Win?

Annette YoungPart One.

by Annette Young

I’ve been a writing competition judge for many years, even before I started up the Creative Competitor and we have been going strong for 10 years now. During this time, I, along with the CC team, have judged hundreds of contests and so, I guess what I am saying is that I know a thing or two about what makes for a good writing competition submission.

With this in mind, I’m writing this series to help you power up your submissions so that you think about key aspects of the creative writing process and make practical changes that will hopefully, increase your chances of winning.

On the Creative Competitor alone, we provide a wide variety of writing competitions, many with lucrative cash prizes and so, it makes sense to fine-tune your submissions so that you can really make an impact. I’m not saying that you should worry so much about the submission that you never enter any contests because the very act of entering means you are learning and honing your craft, but, just think about your submission carefully before sending it.

In part one of this new series, I want to discuss the importance of engaging the reader. In the first instance, that will be the competition judges and eventually, the winning submission must then impress and engage the readers. We often have feedback from readers saying how much they enjoyed the winning story or poem on our website and so, when you write your fiction, always consider the reader. How can you connect with them?

Try to always have a character that seems real and who the readers can engage with and understand. This may mean similarities when it comes to the situation they are in or, it may be that the character acts in a way that the reader fully understands or endorses. Character traits are important too, they need to feel the emotional angst or reality of a conflicting situation.

No-one wants to read about a character that doesn’t feel anything, doesn’t do anything and doesn’t care about anything. Your aim is to make the reader bond with your character, throw the character in at the deep end if you need to and make them swim. It doesn’t matter if your story has funny elements, or is serious, sad or just filled with drama, you have to ensure readers can relate to these circumstances.

If you can do this and as judges, we are able to see that you have mastered this element, believe me, that’s a wonderful tick in the box.

Inspired? Ready to start crafting your winning submission? CLICK HERE

Want to writing competitions enter for FREE? Wow! Click HERE

Join me soon for Part Two.


The Biggest Mistakes Competition Writers Make

Annette Young - Author, Editor, Writerby Author/Editor Annette Young

Competition writers take note. It’s sad but true that  quite a few great submissions have to be  discarded from our competitions when we get to the judging stage because many people have not adhered to the rules. Although it pains us to do so, we have to adhere to our own rules and not let these great submissions get through. Why?

Well, we like a level playing field. We are not swayed by the name of the writer, former publishing credits or how friendly and enthusiastic the writer is. We are only swayed by great writing that shows the writer has not just checked out the rules but listened to them otherwise what is the point in having rules?

Common mistakes:

Entering but not paying the relevant fees – Over the years we have seen quite a few people trying to sneak their submissions in, even stating they have paid by PayPal when they have not. We wish we could give you all free entry but prizes have to be covered and the better the prizes, the higher the entry fee. We also get people entering twice but only paying once. This costs us time and effort in checking and then contacting the writer.

Ignoring the word count – if we say 600 words including the title, we do not mean 601 words. Yes, that sounds harsh but if other writers have managed it, then so can all. If we say less than 40 lines in a poetry competition, guess what? We mean less than 40 lines.

Receiving an entry that is nothing to do with the theme – we love it when you get creative and are inspired by our themes or the images published, but, your submission has to be connected to the theme in some way. Just because your brain has taken a gigantic leap from reading the rules to an amazing, alternate story-line, does not mean that we can connect the dots in some way. It depends what we have said within the rules. For example, if a photo shows a woman looking into a mirror, we would hope that there be some reference to the woman and the mirror even in a tiny way. It could be a current or sub story-line, be used in a flashback, a dream, or referenced in a secret and long forgotten journal. The tiniest reference would be sufficient and let’s be honest, sometimes there is a leap of faith. But you get my drift – become imaginatively inspired by all means but let us see that you have linked the rules with your submission. This of course only applies if we state that you must be inspired by the photo. Sometimes we add a photo only for aesthetic reasons – so yes, read the rules.

Sending after the closing date – sorry, but we do have to have a cut-off point. We know that life can be manic and with so many demands on your time, it is hard to keep up with day to day pressures let alone creative writing ones but, if you want to enter and win, get your submission in on time. We inevitably receive submissions a day or two later but have even had submissions turn up a month later! Get smart – make a note of the closing date and link to the website page. Download the PDF list version of our competitions, at least you have a reference point.

We don’t like to play tough. We do try to keep the rules as simple as possible and we love reading your submissions and helping the winners to receive money for their troubles and publication. But help us to help you, and this way, you can also increase your chances of winning. Don’t let your creativity go to waste, simply because you didn’t check out those all-important rules.

Open Poetry Competition

1st Prize: £100.00

2nd Prize: £75.00

3rd Prize: £50.00

Closing date: August 21st 2012

Entry fee: £2.00 or FREE to Creative Competitor Premier1 Members

Fancy winning £100 cash in our open poetry competition? It’s easy. Simply submit your poem with a maximum of 40 lines to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and mark Open Poetry Competition in the subject line.

Your poem can be on any subject but must be previously unpublished. Entries are welcome from writers worldwide.

Please double-check your submission prior to sending and ensure that it is received on or by the closing date. Note it can take some time to review all of the submissions so entry implies acceptance to this rule.

Multiple submissions are welcome, simply change the quantity in the PayPal field. Alternatively, you can enter this and all of our competitions for free if you become a Creative Competitor Premier1 Member.

500 Word Fiction Competition Winner


1st Prize; £100.00 Sarah Shaw

2nd Prize: £75.00 Oliver Davidson

3rd Prize: £50.00  Nick Heyes

What a Con!

by Sarah Shaw

“‘Ere Darling, take a look at the quality of this” He thrust a torn brochure into her hands. “We can transform your ‘ouse” He sniffed, wiping his nose on his sleeve. “You can trust our ‘igh quality workmanship”

Margaret shuddered at the thought of Ray and his two shifty looking mates from doing anything in her garden. Now living alone, she had worked hard over the years investing in her home improvements and loved her house. She looked at Ray’s dirty bitten fingernails and tried to stop showing her distaste on her face.

As if sensing her reluctance, Ray snapped his fingers and Joey and Cliff swaggered over stepping closer to her.

“We’re not unreasonable, tell us what you can afford and we will do it as a favour ‘cos of your age. “ Joey said, looking her up and down, making Margaret wince.

“’’Ow much you got Luv?” Cliff said grinning as he revealed two broken front teeth. “£2000 cash would do us and you get your dream driveway” He stank of beer “We’re not taking no for an answer darling”

Shrinking back into the safety of her porch, Margaret agreed. “I have the cash” and she pointed to the purse that lay on the hall table “But, you only get paid if you do a good job.”  Stepping back quickly, she slammed the door in their faces. She knew they would be back again and again. You heard about these things on the news, dodgy men preying on the elderly? Margaret hated the fact that they thought that she was weak but, as she caught her reflection in the hall mirror, her grey hair told her that she really was.

At two am, strange noises at the bottom of the stairs awoke Margaret and her hearth thudded erratically. She was frozen to the core, her legs like jelly. What was happening downstairs? There was no stealth or moving quietly, only purposeful movements. Suddenly the lights blazed on throughout the house and she sat up quickly, rushing out to the landing.

“It’s ok Margaret, you can come down love” Three burly police officers stood grinning from ear to ear and had easily apprehended the dodgy threesome from earlier. They stood sulkily clutching her £2000 pound cash distributed between them.

“We will need you to make a statement Margaret but you can do that tomorrow. In the meanwhile, this dodgy trio are getting booked into our cells.” The policemen waved cheerily as they left and Margaret breathed a sigh of relief. Setting herself up as a guinea pig for these crooks had taken its toll and that was with her former police training. She hadn’t been able to refuse the request from the local nick of course. They knew she yearned for the old life and she had willingly offered to help but with the neighbourhood now safe, she realised that her retirement years were suddenly looking more and more attractive.  Time for a cuppa.


Current Writing Competitions

Want an up-to-date list of our new writing contests? Well here it is. We have added lots of exciting writing contests guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing and more will follow.

All you need to do is to click on the link below and then choose to open or save the document.

We look forward to receiving your submissions in due course and wish you the very best of luck.

current writing competitions

Fed up with paying for writing competitions? Why  not choose our Membership Package and enter any or all of our writing competitions for free? Details are here.




Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Witness to Murder Writing Competition

1st Prize: £200.00

2nd Prize: £150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00

4th Prize: £50.00

Closing date: 10th August 2012

Entry Fee: £4.00

Imagine that you have witnessed a crime and your life may be in danger. This competition is all about your story-telling abilities writing the story in the first person as the crime and any potential risks unravel for the reader.

You have a maximum of 2000 words excluding the title.  Entries must be original and previously unpublished. All submissions must be written in English.We prefer submissions by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk please mark the title of the competition in the subject line.

It can take some time to judge competition submissions and entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition.

Pay now and submit later:


Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

500 Word Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00

2nd Prize: £100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

Closing date: 25th July 2012

Entry fee: £3.00 or FREE to Premier1 Members

To win this fabulous writing competition, all you  have to do is to complete the story in 500 words or less. The title of the story is called ‘ Late’ and you have been given the opening sentence to start you off.

Late again! Vicky knew she was in real trouble this time….

The word count excludes the story title and the opening sentence. Your story must be written in English, be original and previously unpublished.

Competitors must be aged 18 and over to enter.

It can take some time for us to complete the judging process so entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition.

Please email your entry to us on or by the closing date. Add the story title to the subject line and paste your 500 word or less submission into the body of the email.

Want to get started now? Pay now and submit later:



Family Secrets Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00

2nd Prize: £100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

Closing date: 10th July 2012

Entry Fee: £3.00 or FREE to Premier1 Members

Using the photo for inspiration, write a story around the couple and create a family secret. You have only 1200 words excluding the title  in which to wow us with your creativity so don’t waste a word.  All entries must be in English and be unique and previously unpublished.

We would prefer to receive your entries by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk

Please add the title of the competition to the subject line and paste your entry into the body of the email.

It can take some while to judge all of the entries that we receive so entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition.





Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Text Message Writing Competition

 1st Prize: £75.00

2nd Prize: £50.00

3rd Prize: 3  Months Premier1 Membership

Closing date: June 30th 2012

Entry fee: £2.00 or FREE to Premier1 Members

To win any of our great prizes, all you have to do is to interpret the photo and create a text message in less than fifty words. You can be as creative as you like. Surprise us, shock us or simply impress us.

Please do not use ‘text speak’.

Your entry must be unique and previously unpublished. All submissions must be written in English.

We prefer entries to be made by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk. Please paste within the body of the email and ensure that you put the competition title in the subject line.

All submissions must be supported by the correct entry fee, Premier1 members can enter any or all of our writing competitions for free.

Please note: It can take some time for us to complete the judging process so entry implies acceptance to this rule.

You must be 18 years of age or older to enter this writing competition.

Keen to get started? Pay your entry fee here:




Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Young Adult Fiction Contest

1st Prize:£200.00

2nd Prize:£150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00

Closing date: June 12th 2012

Entry Fee: £3.50 Free to Creative Competitor Premier1 Members

To win any one of our three fantastic prizes, simply create the opening page to  a young adult fiction story and send to us. There is no set word count but please note that your entry must fit onto one A4 page including the title.

Now remember that this story is aimed at the young adult market, so consider your terminology and style.

Your entry must be unique and previously unpublished. All submissions must be written in English.

We prefer entries to be made by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk. Please paste within the body of the email and ensure that you put the competition title in the subject line.

All submissions must be supported by the correct entry fee, Premier1 members can enter any or all of our writing competitions for free.

Please note: It can take some time for us to complete the judging process so entry implies acceptance to this rule.

Must be 18+ to enter this competition.

Cheque payments can be made in euros to Annette Young but we prefer payment via PayPal where possible by using the PAYPAL buttons or by sending the correct fee via PayPal to the email address: info@creative-competitor.co.uk

Writing Competitions- The Judging Process

Part Two

By Annette Young

Last week I wrote that it may be much easier to win a writing competition than you might think and I wanted to follow on this week to clarify just what happens once you have submitted your entry.

All submissions get filed into a specific electronic folder the moment that they arrive in the in-box and this way, we know that we have all of the entries safe and secure for when judging begins. There is general admin work such as spending time to ensure that correct entry fees have been made and also checking the Premier membership entries are valid ones plus once reviewing starts we check that all submissions do adhere to the word count rule.

Volumes received can vary and if you are keen to enter a writing competition, you do have more chance of winning a smaller competition than one of the  big ones simply because less people enter the smaller competitions- for obvious reasons, there is less prize money to tempt people.

The judging process is time-consuming, we read each and every submission, looking for tightly written entries, good characterization, a compelling opening, a strong plot and a good pace throughout. Obviously the criteria may change depending on the type of competition and the rules and one of our main preferences is that entries take any given theme and provide an imaginative response.

Some submissions are disqualified quickly, others are then rejected due to the quality of writing after they have been reviewed several times. This process continues until a short list of the best entries can be created. We tend to leave these to one side for a while so that when we return to the submissions, we review them with fresh eyes and can judge more fairly.

The process from start to finish can be a lengthy one but we do our utmost to ensure that the best entry wins. From a writing perspective, it is never easy to sit back and wait for the results but as someone who has entered many writing competitions, I would say, don’t sit back and wait. Get on with the process of writing and developing your skills. Keep entering new competitions, keep writing short stories and articles or get started on your novel project.

Whilst you should always keep a note of which competitions have been entered, there is no point sitting back with nail-biting nerves hoping and praying that your entry is going to win, instead utilize that time wisely, get as many of your writing projects out there as is possible and you never know you might have lots of competition wins under your belt.

500 Word Fiction Writing Contest

1st Prize; £100.00

2nd Prize: £75.00

3rd Prize: £50.00

Closing date; March 15th 2012

Entry fee: £3.00 or free if you are a Creative Competitor Premier1 member

Using the photo for inspiration, create a compelling story that make us hang onto every word.

You can be completely creative with your interpretation  but you must include all three characters in some way. Entries must be completely original and previously unpublished.

You have a maximum of 500 words including the title so make sure that you use each word wisely.

We prefer submissions by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk

We publish the winning story only allowing the other prize winners to re-use their entry if they so wish.

Note: It can take us some time to judge our writing contests as we read and review each and every one, so we appreciate your patience  in this matter. Entry into this competition implies acceptance to these terms.


Dramatic First Paragraph Writing Competition Winner

This competition required writers to produce a dramatic first paragraph that would glue us to the page, congratulations go to:
1st Prize: £100 Michelle Harvey
2nd Prize: £50 P. England
Life and Darkness – Michelle Harvey


There was no mistake. The child was dead, definitely dead.
Hayley didn’t know what to do, it hurt to breathe, to swallow and to think.
Confusion swirled around her, she felt sick to the pit of her stomach. Somewhere
deep inside her, there was the idea that she should call an ambulance and the
police but somehow, her feet were rooted to the floor, the lifeless body of her
niece sprawled in the cot in front of her. Hot tears surged down Hayley’s face.
How could she bring herself to tell her sister that her precious baby had died
on the one and only night she had been persuaded to go out? And then another
thought popped unbidden into her head, what if Kirsty found out that Carter had
been here in the house….tonight?

One Week Fiction Challenge

Thank you for your interest in participating in our One Week Fiction Challenge. We are only allowing 75 entrants into this competition so if you wish to take part, reserve your place now and you could win any one of these great prizes. If the Add to Cart button is not visible, you know that the competition is now full.


1st Prize: £200.00
2nd Prize: £150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00
4th Prize: £75.00

5th Prize: The Busy Writer Course
6th Prize: Premier1 Membership  x 3 months

7th Prize: Personal Coaching Session
8th Prize: £10.00 CC Gift Voucher

We do anticipate places filling up fast however so don’t miss out.

The competition starts on 14th January and you will receive full details of your challenge on that date which then gives you one week to complete the challenge to the best of your ability. Your submission must be returned on or before 21st January.

To confirm your place, simply pay your £5.00 entry fee (Premier1 Members-Free-please email us and we will add your name to the competition) and you will then be directed to a sign-up box. Please add your name and your email address (the email address where you would like your Fiction Challenge details to be sent to). This then reserves your place in the competition and makes the process of mailing out the competition details much more efficient.

Want to participate?

The Inheritance Fiction Competition Winner


1st Prize: £150.00    Barry Thomas

2nd Prize: £100.00   J. Wood

3rd Prize:   £ 75.00   Rachel Harrison


The Inheritance

By Barry Thomas 

A letter was the sum total of his inheritance and yet it was the most precious gift ever…

The fact that she had remembered him at all amazed him.  Elspeth, the foster mother who he had clung to when he had to move to a different family, he remembered burying his head in the folds of her apron and promising to be good if he could stay.   Deep down, he had known that she could barely bring herself to wave him goodbye, her ill-health had been the decider.  His memories were hazy but he knew she had been kind and caring to the disillusioned child who had been left in her care. He had gone to her after a series of temporary foster care homes had left him feeling bruised and unwanted by the system and his brat like behavior must have tried her patience but she had somehow made everything ok again. He tried to picture her now, short, ruddy complexion, dark curly hair that sat in waves on her shoulders. Buxom, warm and kindly, a typical farmer’s wife, he contemplated.

He had experienced freedom there like nowhere else, fresh air, room to grow and to be able to expand his horizons and simply play like any nine year old should do.  Eventually, when he had been removed kicking and screaming from the farm, he had been adopted by a professional couple who gave him financial stability and a yearning to learn. This made up for their lack of emotional warmth and although they had been good to him, their love had never touched him the way Elspeth’s had. Their influence however had enabled him to study science and to eventually teach it, a job that was perfect for him.

He realized his hands were shaking as he sat waiting to be called in outside the office of Lawrence Montgomery-partner in Montgomery and Munroe – Elspeth’s family solicitors. He knew from their stiffly written letter that Elspeth had finally died and had left him something in her will. With children of her own and an abundance of foster children over the years, Frank doubted it would be very much, but he was touched that she would remember the scruffy, tousled haired lad who was aggressive to all, burying his pain in anger instead. He supposed she had seen through the defiant wall he had built up in his nine short years and suddenly, unbidden, a fleeting memory touched him and he smiled. All of the foster children had been given pets to look after and he had inherited a gorgeous large white rabbit who he called ‘Mr. Ears’. One morning when his rabbit had been found dead, Frank had run away, consumed with grief and it was Elspeth who had come to find him, searching acres of farmland to discover his special hideaway, the foundations of an old stone barn, where the land had reclaimed possession of the stone work, with trees and shrubs forming a framework above the dilapidated ruins. How she had found him, he never knew but she had crawled in through the thickened undergrowth and comforted him, explaining the cycle of life and death and how people should always appreciate the ‘now’. Strange how that memory had surged within these sterile walls.

He rose from his seat as Lawrence Montgomery walked towards him, his hand outstretched and ushered him into his office. He was everything that you expected a solicitor to be, professional, courteous and aloof and Frank sat across the desk from him and waited patiently, resisting the urge to fidget.

“Mrs. Turner, as you know died a short time ago,” Lawrence informed him, “She made strict provisions for all those who were in her care, some little trinkets, and items of jewelry for the girls you know, nothing of any great worth- apart from any emotional attachment you understand.” He paused, “The farm got into real financial difficulties when Mr. Turner had an accident and couldn’t walk and over the years, it was almost repossessed. Mrs. Turner died before that could happen, not long after her husband, fortunately in a way”, Laurence murmured, a faint hint of emotion creeping into his words, “It’s my belief that losing the farm and all her memories would have destroyed her”

Frank frowned, “Had you known her long?”

Lawrence sat back in his chair and sighed, “Like you, I was fostered by Elspeth and I have since represented her as a way of paying her back for her incredible kindness- for rescuing me from the system if you like.” He paused, carefully selecting his words, “She was an unbelievable woman- we were all very lucky to be touched by such kindness” He leaned forward and handed Frank a large envelope, “This is yours, you don’t need to open it here, but please do sign on the dotted line now to say you have received it”.

Frank left the office in a daze; the envelope taunting him with its hidden secrets. Sunlight greeted him when he emerged and he shivered as waves of sadness swept over him at the thought that he would never see Elspeth again. He was shocked by how much that thought hurt him. Why hadn’t he gone back? Had he been worried that she wouldn’t have wanted to have seen him? Worried that she might not love him now that he was a grown man? He made his way down the busy street debating whether to drive back to his apartment or to find a quiet pub and wash down his inheritance with a beer or two. He could always get a taxi back home. Without having made a decision, he found himself outside The Lonely Man public house and somehow it seemed fitting, because despite his career success and being a rational adult, his insides were churning and he felt terribly alone.

Finally, as he sat with his beer in hand and the alcohol had suitably soothed his jagged nerves, he slit open the envelope and pulled the contents onto the table. At first his eyes were drawn to the numerous photos within. His childlike image captured forever, cradled in Elspeth’s arms and smiling directly into the camera. Then another with Mr. Ears and a group shot with all of the family gathered. He wondered who had taken the last photo. Waves of nostalgia swept over him, seeing the old farm and everybody in these photos bought it all flooding back, all of the good times, he thought. As he gazed at the photos in turn, a smile touched his lips, recognizing the Turners, in happier, healthier times, smiling and waving at the camera.

With shaking fingers he laid the photos to one side and turned his attention to another small sealed envelope and began to read.

My dearest boy,

Not one day has passed without me thinking and wondering how you were doing. I always meant to get in touch but my ill health and that of my husband always stopped me from seeking you out. You were a challenge in those long ago days my boy, but I loved every single minute that we shared. I hope in that year we were given together, I showed you love and what family is all about.

Family was always important for me and I took the liberty in making some enquires as to your background, in case you remained that angry little boy who never wanted to look back at his beginnings and found himself lost in his future. I hope my darling boy that you will not be angry with me but I am certain that the name on the slip of paper inside this envelope is of a man who is related to you, God forgive me if I am wrong.

Don’t be afraid to find your roots Frank, but live for the present and cherish each day. I pray your future will be filled with light and love.

My best wishes and love always,


Frank leaned back heavily, he felt exhausted. His heart ached. She had given him a gift beyond monetary value, the gift of pure love. What more could any man ask of family?

He scratched at the stubble on his chin, perplexed. Did he want to know the name tucked away inside the envelope? Did he want to turn back the clock and find out his humble beginnings? Elspeth had obviously thought it was important enough so maybe it was something to consider for the future. For now, all he wanted to do was honor the woman who had shaped him from the angry boy, to the man who wasn’t afraid to embrace love or to cry. He wiped a solitary tear from his cheek and tucked the photos and letter back in the envelope; he needed time to think and time to remember the woman who would forever be his mother.

How to Win Creative Writing Competitions

Even the most accomplished writer is unable to win every competition they enter but a little forward planning and inspired creativity can boost the chances of winning creative writing competitions more regularly. I became addicted to writing competitions many years ago and had a few modest successes in the early days and then through increased focus and commitment, started winning more. Am I a better writer than everyone else? No, but I am very determined to succeed and writing is my life so I also put 100% into every creative project. If you want to win  creative writing competitions, then don’t play at it half-heartedly, as the editor of the Creative Competitor I see thousands of submissions each year and whilst sometimes the standard is excellent, other submissions can be unappealing and even badly written.

Self motivation and commitment are key factors for every successful writer, there is no doubt in my mind that you can learn the relevant techniques and skill-set to become successful. What you lack for in qualifications, you can more than make up for with imagination and determination through trial and error. You also need to utilise every ounce of imagination at your disposal and this can mean growing that creative muscle until it expands and works at will. Once you get into the habit of entering writing competitions regularly, your imagination will kick-start quickly. I would always suggest sourcing your own list of writing competitions and checking out the rules carefully before entering. You also need to think your idea through thoroughly before submitting to  make sure your idea is powerful and that it will stand out from other entries.

Its hard trying to acquire the mindset of a competition judge but to a certain degree, you do need to be fairly analytical as regards your submission.

I have put together the following tips to help you increase your chances of winning the creative writing competitions of your choice:

  1. Have you checked all of the rules including word count and closing date?
  2. Does the competition theme inspire you?
  3. Have you planned your story sufficiently before writing?
  4. Is your idea fresh and most of all, compelling?
  5. Are your characters(if any) larger than life?
  6. Are you sure that your storyline hasn’t meandered unnecessarily?
  7. Does the storyline flow?
  8. Will the reader be able to relate to the storyline? (Depending on competition theme)
  9. Have you checked out previous competition winners to get a feel for why they may have won?
  10. Have you spell-checked?

There is always a certain amount of luck involved with winning creative writing competitions but if you put your heart and soul into your entry, then you increase your chances of securing a fantastic prize and obtaining publication.