Writing Competitions – Want to Win? Part Three

Annette Youngby Annette Young

So far in this series on how to win writing competitions, or, at least, how to improve your potential for doing so, I have covered the importance of generating a good idea and developing it, turning this basic concept into something original and unique. I’ve also mentioned the importance of characterisation so that any judge reading your submission will become hooked by the events and circumstances surrounding the characters and will connect with them on deeper level.

Today, I want to discuss the importance of creating a super-strong opening. I read a great many submissions and, although I admit, sometimes, the ideas are great and, the writing good, often, the writer starts at the wrong point and the opening is weak and less than powerful because of it.  Usually this happens because the writer has not prepared the idea fully before starting. A writer may also be inexperienced when it comes to developing a story within the confines of a set word count.

Think about it, do you really need to start a story at point A and finish at C, when you can throw the reader straight into the plot at point B where the action takes place and the story is dramatic and compelling? Your role as the writer is to hook the attention of those reading your fiction and to have them dangling on a hook throughout. We look for stories that entertain and that make us want to read on. These are the things you need to consider when writing any work of fiction but especially when the word count is minimal.

So, how can you improve your opening section? By carefully considering the best starting point and eliminating those that lead the story along a winding route which eventually gets to the heart of the story. Do this and your ability to pull the reader straight into the story becomes much stronger.

If you have plenty of words at your disposal, then, your starting point is likely to be different and that’s fine. Just remember, you need to hook the attention of the reader and the writing competition judges if you want to stand a chance of delivering a successful and prize-winning submission.

Tip: Write down 2 or 3 potential starting points and write opening paragraphs for all of them, just to test them out. Which one incites more attention? Which paragraph is stronger? If you are not sure, let family and friends read them and find out why they like it.

 

Writing Competitions – Want to Win? Part Two

Part Two

Author Annette YoungIn this second article in the Writing Competitions – Want to Win series, I am going to discuss repetition in story ideas. While it’s absolutely fine to reinvent an idea, it should only be considered a starting point. I see a great many stories when judging writing competitions which have not been evolved sufficiently. It’s as if the writer has become stuck in the moment and has not known where to take the story so that it develops, extends and even, diversifies. Instead of the creative process leading the way to something quite unique, the process is stopped short, cut off in its prime.

This can occur through a lack of time or, a lack of creativity at that time.

Sometimes, submissions are beautifully written but even well-written stories cannot compete against those that are well-thought out, read well and show much originality. When we review submissions, we look for creativity and technique of course, but it is a joy to see work from a writer who is capable of extending boundaries, taking an idea and developing it to its full potential.

Don’t be too keen to rush a story. Think it through. What could you do that would make an ordinary story shine?

Tip: Begin with your basic idea but then, craft a story that is powerful and compelling by making it an unpredictable read. Think of alternative endings. Throw in a few obstacles. This alone could make you be in with a chance of winning.

Missed Part One? Read it HERE

Want to have a go at entering a writing competition? Click HERE

 

 

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.

 

Winning Writing Competitions – Yes You Can!

Competition Success

Author/Editor Annette Young

By Annette Young

Writing competitions – they are a unique way of firing up your enthusiasm for the written word and sending your skill level to crazy new heights. Receiving notification that you have won a writing competition is pretty special. It’s like having your Christmas and birthday presents wrapped up in one sensational moment. You feel good. No, you feel great. More than a boost to your self-esteem, more than an eureka moment – what am I going to spend all that cash on? It’s confirmation that your writing skills are pretty good.

You can be a prolific writer and you can have the best technical writing skills in the world but it doesn’t mean you are going to win any writing competitions – why? Because to win writing competitions, you have to enjoy it. You have to look at the competitions that are on offer and think wow, I really want to have a go at that. Those with a theme are often easier if you are just starting out, or, if you just like having a trigger to springboard your creativity to new heights.

Having a passion for the written word is vital. Enjoying that brain pulsing moment when you take an idea and run with it and find out that hey, it’s a pretty good idea, well, that’s a great moment. You have to be able to live and breathe writing. To stand at the sink tackling the washing up when really, your mind is far away solving mysteries in the Caribbean, or enjoying an illicit preview of your characters clandestine affair.

But more than excitement, you have to be prepared to knuckle down and actually do the work. You have the ideas, you’ve narrowed them down, then you need to find your starting point. Depending on your word count allowance, your starting point might be very close to the end, but decide on this first of all and then let the words flow. Make the opening sentence dynamic. Choose your words carefully, make every one count. Just because you are a competition writer, it doesn’t mean you don’t embark on the whole re-writing element of the game. Change it, shine it, polish it. It represents you but don’t sit on it, doubting it until after the closing date.

Entering writing competitions enables you to put yourself out there. You are endorsing your work and saying, here I am. This is what I am about. Although your work undergoes a judging process, you, the writer are not judged. We know all about the writing journey and often, it starts with writing competitions like ours. The main element to winning is to enter in the first place. It’s as simple as that. You will never start to know how good you are until your work is circulating, doing the rounds. If faced with rejection, take another look at your submission. Could you have improved it? If yes, tweak it, save it and then submit it to another writing competition -assuming the story-line fits. When you write with determination and dedication, you will see  your work progress in leaps and bounds.

So can you win writing competitions? Yes, you can, you just have to dream up a captivating idea, enhance it, write it and then send it.

Calling All Competition Writers

Winning a prize in a writing competition
As much as we hate to burst the bubble of creativity, here is a heartfelt plea to all competition writers everywhere. Please, please, please do read the rules. We see some wonderful submissions but of late, many do not adhere to the rules. We try to keep the rules as basic as possible but they are there for a reason. They provide a level playing field for all writers irrespective of publishing experience – so that everyone has the same chance.
This is just a reminder that the full rules are published on each competition page, please do check that you have read them before even starting your entry. We often provide you with photos for inspiration or, have a tricky little word count to adhere to, but whatever the rules, they are there to be followed and we hate having to exclude well-written submissions.

 

We advertise our competitions across the Internet including on social media sites such as Twitter, so if you have stumbled across one of those adverts, you may find that only partial rules are added. This is dependent on the information requested from the website and so, we are unable to always provide every bit of information. On Twitter for example, it’s impossible to say much, but we always, provide a link directly to the relevant page, so don’t miss out on a prize simply through not checking.

 

We know that time can be limited and you might have to rush to meet a deadline, but please do give your submission a fighting chance and not let it fall at the first hurdle.

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.



Summer Ghost Competition Winner

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Summer Ghost Competition.

1st Prize: £3oo Denise Scott

2nd Prize: £200 Philip Horton

3rd Prize: £100  Carol Simpson

4th Prize: £50 Ruth Coles

5th Prize: Critique of story of choice. Maddy Weston

6th Prize: Premier 1 Membership (3 months) providing unlimited entry into any Creative Competitor writing competition and the free Write to be Published newsletter.  Angeleen Rankmore

 

The Market Trader

by Denise Scott

It didn’t really matter what the doctor had said to her. She was slowly going mad and that was that. There wasn’t even a reason as to why she was hallucinating. She wasn’t on any strange medication that could make her mind play tricks on her. Trisha would have welcomed an exact reason, a eureka moment when she could throw her head back and laugh loudly at her stupidity, the moment when she could look at her partner Charles and see her relief mirrored in his eyes

It was so frustrating. She couldn’t actually fathom a reason as to why she saw the same hallucination over and over again. A cheeky little rosy-cheeked market trader with a spotted bow-tie that twirled when he pressed a button. In the last six months, she had seen him most weeks welcoming people to his stall and waving. He had been a little hazy at first but of late, he was as clear as day and she knew that somehow, she had given her hallucination the ability to grow stronger.

She wondered what Freud would have thought. Perhaps he would have said that her hallucinations were borne out of a stunted childhood and she was reverting back to a time when her impressions were being formed? Trish knew that this would be wrong. Her childhood was brimming over with happy memories; in fact she couldn’t remember feeling unhappy ever.

Trish had almost started dreading going to the market place, yet it pulled her like a magnet. She had always loved the hustle and bustle and the rich smells of sweets, breads and the heady scents of flowers that permeated the air. She even loved the throngs of people and always determined to walk through the smallest of gaps and to check out each stall so as to embrace every moment. There were even some resident fairground rides for the younger children which brought back instant memories of years gone by. But now the market place was tainted by something sinister, the market-trader who always looked her way and waved, she would see him out of the corner of her eye and when she turned to focus, he would disappear. Sometimes it would be when she blinked, and at other times, in a grey swirling mist.

Sometimes she would deliberately search for him, push through the crowds determined to confront him, to get witnesses for her strange apparition to prove she was not mad, but as fast as she would approach, he would disappear.

Sighing, Trish began to automatically prepare for her usual trip to the market. A little bit of make-up to hide the dark shadows under her eyes and she brushed back her luxurious red hair into a long pony tail. She looked deathly pale and her eyes large. Trish knew that fear was mocking her.

“Maybe you should give the marketplace a wide berth today?” Charles spoke softly from the doorway, where his lithe frame took up most of the space. “The Doctor did say you should rest”.

Trish turned, focussing on the fear in his eyes. “I know but I can’t, I feel like the answer for this madness is there too… You don’t have to come with me, you look tired too”

“A throbbing headache and a little bit of indigestion, I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that big meal last night, stopped me from sleeping properly” He rubbed his chest as he spoke and then curled up on the bed, his long limbs wrapped in a foetal position, he looked exhausted. Trish bent over the unmade bed and kissed him on the forehead. “Rest for a few hours, catch up on your sleep if you can. I will be back soon”

He was fast asleep before she had even wrapped her light jacket around her shoulders and as she walked down the creaky staircase towards the front door, she could hear his muffled groans and laboured breathing as he succumbed to sleep.

He was taking on too much she realised. At work as well as trying to deal with her problems. Maybe this was something that she should keep to herself, at least until she had got to the bottom of the situation. Once she had ascertained why it kept happening, she could return triumphant and he would feel so relieved.

Walking down the street, dark clouds scurried across the sky, dampening the sun’s enthusiasm. Trish shivered. She hoped it wasn’t a bad omen and she did feel terribly cold. She wasn’t far from the market place, and could hear the hum of activity and raised voices as the traders out-shouted each other. Her heart skipped a beat as she wondered whether she would see him again today but knew that it was inevitable somehow.

Trish took a deep breath to steady her nerves. She had to stop this and instead work out why it was happening. ‘Think Trish’ she told herself sternly. Pushing her fears to one side she thought back to all of the times where she had seen him. At first, hazy memories but as she concentrated the memories grew stronger and flashed by her in a blur. Initially, it had just been the market trader talking to people who seemed void of colour or details. They were real but she couldn’t quite focus on them. Then only a month ago, she could have sworn that she had seen him talking to her mother but that had been crazy, her mother had died many years before and her father from cancer only recently. When she had tried to tell  her father as he lay bedridden that she had seen someone who looked just like her mother, he had smiled with contentment, his face hollow against the white plumpness of the pillows,

His death had hit her hard. Not sudden like her mother’s but tragic all the same and it had made her feel so alone. Thank god for Charles.

Then only last week, she was sure that she had seen her parents together at the stall. Her mother had worn a camel coloured coat far too warm for the time of year, and her hair was up in a tightly wrapped chignon. As she had approached them, they had disappeared into the crowd and the stall had vanished too. She had closed her eyes and re-opened them, hoping to catch sight of the stall but it really wasn’t there anymore. Her childhood friends had wandered by too, not close enough to talk to and not at the stall but in the crowds and she had wanted to tell them that they should turn away in case they saw him too. Only recently she had found out that one of those friends had died suddenly the night before in a terrible car accident, so once again, Trish had to accept that she couldn’t possibly have seen him and that the imaginings came from within her.

Then in glorious multi-colour, she saw him. The realisation that she was so close took her breath away. This time his cheeky face smiled straight at her but his eyes were sad. He wants me she breathed, feeling a coldness sweep over her body, chilling her to the bones, but as if reading her mind, he shook his head and looked over her shoulder. As she turned, to follow his gaze, Charles emerged from the crowd, his face sallow and grey. He didn’t even see her, there was no recognition, no life but walked straight to the market trader, fixated, focussed, shaking him by the hand.

Suddenly, Trish knew the truth and with a horrified sense of dread, she lunged towards the market trader and Charles, desperate to try to stop the inevitable but as she reached the space, it became empty and she fell on the hard concrete, tears streaming down her face, and with skinned knees and a broken heart, she lay on the concrete and sobbed.

Minutes passed, concerned faces, hot sweet tea, a sugary snack, all designed to ward off shock. But how could she tell them that she had witnessed her partner crossing the void from this life to the next helped by the gatekeeper. That cheery faced trader who opened a portal and ushered her loved ones through. Trish didn’t want to think but reality beckoned, and she knew that when she returned home, Charles’s body would be cold in their bed, his life having ebbed away. Worse, she had left him to die alone.

She wasn’t mad after all. She couldn’t completely understand everything yet but she knew that she had encountered the gatekeeper, a master of disguise, her own grim reaper. And all that Trish knew was that she didn’t want to be left behind, alone with this aching pain that threatened to rip her apart. But next week, she would return and she would find him.
Image:

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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:

 

 

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

Character Profile Competition Winner

 

 

We asked for an in-depth character profile using the photo for inspiration. We received a great many amazing profiles and it was a very difficult decision but the winners are…

1st Prize: £100 – Stephanie Judd

2nd Prize:£75 – Audrey Coles

3rd Prize: £50 – Brian Stevens

4th Prize: 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 Membership – James Harwood

 

The Winning Profile – by Stephanie Judd

Name: Adam Caruthers

Age: 29:

Occupation: Business Analyst

Lives in London with his family. Home is a spacious six bedroom house. Adam would like to move out but is unable to afford a place of his own even though on a good salary. Fortunately, the house is large enough to give him his own en-suite bedroom and small study. Adam spends a lot of time on his own- deliberately avoiding his mother as much as possible.

Education: He asked to attend boarding school when quite young wanting to escape from his home life. He studied politics at University after leaving school but  was undecided as to his career when he left University. Fortunately, he stumbled into the role of Business Analyst for a large corporate company in London and found that it suited his analytical personality. He is not keen on most of his co-workers apart from his colleague Tim who is as far removed in personality from Adam as is possible but somehow they connect.

Family: Three older sisters – Emily, Ashley and Hannah

Emily is 35 and currently out of work. She was involved with an actor – Simon Day-Lewisham but this went horribly wrong so is currently bitter and single and had to move back to the family home which Adam finds irritating.

Ashely is 33 and married with two children. She married her childhood sweetheart and plays the ‘mumsy’ role in the family. She lives in North London.

Hannah is 31 and unmarried. She is an officer in the military and has spent time in war-torn countries where events have tainted her previously loving disposition.  She returns when on leave but apart from that, they see little of her.

Mother: Madeleine – unsuccessful fashion designer. Madeleine was never quite the mother that Adam wanted. Loving in a ditsy way. But distant due to her slightly out -of -faze character. Childhood was a mixture of discipline and unorganised chaos as Madeleine would get distracted and leave the children to their own devices and order would only occur when his father would return home.

Father: Roy Adam Caruthers – Successful business man with a retail chain throughout the UK . Business-like, determined, strong-minded and slightly despairing that the woman he married lives more in her dreams of what might be rather than to accept her lot. He also wanted Adam to follow in the family business, recognizing his potential but felt rejected when Adam turned his back on the family business.

Family pets: Lofty – yorkshire terrior and Marbles – 10 year old fat cat

Girlfriend: None currently – Adam finds it difficult to connect emotionally. Subconsciously he blames his mother because he cannot respect or love her completely and the women he attracts, seem to be similar in type usually.

Best friend: Tim Orchard – A 30 year old business analyst who hates his job. Tim is everything that Adam is not. He hates being practical, finds the corporate environment oppressive and likes to play pranks on people. Tim wants to travel the world and his ambition is to never shave again.

Adam’s personality: Adam is quite insular. Attractive, with a wide smile, the smile hides a lot of inner pain and feelings of inadequacies. He likes to feel completely in control and hides his emotions. The women in his family are soft, feminine and annoying apart from his sister Hannah. He recognizes her strength and inner pain. But they never talk to each other about their emotions.

Adam has a high sex drive. It’s the one area of his life that he struggles to control. Secretly he is worried by his lack of control and his need to over-power any potential girlfriends.His last girlfriend walked out on him when he became a little too aggressive in bed. Since then Adam has avoided women as much as possible. Adam is unhappy in his life but is not sure what to do to change it.

He has a good sense of humor, with excellent timing for one-liners. But his humor is surface deep only. For those that know Adam, they are are aware of this cold edge and that behind the eyes, there is little warmth. He hates injustice and those who pretend to  be what they are not. He decided against entering politics because of this.

Athletics: Adam was an excellent athlete for cross-country running but gave it up in his early twenties to focus on cycling and became a member of his local club to keep himself fit. He knows that he could be really good at most things if he excelled himself but he doesn’t feel enough passion for anything.

Hobbies: He loves to read – often books about science and in particular quantum physics. He reads fantasy novels – but despaired of the Harry Potter books and films but loved watching Lord of the Rings.

Injuries: Adam had his appendix out when he was 14 and found himself back in hospital on his 21st birthday when (under the influence of alcohol) he fell off some scaffolding and cut his leg open badly.  He now has an eight inch scar which reminds him of what happens when he loses control. He dislikes hospitals and never goes to the doctors even when feeling ill.

Socially: He drinks very little alcohol as he then becomes less controlled in his actions. He hates smoking and refuses to spend time with those who do and he is contemptuous of drugs and drug users.

Ambitions: There is a strong desire to impress his father as he has a deep respect for him and knows that he let him down previously when he declined going into the family business. Adam has a vivid childhood recollection of how his father prided himself on setting up the business from scratch and becoming a success. Adam believes that he has a flair for business too and a need to prove himself. He is considering setting up a consultancy business helping others by analyzing and project managing their first tentative steps into business.His favorite quotation is sit nomine digna meaning ‘may it be worthy of the name’. Adam is determined that one day he will make his own mark in life and the name Caruthers will mean something again.

He knows until he is fulfilled within a career that he cannot cope with the emotional side of his life and although he would like children, refuses to get involved until he is sure that he can provide.

 

 

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

‘The Suitcase’ Fiction Writing Competition

1st Prize:£200.00

2nd Prize:£150.00

3rd Prize: £100.00

4th Prize: £75.00

Closing date: May 25th 2012

Entry Fee: £4.00 Free to Creative Competitor Premier1 Members

To stand any chance of winning any one of our fantastic cash prizes, simply craft a story around this suitcase and use your creative skills to conjure up an imaginative and excitingly written original work of fiction.

Stories must be unique and previously unpublished.

Word count is 1500. Excluding the title.

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.

Cheque payments can be made in euros to Annette Young but we prefer payment via PayPal where possible.

 

 

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.

Can You Win a Writing Competition?

Part One

By Annette Young

It might not be as difficult as you think to win a writing competition but many people are put off by the thought that they will not be able to make their entry stand out enough to catch the judge’s eye. Rest assured that any judge will spot your entry if it reflects the theme (if any provided) and if the writing is of high quality. There is nothing more exciting than reading a submission that is cleverly crafted and well-polished. Those who are less confident in their writing often resort to other methods to make their writing stand out, sending in submissions that are written in a brightly coloured or creative font- it’s not necessary. Let your writing speak for itself.

Writing is a powerful medium and because of this, when you are creating your entry, every effort must be made to ensure that every single word is relevant especially if there is a limited word count. The judges will be looking for a tightly written submission that engages the senses, evokes a desire to know more and  that leads them on a journey culminating in a satisfying ending.

The rules on any writing competition are there for a reason. They are there to level the playing field and provide a foundation on which any writer starts the creative process.  Sending in fiction where the word count rule has been ignored instantly makes the entry void even if the actual writing is riveting. Sending in work that ignores the theme completely would be discounted and sending in a submission that is littered with typing errors and spelling mistakes does not portray a sense of professionalism or would make a judge feel that the writer cares about the quality of their work.

So the writing standard has to be competent at the very least but importantly, even a well-worn story i.e. boy meets girl can be given a new slant, an enticing edge with well-developed characters that you can’t help rooting for.

To win a writing competition, all it takes is the ability to create a strong story line, to be able to take the basic story and to weave a realistic plot around it, to introduce characters that seem larger than life and to be able to follow the rules, writing with sincerity and integrity.

If you feel that you can do this and that you can put heart and soul into your writing, then you stand a very good chance of scooping a lucrative prize and gaining the kudos of publication.

Next Week: The Judging Process

Sign up to the free newsletter to read the article as it becomes published.

 

Man on the Train Writing Competition

1st Prize: 150.00

2nd Prize:£100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

4th Prize: 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 membership

Closing Date: 7th April 2012

Entry fee: £3.00

Are you a Creative Competitor Premier1 Member? You can enter for free.

Using the photo for inspiration, create a story that depicts a man on a journey by train, but a journey to where? What happens to him en-route? Who does he meet? What happens when he reaches his destination? We welcome creative interpretations of the theme and your completed submission must be received on or by the 7th April 2012.

You have up to 2000 words including the title and your submission must be original and previously unpublished.

Please send your submission by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and write the competition title in the subject line.

If you fancy winning £150, then pay your entry fee today and submit your entry as soon as you are ready.

 

 

Please note that it does take time to read and re-view each and every competition submission, so please be patient. Winners are announced on the website and in the free weekly newsletter. We publish only the overall winning submission which means that the other prize winners and those who are not successful are free to enter their work into other competitions.

Image:© Iakov FilimonovDreamstime.com

What Happens Next? Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00

2nd Prize: £100.00

3rd Prize: £75.00

4th Prize; 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 membership

Entry fee: £3.00

Are you a Creative Competitor Premier1 member? Enter for free.

Closing date: 31st March 2012

Using the photo for creative inspiration, your story must be about a man in a library who chooses a book that changes his life. What the book is and why it has such an effect on him is up to you. The story must evolve and can be emotional, action-packed, mysterious or indeed take any direction that you like. Just make sure that it is powerfully written and interprets the theme creatively.

You have up to 2000 words in which to write your story including the title.

Submissions must be original and previously unpublished.

We prefer you to make your submissions by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and ensure that you add the competition title in the subject line.

Please note that it can take some time to read and re-view all submissions and so entry into this competition implies acceptance to this condition and to the above rules.

Fancy winning up to £150.00? Pay your entry fee now and send your submission through when ready.

 

We publish the overall winning entry only and this means that all other submissions can be placed elsewhere or entered into other competitions. This includes the additional prize winners.

 

Image:© ArenacreativeDreamstime.com

 

 

Free Writing Competition Winner

This free to enter writing competition required writers to create a story based on the photo and to then submit a summary of the overall story with a maximum of 300 words.

1st Prize goes to Christine Genovese

Christine wins a Creative Inspiration for Writers course.

 

Aunt Sylvia.

Becoming an aunt at the age of twelve is the proudest moment of Sylvia’s life.  Her niece, Alex, grows up idolising her aunt.  She’s like a fairy godmother waving a magic wand for her favourite princess – straight out of the fairy tales they both love.

Three events teach Alex the difference between their dream world and reality.

Aged six:  She opens the forbidden door.

Alex’s parents go away for a weekend, leaving Sylvia to babysit.  Alex is delighted when Sylvia’s boyfriend joins in the fun. Sunday morning Alex wakes up too early, eager for breakfast.  Eventually she goes upstairs and hearing groans from the spare room, she thinks Sylvia is in danger…

Lies, sweets and cajoling patch up the damage – more or less.

Aged thirteen:  She learns that sworn secrets aren’t sacred.

Sylvia goes to drama school and Alex to grammar school.  When Alex starts going to parties, her parents put up barriers.  She becomes defiant and sulky.  She writes long, impassioned letters to Sylvia, laying bare her teenage angst.

Discovering one of these letters in her mother’s drawer causes Alex more pain than any of her other youthful troubles.  She decides to avoid Sylvia’s company.

Aged eighteen:  She suffers a furious outbreak of jealousy from her 30-year-old aunt.

During the summer holidays Sylvia invites Alex to join her at a stately home where a film company is making a film in which Sylvia stars.  Alex accepts.  She loves the atmosphere, the sumptuous buildings, the groomed park with the idyllic lake… where her light-hearted fun with the film crew is cut short when Sylvia suddenly orders her to leave.

Seven years later:  An unexpected invitation to Sylvia’s wedding is accompanied by an emotional letter.

Alex is now old enough to understand how precious the bond between them is.

 

 

Twist In The Tale Writing Competition

1st Prize: £200

2nd Prize: £150

3rd Prize: £100

4th Prize: e-Coaching Session

5th Prize: 3 Creative Competitor Months Premier1 membership

Closing Date: March 3rd 2012

Entry fee: £3.50 or free to Premier1 Members

Can you craft a story that contains a unique twist at the end? If yes, you have just 1500 words to enthrall and surprise us.

All we ask is that your story is original and previously unpublished. It can be on any subject or written in any style.

We prefer your entry to be emailed and for you to write the title of the competition in the email subject line: info@creative-competitor.co.uk

Please note that it can take some time to review each and every submission so we thank you in advance for your patience.

Character Profile Writing Competition

1st Prize: £100

2nd Prize:£75

3rd Prize: £50

4th Prize: 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1  Membership

Closing date: 21st February 2012

Entry fee: £2.50 or free to Creative Competitor Premier1 members

Write a detailed character profile using the photo published on this page for inspiration. We want to know everything there is to know about your character. Bring him to life by adding rich layers of detail to the profile.

Note: We do not want a story but a detailed summary depicting relevant information about the character. (Name, age, occupation, hobbies, likes and dislikes, experiences etc).

There is no set word count.

We will publish the winning submission only.

It can take some time to choose the winning entry so we thank you in advance for your patience.

Image:© Elena Milevska | Dreamstime.com

Flash Fiction Writing Competition

1st Prize: £150.00
2nd Prize: £100.00
3rd Prize:£75.00
4th Prize: £50.00
5th Prize: 3 months Creative Competitor Premier1 Membership
Closing date: February 10th 2012
Entry fee: £3.50 or free to  Creative Competitor Premier1 members
Become inspired by the photo and create a compelling story in 1200 words or less. (Excluding the title).
Submissions must be original and previously unpublished.
We prefer submissions by email info@creative-competitor.co.uk
Please write the name of the competition in the email subject line.

Note: It can take some time to review all of the submissions and to make a final decision. Entry to this competition implies acceptance to this and to all of our rules.

We only publish the overall winning entry which means that those who do not scoop the top prize are able to submit to other competitions.
Image:© Ekaterina Ostanina | Dreamstime.com

New Year Moods Poetry Competition

1st Prize:£75.00
2nd Prize:£50.00

Closing date: January 5th 2012

Entry Fee: £2.00 or free to Creative Competitor Premier1 Members

Approaching a New Year can be a time of wonder for the experiences to come and yet, the New Year is also a time of reflection. Send us your interpretation of the New Year by writing a poem that captures the true essence of your feelings.
Maximum 20 lines
Must be original and previously unpublished.
We prefer submissions by email to info@creative-competitor.co.uk please mark New Year Moods Comp in the subject line.

Premier1 Members please write your membership number in the subject line too.

We welcome submissions from writers worldwide.

It can take some time to judge all of the submissions so please bear this in mind when entering. Entry into this competition implies acceptance to the rules.

View from a Bridge Competition Winner

1st Prize: £100.00 Jean Thompson

2nd Prize:£75.00 Richard Grant

3rd Prize: £50.00 Jenny Carter

View from a Bridge

by Jean Thompson

Time stands still, a hushed sense of age old lore with well-trodden footpaths leading out to the dense greenery around me. Trees arch up to the skylight where slivers of summer sunlight spread a golden hue through the dense vegetation. The forest floor from my tranquil viewpoint is cool and shady and borders the gentle stream that laps against boulders and houses darting minnows. All around, bird song with glimpses of wings in flight, defending territories.  A solitary swan, regal-like, glides into pockets of deeper water, preening, with haughty looks as my presence intrudes.

This glade, this pocket of enchanted wood and my view is as near to perfection as can be, my view from a bridge, unhindered by modern hand.

Running Late Writing Competition

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

Closing date: December 1st 2011

Entry fee: £3.50

Fancy winning yourself an early Christmas present? How does our top prize of £200 sound? All you have to do to win any of our fantasticwriting competition prizes is to write a story relating to our theme ‘Running Late’. How you interpret the theme is entirely up to you but we are looking for well-written, creative entries where the story is bought to life by your story-telling skills.

You have 1500 words (excluding the title) but do make sure that you adhere to the wordcount.

All entries must be original and previously unpublished.

Entries must be written in English but we welcome submissions from writers worldwide.

We prefer submissions to be made via email (within the body of the email) to info@creative-competitor.co.uk Please write the competition title i.e. Running Late Competition in the subject line.

Note: It can take some time to review and judge submissions received and we thank you in advance for your patience.

Flash Fiction- 300 Word Challenge

1st Prize: £100

2nd Prize: £50

Closing date: 25th November 2011

Entry fee: £2.00

Write a story around the woman in the photo.  You can be as creative as you like with your interpretation of the image but you only have 300 words (excluding the title) to impress us. So do make every word count.

Your entry must be original and previously unpublished.

We prefer submissions to be emailed to us at info@creative-competitor.co.uk Please remember to write Flash Fiction 300 Word Challenge in the subject line.Tip: Check your entry thoroughly before submitting.

Please pay your entry fee online by using PayPal. If you wish to send your entry to us by post, please note the change of address.

It can take time to review and judge submissions received as we read each and every entry. We appreciate your patience whilst entries are judged.

 Image: © Andrey Andreev | Dreamstime.com

250 Word Competition Winner

1st Prize:  £100.00 Alistair Lewis

2nd Prize: £75.00 M. Penny

3rd Prize: £50.00 Susan Smith

Righting Wrongs

By Alistair Lewis

 The man that lay in the hospital bed slipped in and out of being her Grandfather, there were glimpses of recognition when he opened his bright blue eyes, now cloudy with dementia and the illness had wiped much of his memories of her. He talked incessantly about life as a young boy, his words fuzzy from the recent stroke, but she had listened to his faltering account of life before and after the war, her heart aching. The pocket watch was mentioned many times and he would turn his sad eyes to hers, reminding her that his health had demised after the watch had been stolen.

He opened his eyes suddenly and recognition dawned but before he could speak, she placed the gold ornate pocket watch in his gnarled hands and he sighed with pleasure and gratitude. Death came quickly and quietly, peacefully slipping away. As the nurses closed the curtains around him, Kerry walked away, regret tinged with satisfaction. She wondered if he knew that it had been her that had stolen his watch. She had been desperate for cash and had pawned it when she had lost her job without warning. She would forever have it on her conscience that she had caused him such emotional pain but at least now, she had righted the wrong and had held his hand tightly as he made his way from this world to the next.

Free Writing Competition March

We asked you to write the next line of dialogue using this photo for inspiration. You had just 50 words. Congratulations go to Pauline Leech with her winning entry below:

Pizza Express? That’s a joke! What do you mean you can’t deliver until I’m back home? I’m having a picnic and I want pizza….now!

Pauline wins 3 months membership to the Creative Competitor Premier1 Membership.

Free Writing Competition

 

1st Prize: Creative Inspiration for Writers Course

Closing date: 15th November 2011

Entry Fee: FREE

To win this competition, all you have to do is to create a story surrounding the woman in the photo and write a summary about your story. Make your summary as informative and concise as possible as you only have 300 words to make your entry stand out.

Note: We only require a summary of the story.

Fancy your chances of winning this great competition? Send your submission by email (no attachments) to info@creative-competitor.co.uk and write ‘free writing competition’ in the subject line.

We welcome submissions from writers worldwide.

There are no age limitations for this competition.

Please note that it can take some time to review all the submissions and to decide a worthy winner, we would ask that you be patient whilst the judging process takes place. The winner will be announced in the free newsletter and online.

Image: © Rene Jansa | Dreamstime.com