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Creative Writing Contests – Why Winning is Easy

Entering creative writing contests can become a lucrative yet addictive pastime for many writers who are spurred on by the challenge of pitting their wits against those of other dedicated writers. Cash prizes, publication and recognition for their endeavours entice many writers to submit their stories in the hopes of securing one of the top prizes. There are numerous creative writing contests available and a scan through any writing magazine will highlight some but for a more detailed search, simply type creative writing contests into a search engine such as Google or yahoo and a vast array of results will appear.

Finding a contest that inspires is the key to doing well. There is no point entering if the topic fails to stimulate as the resulting entry would lack enthusiasm and passion, something that a judge would clearly see. Writing with passion is important but writing with a controlled and sustained passion is even better, a good writer will be able to impart all the information needed a little at a time, unveiling unique aspects about the characters and the plots at just the right speed to tantalise the reader. When submitting fiction for creative writing contests, the writing must be tight and yet highly compelling.

For greater results in any creative writing contests, adhere to the following points:

o Find a contest that appeals and sparks off that all important imagination trail

o Read the rules several times. Most writers fail simply because they do not pay attention to detail.

o Don’t just start writing, think. The thinking process is an integral part of being a good writer; they work hand in hand so allow time to mull over potential ideas and then eventually, when happy, make your choice and start writing.

o Plan the story. Decide where to start within the plot itself and create a compelling introduction by starting off at an exciting point, then draw the reader in with carefully crafted words.

o Know those characters. If your characters are under-developed and uninteresting, the judge’s interest will wane, so invest some time to create strong, exciting and 3 dimensional characters that appear larger than life. It helps to really get inside the skin of the characters and make them believable.

o Try to live through the story as you write it, feel every emotion and witness every event that unfolds. This gives your writing an extra and most important winning element.

o Edit ruthlessly and ensure that the specified word count has been adhered to. Editing is vital to ensure that any unnecessary words are eliminated. Never pad out a story unnecessarily, every word should be important.

o Develop your own style and a confidence in your work.

o Don’t leave it until the last minute to write your story. Whilst determination and a ticking clock can kick-start that all important creative process, having time to re-read and edit is paramount. Don’t waste a great storyline and a well-written piece of fiction through starting your story too late and submitting with spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

o Check out previous winning entries if available, then you are able to judge the standard and the types of stories that won and consider why.

o Think from a judge’s perspective, could your submission be improved and achieve greater winning potential?

Creating a winning story in creative writing contests is easy, but it takes great determination and forward planning to write original and well-thought out storylines that stand out from the crowd.

Annette Young
Freelance Writer/Editor

The Creative Competitor – The Writing Competition Specialists.

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