Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some thoughts about writing contests

Yesterday I had the privilege of e-mailing the winners from January 3rd's writing prompt contest. While I've judged quite a few contests, I've never been the one in charge of notifying people. I loved it, yet also felt mindful of everyone who wouldn't be receiving an e-mail. Probably because I've never won or placed or done anything great in a writing contest.

So I have some thoughts to share.

Writing is not math or science
There's no perfect answer, and every reader feels differently about what's on the page. That's why I read reviews for my books that say they suck, yet receive e-mails from readers saying they loved them and had a life-changing experience. It's why my husband and I can read the same Jodi Picoult book and have completely different reactions. (We're eye-to-eye on Pride and Prejudice though, and that's what really counts.)

Not winning doesn't mean you lost
Which kinda sounds like a slogan on some motivational poster, but I think it's valid. Everybody is receiving feedback from the judges as soon as I pull it all together today. That's worth something. Maybe you didn't place, but you'll learn something.

Good for you for even entering
Because it's scary to have someone read your work. Even for those of us who do this for a career. I'm proud of everyone who entered, and when you receive your feedback, you'll find the judges were honest but encouraging.

Off to get e-mails ready. Have a wonderful Tuesday, guys. Be back here tomorrow to talk about creating a main character.


  1. I can definitely see why these entries were chosen, great job!!!

    Whoa! a husband who reads Jodi Piccult and P&P! wow :)

  2. And he read This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. He's a keeper.

    In exchange, I read the first Lord of the Rings and Ender's Game.

  3. Congrats to the winners! I'm sure you girls did a fabulous job. I have a question. For the writing prompts, can we enter them again? And how about if you win? Could you enter again? One more thing. Is the prompt just the next 100 words or the whole story? That's where I got mixed up :). Anyway congrats again, and God bless!

  4. ...personally I don't like P&P and I'm reading it right now lol. Its to old of writing for me and I can barely understand whats happening half the time.
    But when I do know what's happening I enjoy it.. sort of haha.

    I looked at my entry again and realized how sloppy it was... I was to excited when you posted the first writing prompt and didn't think about it and maybe go over it editing it for a day or two.
    This time I'm gonna write it slooowwlyyy lol.

    Congratzies to the winners! =)

    And thank you judges, personally, for my feedback on my 100 word blurb. I've been CRAVING good constructive criticism for my writing. Thank you!

  5. You can enter as many of the writing prompts as you like. I'm tallying the winners throughout the year and the overall top three finalists are will receive a yet-to-be-determined writers prize pack. So, really, it benefits you to enter them as often as you can.

    And it's not a short story, it's the next 100 words.

    You can see examples here: http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/p/2011-contest-winners.html

    And, Jazmine, I won't hold it against you :)

  6. Yeah, feeback is the best! I've never had people -- well, besides English teachers:P -- give it, and it's really helpful :)