Monday, March 10, 2014

Go Teen Writers: 1,000 Word Writing Contest!


Well, look at that...



We're celebrating this milestone in true Go Teen Writer fashion—with a 1,000 word contest!

Here's how it'll work:

1. Starting this Thursday (March 13th) we will  be open for submissions. That means, we are NOT open for submissions yet. We want you to have several days to get your entries ready so that no one is tempted to be all rushy-rushy and crank something out in the next five minutes.

We will be open for contest submissions Thursday, March 13th - Monday, March 17th OR until we receive 200 entries. 

Believe me, the choice to limit the contest like this has been a long discussion between me and Jill. But because we're the first round judges (see point three on how judging will work) and we're the ONLY first round judges, we knew we had to limit the contest in some capacity so we could still be (relatively) sane people at the end of March. Even with limiting the contest to 200 submissions, that's still 200,000 words for us to read. If you have an issue with the limitations and would like to discuss it with me, you may email me here.

2. When you submit your entry, it will be no more than 1,000 words. We highly recommend that it be the first 1,000 words of your story, but that decision is yours. We also highly recommend that you not conclude your entry in the middle of a sentence. It's very jarring as a judge. It's better to submit 972 words of complete sentences and thoughts than it is to leave us off in the middle of a sentence or explanation but use all 1,000 words. (If you're confused about word count, there'll be an explanation below.)

3. This contest will have three rounds of judging. Jill and I will work together to compile a list of finalists. We will give those entries to the very talented Shannon Dittemore (author of Angel Eyes series) and Laura Anderson Kurk (author of Glass Girl and Perfect Glass) who will select their absolute favorites. Their favorites will get sent on to Amanda Luedeke (Literary agent, MacGregor Literary) and she will pick the winner.

We feel so grateful to Shannon, Laura, and Amanda who are donating their time and talent to helping us make this contest happen.

Other questions you may have:

Where do I submit my entry?: You can't right now.

Can I email my 1,000 words to you right now?: No.

I don't see how to submit my entry. How do I do that?: You wait until Thursday the 13th.

(Okay, fine, questions you might ACTUALLY have):

Who is this contest for?: This contest is restricted to writers age 21 and younger, who are not traditionally published, and who do not have an agent.

How many times can I enter?: One entry per person.

Will I get feedback on my entry?: We will do our best to give each of you something helpful and concrete that you can apply to your writing. But Jill and I also have young kids and books of our own to write, so we won't be able to line edit or talk over specifics with everybody.

If I win, do you publish my entry on your website?: We would never publish your entry without asking your permission. When we publish winning entries, it's because the author has told us it's okay.

How do I find the word count?: Every time we do a contest, someone is thrown off by word count and sends me something grossly incorrect. The industry standard for word count is Microsoft Word. In my old Word, I think you had to go to "Tools" and then "Word count." The current version I have (2010, I think) keeps track of it down below:

See that place circled in red in the bottom left corner? There's your word count.
Or you can also go to the review menu and find it here:



Another option is using a site like WordCounter.net.

One final note: When Jill and I talked about how we could possibly make a 1,000 word contest work, we knew we had to put some kind of limitation on it. There are only two of us, and while the Go Teen Writers blog and community are very important, they're only a portion of our professional responsibilities. While it pains us that the limitations we've put on the contest (only accepting 200 entries and staying open to submissions only for a few days) will inevitably exclude some writers, we hope you can understand why we needed the restrictions in place.

As it is, Jill and I will be reading and providing feedback for 200,000 words free of charge, and that will take up a lot of time and energy. We're happy to give back in this way to a community that we're blessed to be a part of, but we still have to put boundaries in place to remain healthy.

Any other questions I can help answer? 

132 comments:

  1. YAY!!! Congrats on 1004 followers, Stephanie and Jill!! Super exciting!!! =D
    Ooh! I can't wait to enter! =) I'll definitely be doing this!! *winks*
    A couple questions I have:

    --So, no prompt? We just write?
    --Does it have to be a certain POV?

    Thanks so much for doing this Stephanie and Jill!! Thank you Shannon Dittemore, Laura Anderson Kurk, and Amanda Luedeke for judging!! =D

    TW Wright
    Ravens and Writing Desks

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    1. No prompt! You can either write something new or you can submit 1,000 words from a work-in-progress. (Again, we recommend the first 1,000 words rather than a sample from the middle.)

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    2. Hey, since you have 1,004 followers, can we write 1,004 words? Haha, I'm kidding... I think I'll enter part of Painted Skies, my recent novel idea (lol; it's not that great...) CAN'T WAIT!!

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    3. Stephanie, does it need to be double-spaced? Certain font or size? Just wondering...

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    4. You guys will be submitting via form, not attachment (I've done that before - it's madness!) so don't worry about that.

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    5. One more thing... is it supposed to be a synopsis?

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  2. This is extremely exciting! Congratulations on reaching 1000+ followers. That`s great.
    And Shannon and Laura judging round two and Amanda judging the finals, woah.

    I know what I`ll be doing the next couple of days: editting, editting, oh and did I mention editting? Thank you for this amazing opportunity Stephanie and Jill.

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  3. This is so exciting! I remember the 100 follower mark and now look at us! Just to give us a ball park estimate of hos fast 200 entries will fill up, how many entries did you guys get on the last contest?

    Thanks Stephanie and Jill! It's been a great journey so far! And thanks to the other judges too.

    ~Sarah Faulkner

    inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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    1. I would guess it'll fill up faster than we would like :) To be super safe, I would get it in on Thursday. We had 258, I believe, in the last contest. But 100 words is a different time commitment than 1,000, of course. For the writers and for us too!

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  4. Congrats on 1004 followers! And yay, contest! Now I have to decide what to enter . . . this sounds like a lovely excuse to take a break from my current WIP and focus solely on rewriting. Except I really shouldn't just stop. Oh well. YAY REASON TO START REWRITING/EDITING!

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  5. Thank you so much for the contest!
    A couple questions, do we have to be followers? Or is it OK to just follow by e-mail or just be a visitor?
    Also, it's OK, right, that I haven't finished even the first draft of the story? About 3000-3500, I think.
    Again, thanks so much for the opportunity.

    http://teensliveforjesus.blogspot.ru

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    1. The only rules about who can enter are: Age 21 and younger, who are not traditionally published, and who do not have an agent. If you fit that criteria, you can enter. And we don't mind at all that you haven't finished your first draft.

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  6. Let me get my kids off to school this morning, and then all questions will be answered :-)

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  7. Congratulations on so many followers! This contest sounds amazing, I can't wait!
    Quick question (for when you get home of course ;D), if you have a header/title/intrp-outro line (not part of the actual story body, more like a header at the beginning and end of a chapter) does that count towards your word total?

    God bless,
    Kezle

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    1. All words will count, yes, so I would advise just starting with the story.

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    2. Alright, thank you! Now let the editing begin!

      God bless,
      Kezle

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  8. Yay! Thank you to all the judges! This gives me a reason to rewrite the beginning now instead of let!

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  9. Yay!!! I can't wait to be able to submit my work. I know what I'll be doing this afternoon, editing. :-D

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  10. Oh I did think of question right now. When entering the submission, do we mention when it is British English formatted rather than American? Soley for the purpose to make sure there is no confusion about how it is formatted?

    Thank you!

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    1. We have so many international entries that I always remind our judges they'll come across the British variations of words and punctuation. No worries :)

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  11. Can the piece be nonfiction (like a personal essay)?

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    1. If it feels like the opening of a story, then yes. Otherwise, I wouldn't advise it.

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  12. I am very much looking forward to entering this contest! But I do have one question... do we have to submit a piece from a WIP, or can it just be an entire story in 1,000 words (short story/flash fiction, whatever you want to call it)?

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    1. Wondering the same question - could I just write a short story instead of using my current novel?

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    2. It's not a flash fiction contest, so I would advise entering something that at least feels like the beginning of a story.

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  13. Hey!
    So I have a story I'm working on right now. Is it ok to submit 1,000 words of your first chapter even if the story isn't finished yet? Or is the whole reason for this is to get an agent?

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    1. Submit whatever you feel is strongest and you would most like feedback on, I say. I think that's where the value is.

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    2. Ok, I'll give this a go. Thanks so much, you've helped in the past and I'm excited about my WIP :)

      Delete
  14. I'm so excited about this! I just have to decide which 1,000 words of which WIP I'll submit. Just one question... Do the winners win any prizes or anything?

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    1. Feedback from amazing authors and an agent :)

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    2. The feedback is prize enough, but to include an agent is incredible.
      Thank you for the creative ways to help young writers!

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  15. Ah super! Also nerve wracking, since I'm not sure any of my beginnings are solid enough. But this looks to be really fun!

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  16. Oh, this looks like fun! I'm guessing I can't enter, but I'll ask anyway. I'm not agented or published, but I am contracted. So....yeah. Does that still count? :)

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    1. I appreciate your honesty, Stephanie :) If it's with a traditional publisher, than yeah, it counts. But congratulations on your contract!

      Delete
  17. Congrats on over 1,000 followers! :D How exciting! And this sounds like such a great contest - thank you everyone!

    So, I have a first draft that I'm currently editing/revising, and then I have a sequel that I'm currently writing for it . . . could I do either of those?

    Thank you!

    -Patience

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    1. Thank you so much! Also, what time do submissions open, and what time zone is that?

      Thanks again!!

      -Patience

      Delete
  18. This is like-hip hip hooray! I've got one small question. Is it ok if I use Open Office for my entry? There is word count on it, but I was just wondering.

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    1. I think Open Office's word counter is the same. Seems like it would be.

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  19. I'm really looking forward to entering this contest!

    I'm really grateful for it too, because I had reached a slump in my book and had considered setting it aside for a while, thinking I should start working on something else and wait a few years to pick this one up again. I was really up in the air about it, praying, going back and forth and asking a friend for advice. Today, I was about to officially set it aside and start working on my next project when I saw this contest and decided I should enter it, and keep working on my book. Thank you so much for letting me know that this is the story that I feel God wants me to write right now, and for the incredible opportunity. I'm really excited to get started. =)

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    1. Praise the Lord, Kati!! So excited for you!! :)

      -Patience

      http://nanowrimo.org/participants/thededicatedpen

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    2. Wow, thank you both so much!

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  20. On the verge of hyperventilating because there can only be 200 entries out of a 1000, one winner, an a LITERARY AGENT INVOLVED!!!! Breathe...

    Okay, so question: Do you take our entries into Word and check the word count that way? Because I think Word counts hyphenations, like "thirteen-year-old" as one word. That may present a problem. :/

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    1. Word is the industry standard, so that's what we use, yes.

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  21. Should this be a whole story or the beginning of one, or does it matter?

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    1. The beginning of one. A whole story would be flash fiction, and that's not what we're after.

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  22. Amanda Luedeke... is judging... last round...

    Excuse me while I repeatedly die and revive myself.

    One question: What are you going to be judging the entries on? Are there any specific things that you'll look out for?

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    1. Here's the sheet our judges will be using: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xc7n893WwZ3vAbpaV6rqHmk3vQA-_GbfoJQ1j60bHmY/edit?usp=sharing

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  23. Is there a minimum word count that it can be?

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    1. Not technically, but I wouldn't go lower than 950. Otherwise it'll feel less developed than the others.

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    2. Perfect!! Thank you!

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  24. I'm getting a short story published in June. Am I still eligable to enter? Also, is there a specific topic to write about? And should it be like a short story or could it be an excerpt of a longer story?

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    1. Yes, you're still eligible. And congratulations!

      No specific topic. And it should read like the opening of a bigger story.

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    2. Oh yay! And thanks; I'm really excited. :P

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. What time will it be open to submissions on Thursday? This sounds so awesome!

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  27. Thank you so much! Also, what time do submissions open, and what time zone is that? Thank you again! :D Very exciting! :D

    -Patience

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    1. Man, just disregard that - accidentally hit "reply" in the wrong place! :/

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    2. Great! :) Thank you so much!

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  28. Ugh. Just aged out of this contest a few months ago. :( Any chance of contests for 21+ writers sometime??

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    1. ^ Yes... this. :D Any chance? ;)

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    2. Lol. We might someday, but there's nothing in the works right now :)

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  29. Ah... too bad I'm four years over the age limit. lol! :D ;)

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  30. I'm so excited about this contest! Thank you so much for hosting it.

    I have a question about the 200 entries limit. Are people from non US timezones going to be disadvantaged? Even though I know you post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I receive the email with the post really early on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

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    1. We're open for submissions at 6am on Thursday ... after much debate about that very topic.Because any time we pick would be bad for SOMEBODY. So we went with the time we normally post.

      But I would Google, "What time is it Kansas City?" and figure out the time difference so you can be sure to get your entry in during the right time/day.

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  31. Another question: there is, of course, the 'too much internal monologue' in the feedback form. What if that'a just my character? Really, she thinks a LOT.

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    1. Yeah . . . mine's written in first person, and I have quite a bit of internal monologue as well. Also, is 1,000 words enough to base a whole novel off of?

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    2. There's a difference between a character who thinks a lot and a writer leaning too much on internal monologue to tell the story. It's when you use the internal monologue for too much telling that it becomes a problem. Like Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars thinks a lot, but I wouldn't say that book has too much internal monologue.

      I posted on it back in the fall: http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-to-write-your-characters-thoughts.html

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    3. As to your question, TheDedicatedPen, you asked: "Is 1,000 words enough to base a whole novel off of?" I'm assuming you mean is it enough to judge from. I used to think the same thing when I was a new writer and I heard agents or editors say they only needed a page (and often less) to determine if they were going to like something.

      That seemed ridiculous to me. How could they possibly know?

      But now - with all the contest reading and critiques I've done - I would say that you can tell a surprising amount from the first page. The mood and style in which your book opens should reveal what the rest of the book will be like and what the reader can expect from you. That's why its ineffective to write an opening that's vastly different from what the rest of your book is like.

      But, to your point, it's possible to write a fabulous 1,000 word opening for a terrible story. That's why agents and editors ask for synopses and why they often request a partial before a full.

      Delete
    4. Yes, that's exactly what I meant - thank you. :) Very interesting, and thank you so much for sharing all this with me. It was very helpful! I must admit that I was partially horrified to find out how very, very small 1,000 words is in a 107K novel. ;) Lol. Yet I am as excited as I am nervous. :)

      I just have one last question, Mrs. Morrill: for the submissions, will the writer be able to give a summary of the novel itself before the 1K?

      Thank you so much again for everything! This site has been such a blessing to me and my writing, and I really appreciate you and Mrs. Williamson taking the time to answer our comments. :) I know that means A LOT to me as an aspiring author. :)

      -Patience

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  32. This looks like so much fun! :) How many winners will there be?

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    1. Probably a top five with one overall winner.

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  33. Praise the Lord, Kati!!! So excited for you!!

    -Patience

    http://nanowrimo.org/participants/thededicatedpen

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  34. Does it matter if you haven't finished your first draft? Or taken the time to write a synopsis yet?
    Congrats on the 1000 followers!

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  35. Congrats on a bunch of followers! :) I was thinking yesterday about what I'm going to enter in the contest, and several stories popped into my head. I sure wont have trouble finding a story to use, but I did have a few questions. If the story is from a novel I'm working on, can I include a little introduction so the reader will know what has happened in the novel up until the story begins? also, if I do include an intro, will the words in it be counted towards the 1000 word limit? Last, does the winner win anything?

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    1. Would you suggest using the beginning of the novel rather than a story from somewhere in the middle?

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    2. Yes. As stated in point 2: "We highly recommend that it be the first 1,000 words of your story, but that decision is yours. We also highly recommend that you not conclude your entry in the middle of a sentence. It's very jarring as a judge. It's better to submit 972 words of complete sentences and thoughts than it is to leave us off in the middle of a sentence or explanation but use all 1,000 words."

      Delete
  36. Thank you for the time your spending on answering comments, but I was wondering if font color would count against you? I have two POVs and I separate them with different colors in my font. So.....would font and color count against a person?

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    1. You'll be submitting via form rather than attachment, so you won't be able to use different colors.

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  37. May I enter if I am not a member of the site? I've tried to become a member, but it isn't working for some crazy reason.

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  38. SO you're taking only the first 200 entries? Isn't that kinda unfair to those who are from a different time zone or can't get on the computer in the am, because they have to go to school?

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    1. I understand that feeling ... but at the same time, even with the limitation, Jill and I are taking on the task of reading (and providing feedback on) 200,000 words. Twice as long as a regular book. And coordinating logistics for judges and sending emails with feedback to 200 individuals.

      In doing that, we're giving up time that we could spend writing, being with our families, reading, etc. And we're doing it for free.

      Delete
  39. Will we know if we didn't get in on the first 200?? That jus occurred to me haha. No big deal if we don't but I figured I could ask. :)

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    1. Yes, when the contest is closed, I'll take down the form :)

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    2. Okeday! sounds good, thanks! :)

      Delete
  40. If the first chapter of my novel is longer than 1000 words, do I just shorten the chapter or only submit everything from the chapter up until the 1000 word point?

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    1. I wonder the same thing. Would we be able to edit our first chapter, shorten it so that it makes more sense?

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    2. It's not a first chapter contest, it's a one thousand word contest. So I would recommend just using the first 1,000 words of your chapter

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  41. Can the story be based around an existing story? I think my best bet is some work from one of my English lessons, and it was based around an old story (Hey you down there by Harold Rolseth, pretty good read)

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    1. Scratch that, I saw you say a beginning of a story, and that's completed, and it wouldn't reach 500 words probably, so I've got something else.

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    2. Yes, a story beginning, rather than a complete story.

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  42. Looking over the judging form. If you were attempting first place (which, of course, we all are), is it a goal to strive to get ALL the good points on the form and none of the bad? What does a winning entry's grading form look like?

    And are the entries judged on story/attention getter/concept kind of way? Say one is a well written story about a dog, and the next is a story about an American who accidentally gets himself enlisted in Al Qaeda. Does the second story already have a one up on the first just because of the concept?

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    1. Regarding the judging form, we've had people final or win before but also receive an item or two of constructive criticism. If a writer tells a line or two that we think would be better shown, but everything else is creative and wonderful, we'll comment but still advance them to the next round.

      Sometimes there are entries that didn't do anything wrong, and they're very enjoyable reads that we liked a lot. But they don't win because we liked another one a little more.

      I think it's similar to how you are as a reader. You probably have lots of books you love, but one or two favorites. Even if you can't quite articulate what it is that makes those books more dear to you than the others.

      We really shouldn't know much of your concept in the first thousand words, I don't think. Judging these contests feels like picking up a book and flipping to the first page without glancing at the cover or back cover copy. The writing alone has to do the work.

      Delete
    2. Okay, thank you! Looking forward to this contest! (The reason I asked about the concept was, looking back on previous winning entries, most of them had an odd, unexpected twist that made me go, "No way, cool!!") Thanks for the info, very helpful! :)

      Delete
  43. Congrats on 1000+ followers! I absolutely love your site, it has helped my writing so much. I have seen contests before where if you enter you cannot submit your work anywhere else. Is that true for this or could I later submit it as a manuscript? Thank you for the amazing contest!!!

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    1. Kat, your work totally belongs to you. If you were to win, we wouldn't even post it on the site without your permission.

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    2. Ok. Thank you! Looking forward to this contest!

      Delete
  44. Where will the form be tomorrow morning?

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    1. Just come to the blog and you'll see it!

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  45. Seems like fun, cannot wait to enter!

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  46. Is fanfiction allowed?

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    1. We would prefer original characters, thanks :)

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    2. Alright, thanks for responding!

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  47. Is it OK to end the story on a bit of a cliffhanger? I know what story I want to enter, but I can't seem to find a place to end it without it either having too many words, too few words, or in a kind of random spot!

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  48. Do gramar mistakes count against you? Also, is "half a dozen" (people) spelled like that or like "half-a-dozen"? Thanks

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    1. I think they do. And I don't know the correct one, but I always use half dozen. You could put six just to be safe.

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  49. Are we supposed to do paragraphs? I've never been good at figuring ouybwhere to intent :\

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    1. Oops, I meant ''out where'' not ''ouybwhere'' and ''indent'' instead of ''intent'' Sorry about that!

      Delete
  50. Thanks again. Thought of two more questions. Number 1, just to make sure, this is totally anonymous, right? As in you won't see our names when you're reading the stories? And how many stories of the 200 are you and Jill passing to the second round, and how many go to the third? Thank you so much for doing this (and for answering what seems like a billion questions)

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    1. Completely anonymous, and probably about twenty, and then five.

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  51. Here I am at 6:56 EST. The time has COME!!!

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    1. I'm here too... GAH I'm so nervous! *reloads page* *reload* *reload* *reload*

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    2. YES!!! finally!! I've entered so now I can go back to sleep:)

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  52. 11:36 a.m. : I'M SO HAPPY! ;D I just officially entered in the contest!

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  53. do you know about how long it will be before we hear from someone if we've won?

    ReplyDelete

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