On Entering Competitions by Wendy H. Jones
In a previous post here in More Than Writers I wrote about entering competitions. It was choc full of hints and tips I learned from entering several competitions and you can read it here. This month I thought I would give you feedback on the results and what I learned from the feedback I received.
Firstly, as you can probably gather the from the photo, I did win a first prize and was placed third in two other competitions. To say I was delighted would be an understatement. It's not often I am lost for words but I was genuinely lost for words after winning. I don't know how they do those Oscar speeches. This was for a non-fiction book and the adjudicator said it was informative, polished and ready to go, which I was delighted with. The competition was The Janetta Bowie Chalice for a non-fiction book and I entered the first 15,000 words of a non-fiction book. You are probably thinking this is nothing but a brag fest but that is not the case. This was not the only competition I entered. I entered several and for most did not get anywhere. So, what did I learn in the process.
Firstly the two third places. One was for a book review. Apparently the review was a strong contender for first place but I dropped down two places due to having used a couple of cliches. I have no problem with being told this as, when the field for entries is strong every single word you write counts. I now know that I must scrutinise my competition pieces, and my writing, in order to ensure every word and phrase earns its place in the manuscript. The other third place entry was for a self-published book. I was delighted that I received third and I will certainly take into account the feedback given for future books.
Now, on to the competitions where I was not placed. These were as follows:
A forty-five minute stage play. From this I certainly learned I am not a natural play writer. I stepped way out of my comfort zone but fully intend to use the feedback given to polish my play and perhaps use it for a future competition. Who knows.
A 3-5 minute sketch. I got good feedback on the dialogue and the sketch itself but I had not used a standard format which made it difficult to follow. This is fabulous feedback which will help me shape this one and write more in the future.
I entered two further book reviews which did not get placed. Also four flash fiction pieces which did not get placed. Again the feedback given will help me to shape my pieces and make them more highly polished.
I choose to see this not as failure but an opportunity to improve my writing and to learn from those who are more expert than I. I also had a a lot of fun writing them all, so the whole process was worthwhile. I would urge you to enter competitions as you will learn a lot about yourself and your writing in the process. I wish you the best of luck when you do.
About the Author
Wendy H Jones is the multi award-winning, Amazon #1 international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. Her Young Adult Mystery, The Dagger’s Curse was a finalist in the Woman Alive Readers' Choice Award. She is also the retired President of the Scottish Association of Writers, an international public speaker, and runs conferences and workshops on writing, motivation and marketing. She is the Editor in Chief of Mom's Favorite Reads Magazine and is currently in the process of producing Writers' Narrative a new magazine for writers, the first edition of which will be published in August 2023. She is also a partner in Auscot Publishing and Retreats an international publishing and writing retreat organisation. Wendy is represented by Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services.
Such good advice. I would love to win an award for writing. I'm so impressed you have, but have also taken so many lessons from your recent experiences. If we can learn from not being number one, we are far more likely to succeed.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Ruth. It’s never too late to enter and win. I am certainly no spring chicken. To be honest, I was dumbfounded.Delete
Yes, I think the added value of the particular competitions you entered is also the feedback each entrant gets, whether they are placed or not. That is so helpful. Often one can enter short story competitions (as I have done in the past), get nowhere, and never receive any feedback either, which is so frustrating! (Sheila aka SC Skillman).ReplyDelete
I agree, that is definitely an added bonus.Delete
Competitions are such good practice in writing to (a) themes and (b) deadlines. I've had pieces not get anywhere in a competition but go on to be published later on with some further polishing work done to them. Well done, Wendy. (Allison Symes).ReplyDelete
I couldn’t agree more, they are, indeed, an excellent writing discipline.Delete
Thank you for this Wendy. Entering competitions is something I plan to start doing after Easter. To know there is also valuable feedback to be gained is an extra incentive.ReplyDelete
Lovely post, Wendy.Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings.ReplyDelete