I’m still here and still writing!
I mentioned last week that I have been studying the Writers Bureau course – Writing Competitions – the way to win. I have enjoyed the course and got a lot from it and am looking forward to selecting a competition and submitting my proposed entry for tutor feedback.
Things that stood out for me and may be useful to others out there are as follows:
• The importance of successful shortlist entries or wins as an indication of success for potential publishers – this is not just the novel publishers but also the short story magazines or any other avenue that may consider your work.
• Always get an appraisal if offered – firstly this is a cheap appraisal service and secondly the comments will be straight from the judges mouth and next time you submit an entry with the same judge you have some insider information.
• Target the competitions you enter – select ones you have the most chance of winning.
• Do not use competitions as a last stop resort for stories refused by magazines – especially your womag stories – apparently short story judges are not looking for the twist in the tail all the time.
• Always write a specific entry – never re hash an old piece (they actually say rarely re hash but for me I think never is more appropriate).
• Start with localised competitions that have difficult themes, high entry fees, an appraisal service and a genuine publication opportunity. In other words avoid the general any subject free to enter competitions that will encourage the world and his wife to put pen to paper.
• Consider the publishing opportunity being offered, do you want your work published alongside hundreds of others and lost in a vast tome that may actually cost you purchase.
• Treat competitions with respect and give them the research time they deserve a win can be worth far more, credibility wise, than publication in a magazine.
The entire course gave me food for thought and I cringed at many points as I realised my previous mistakes and also how many plots are over used and a turn off for judges unless extremely well presented.
I recognise now that I tend to write my stories and then try to fit them to a market or competition. This will not work.
I will still write my stories as they enter my head but I will face the potential market opportunities with more objectivity in the future and if I end up with a collection of best ever short stories with no evident market then I will create my own market and publish them in some way. However, I will also target competitions in my chosen genre to get the wins under my belt.
Enough for now, not sure if I will manage a post next week as I will be in Norway with my son and beautiful grandchildren.
Till next time.