Monday, March 26, 2007

WRITING STUFF: CONTESTS AND COMPETITIONS AND FUN


WOO HOO! I got
Third Place in Miss Snark's 100 word Idols of March Writing Contest!

The rules were: 100 words exactly, and you had to use these words

Reacher


Helicopter

snazzy

moonbeam

Dan Lazar

griffin

In addition, there was a narrow time window in which you could submit your opus.

There were 200 entries and they were all a scream. Go to Miss Snark's Blog to read them all for a real treat.

Here's my number 92 along with Miss Snark's fab comments.

Entry 92



"Hey,Toots, you look pretty snazzy in those stilettos."

I turned, startled. It was Dan Lazar.

"You too," I lied. His Hawaiian shirt sported nude wahines and moonbeams on a purple background. "Are we waiting for the same helicopter?"

Dan threw his chewed stogie over the railing. "Guess so, just you and me, Baby. Reacher's with Barbara Bauer and Griffin signed with Publish America."

I heard the sound of the Fox News chopper. I once told Dan if he was the last agent in America I still wouldn't date him. Funny how wrong you can be when push comes to shove.



Miss Snark is rolling on the floor. Killer Yapp swallowed his stogie. Even Grandmother Snark, genteel to the end, is laughing like a loon. (Miss Snark's own comments!)

I really had fun writing this little bit – and it was free to submit. The prize for the winner was an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of the new Lee Child Jack Reacher novel, BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE. It went to entry #170, and well-deserved.

This is the second contest I have entered this year – I won a prize in the first one, which was a film tie-in for Warner Brothers' "The Good German". My prize was a poster for the film, quite nice. Again it was Flash Fiction and there was no entry fee, and the contest was sponsored by Tony Burton over at
Crime & Suspense.

So what's the deal with contests? Are they writing credits? Are they worth it? Are you supposed to pay an entry fee? Do you get prizes?

Writing contests can be fun. I like these short & sweet flash fiction contests. It's sorta like writing Guess the Plots for Evil Editor, where the prize is getting your one-liner published on Evil Editor's blog. They're not writing credits, they're more like fun writing exercises. They are free to enter – you lose nothing if you don't win, and you get some good practice. If you do win, you get the thrill of seeing your words somewhere. Sometimes you get a token prize – a book, a poster, some little item.

Some writing contests are full-blown wonders with legitimate publication and/or money as the prize. Sponsored by big magazines or publishing houses, they require only your best effort and may secure you a publishing contract, international exposure and maybe a fat check as well. If you have something to enter one of these contests with, by all means go for it.

Other writing contests require an entry fee. This usually works in small venues, like magazines or ezines, where you send in money with your contest entry. The money is then used to provide the prizes for the stories chosen. Many of these contests can be fun and are on the up and up, but I rarely (read never) submit to anything that wants me to pay. After all, that same story could be submitted to a paying market and maybe get me a legit publishing credit and a check. However, there are some very well-known and prestigious writing competitions which require an entry fee.

Writer's Digest has a very good writing competition. There's a $15 entry fee for short stories. The Lorian Hemingway competition charges $15 for stories postmarked by a certain date. WritersWeekly ezine sponsors a 24-hour short story competition which requires only a $5 entry fee.

If you want to pay and take a crack, by all means, go for it. Especially with smaller and free 'zines, sometimes there just isn't any other money to pay for prizes. I think I would think twice about paying a lot of money for a contest entry fee, but then everyone has a different idea of what too much and not much at all are. My advice is to investigate competitions thoroughly and go for those you feel strongly about or those you think you have a shot at winning.

And never underestimate the feeling you can get from seeing your work – even 100 words of fun nonsense – in print. I know Miss Snark made my day!


THREE BEAUTIFUL THINGS

A nandina filamentosa – tiny little plant! – in my new flowerbed. So feathery and light, it looks like it might fly.

My friend Nancy at the Cliff May lecture Friday night, eyes lit up, big smile, brown hair flying – it's always good to see your friends.

The two big kitties, Jack & Jeeves, who pretend not to get along when you're watching, sleeping together on the bed when they thought no one was looking.














8 comments:

Bernita said...

~chortle~
That entry to MS was truly perfect!

The GhostWriter said...

Hi Kate. Saw your post on absolute writer. I'm new to it. Am in Newport Beach, so close by. Was fascinated with your background and how you're doing after your stroke. My mother had one a year and a half ago, so I have worked with her and know what it's like.

So good to see you writing so much and so well. Keep it up. My website is www.theghostwriter.net Visit sometime.

Take care. inkum1

Kate Thornton said...

Thanks Bernita!

Ghostwriter - we are indeed practically neighbors - so sorry about your Mom. Physical therapy is hell, but it works. Love your new blog, too!

Kate

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

LOVED your 100 word opus! And it gave me an idea to do something similar as a contest on my web page.

You are so inspirational, dear friend.

XOXOXO

Kate Thornton said...

Sue Ann! What a pleasure to see you - yes, by all means, go for it!

Chumplet said...

My entry in Miss Snark's contest was 191 - the one where she kissed Dan. I suppose her reaction of 'AAAAACK!' was better than the last one I received.

I love Evil Editor's writing exercises. I haven't been participating lately but I think I should stick my pinky in one more time. I managed to get into his first book!

lowderwin said...

I love Evil Editor's writing exercises. I haven't been participating lately but I think I should stick my pinky in one more time. I managed to get into his first book!bulk sms from pc to mobileChristmas gift ideas

aloxo said...

Saw your post on absolute writer. I'm new to it. Am in Newport Beach, so close by. Was fascinated with your background and how you're doing after your stroke. My mother had one a year and a half ago, so I have worked with her and know what it's like.

So good to see you writing so much and so well. Keep it up.groupon south africaelectric bicycle conversion kit