Writing competitions are highly important today. If you win, you will get a lot of benefits, especially if you want to publish your book in the traditional way. But, even if you plan on self-publishing, winning a writing contest will help you get your name out there. You will stop being an anonymous new writer, but a new writer that is relatively known in the publishing world. And that can change things for you in a very good way, especially when the time comes for you to publish a novel. This is why we have gathered some tips below to help you win a writing contest and set off your writing career with a bang.
1. Plan ahead
When it comes to winning a writing contest, time is of the essence. You are not going to win if you submit a piece of work you haven’t had enough time to work properly on. This is why you should plan ahead, months, even a year, especially if you are planning in participating in an annual contest. Even if your submission will go to a short story contest, and need a lower word count than a novella or a novel, you would still need time to make it perfect.
2. Learn the guidelines
Writing a short story first and then looking for a contest where you can submit that short story might not be the best idea for winning that contest. Writing competitions have guidelines that you should follow to the T, otherwise your submission might be discarded without even being read by the committee. This is why it’s important to have enough time to prepare your submission, because you must ensure your work will fit every rule and guideline – from word count, to theme, genre and everything else. Of course, you can tweak an already written short story, novella or novel to fit everything, but be prepared to change a lot of the original material for a competition.
3. Follow the rules
Follow the rules of writing: write what you know, and remember that writing contests are the wrong places to submit an experimental piece of fiction or non-fiction work. For example, maybe you want to use apostrophe marks instead of quotation marks to indicate dialogue. Quotation marks are traditionally used for dialogue, instead of apostrophes. Your submission for the writing contest might be discarded if the committee doesn’t accept apostrophes as the right way to indicate dialogue. That is just one example where even the most minor experimentation might lose you a contest. So, keep within the rules. If you want to experiment, do it in a different way – a blog, your novel, novella, but do not experiment in the submissions for a writing contest.
4. Keep the theme
A lot of writing competitions ask for submissions that will revolve around a certain theme. It might be essays on worldwide problems, or short stories that will reverberate with a certain subject. Whatever it is, you must submit a writing piece that will work with the theme. If the theme is romance, you can’t submit a science fiction story that doesn’t have romance in it. However, unlike with the rules and guidelines, nothing says that you are not allowed to experiment. When it comes to keeping a theme within your story, you can look at that theme from many angles, think outside the box, and even surprise the committee with your submission.
5. Make it shine
You will need to edit your work, proofread it, and then do everything all over again. You are submitting your work in order to win – which is why you will need to check and re-check every word, every paragraph, every chapter until you are more than 100% sure that everything is perfect. There is a difference between submitting your work to an agent, a publishing house or an editor – you are probably going to get feedback, and a reason why you have or haven’t been chosen. But, in writing competitions, you’re highly unlikely to get feedback, so polish your work until it shines, so that at least you know that you’ve submitted the best of your work.
Image credit: Pixabay [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.