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Thursday's thing to love...CONTESTS!

The Rich Writer: Thursday's thing to love...CONTESTS!

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday's thing to love...CONTESTS!

Pictured here are some of the winners of last year's PPWC Paul Gillette Memorial Writing Contest ( That's me in front, in black, hoping my friend Colleen won't jab me in the ribs before the photographer finishes....
You gotta love writing contests. They're a great way to get exposure to editors and agents. Often, contests also offer the option of a written critique, providing valuable feedback from someone with more writing experience. Besides, they give us a deadline, which is never a bad thing.
Right now, I'm preparing for the 2008 Paul Gillette Writing Contest again. This is a contest for unpublished writers (*unpublished in book-length fiction only*) and it includes categories for both children's and YA authors as well as multiple adult categories. The top three entries in each category go through a final round of VIP judging by an editor. It sure beats the slush pile as a way to access an editor's eye!

Like any contest, (and like publishing, for that matter,) judging is subjective. My manuscript, The Last Violin, placed first last year in the children's category--but I know of several manuscripts that I consider just as good, if not better, that didn't place at all. I have friends who received incredibly valuable feedback on their manuscripts, and others whose judges didn't seem to get their entries at all. There's definitely a bit of luck involved...but if your writing is beautiful, if your story is well-structured, and if your dreaded synopsis is coherent, you stand a decent chance of rising to the top of the stack. And with a little luck, you might even win.

It's risky, of course. Writing always is. But hey, risk gets easier with practice, so why not?

:) Cheryl

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