Monday, July 5, 2010

Contests---Should You Enter Them??????

The answer is rather easy. Yes.

Many author's, agent's, and editor's sites often host contests and help; such as for queries. Some are first lines contests, pitch contests, secret agent contests, and so forth and so on.

These contests open a great opportunity for published and unpublished authors alike and give you a great opportunity to have a variety of people offer advice and writing help. Which, in turn, gives you a different perspective.

As you know, part of the writing process is learning. A perpetual Ferris Wheel ride where you are always stuck going round and round and never getting off.

Sounds dreary? Horrible? Unimaginable?

Impossible! Surely, one becomes a master at writing; only to one day construct the world's best novel ever.

Too bad. That's not the way it works. You will never ever become a master at the craft of writing. Sure, you will get better, you will make better word choices and sentence choices, you will find better ways to express the pictures in your head, but you will never master.

Now back to the point......

Take for instance--the time you spend on editing your story. You finish your story, read through it, send it to beta readers, revise, edit, read through it, sent it to beta readers, revise, edit...rinse and repeat. How often have you come across a sentence that can at least be written differently like a hundred times. The sentence says the same thing, but it can say it in different ways. How do you know which one is the best way for your novel? How do you choose?

You most certainly have your beloved writing group, your beta readers, your family. But getting help from people you don't even know, never had communicate with over the phone, internet, in person, gives one a completely different perspective. And a great way to come across such people is by joining different contests where readers, agents, and such get to offer tidbits of advice.

And even better is the fact that a lot of these contests offer priceless prizes. Maybe a critique, or a chance to submit your work, or other writing related things. Things too good to pass up. Things that might really help you improve.

You will be putting yourself out there, because most of the contests post your entries on their blogs. Yes, complete strangers will be reviewing and critiquing your work. Yes, some comments might feel heart breaking heart wrenching like someone is digging into your chest with nothing more than the tips of their fingers and yanking your heart out through a tiny hole.

But as I said before...Writing is a non-ending learning process. Take whatever advice works for you and use it.


  1. contests also help you meet folks--yay! :o) great post, e.~

    thanks for "playing" in mine! ;o)

  2. Excellent point. It is a wonderful way to meet new peeps and find new blogs.

  3. I'm a BIG fan of contests. I sold Sweet Charity to Red Sage through the Land Of Enchantment Romance Authors (New Mexico Chapter) Rebecca Contest.

    Nice Blog, E. :-)

  4. Hey, a question for you.

    You mention your writing group, but how does one find a good one? I've joined up with tons since I started seriously writing, and they always end up not working out for one reason or another. What do you look for in a writing group? How do you find a good one?

  5. I know where you are coming from there. As a matter of fact it is very hard to get a good one going on line. As has been my experience and I know it's been yours too.

    I don't have a writing group. What I have done is when a fellow writer is looking for a beta reader, I've offered to help them if I had the time.

    Then we switch mss. That tends to work out well. :)

  6. Great post! It is so true too, contest, writing sites all of these are awesome ways to get the advice sometimes you just need to hear. Not that you want to, but need to, because these are not only strangers, but readers as well. that's how i see them. Readers ready to judge and pick apart anything and everything written. But with that wonderful and sometimes dreadful criticism we can hone and make are story that much better. =)

  7. I agree contests are a great way to meet people and to learn loads of information. I must also say it is hard not to get carried away with them. I do love me a good contest! It is hard to find the balance between writing and those fun contests.

  8. Great post! And so true. I haven't entered a TON of contests, but I've learned so much from the few I have entered.