Recently, I was asked to help judge the short story slow and steady wins the race expansion. The contest was general – there is no specific topic or topic required. Authors simply had to present a part of the imagination that did not exceed 2,500 words. I was not a final judge, but I was working as a “weeder” who helped “get rid of” the good from bad, and determine which of the twenty stories would go to the final.
I was excited at first to help judge the contest. However, with a few exceptions, you are soon bored and disappointed by the entries. While Reader Readers ‘Readers’ Awards sometimes receive poorly written books, most writers who write a full book have basic writing skills. However, short story contests attract a wider range of writers from high school students to illustrators and publishers. Many contestants hope to win further or launch their own writing careers, so beginners are usually engaged.
Here are some tips for authors to highlight their short stories and noted by contest judges. Surprisingly, while writing quality is necessary, many of the short stories that have governed it have made this cut because other contestants simply showed a lack of common sense and inability to follow instructions.
Payment of competition fees
Most competitions have an entry fee. These fees may be less than $ 5.00 or as many as several hundred dollars. In any case, if you will enter, you must pay the fees. In the contest where I helped, we had many participants who did not pay the fees. We still take the time to read the stories, and then we called those we thought deserved to go to the final round to ask them to pay the fees. However, we had a few who did not pay so it was not a big issue. Many contests get hundreds of entries and no one wants to waste time chasing people to pay a fee or delay the process while waiting for the check to arrive by mail. Calculate in most competitions, if there is no entry fee associated with the story, the story goes directly to rejection.
Follow the submission instructions
Competitions In order to be fair, we must judge the contestants anonymously. As a result, most stories are presented with a cover sheet with the author’s name on them, but the story itself must have a title and title of the story and not the name of the author. Cover sheets are for administrative purposes and removed from stories to prevent judges from favoring competitors who know them. Failure to follow this simple manuscript submission process can lead to rejection simply because it gives the author an unfair advantage over other contestants if the author’s judges know.
Commitment to boundaries
The contest helped to judge by a maximum of 2500 words. Word limits are restricted from contests for practical reasons. The published story usually ends, and if it is in a paper publication, only a large area is available. Moreover, it is easier to organize the contest if the judges expect to have 100 stories of the same length of 100 ranging from 100 words to the length of the novel. Even judges have a lot of time in a day and it takes a long time to read all those stories. Most competitions will ask the contestant to put the length of the word on the cover page. If you have written your story with Microsoft Word, go to the Tools menu to check the number of words. Do not go through a word. Play rules.
However, I was surprised not only by the number of stories that clearly exceeded the number of words, but were less than them. Many entries were less than 1,000 words. They do not simply have a plot and develop personalities from longer stories so they can compete against others. Try to stay close to the limit of the word, at least a few hundred words at least.
Learn about the publication
If you have never entered this contest before and have not read any of the previous winning stories or any of the publications where the winning story will be published, you will have less chance of winning. You do not have to subscribe to the publication, but most publications will have a website where you can read previous versions or the competition itself has a website where you can read previous winning stories. Reading the previous winners will give you an idea of what kind of story you might win.
Look at the writing styles of the latest winning stories. If you are not embellished but your story is, it probably will not work. The same with obscene language – if the publication is directed to conservative readers, it is unlikely to please the sentences of NATO statements and scenes of sexual steam readers so judges are not likely to consider your story.