by Linda Thorne
I recently entered a writing contest for a short story I'd written a long time ago and was reminded of how these contests can get your creative juices flowing. I polished off my unpublished short story, revising and revising until I felt I'd reached perfection. I submitted it early for a contest that doesn't end until close to the end of the year, but it's a big contest, huge, even for those who don't win but make the finals. I not only felt satisfied, but totally motivated. This started me on another contest for my unpublished novel in the works. My work in progress is still in revision stage, but I'm plowing through it now. Why? Because I have a contest, and this time the deadline is early summer.
I'd forgotten the power writing contests always had over me. When I first started writing I entered them regularly. That magic feeling. For years I’d entered the Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition with my first book. They also have one for First Crime Novel. This contest is free for those mystery writers who have not yet published a novel and, if you win, it's traditional publication for your debut novel with an advance against future royalties of $10,000. The judges read your entire book. That’s an opportunity you don’t often find. That's gold! Sometimes I think the motivation to win this contest was what drove me to get the finished product I needed to find a publisher for my book. There is no second or third place winner in this competition only first place, or in the finals, or out of luck. I never won the contest, but for the last two consecutive years I entered, my book was a finalist. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has a novel in works (mystery or crime fiction), but has not yet published a novel.
Before I was published, I entered numerous writing contests regularly, not just for motivation, but for feedback from judges and an occasional critique thrown in as a bonus to those contests that charge fees for submissions. To me, the writing contests provided an invaluable learning tool.
Some other contests that I recommend to those seeking publication are: The Sandy Writing Contest, The PNWA Literary Contest, and The Colorado Gold Writing Contest.
Contests are motivational because there is a shorter-term possibility of getting something in return. You have a good reason to buff your submission. There’s the hope of a win of some sort. You’re given a deadline, so you meet it instead of dallying around. Then there's the precious worthwhile feedback many writing contests offer.
If you're trying to get published, seeking writing training, or want to get out of a writer's block mode, try submitting to a contest. If you do this, trust me, you'll really "get" what I've said here.
Linda Thorne Website
Book on Amazon - Kindle on Sale for 99 cents
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