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13 April 2011

Writing Competitions - A Case of Win or Lose?

The main aim of our writing group at Writers Abroad is to improve our writing through feedback, encouragement, support and to badger each other to seek publication. Part of this obviously means entering competitions. We've all had a bit of a dry period at the moment and the continual 'non-placement' of our stories can be a little daunting on an individual basis. So what are we doing wrong, if anything? We have quite a robust feedback mechanism which includes: characterisation, plot, dialogue, conflict, showing not telling - all the stuff that together should make a good story and we have an agreement to be honest and constructive.
All of our members have had publication of some sort or another so we know that we sometimes get it right and some members have had novels and novellas published, so we have a rich background to pull on. 

I know that this writing business is a very 'subjective' one and I suppose that's why some writers give up and opt for something which is maybe a bit more dependable. And perhaps my view of some of the 'winning' entries I read are a bit 'sour grapes' but some of them do seem to break all the rules of short story writing which is a little frustrating. 
I've come to the conclusion that there aren't winners or losers in writing competitions but there are only a limited amount of places for stories to be showcased. It's a bit like rolling the dice. That doesn't mean I've written a bad story, just not one that reached out to one or two judges. If my work was read by a whole panel of readers, it might be a different story. So I'm not giving up.
Can't be that certain about my commitment to a daily blog, though! 

Don't Think Just Write


Anonymous said...

Short stories are very, very subjective. Competitions that have only a couple of judges are bound to be so. It doesn't make it any easier when one's stories don't get anywhere, but there must be a lot of people in the same boat. At least at Writers Abroad you know you get good and honest criticism, which can only help.

Louise Charles said...

You are so right Vanessa and I know that my writing has improved tenfold with WA... our day will come!