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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Wright

How to Enter a Story Writing Contest

1. Don’t think about the odds of winning. Consider this simple math: 10,000 entries; 1 grand-prize winner. The odds are against you. Especially with that attitude. Now you know, so forget about it and enter the contest anyway.

2. Choose a story you really love. Even if it’s not finished. Work on it – write it, revise it, edit it, do whatever you have to do. You love this story, so believe that others will love it too. And if you don’t win the contest, entering it forced you to finally finish a story you love.

3. Read the contest rules! What are they looking for? A suspenseful dystopian fantasy love triangle? Probably not. There’s already a contest going on for that particular type of story in the unwritten code of contemporary YA novel writers. (I’m joking, of course.) Is it a love story contest? Write your best love story. Is it a fantasy contest? Send in your best fantasy. Whatever it is, make sure it’s the right length in the right genre and follows the contest rules – because the truth is, it won’t make it far if it doesn’t even follow the rules.

4. Try not to listen to others’ criticism if it’s not constructive. Dedicated writers know that it takes time, effort, and a world of patience to work on something for so long with the hope that it will become something worthwhile. People without this kind of ambition don’t understand, so don’t fret over what they have to say about it.

5. Don’t be discouraged if your story doesn’t win first place. It’s nothing personal. Really. It doesn’t mean your story is bad. In fact, your story could be amazing, epic, and beautiful. Why not find another venue for it – another contest, a publisher, self-publishing. Whatever you do, don’t give up on it. If you love the story and you want it in readers’ hands, give it your best efforts to get it there.

6. If you do win the contest, congratulations! Why not write about it and share your experience with other aspiring writers?

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