Is A Writing Contest Like Walking On A Hot Bed Of Coals? Enter One and See

Entering a contest according to one writer is “somewhere between walking on a hotbed of coals and waterboarding” even though it is worthwhile. Another categorizes writers who entered lots of contests as contest junkies or contest whores. She clearly had a love-hate relationship with contests. I’m not sure I agree with either writer.iStock_000009040043Small-150x150
Before entering any writing competition it’s wise to check out the group’s reputation before entering. Having entered a few, I can tell you there are good ones and bad ones. The quality of the feedback is very important. I entered one where I received no feedback even after contacting the contest coördinator. I certainly didn’t win, but I at least expected to get a critique or a score back on the manuscript. Comments such as “the writer really needs to learn to tell a story before entering a contest” or receiving a score above 3 which requires no comment is just not helpful. However, constructive comments such as “tightening the opening would make this manuscript better” or “You do a great job with dialogue” are very helpful.

Example of Scoring With A Few Excerpts From A Score Sheet

5-Got it.  Send it in.

4- Almost.  Send it in, but expect revisions

3- On The Right Track.  Revise more.

2-Keep At It.  acceptable.

1- Got the Muse.

Please be sure to give explanations/comments especially for 3 to 1 points.

4__Do the first few paragraphs hook you into reading more?Comments:

4_    Does the mood of the opening seem appropriate for the plot? Comments:

4___Is the beginning conflict/tension clear or hinted at?Comments:

4___Is the writing easy to read? Comments:

5___Does the dialogue move the story forward? Comments:YOUR STORY WOULD BE EVEN STRONGER IF YOU SHOWED MORE OF IT THROUGH THE DIALOGUE

So why enter a contest? For one thing, it forces you to get your work out there and some of us need that encouragement. For another thing, if you are selective, you can receive feedback on your work that will be valuable in improving your writing

.One of the best contests for romance writers is the Winter Rose Contest for Published and Unpublished run by the Yellow Rose RWA chapter in Hurst, Texas. You still have time to enter. The deadline for submissions is January 26th, 2014.
Submissions are being accepted for Published and Unpublished in the following categories:
Contemporary, Single Title
Contemporary, Series
Young Adult
Romantic Suspense
For more information on rules and submission guidance, please go to
Contact: DeLaine Roberts, Contest Chair

Entering a contest for me isn’t like walking on a hot bed of coals. I’ve never walked on coals and don’t know what it’s like unless it’s similar to a Texas sidewalk in summer. What’s your favorite?


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