Posts Tagged With: etiquette

The Etiquette of Competitions

Just a short post today, because I’ve been pretty snowed under lately. I have a few competition deadlines coming up in the next couple of weeks, and to be honest, I’m starting to panic.

Right now, I have well over half of a story that I’m really proud of. I was sitting on a train scribbling some nonsense or other (with pen on paper!) when this story just started flowing on to the page. Normally I’m a serious ‘plotter’ but I really enjoyed ‘pantsing’ this one. If I can end it as strongly as I started, then win or lose, I’ll be happy to submit it for my first deadline.

My problem is, there’s another competition that closes the next day. And I’ve got nothing. I’ve got a few key words I’m playing with, but they’re really more suited to a competition that closes the following week.

For those who aren’t into entering competitions, most will only accept original, unpublished works – but they are pretty open about how new they are. Some have a timeline, for example ‘only works written after X date will be accepted’. Some organisations will accept works that have previously been submitted to other competitions provided they have not been awarded a prize. Some organisations will even accept works that have been submitted to multiple, simultaneous competitions, provided the author immediately withdraws their entry if it wins a prize in another competition. Then again, some organisations insist that works must ‘not be under consideration’ for any other prizes during the period of their competition.

My preference is to submit something new to each competition I enter, mostly because if a piece isn’t good enough to win a competition when it has been specially written to fit the theme and word count, it is unlikely to win anything else. Of course this does put me under a lot more time pressure, so I’m pretty careful to only choose competitions that really interest me (for example, next month I want to enter a competition where writers are asked to write a story based on one of three Shakespeare plays).

Well…that’s what I’m up to this week – along with reading a stack of books I’ve borrowed from our newly refurbished local library and writing some more reviews…I’d better get back to work!!

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