Monday, 21 February 2011

Why contests are the WRITE choice.

As any writer will tell you, there never seems enough time to do anything other than slavishly working on our current WIP. Many writers don't think they have time for contests or that somehow it is a deviation from their actual goal. I was like this until a few weeks ago when I wrote my first ever short story and submitted it into the @indiehorror writers' community and forum.

Doing this, is one of the most productive things I have done in months (aside from novel #1 actually being published). This contest allowed for feedback from other members, then the chance to edit and resubmit. I found the whole process really useful. These are the reasons why:
  • Discipline - it made me really concentrate on the structure of the piece and forced me to write in a much more constrained way. Not having the liberty of a large word count, really tested my skills as a writer. (Novel writing is easy in comparison)
  • Feedback - Getting positive, constructive criticism has been good for developing my objectivity. And being that I had some amazing feedback, it has also been good for my ego!
  • Sharing my work in this way created a real immediacy and connection with readers and critical friends.
  • Made new contacts and writer friends -widening my horizons.
  • Built my C.V

No whether you are a proud indie, or whether you are looking for an agent, it is important ( I retrospectively realise) to have a bank of work and accolades behind you before you will even be considered.

It is unlikely that an agent or publishing house will pick you up based on your shorts - they will still want a novel plan (in both senses) - but they will look at your website and if it is full of winners' banners and examples of your work with testimonials, then it can only be a good thing.

So next time you see an opportunity to get your name out there, to share your work, to build your C.V and get some constructive feedback, then grab it with two eager hands, carve out a rainy afternoon and give it a whirl.

On that note, DEEP IN THE FOREST, (A writing community and forum for YA writers of fairytales, gothic horror, paranormal romance and Urban Fantasy) is holding its first writing contest. Click here to find out more.

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