Basics to Entering a Writing Contest


Basics to Entering a Writing Contest

Rory C Keel

 Writing contests can offer great benefits to a writer, however they can also be intimidating. To help you wade through the process, let’s look at some of the basics of entering a Writing Contest.

1. Choose the right contest – Do the research to find the best contest for your writing. Contest entry fees can vary greatly from free to extremely high. The rewards can be just as varied from a simple recognition and critique of your writing, to rewards of money prizes and publication. Beware of contests that require you to purchase the published work of your “Winning” writing. More information can be found in my article Writing Contest Benefits.

2. Choose the correct Genre – To avoid poor critiques or placement, choose the correct genre for your work. While some pieces may cross over into another classification, you will have better results if you focus your writing to one specific genre.

3. Follow Submission Guidelines – When entering a contest pay close attention to the submission guidelines. These rules may vary greatly with different organizations and contests. Be diligent to have the correct word count while using the proper page format, font, and cover page identification requirements. Don’t expect contest officials to overlook the rules just for you, it’s their contest and it’s their rules.

4. Pay attention to Postage – If you are sending an entry by mail it will require the correct postage, so does the return of your entry. Read carefully any instructions regarding postage and the return mailing requirements of your entry or prizes. If you are using metered mail, postage from a meter or computer, understand that it expires on the date stamped. If you stamp the return envelope with the current date, and the contest results are not given for several months, postage may be expired and could result in your entry not being returned.

By following these few steps, entering a writing contest can be fun and successful!

Rory C. Keel

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

By Rory C. Keel

“Okay, somebody write a quick blog on trying to find a name for your blog!”

                                                                                             –Natalie Bright

Choosing the one specific term that describes six different writers with very different styles and genres, can be a daunting task. One would think that such an imaginative group could quickly produce a name so extraordinary, so remarkable that the mere mention of it would describe each individual and their genres perfectly. We settled on something a little less complicated.

Choosing the Name

So, how did we choose the name? We tossed words onto a dry erase board, and then the six of us wrestled them around until one stood up and screamed, “Pick Me!” And what is the name that captures the essence of our critique group?

Wordsmith Six

Wordsmith Six consists of six writers who cover the spectrum in genres—a group of a half-dozen close friends who love words, whether we’re reading, writing or researching them. We have individuals who write Women’s Fiction, Historical, Inspirational and Screenplay. Others love Romance, Western, Christian fiction and Middle grade children’s books. Included are authors with published Fiction and Nonfiction books, TV Documentaries, Song Lyrics, Humor and yes, even HORROR.

We have lots of stories to tell and you’re invited to follow along.

Rory C. Keel

Okay With Crazy


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Okay With Crazy

By Nandy Ekle

 

Writers are a special breed of people. We are the people who see worlds in a speck of dust. We hear voices in our heads and we dissect ideas and words looking for connections and meanings.

We even have our own jargon. We stay away from echoes and rabbit trails. We love conflict and critiques. Flawed heroes, lovable villains, inciting incidents, supporters, resolutions, arcs, macguffin, even white spaces are common topics when we all get together.

At a writing conference, meeting and connecting with other writers is one of the most satisfying things in the world, especially when the writers at the conference share interest in the same genre. Imagine a room full of people discussing how much blood they splash around in a year at the horror writers’ conference. Or a room of people discussing all the love affairs they orchestrate at the romance writers’ conference. At a mystery writers’ conference you might hear talk of secrets and clues, or you’ll probably hear conversations about UFO sightings and time travel at the science fiction writers’ conference.

It’s so satisfying to be able to open up and talk about ideas and scenes, style and word choice, even names and voices with other people and have them understand exactly what you mean. I invite you to discuss your writing life here with me. I love talking about words, topics, genres. Pour your heart out and I’ll listen and smile because I know exactly what you mean.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

By Rory C. Keel

“Okay, somebody write a quick blog on trying to find a name for your blog!”

                                                                                             –Natalie Bright

Choosing the one specific term that describes six different writers with very different styles and genres, can be a daunting task. One would think that such an imaginative group could quickly produce a name so extraordinary, so remarkable that the mere mention of it would describe each individual and their genres perfectly. We settled on something a little less complicated.

What about Tuesday?

Welcome to our blog. My name is Rory and every Tuesday I will be sharing with you some of the ideas and lessons that I’ve learned, and will learn along the way to publication. I’m excited to be a part of a group of writers ranging from beginners to the experienced, from the unpublished to multiple publications, and that has the motivation to move forward in their writing. I write Christian fiction and non-fiction, Historical western, short stories, and creative nonfiction. I have published several Christian devotionals, and I have song lyrics published on a CD, “Alabaster Box.”

Choosing the Name

So, how did we choose the name? We tossed words onto a dry erase board, and then the six of us wrestled them around until one stood up and screamed, “Pick Me!” And what is the name that captures the essence of our critique group?

Wordsmith Six

Wordsmith Six consists of six writers who cover the spectrum in genres—a group of a half-dozen close friends who love words, whether we’re reading, writing or researching them. We have individuals who write Women’s Fiction, Historical, Inspirational and Screenplay. Others love Romance, Western, Christian fiction and Middle grade children’s books. Included are authors with published Fiction and Nonfiction books, TV Documentaries, Song Lyrics, Humor and yes, even HORROR.

We have lots of stories to tell and you’re invited to follow along.

Click on the author page above to connect with Rory.

Rory C. Keel

Basics to Entering a Writing Contest


Basics to Entering a Writing Contest

 Writing contests can offer great benefits to a writer, however they can also be intimidating. To help you wade through the process, let’s look at some of the basics of entering a Writing Contest.

1. Choose the right contest – Do the research to find the best contest for your writing. Contest entry fees can vary greatly from free to extremely high. The rewards can be just as varied from a simple recognition and critique of your writing, to rewards of money prizes and publication. Beware of contests that require you to purchase the published work of your “Winning” writing. More information can be found in my article Writing Contest Benefits.

2. Choose the correct Genre – To avoid poor critiques or placement, choose the correct genre for your work. While some pieces may cross over into another classification, you will have better results if you focus your writing to one specific genre.

3. Follow Submission Guidelines – When entering a contest pay close attention to the submission guidelines. These rules may vary greatly with different organizations and contests. Be diligent to have the correct word count while using the proper page format, font, and cover page identification requirements. Don’t expect contest officials to overlook the rules just for you, it’s their contest and it’s their rules.

4. Pay attention to Postage – If you are sending an entry by mail it will require the correct postage, so does the return of your entry. Read carefully any instructions regarding postage and the return mailing requirements of your entry or prizes. If you are using metered mail, postage from a meter or computer, understand that it expires on the date stamped. If you stamp the return envelope with the current date, and the contest results are not given for several months, postage may be expired and could result in your entry not being returned.

By following these few steps, entering a writing contest can be fun and successful!

Rory C. Keel

WHAT’S IN A NAME?


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

By Rory C. Keel

“Okay, somebody write a quick blog on trying to find a name for your blog!”

                                                                                             –Natalie Bright

Choosing the one specific term that describes six different writers with very different styles and genres, can be a daunting task. One would think that such an imaginative group could quickly produce a name so extraordinary, so remarkable that the mere mention of it would describe each individual and their genres perfectly. We settled on something a little less complicated.

What about Tuesday?

Welcome to our blog. My name is Rory and every Tuesday I will be sharing with you some of the ideas and lessons that I’ve learned, and will learn along the way to publication. I’m excited to be a part of a group of writers ranging from beginners to the experienced, from the unpublished to multiple publications, and that has the motivation to move forward in their writing. I write Christian fiction and non-fiction, Historical western, short stories, and creative nonfiction. I have published several Christian devotionals, and I have song lyrics published on a CD, “Alabaster Box.”

Choosing the Name

So, how did we choose the name? We tossed words onto a dry erase board, and then the six of us wrestled them around until one stood up and screamed, “Pick Me!” And what is the name that captures the essence of our critique group?

Wordsmith Six

Wordsmith Six consists of six writers who cover the spectrum in genres—a group of a half-dozen close friends who love words, whether we’re reading, writing or researching them. We have individuals who write Women’s Fiction, Historical, Inspirational and Screenplay. Others love Romance, Western, Christian fiction and Middle grade children’s books. Included are authors with published Fiction and Nonfiction books, TV Documentaries, Song Lyrics, Humor and yes, even HORROR.

We have lots of stories to tell and you’re invited to follow along.

Click on the author page above to connect with Rory.

Rory C. Keel

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries 

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

Frontiers in Writing Contest


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries 

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

Basics to Entering a Writing Contest

 Writing contests can offer great benefits to a writer, however they can also be intimidating. To help you wade through the process, let’s look at some of the basics of entering a Writing Contest.

1. Choose the right contest – Do the research to find the best contest for your writing. Contest entry fees can vary greatly from free to extremely high. The rewards can be just as varied from a simple recognition and critique of your writing, to rewards of money prizes and publication. Beware of contests that require you to purchase the published work of your “Winning” writing. More information can be found in my article Writing Contest Benefits.

2. Choose the correct Genre – To avoid poor critiques or placement, choose the correct genre for your work. While some pieces may cross over into another classification, you will have better results if you focus your writing to one specific genre.

3. Follow Submission Guidelines – When entering a contest pay close attention to the submission guidelines. These rules may vary greatly with different organizations and contests. Be diligent to have the correct word count while using the proper page format, font, and cover page identification requirements. Don’t expect contest officials to overlook the rules just for you, it’s their contest and it’s their rules.

4. Pay attention to Postage – If you are sending an entry by mail it will require the correct postage, so does the return of your entry. Read carefully any instructions regarding postage and the return mailing requirements of your entry or prizes. If you are using metered mail, postage from a meter or computer, understand that it expires on the date stamped. If you stamp the return envelope with the current date, and the contest results are not given for several months, postage may be expired and could result in your entry not being returned.

By following these few steps, entering a writing contest can be fun and successful!

Rory C. Keel

The Five


Outtakes 49

 The Five

The 2012 Frontiers in Writing conference was a success. Maybe the numbers were down, but the attendees received more one-on-one time with the speakers. We had a number of first time conference attendees, and that’s always good. Seasoned writers need to encourage and support the new blood. I was blessed to have the opportunity to renew acquaintances and catch up with friends. I also picked up some good advice from award winning writers.

  1.  Writing is a business; treat it as such. Most of us have full time jobs, families, personal commitments; yet we manage to get the kids to school on time and clock in by 8. The same rules apply to our writing jobs. Dress for your writing hours. Go into your office and shut the door. Answer your writing email and ignore all other messages. Write until quitting time, and then go home.
  2. Set your writing goals. Not every writer wants to be widely published. If your goal is to write your family history, that’s great. Are stories for your children and grandchildren your dream? Go for it! Just write it correctly. Learn proper grammar and punctuation. Read books on style, structure, and characterization. But if you want to see your books on the shelves, you must work toward that goal. Spend time educating yourself on publishing law, publishing trends, and genres. Find a writer’s group, a critique group, and attend a conference. Write and rewrite to make your work the best it can be. Do your homework before submitting to agents and editors.
  3. Accept the possibility you will be rejected. I hate being negative, but there’s a lot of competition out there. Agents and editors are looking for sales and acquisitions, and there are just not that many spots. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. Listen to multi-published authors regarding rejection. They’ve been there and can sympathize. Just remember that you are in good, talented company.
  4. Know when to say no. I listened to John Erickson talk about his HANK THE COWDOG series. He recently released the 59th book in the franchise. With HANK, he has created a character that appeals to children and adults. He will not allow his character to be trashed or turned into something less than it is now. He has turned down good money in order to protect his creation. I applaud his integrity. As a writer, you must decide whether the financial gain is worth compromising your work. You must be sure you can live with the consequences of your choice.
  5. This lesson comes from a bubbly, witty, lady. Talk about someone who juggles writing, her entertainment journalism job, family, and commitments! Candace Havens has more deadlines than I could manage. She’s well qualified to make this statement. “No excuses. Put your butt in the chair, your fingers on the keyboard, and write.” Enough said.

Cait Collins

Writers’ Conferences


Outtakes 20

Writers’ Conferences

Beginning writers often run into problems jump starting their careers. Questions regarding copyright, contracts, submissions, formatting, genres, and marketing come up and answers are sometimes hard to find. I’ve been there so I understand the frustration. I thought I was the only writer out there who had doubts and questions. I had a novel. I’d submitted it. The agent liked it, but didn’t sign me. So what do you do?

My answer came from a newspaper article for a writer’s conference right here in Amarillo. I read the information, called for the registration packet, and made plans to pick brains, and learn more about getting published. I so enjoyed that weekend. I attended workshops with New York Times Best Selling author Christina Dodd, mystery author Rick Riordan, and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham. The best part was that I was no longer alone. I went to the conference not knowing anyone, and left with a pocketful of business cards from fellow writers. I became friends with some of the folks I met, and ten years later, I still can count on their support and encouragement.

Do I recommend writers’ conferences? Absolutely! The trick is finding the right one for your needs. I prefer smaller conferences (I’m shy), but some of my friends like the larger ones. I recommend Frontiers in Writing in Amarillo. The 2012 conference will be held the weekend of June 29-30 on the Amarillo College campus. This year’s conference will offer workshops for everyone whether you are a beginner or a published author. If Amarillo is a little too far away, run an internet search for a conference in your area. It will cost a little money, but this is an investment in your writing career. The contacts you make are so valuable, and the friendships made are priceless.

Cait Collins