Contests again

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I'm giving a talk to SARA on contests this week. My bit includes which contests to enter and why, and then the coordinator's perspective and the judges' perspective.

I thought for which contests and why, I would talk about them deciding what they wanted from a contest, and give them the categories of longer contests, contests with no synopses, electronic contests and contests with more prestige.

For coordinator's perspective, I'm completely blank. I insisted on doing this part, and I don't even remember why. I think I wanted to tell them what the coordinator's job is like so they can see that.

For judges' perspective, I'll talk about font (Trish J PARTICULARLY likes 50 pages in TNR 12), proofreading, double checking that all the pages are there, then going into the story itself - consistent characters, cliches, POV.

So....I'd like a little help. What can I add?

Trish M and I are both a little obsessed with Supernatural right now.

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Stacy Dawn said...

Popping into say HI, been buried for a while.

Sounds like you've got most of it covered! Good luck!

Trish Milburn said...

Hmm, that scene from Supernatural is obviously one I haven't seen yet. I want my next disc!

Anonymous said...

Mary, I just had a post asking advice about contests! Looks like I could benefit a lot from your experience. I think you'll have a great speech. I'd probably go over the list of RWA contests where you can get the most for your money (in the sense of the chance to get your ms in front of the editor you're targettting, how many winners sold, etc). Also, I'd add something about taking the judges' comments with a grain of salt and taking what is working for you without getting discouraged by the rest. Also, maybe the advice not to take the comments so seriously that you end up quitting working on the ms. And the last but not least, maybe some words about the contests that do not require a fee but could be very useful (Contest Junkies, Scarlet Boa, etc).

kris said...

Mary, remember to mention ending your entry at a logical and enticing spot. I hated reading contest entries and having them end in the middle of a sentence at the very bottom of page 30. Better to finish with the end of a scene on page 29 than to push it for every possible page.

Amie Stuart said...

Also following contest rules (because the wrong font or somesuch is a stupid reason to get dinged or DQ'ed) and realizing that those contest rules aren't life or death.

I agree w/Olga as far as bang for your buck (and FWIW the Merritt has always been a fave of mine).

Also what about when to quit? I mean at what point do finals on an entry NOT look good to an editor? Or if you're not getting requests maybe it's time to stop? Or maybe you're editing after every contest and it's time to stop because you've edited your voice along with any originality out of your entry (which could be a whole nother blog entry One of the hardest things I've ever had to say(write) as a judge) is "Your entry is Meh. It's technically perfect but has all the excitement of watching grass grow" (not that i would ever actually say that which is what made it so hard.

Also read the contest score sheets before you enter.

MJFredrick said...

Ooh, great advice, Amie, Athena and Olga!

Amie Stuart said...

Good luck Mary (I hate public speaking) and let us know how it goes!

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, Amie!


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