"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Three things NOT to do when entering a short story competition

After judging a couple of competitions here are a few of my pet niggles.
(1)     Don’t use & in place of and --- it sends the message that you can't be bothered to write it out and that's probably not the impression you want to give. It makes me think you probably won't be bothered to do lots of others things like develop characters I can believe in or think up a half way decent story
(2)    Don’t use fancy type like Baskerville Old Face or Lucinder Blackletter or even Rockwell. I know they sound wonderful and they look impressive on your pull down list of fonts but just because you've got 'em doesn't mean you have to use 'em. Save it for blackmail notes and jumble sale posters.
(3)    Don’t use 10 pt type for anything. Remember someone is reading your story. Remember someone is reading lots of stories before your entry comes to the top of the pile. You don't want a judge to sigh before they've read the first paragraph. This is not the time to save an extra sheet of paper.
By the way, there are nine days left to enter the Fish One Page flash fiction competition.
Word limit 300 words  
Prize 1000 euros. 
Deadline March 20. Entries accepted from around the world. 
 Reputable and prestigious, the only thing wrong with it is that if you search for fish + competition you may have to wade through a lot of bait and tackle before arriving at the right site. Instead click on the title of this post and go straight there. Good luck.


Tania Hershman said...

Excellent points, all. I judged a few comps last year and I'd like to add: don't change the font colour to anything but black. I had entries in 14pt Baskerville light blue. Not a good idea. Also: don't write a little note to the judge on the entry explaining something about the story!

The great thing about Fish is that they standardise the format of every entry anyway, so not such a problem, but this is great advice for all comps!

BRIDGET said...

You are so right. Coloured paper is also a very bad idea...nothing should stand out about the entry except the quality of the writing

MorningAJ said...

I just entered that. Gulp!

BRIDGET said...

The Fish Competition? Good luck and can I come too if you have to go to Bantry to pick up your prize? West Cork is so so beautiful...