Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Contest Overload

After running two contests in a row, I'm finally back on track with writing, bloggging (sort of) and doing all the other stuff that needs to be done.

First of all I ran the Absolutely Write First Page Contest.  Fun to read all the entries and then argue with myself about some of the scores and the judges.  So not only to the entrants sometimes feel they got shorted, so does the contest coordinator.  Laying all that aside, it was easy to see what people did right and what others did wrong.  A great way of seeing what works on a first page.

Second, I coordinated the YA Category of the UtahRWA HOW contest.  Again, getting to read all the entries was enlightening.  I didn't agree with all the judges, but could again see why the winners took the high scores.  This one wasn't as easy.  Finding judges to help out was a wild ride, but I finally got the finalists off the the final judge, only a day or two late.

If you're wondering why I put myself through running contests, along with entering them.  Well, I'll tell you.  You learn alot by seeing how the contests run, how the judges evaluate things, and more than that why the winners are the winners.  Where else could you get all this information without paying for it.  It makes you a better writer to see how the winners of other contests do what they do.  It's also great to judge, because often times you can compare how you rated things by seeing those same entries in other contests.  I love it when I pick the best on of the entries sent me to judge, and it actually end up winning the category.

I learn so much by helping with contest.  I advise you do the same.  And then take the time to read the entries as they come in, evaluate them yourself, and then see what the judges say and how things turn out.  Lots of fun without putting anything on the line.

Now back to work and the real process of writing.  Hope to see you all in a contest in the future, either coordinating, judging or at least entering.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Have a great writing day.


  1. I agree. I've learned plenty by judging contests, seeing what I'm up against. I've also coordinated a category--the YA category last year--and I got to learn from a whole lot more than just four entries.

    So volunteer next year, people!

  2. "No guts, no glory." Thank you for all your hard work on both contests. I don't know if I'd make a good judge. I have a tendancy to get wrapped up in the story and forget I'm supposed to be looking at it more objectively!

  3. I recently judged a romance contest. It was so much fun.

    I'm following.

  4. I've judged many, many contests and helped coordinate and it does have it rewards. I love it when you find that truly wonderful entry and it goes on to place.

  5. Definitely. If we could get writers to judge, they'd learn so much more than some workshops. When you see how others have done it and compared what the judges say - hello, that's learning. Then you apply to your own writing.

    I just finished the Heart of the West Contemporary Romance section. I write YA, but it's just a age thing.

    Go forth and judge :)

  6. What a cool perspective! Thanks for the insight and all the hard work. :)

  7. WOW! You have been BUSY! That is awesome though. I think doing that stuff is hard, but it's important. I always learn so much.