What does every writer want? Heck if I know! It’s like asking what does every dog want. Oh. never mind. I think I know the answer to that question.
Anywho. We writers may have as many reasons for writing as we do drafts of unfinished someday sure-fire best-sellers, but I think it’s a safe enough guess that most writers would love to have at least one of the following:
- recognition for your work from someone other than your family, friends, and cat, dog or bird–all who think your work is super-duper.
- to see your name in print other than on bills.
- to have your words read by an audience wider than the aforementioned supportive circle of two and four-legged cheerleaders.
- to have your name recognized in literary circles, and I don’t mean the book club you started comprised of the aforementioned supportive circle of two and four-legged cheerleaders.
- to have you name respected in those literary circles (“Ah, yes, I can’t wait for the next block-buster book by Lorna!” versus “Can you believe Lorna is putting out more drivel in the form of what she calls a book.”)
I may be missing something, but you get the idea.
Well, Friends, one way of making any of this happen is to have other people who know their similes from their metaphors read your work and deem it noteworthy. But how do you do that?
Lucky for you I’m here to tell you.
A very reputable and well-known writing contest is underway as I speak and you read. It’s the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Hey, it’s been around for 82 years. It’s got t have something going for it, right? Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a member of the Writer’s Digest to enter.
To simplify things for you because I know readers like that and because I’m such a nice person, here’s the “down-low” on the competition:
- The early-bird deadline is May 6. The Late Bird deadline is after that (I think). Since I’m an early bird, that’s the only date I pay attention to.
- Entry fees differ depending on what you are submitting and how many entries you are submitting at the same time. The first entry for a short story is $27 and $20 for each additional entry submitted at the same time. For poems, its $15 for the first and $10 for others. After May 6, the price goes up to $32/$25 for short stories and $20/15 for poems.
- There are ten different genres in this contest. Awards are given as follows: a top prize is awarded in each genre and there are prizes for the other top nine in each genre. Additionally, 90 other submissions are selected for “Honorable Mention.” That means you have 100 chances to be recognized in your genre if you submit one piece. Since there are 10 genres, 1,000 writers are awarded something in this contest. Those are pretty good odds!
- Prizes vary from cash awards to having your name and the title of your work published in their magazine. A Grand Prize Winner meets with publishes and gets a cape and a crown or tiara, depending on gender.
- The genres are:
- Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious),
- Memoirs/Personal Essay,
- Magazine Feature Article,
- Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.),
- Mainstream/Literary Short Story,
- Rhyming Poetry,
- Non-rhyming Poetry,
- Stage Play,
- Television/Movie Script,
- Children’s/Young Adult Fiction.
- Winners are notified in the Fall–October, usually. This gives you enough time to forget that you entered. I find this very kind. If you don’t win, no sweat. You forgot anyway. If you do win, then it’s a big surprise! It’s like a total win-win even if you lose. How great is that?
So what are you waiting for? Check out the rules for each genre (they differ), spiff up your best work, and submit away! I submitted a short memoir story two years ago and got Honorable Mention–and that was my first time! You just never know! I’m submitting another memoir story this year.
And check out the entire site while you are there. They are constantly running contests for specific genres. I’m submitting my memoir to a contest they are running for self-published books. Hey, like I said, you never know…
I celebrated my 23rd birthday this past week. And I’m celebrating with you by sharing a list of my 23 favorite novels of all-time. In no particular order, because it was hard enough culling just 23. For some of these, you’ll find reviews on my own blog. Others, you won’t because I need to re-read them.
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
2. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
3. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
4. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
6. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbury
7. 1984 by George Orwell
8. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
9. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
11. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
12. Firebringer by David Clement Davies
13. The Passage by Justin Cronin
14. Plainsong by Kent Haruf
15. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
16. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
17. The Idiot by Fyodor Doestoevsky
18. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
19. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
20. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
21. The Little Prince by Antoine de St.-Exupery
22. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
23. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen