Post #89 – Women’s Memoirs, News – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
Memoir Writers: Writing Contest Entries
Make a difference in the lives of others. Write your life story in a way that connects with readers. Maybe you regularly submit to contests urged on by a voice telling you “Great story. Let others hear what you have to say.” Alternatively, a small voice may say hold you back saying, “Who would want to read what you write?”
Let 2013 be the year that you break out of your comfort zone. Write and enter contests. You won’t always win a prize, but you will win by testing yourself and reaching beyond your current set of readers.
In line with this, we have two contests to tell you about.
Our friend Lynn Goodwin emailed us recently to announce her contest over on WriterAdvice. This is the 8th year of her Flash Prose Contest.
Interested? She invites flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction entries that are 750 words or less. As Lynn says, “Enlighten, dazzle, and delight us with your prose. Finalists receive responses from all judges.”
Do you know Lynn? If not, let me introduce her. She is the author of You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers. Based on her own experience caring for her mother, Lynn has created a book “for the rest of us.” She shows the way and gives us writing prompts we can use to journal our way through our own experiences in caring for others.
There is enough time to write, refine, and polish your entry. All pieces must be received by April 18, 2013.
To learn more about the judges, the prizes, and submission guidelines, just head on over to WriterAdvice.
…But Before You Go
Don’t forget that WomensMemoirs has two contests that end February 28. One focuses on memoir stories associated with the winter season and the other focuses on Rosie the Riveter stories. Just click on the link to find all the necessary information.
Set Your Goals
It’s still early in 2013. Do you have your writing goals for the year? If not, use a contest as an incentive to finish a story or improve one aspect of your writing. It’s easy to delay, but don’t. Let this be the year of accomplishing your goals.
5 Tips for Contest Writing
1. Craft a title that grabs the reader’s attention. Don’t make the title an afterthought. Write a preliminary title as soon as you start to work on the contest entry. This gives you time to think about it and improve it. Write several and see which one works best. You might try them out on friends and see which one connects the best. In making your final decision, think about the title from the reader’s perspective rather than yours.
2. Write an opening sentence that invites the reader to join you for a ride through your story. Don’t wait to get around to the drama “later in the story.” Grab your reader right away.
3. Deliver on your story promise. If you have a great title and a strong opening, you have made a promise to your readers. You’ve said, “This is worth your time.” Imagine inviting friends to a party and then not cleaning your home or preparing delicious food. They probably won’t show up the next time you invite them over. Similarly, once you invite readers to share your story, you need to deliver. Write, read, and edit.
4. And don’t forget a strong closer. Kendra had an English teacher who warned about “letting the air out of your tires.” Keep the story strong and moving forward right to the conclusion. You want an ending that is as strong and compelling as your opening. This takes work.
5. When the story is perfect, check it out one last time. Once you are sure your contest entry is perfect, read it aloud. This is when you find those final awkward phrases, typos, missing words, etc. Fix these small errors and read it again. Once you submit a story to a contest, it is like opening the front door to visitors. You can’t shut the door then.