Saturday, October 27, 2012

Novel Ideas for Novel Contests

Novel Ideas for Novel Contests – or…what NOT to do when entering your manuscript in a novel-writing contest.

I’ve been a first-tier level judge for a prestigious novel-writing contest for about five years now. First-tier? Yeah, that means I’m important. Okay, maybe not. What it’s supposed to mean is that at least one someone else has already read through the entries and has sent me the very best of those. Now I get the final word. Or something like that. Sounds important, anyway.

You can imagine, I’m sure, that this gives me a lot of material for a writing advice column. Yet, each year, how MUCH material I get out of the contest surprises and somewhat distresses me. When I judge, I’m filling out a form containing four categories: 1. Plot/Story; 2. Narrative/Dialogue; 3. Characters/Descriptions; and 4.Overall Impression. This year, I believe, an additional category should be added: 5. Formatting.

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