Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here we go! The Contest is now open!

Things happen while you are sleeping. Hey, that’s not a bad opening line! It suggests all kinds of possibilities. And since we're still in the beginning stages of this blog, it's appropriate that we continue with our initial subject of beginnings — and the contest involving them.

But first, I wanted to thank everyone who clicked on that "follower" thingy and became a part of this growing community of writers. We are now 22 in number. Which is great, because everyone has their own opinion, their own writing style, their own level of experience. Each of us can learn from the others, regardless of how long we've been working on our craft. That's one reason for the contest. Actually it's the main reason.

I can hear you out there. Yeah yeah yeah. Blah blah blah. So, get on with it already.

Here we go. Following is the criteria for our first ever writing contest. Since we have a limited following so far, it’s open to everything — all genres, all styles. It does not have to be a completed work. However, if an agent should be lurking (and they do sometimes, bless their hearts) they might find interest in your writing and request more. If your opening is from a completed manuscript, you’re ready to send something. And that would be a bonus!

Send your entries to the following email address: michaelvette (at) gmail (dot) com. Put ENTRY in the subject line. Include: YOUR NAME, the TITLE, and the GENRE of the work. Each submission will be assigned a number. You will receive a return email with your entry number included. If you don't receive a return email, it means that 50 entries have already been received or your entry was received after the deadline.

1. Submit the opening paragraph. One paragraph only. It can be one sentence, if you wish, such as Anthony Horowitz opening to one of his Alex Rider novels: “When the doorbell rings at three o’clock in the morning, it’s never good news.” (I love that opening!) If your entry is from a picture book, include the first stanza (which is kind of alike a paragraph, isn’t it?). If your opening is a ginormous paragraph, that’s okay, too, but please limit it to no more than 100 words. The whole idea is to capture the reader in those very first words. That’s the objective here and that’s what you will be judged on. It’s kind of a “hook me” thing.

2. Entries are now open! You can submit your entry at any time until the deadline. You can enter only once! So give it your best shot. Hook us. Make us want to read more.

3. Entries are limited. Since we have no clue as to the number of entries to expect, for this first contest we are going to limit the number to 50. Each submission will be assigned a number from 1 to 50. More than one entry will not be included. If multiple entries are received, only the entry with the earliest time stamp will be allowed.

4. Entries close soon. The deadline for entries is Saturday, January 23, 2010 at midnight CST. Any entries received after that time will not be allowed in the contest.

And after that . . . all entries will be posted on the site for reader reviews and comments. These will be in separate posts, so you can comment on each entry if you wish. Keep in mind that we writers love to hear comments and suggestions for improvement, so be generous with your input. Depending on the number of entries received, entries may be posted in groups of five or ten so it isn’t so overwhelming. If this is the case, there will be a time limit on their appearance and the judging. Which brings us to . . .

The Judging . . . I'll need your help to make this work. In addition to the comments, you will actually select the winner. (I don’t want that responsibility this time.) And, please, don't vote for yourself. I know it's tempting, but it's not appropriate. If everyone does that, we end up in a huge tie. Here’s the plan. After the entries are posted, I will add a poll graphic to this site with the entry numbers on it. You can use the poll to vote for your favorite, and your votes will determine the winner. (Again, depending on the number of entries, this may be broken up into multiple polls of five to ten entries each, with a window of time for voting. The winner of each small poll is moved to the final poll to select the winner.) The entry with the highest number of votes wins. Simple as that.

PLEASE READ THIS: By entering, you confirm that the entry is your own work, and you own all rights to it. You agree to the rules governing this contest, and you give your permission for the work to be displayed on this internet site.

Now for the prize! Since this is all new and we have limited cash (I should put a Paypal donation button on here! Would anyone use it?) the prize for this first contest is not going to be an all expenses paid world cruise. (Darn it!) Instead, since writers love to read, we’ve opted to award a $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate that will be sent to the winner via email. (They make it easy.) I know it’s nothing to write home about, but if you win you can include it in your writing credits. Plus, the comments from other writers may be even more valuable and helpful in improving your writing and getting you published. (It could happen!)

That’s it! Now, if you have questions, if there’s something I’ve failed to include, if anything is confusing, ask away in the comment section below. But hurry, because we don’t want to change the rules after the game begins.

Good Luck to all!!!


  1. This sounds like it will be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to reading the entries. Thanks for hosting the contest!

  2. Full already? I received a delivery failure notice a couple of minutes after submitting.

    Looking forward to reading the entries that did make the cut off!

  3. Oh, this sounds like fun! Let me go try to find something.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.