Winners, Discussion, and an Extra Prize

27 01 2010

It’s Week Three – and once more we have a great finalist to announce – and again there were a whole lot of almost-finalists.

If you’ve entered each week so far, don’t give up. Perhaps it’s time to take another look at how you might tighten up or sharpen your opening, and then send your entry in again. Our Week 2 finalist tells us she revised her opening after reading the first mini-critique, and it made a huge difference in her story. Maybe next week will be your turn!

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the finalists and mini-critiques. We love hearing from you, and at the end of the contest, we’ll  throw the names of all who have commented in a hat and draw one to award an extra prize. At the end of the mini-critique, I’ve asked a question – go take a look, and let’s start a discussion on the mini-critique page!

 And now (drum roll please) for this week’s winners:

Week 3 Finalist

Week 3 Mini-Critique



3 responses

27 01 2010
Christine Bell

First off, I want to thank you both for taking the time to do this! It is a great opportunity for aspiring writers and I truly appreciate it! I had a question with regard to the contest in general. I am wondering how much work it would make for you to post the names of the people that made the “short list” as it were. Most weeks it seems like you have a difficult decision. if, for example, one week I was even in CONTENTION for the final slot it would be invaluable to me as a writer to know that because that would be a sort of confirmation that I was on the right track. It’s close, but no cigar. I would maybe have the foresight to tweak the same entry maybe and try again. Or if I was not even in the top ten (using the number ten for argument sake) then I would know I had work ahead of me, or I might intuit that the particular piece I entered needed a major reworking rather tweaking, or maybe even just enter a different piece. So it would almost be like an “honorable mention” of sorts without the critique etc.
Short of a critique (which is obviously out of the question for something of this scope where you are seeing hundreds of entries) I can’t think of anything that would be more valuable (and for some of the entrants, encouraging!)
It is just a thought/suggestion since it seems as if there are many weeks that you are a bit torn and I am always reading thinking (Huh, I wonder if mine, or so and so friend’s was even close!)

3 02 2010

Hi Christine – sorry for the delay. I’m just now seeing your question.

And what a good question it is, since we know how frustrating it is to submit an entry and receive no feedback. Leigh and I have struggled with how we can provide feedback — which was why we added the mini-critiques, in hopes that people could learn from others.

Of course, that does not give you specific feedback regarding your entry.

And, unfortunately, we haven’t come up with a way to do that which does not require A LOT of time. Your idea is a good one, however, if I posted a short list of runner-ups and then let them re-enter, I feel it would be giving them an unfair advantage over others who entered and did not get listed. And if I didn’t let them re-enter, then it would be yet another administrative task on my list to make sure I didn’t pick them as a winner.

The only thing I can say is if anyone’s been submitting the same story every week, for several years of the contest, and hasn’t been chosen as a finalist, odds are there’s a reason it’s not being chosen as a winner.

But, please keep in mind, not being chosen does not mean I think the entrant is a “bad” writer. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of personal taste. Other times, there may be multiple candidates that week, and I have to use nit-picky criteria to make the final decision (i.e., was the last line a page-turner, did I get the feeling it was a romance, etc). Other times, it might be because the story didn’t start at the right spot for me, i.e., there was too much backstory and no action – or the characters were in a cliche/mundane situation, discussing mundane events. Or … ? The point is, there can be lots of reasons, so the last thing I want entrants to assume is that there was something wrong with their entry.

Thank you for the suggestion. And, if you have another idea, please send it in. Leigh and I strive to make this contest the best it can be for our entrants!


3 02 2010

Thanks so much for the response Rachelle! I completely understand your concern, I hadn’t thought about the possible perception of it being an unfair advantage when I suggested it. Again, I appreciate you taking the time to run this competition, it is a wonderful opportunity!


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