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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Longing for Romance...Writing that is.

Some years back I won a contest that promoted romance. The guidelines for the entry was to tell a story about a romantic date. The prize included a trip for two for a weekend stay at a hotel. There wasn't one winner but several and we all met at a luncheon in our honor. It was interesting to meet the other writers. Some were newspaper reporters, others freelanced for magazines or just wrote for their own love of writing. I fell into the last category at the time. I wrote for the joy of simply wanting to tell a story. I was shocked when I won. But I didn't think about it in terms of being honored for my writing but rather for the fact that I won a contest.

I still enter contests that consist of writing something that will be judged for its writing merits. I don't particularly like entering contests that are based on popularity.  This is where you contact all your friends to "like" your story. The common denominator with these popularity contests seems to be seeing who can write the most heart wrenching story - you know the one where the couple planned to get married but her dad went into a coma a month before the wedding but they really didn't want to put off the wedding as the bride was pregnant. Then low and behold Dad comes out of the coma only to have the soon-to-be husband get in some kind of accident and he's hobbling around in crutches. What tops it all off is that the bride's twin sister is able to come back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan and be her maid of honor as a special surprise. You've got to put the most pathos in the story possible.

I don't like the concept of having my story voted on by people who aren't writers. These open contests on commercial websites aren't meant to promote the best writers but rather the ones who can get the most people to "friend" them. You can actually win a money grants this way by getting the most people to vote for your idea. The contests I detest the most are those where you have to post your entry on Facebook. That way the advertiser can get access to all your friends to post their advertisements.

I may not always win the writing contests that are judged by current published authors, but I enjoy the challenge of writing on a specific topic to stretch my writing skills. I need those occasional spurts of short writing to keep me motivated. I have a goal to submit a new writing piece every month and contests are a fun way to do it.

If you'd like to enter a fun contest, here's one I like...It's from Black Lilac Kitty with an April 1 deadline.

The story must include a cat and a Rottweiler.  The Rottweiler cannot be a "mean" dog. The cat and Rottweiler can belong to the same person or have different owners. Somewhere in the story must be the phrase "it was a dark and stormy night." The word count must be at least 2,000 words and no more than 7,000 words. For complete details click here.