On Saturday I completed my second 24 Hour Short Story Contest. Writer’s Weekly does it every season and at the starting bell they give a prompt and a word count limit. I did this for the first time this summer. It was happening on a day that my husband and I were going to a wedding, staying over in a hotel, making a big “couple thing” out of it. No excuses. I got the story done and emailed back in plenty of time and I got an honorable mention. (I will write in a future post how healthy I am about rejection and how I don’t obsess at all about trying to figure out what “honorable mention” means.)
I feel good about this contest and I’d like to do it the four times a year it is offered. The people who run it seem good-natured and it has so far been a good experience.
I’ve learned some things and I’ll share in case you’d like to do one this winter.
- 24 hours really is enough time so don’t rush into it crazy. I read the prompt they give and then let it sink it. I mull it over and give thoughts time to grow. I don’t put pen to paper and I don’t put fingers to key board, yet. I live in the world of these people and get to know the characters. Yesterday, I read the prompt (many times) and made breakfast for myself and sat, ate, and watched Futurama with my hubby. When I was ready, I got started.
2. Read all of the rules AND the hints they give you. Read them again and check your work before you submit. You need to put the correct subject in your email and put your contact information (AFTER your story!) Just follow those instructions, I’m sure it must be annoying to the people who run this competition when people don’t!
3. They are going to tell you, several times, that sour grapes are not attractive. Don’t try to submit your story after the dead line, don’t be negative if you don’t win. Look at it this way: Five dollars is a great price for a writing class and this is a great writing class. You get an interesting prompt and word count limit and a condensed time frame. It’s a great exercise, work out your writing muscles.
4. Don’t send it in as soon as it is done, unless you are close to the deadline. If that’s the case, send it! I like to try to get it written and edited and in the right word count the night before and then leave it. I make sure I get up early and look at it with fresh eyes.
5. Send it in before the dead line and check that you have received a conformation email. Send it again if your close to the deadline but remember to check your time zones.
And remember, always have a survival kit!
Now I’m waiting for November – NANOWRIMO month! I can’t wait!
Here’s the link for that: