Shortlist… check

After much discussion and deliberation, we finished the shortlists for the fiction and non-fiction sections of the writing contest at the SiWC, the two categories for which I volunteer as a reader. Now karen, the conference – and contest! – coordinator gets the very pleasant job of notifying the people whose stories have been shortlisted. Congrats to all of them.

Reading for the contest is a fascinating professional development exercise for me every year. There’s nothing quite like reading a mind-numbing number of stories back-to-back to highlight what works and what doesn’t, and the task never fails to motivate my own writing.

What works?

– Consistency. Consistent voice. Consistently good use of language. Consistent verb tense. Consistent mood and tone.

– Plausibility. I don’t care how bizarre the world of your story may be; if you make me believe it’s real, I’ll go with you. (see also: consistency)

– Coming full-circle by creating an ending that works with the flow of the story.

– Meeting the guidelines. Keep your word count within the published upper AND LOWER limits.

There’s $1000 prize for the first place winners of our contest, so it’s well worth putting pen to paper for next year.

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