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Posts Tagged ‘Contests’

 

I’ve been looking forward to this day all week. It’s National Punctuation Day, which gives all us grammarians a reason to chat about little things like commas, periods, colons, and exclamation marks, without feeling like nerds.

Last year I celebrated by discussing commas. You can read that post by clicking here.

This year, I did a little research for tidbits of information on punctuation that you might find interesting. Here are my favorites: Did you know that the exclamation mark was originally the letter I placed above the letter O, representing the Latin word io, meaning exclamation of joy? Do you know how many punctuation marks are used in the English language? (14)

For those of you who write poetry, there’s a Haiku contest over at http://nationalpunctuationday.com/ to celebrate this year’s Punctuation Day. Entries must be submitted by September 30, 2010, so check it out today!

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What’s your favorite punctuation mark—or least favorite?  Are you celebrating anything today? 

 

 

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So far in 2010 I’ve had a 100% acceptance rate on my articles. That sounds wonderful until I admit I only submitted one article. Still, it’s better than a zero acceptance rate, which I’d have if it was a rejection.

My husband tried to be enthusiastic about my achievement, but failed. When I told him he should be more supportive he replied, “Well, it’s not like you won the Pulitzer Prize.” While that’s true, I think every step that takes me closer to my goals is worthy of celebrating.

So, here I am, sharing my tiny success with you, my blogger friends. Though the e-magazine that bought my article isn’t well-known, it’s one I enjoy reading. Girlfriend 2 Girlfriend encourages women by offering positive, helpful suggestions for reducing stress and enjoying life. My article, Simple Ways to Organize Your Clutter, is on page 17 of the magazine.  

The editors are actively seeking submissions, and have asked current contributors (that’s me!) to recommend it to our writer friends (that’s you!). If you do submit an article this month, please mention that Carol Benedict referred you to them. The person who refers the most people will win a diamond bracelet, and that would be a lovely treat for me. Click here for submission guidelines.

.Edit 3-15-10: I think they’ve changed the link to my article to http://www.youpublish.com/files/29021/Girlfriend-2-Girlfriend

Do you have some small (or large) writing successes to celebrate so far this year? Is your family supportive of your writing efforts, or do you get your encouragement elsewhere? How many articles or stories have you submitted in 2010?

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Today I’ll be working on my submission for the Editor Unleashed “Why I Write” contest. Remember, if you’re entering, the deadline is January 31. Let me know if you post an entry so I can make sure I read it. Rankings will take place in February.

Also, anyone interested in voting for a story in the Reader’s Choice Poll on the Mad Utopia blog, polls close on January 23.

Since I don’t have the time (or mabybe it’s lack of motivation?) to write a blog post today, I’m sharing one of my favorite songs with you instead. This is “Seize the Day,” by Carolyn Arends. Its message is worth remembering.

 

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What dreams are you working towards? What songs motivate you to strive for your goals? What does “seize the day” mean to you?

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My friend Jon Strother over at the Mad Utopia blog is compiling an anthology of the best flash fiction stories from participants in the #fridayflash group he sponsors. Every Friday people post a piece of fiction of less than 1,000 words on their blog, and Jon gathers the links to each of them and lists them on his own blog. There’s a wide range of genres represented, and I enjoy browsing them each week for something quick to read.

Seven stories were nominated by readers who haven’t submitted anything to the anthology, and the story that receives the most votes will be honored with The Reader’s Choice Award. Anyone can vote, and there is nothing to sign up for or join. It’s simply an attempt to recognize some authors whose stories have made an impact on readers.

If you would like to read these 7 stories and help select the best of the group, go to Jon’s blog: http://jmstrother.com/MadUtopia/?p=535 and vote for your favorite.

Full disclosure: I don’t participate in #fridayflash and don’t have a story in this contest, but I did nominate one that I loved. Whether or not that author wins doesn’t affect me as I don’t know the person and don’t get anything for promoting the contest.

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There’s an essay contest on the Editor Unleashed forum that you might be interested in entering. Entries of 750 words or less on the topic of “Why I Write” will be accepted until December 31, 2009. Members of the forum will be voting on them from January 4, 2010 through January 29, 2010. Winners will be announced on February 1, 2010. The 50 best will be included in an ebook anthology published by Smashwords, and editor Maria Schneider will select one essay as the Grand Prize Winner. The Grand Prize is $500.

There is no entry fee but you must register with the forum (for free) in order to enter or to vote. There are some excellent entries already posted, so the competition will be tough. I’m enjoying reading them, and debating on whether to enter the contest myself. The Editor Unleased forum is one of my favorites, so even if you aren’t interested in submitting an essay, you might enjoy visiting the site.

Here’s the link to the contest rules:

http://editorunleashed.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2865

Good luck to all who enter!

Edit December 23, 2009:   

There has been a problem with the Editor Unleashed Forum software the last few days preventing anyone from reading or posting there. I’ve heard that someone is working on it, and will let you know when the forum is accessible again.

December 30, 2009: The forum is back. The Why I Write contest deadline has been extended; entries will be accepted until January 31, 2010.

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I know I’m probably decreasing my own chance of winning by pointing out the contest for a Sony Reader Pocket Edition that Agent Rachelle Gardner has going on this week, but I’m feeling the Spirit of Christmas in a big way. I’d love to have a Sony Reader, but I’m sure many of you would, too.  

The contest involves posting some of your favorite literary passages or a brief statement regarding books that “moved” you on a site called Words Move Me, and a comment on Rachelle Gardner’s blog.

Here’s the link to her blog post with the instructions for entering the contest:        http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2009/12/words-move-me-sony-reader-giveaway.html

The deadline is  11:59 pm MST on Friday, December 11th.

Even if you’re not interested in entering the contest, you might want to take a look at the website called Words Move Me. There are lots of books mentioned that sound fascinating to read.

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What are some of your favorite passages from books you’ve read? What books have made an impact on your life or touched your emotions?

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For those of you who may not have read Agent Nathan Bransford’s blog this week, he’s conducting a First Paragraph Challenge. Anyone can post the first paragraph of their story in the comments section until Thursday, October 15, at 4pm Pacific time. He’ll select the finalists, and readers will vote on the winner. There are 990 entries as of the last time I checked.

I’m not entering as I know he doesn’t represent the type of novel I’m writing. However, reading the entries is an opportunity to see what an agent deals with on a regular basis. It also hit home the importance of a great opening sentence. I started out reading the entire paragraphs, but due to the volume and how repetitious some of the stories sounded, I ended up just reading the first line. If it sounded good, I read further, otherwise I just moved on to the next entry.

In a book store, I love to browse through books, reading the opening, the jacket cover, maybe even random pages. After looking at a few, I pick one and go home. Agents gets so many queries they don’t have the luxury of taking their time and browsing. They make quick decisions based on a few words. As writers, we need to focus on the opening sentence, the first paragraph, and each one after that to keep the agent, and eventually our readers, turning the page.

I’ve posted on the importance of an opening hook before. You may want to look at my post and the links I included for more information on hooks: https://thewritingplace.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/writing-an-opening-hook/

 

Did you post your first paragraph in the Challenge?

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Don’t you get frustrated when you finish something you think is really good, submit it, and then find out you did something wrong? For example, maybe you formatted it incorrectly or forgot something that was supposed to be included? I entered a short story contest a couple of weeks ago, and I formatted it like I do the articles I send via email. Tonight I ran across an article that explains that short stories aren’t formatted like nonfiction. Who knew?

Now I’m obsessing over that story, wondering if it will be tossed in the recycle/trash can without being read because I didn’t indent the first line of each paragraph and I double spaced between paragraphs. Or maybe I did it right, but I don’t remember. It was submitted via a form on the contest site, and all I have to go by is the original, un-indented story on my hard drive.

I wish I knew how important the finer points of submitting really are. There is so much conflicting information that it’s clear there isn’t a standard rule—just standard guidelines. In the absence of stated guidelines, you’d think anything would be acceptable as long as it was readable. Right?

On the bright side, if my entry doesn’t win, I can always tell myself it’s because it got rejected without being read. That might be better for my self-esteem than thinking it’s because the story wasn’t any good.

I’ve added a couple of helpful sites to my original post on formatting manuscripts, which seems to be the most popular post on my blog. Since I’m obviously not an expert on this, I recommend that you take a look at some or all of the sites I’ve mentioned before you submit anything. Maybe it will save you some frustration.

Do you think editors and agents are looking for excuses to eliminate manuscripts so they have less work, or do you think something like formatting is too minor to affect their decision? How do you deal with frustration: by eating comfort foods, working harder, whining, or some other method?

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Giveaways seem to be popular on blogs but, since I don’t have any books to pass on, I’ve been struggling to come up with an alternative. This morning I came up with an idea that works for me, and I hope it will interest some of you.

I love doing critiques for people, and am offering a free critique of up to 3,000 words—short story, novel excerpt, grocery list, whatever. The only things I can think of that I won’t consider are works containing explicit erotica, graphic gore, or profuse profanity.

The critique will be confidential, via email, and I promise not to steal your idea, words, or personal information. You can decide what type of critique you want; detailed or general, grammar, or just content. I don’t guarantee you’ll agree with what I say, but it will be my honest opinion. The offer doesn’t have an expiration date, so if you don’t have something ready to be critiqued at this time, you may still enter.

So, if you want to participate in Carol’s Critique Contest, leave a comment on this post between Friday, September 25, 2009 and noon central time on Friday, October 2, 2009. The entries will be assigned a number, starting with 1 for the first entry, 2 for the second, etc. The winning entry will be picked by the generator at random.org and announced sometime the evening of October 2.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve had articles published in Cappers, Simple Joy (now called Girlfriend 2 Girlfriend), and a story in the Flash Fiction 40 Anthology. I also participate in the forums at Writer’s Digest and Editor Unleashed. Not a huge list of references, I know—but I’m working on it.

Good luck!

Carol

EDIT 9-26-09: The guidelines I use for a critique are explained in today’s post.

 

10-2-09: This contest has closed. Everyone’s a winner!

Thank you for participating, Jon and Alexander. Since only 2 of you signed up, I’m awarding you both a detailed critique. I’ll be contacting you directly through the emails you gave me.

Carol

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