Winning Writing Contests
How to Increase Your Chances

Winning Writing Contests Can Offer Advantages to Writers...




By Diane Thomas

Winning writing contests can provide several advantages to writers. For starters it’s a great way to get your name in print and in front of potential readers. It can also provide professional credits for your writing portfolio, and prize rewards to augment your income.

Just participating can get new writers into a writing regiment, grow confidence, and provide practice, practice, practice.

Whatever your reason for entering a writing contest just be realistic about your expectations. The odds of winning writing contests are not terrific, but there are certainly plenty of things you can do to improve those odds, and stack them in your favor...

  • Start with flair! Introduce a complicating situation, an unsolved problem - make the reader want to know how your story or article is going to turn out. If the first page, and more specifically, the first paragraph, doesn’t make the judges want to read more, you are in trouble. Judges will generally weed out losing entries by discarding those where the first page does not compel them to read on.

  • Your story should be unique. A well written entry with originality will stand out. Find an original angle or unusual twist, create offbeat characters, or use an unusual setting. The judges are looking for something new, not the same old storylines - so give them a reason to notice your work.

  • Make your characters believable. Whether fictional or non-fictional, your characters should be authentic. Their dialogue should be relevant and move the story along. They should talk as you and I, not stilted or awkward, but natural and convincingly.

  • Your entry should have a beginning, middle and end - with a clear central theme that is followed throughout the story or article. You should be able to define your theme in one sentence. ie: "My story/article is about..."

  • Deliver a positive ending. That doesn’t mean it has to be happy and upbeat, but it should be openly and plainly expressed and have a positive meaning to it.

  • Before submitting your entry proofread (or have someone else do this for you). Check for errors in spelling, grammar, sentence construction, and story structure. Neatness is also of the utmost importance. Your entry should identify you as professional and capable, whether you have been published before or not.

  • Enter your story or article as soon as possible - well before the closing deadline. Many judges read entries as they come in and early submissions will certainly have them more engaged than they will be after they have already read hundreds of submissions.

  • Follow the rules! Read submission guidelines carefully and make sure your entry complies in every way. If your entry breaks the rules set forth by the contest it will not be looked at further, so don’t put yourself in that position. Read carefully and submit according to the guidelines - or you lose before that great story is even read!

  • Increase the odds! If the guidelines state that more than one entry is acceptable, by all means increase your odds of attracting a judges eye and enter as many times as allowed.


  • A good short story or article can simply be entertaining or it can affect or stir the reader, perhaps change perceptions or provide understanding. Contest judges are looking for stories that involve the reader - make them think, laugh or even cry.

    Winning writing contests will not turn you into Stephen King, but it can put a few dollars in your pocket, and provide an opportunity to get published. It's definitely a beginning. So what are you waiting for? Maybe winning writing contests is just the break you've been looking for!

    About the Author

    Diane Thomas has been successfully helping people write, publish, market and earn their way online for the past 10 years. For more information on writing, visit her at eBook Crossroads.com.

    You may reprint or distribute this article as long as you leave the content, the links and the resource box intact.


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