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My First Writing Contest

Updated on February 9, 2011

The Story

The soft sound of her song flowed across the graveyard generating confused looks from by-passers.  The song emanated from a small bench near a fresh grave.  Draped across the bench was a young woman.  Her mournful body bent under the weight of her pain while tears descended her face. She sang for her lover; begging him to come back.  

Through her song, his voice was barely heard.  She looked up and saw he had returned. He was on his knees, mumbling to the fresh grave. His fingers caressed her name, which was etched into the tombstone.

The Background

It was a mid-October 2010, my husband was without a job, and I was contemplating ways to make additional money. 46 hours a week was my usual schedule at my full time job, so I did not want to take on an additional job. I decided to think outside the box, and attempt to find something I could do at home. The few short stories I had written, recently, played in my head like an old black and white movie. They seem to be chanting try freelance writing. I began to explore the possibilities.

I typed "freelance writing" into the Google search engine. Within a matter of seconds, I had thousands of websites to browse through. One of the first choices was a website called, appropriately enough, Freelance Writing. I was exploring this wonderful site, when a small caption caught my attention. "Writing Contests" were the words that had caught my eye. "Hmmm" I said to myself (go ahead, call the loony bin, they have to catch me first)."I wonder if I could enter any of these?". I glanced down the list until a specific contest jumped off the screen at me. It was the 100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest. I clicked on the link. As the page pulled up, my anticipation rose. The deadline was December 10, 2010. Could I write a decent 100 word story between now and then?

I perused the site studying each tab intently. The rules were simple enough; write about any topic in proper English, and keep it at or under 100 words. I checked out the samples they provided and was struck by the first example. It was a short story attributed to Ernest Hemingway. The story was so dramatic. I must share it in its entirety. "For sale: Baby Shoes. Never Used." After reading this short story, I stopped and let the meaning sink in. My only thoughts were "how sad, how painful." I wanted to give this a try, but what story would I use?

"The Vocalist" was a short story about a young couple separated by death. The story began with the young lady singing in a cemetery for her lover. Then proceeded to tell her story. It ended with her young lover returning to visit her grave and the reader realizes she is of the spirit world. At the time, the story was around 800 words. I felt this would be a great candidate for the writing contest. I spent the next month and a half writing and rewriting this story. Finally, December rolled around, and I sent my entry in by email on the last day. The following day was a Saturday. I received an email from one of the judges of the contest. Apparently I had sent in my story with no title. She requested I email the title as soon as possible. With much embarrassment, I sent in my title.

For an additional fee, the judges of the writing contest provided the writer a written critique of their style and voice. As a new writer, I felt this information would be invaluable. I watched my email constantly while waiting for my critique. Finally, it arrived a few days after I had sent in my entry. Except for a few comments in regards to grammar, my critique was better than I expected. This made me feel more comfortable and sure of my writing.

The winners of the 100 Words or Fewer contest were announced January 17, 2011. I was not one of the winners, but that does not bother me a bit. I believe entering the contest is enough to be proud of. I read the winning entries and was very impressed with the stories. I fear I could never be that creative. Overall, I enjoyed the experience, and I hope that one day I will have time to enter a few more contests. I would like to see if I could write fiction. 

I would recommend the 100 Words or Fewer contest to anyone interested in entering writing contests. They hold four a year, and the entry fee is only $15.00. If nothing else, check out the winning stories, they are worth the read.

Thank you for reading, feel free to leave a comment or to share with your friends.


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    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Kenneth, thanks so much for your comments and votes. I have to admit I still love this story. You keep up the great work also. Thanks again.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      7 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Dusty, GREAT read! Voted up and all across! Love your style. Very spellbinding. Glad to have found someone as creative as you. Keep up the great work. An Alabamian, from northwest Alabama, Hamilton, near Florence and Lawrenceburg.

      Kenneth Avery, a fan

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Andycool, Thank you for your encouragement. I wish I had more time to write, so I could enter more contest. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Dear Dusty Snoke please just don't stop participating in the contests, I think it's matter of time you win. You're a good writer, you know. I'm a reader of English literature for a long time... more than 20 years. I can confidently tell you that your style is unique. Wish you good luck! - Andy

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      prasetio30, thank you for the great compliments. Also thanks for stopping by and reading.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      You are on the way in success. I hope the best for you and I support you form the back. I thought you are good writer. God bless you.

      Love and peace,

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      henry thanks for reading. The contest runs four times a year and they request all stories to be 100 words are less. They post the winners and they are some great reads. I am amazed at the abilities of those writers. I posted a link to their website between my article and the comment section. Please check it out.

    • henry1robertson profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA 90013

      Kindly give more details specially your Writing Contest,I am still want to learn.

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Thanks Tammy. I appreciate the vote of confidence. I enjoyed the contest and look forward to trying another some day.

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Dusty, I'm sorry you didn't win the writing contest. You are definitely worthy of an honorable mention anyway. Keep writing these intelligent hubs and you'll win quite a few writing contests.


    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      dahoglund, thanks for reading. I enjoyed participating in the contest, and would recommend it to others. I will try again some day.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for relating your writing experience with contests.They are something to consider is one hits a dry spell.It can be a motivator at times.


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