My First Writing Contest
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.
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.
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Check out these links...
- FREELANCE WRITING . COM : Helping Freelance Writers to Succeed since 1997
Learn about freelance writing. Find freelance writing jobs. Learn how to freelance.
- 100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest - Welcome to the 100 Words or fewer Writing Contests for 2010!
A challenge to writers to create a compelling story in 100 Words or Fewer.
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