In my early writing days, I enjoyed entering competitions. There are a lot of them around if you look, many with free entry (Muse: young writers check out the list on the right of this blog!) Some competitions are obviously for stories or poetry, but others use your writing in a creative way, so don’t ignore them. Even if you don’t win, entering can be fun and might encourage you to have a go at something that’s not your usual sort of thing, which helps keeps your writing fresh. Also, a deadline gets you into the habit of actually finishing something and sending it off to be judged, which is all good practice for finishing your novel and sending it off to an editor.
The prizes can be interesting. For example, my first “win” was a large box of Mars Bars in return for creating a fantasy creature and writing a short piece about it. (Muse: If you’re curious, Katherine’s creature was a “cock-a-hissle-doo”, a cross between a snake and a cockerel, and she had a lot of fun drawing the noisy, slithery creature... she was 8 at the time!) Others might offer a creative writing course, or a pitch with an agent, or lunch with an author you've never heard of. But you're not entering for the money, are you?
Needless to say, the Muse loves this sort of thing! So for my first Writing Wednesday post he’d like to point his horn towards an exciting online tournament, which has just opened for entries over at The Book Drum:
First Prize: £1,000
Second Prize: £500
Third Prize: £250
5 Runner-Up Prizes: £100
Deadline for Entries: 30 April 2011
The idea is to add background material to a published book. This might include historical articles, interviews with the author, pictures, videos, anything that you think goes well with the book… the sort of thing I attempted for “I am the Great Horse” last year on this blog. The website is set up to help you add all these things to your chosen book, and you can search online for suitable material or add your own. Have a look at some of the profiles already on the Book Drum site, and you’ll see what I mean.
For the tournament, you can either profile one of their Recommended Books, which includes a mix of both young and adult titles, or you can choose another title, so long as it is widely available and published by a mainstream publisher. (Anyone who wants to tackle “I am the Great Horse” is welcome to use material from this blog – see the Great Horse series of posts between August and December 2010, and I will also give an email interview to the brave person who attempts this.)
Only one person can profile any particular book, so enter as soon as possible to ensure you get the title you want…
Muse note: You’ll notice the rules say you have to be over 18, but I have prodded the editors with my glittery horn, and they say if you are under 18 then you’ll need to get a parent or guardian to register for you for legal reasons, but you can then build the profile and enter the tournament yourself. And if you win, you’ll be able to buy a lot of Mars Bars…