To win a writing contest, you must write a piece of work that meets the contest requirements, so study what the competition is asking for. Try to write a piece that is imaginative and a bit different from others, one that stands out. Ensure that the writing is properly proofread to ensure that there are no basic errors. Learn more in this article.
The contest requirements
Carefully study the requirements of the contest. You will need to know the general subject area that the editor wants and the length specifications. If you go outside these, you will not win. You also need to know the target readership and adapt your language appropriately. Writing kids' stories demands careful attention to language and the target age. Kids' contests require attention to the emotional needs of the age group for which you are writing.
Stories should always have strong and interesting characters, who are the basis of the plot. However, do not have more characters than the length of the story can handle. A book the size of the Lord of The Rings can have many characters, but a short story needs one or two main ones. Ensure that you blend dialogue with narrative, and do not overuse dialogue - short stories do not allow for it.
Beginnings and endings
To effectively write stories, get into the action quickly, as readers can quickly become bored. Stories should have an interesting ending. Decide on your ending before you begin writing. It is the goal of your writing. Do not be misled by the current fad in children's literature for finishing on a cliff hanger. Good writers can think of an interesting ending. A predictable ending will not win. There must be a surprise.
Many other writing competitions ask for poems. Anyone who wants to publish poems will start with such competitions and magazines. Ensure that the poem is very carefully worked over and polished to perfection. Remember that poetry speaks not only through its words, but also through its rhythms and rhymes.
Some competitions require non-fiction articles. To have a chance in these, ensure that you write an article not an essay, unless the competition specifically seeks an essay. This means that it should be written in a journalistic style and should not only inform, but interest readers.
Whatever you write, ensure that it is carefully presented. There is no substitute for good proofreading to eliminate the typographical errors that beset all users of word processors. Read over more than once until you are satisfied that all errors have been eliminated. Be prepared to change words and expressions.