Friday, 19 October 2012

Wooooo

D'you like hallowe'en? I'm not keen on groups of teenagers, with two sheets and a plastic mask between them by way of costumes, demanding cash at my door of an evening, but I do like a nicely carved pumpkin and a glass of something blood red. For some people the day, or perhaps I mean the night, has special meaning. For me too in a way - it's a great topic for short story writing. (I have a slightly spooky story coming out in the 27th October issue of The Weekly News)

You might think it's a bit late to start writing hallowe'en stories for this year, but you'd be wrong. This competition doesn't close until 23rd of the month. You have up to 3,000 words to come up with something suitable and could win an iPad or £250. Be warned that all entries will be published and the one with the most downloads will win, so although your story needn't be brilliantly frightening, you'll need to scare all your family and friends into helping you if you want to win.

This one operates on a similar scheme. This time it's the entry with the most facebook likes that wins. The prizes aren't so good either, but as they only want a scary travel anecdote in 150 words you might think it's worth a go.

And yikes! here's another one where the size of your social network is all important. The FAQs state, "If you're a successful author, this might not be the thing for you." Still there's a chance at $5,000 dollars and potential for plenty of publicity should you get selected in any of the rounds. Despite the contest title, worldwide entries are accepted.

What do you think of writing competitions judged on popularity of the author rather than quality of the writing? I think you can guess my opinion.

29 comments:

  1. Erm, probably similar to you Patsy. Popularity sure helps but quality of writing should surely come first.

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  2. I'm not too much into the social media sites, so I'll pass on those.

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    1. Don't blame you, Oscar. If you don't spend ages building a network you'll have no chance in these, whatever your writing is like.

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  3. There's always someone more popular than you anyway.

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    1. True, Alex - but surely not any more popular that you!

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  4. I think its disgraceful! The writing should always be first.

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    1. In a writing contest it certainly should, Maria.

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  5. Hmm. That sort of judging is normally reserved for Homecoming Queens. :-P

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    1. Exactly, Rachel. It has it's place, but a popularity contest should only be expected to judge popularity.

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  6. I totally agree with all the above comments, and in fact I've stopped sending stories to magazines because there is so much competition out there and I've noticed that editors accept stories from the same writers over and over again. Okay, I know they are good, but I think other lesser known writers should be given a chance. I enter flash fiction competitions and write to please myself these days. I am also enjoying drawing and having them printed professionally for Christmas cards and notelets. I'm also knitting more again. At least with these crafts you are ALWAYS appreciated and have something to show for your work.

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    1. Maggie, I think it's a little different with the magazines but it is quite possible some editors give preference to writers they 'know'. I agree lesser known writers should have a chance. Unfortunately these people aren't so likely to have a huge online support network so won't win these popularity contests either.

      I think doing your own Christmas cards is a lovely idea.

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  7. Will try and remember to get that Weekly News, Patsy! I'm giving these links a miss as I detest the comps where you have to garner votes - I have enough trouble trying to promote my novels now and then!

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    1. I knew it sometimes happened, but I'm surprised it's becoming more popular - I certainly didn't vote for this kind of judging!

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  9. I think those comps suck Patsy, you feel a proper twit asking, 'can you vote for my story please?' I'd rather someone pick my story out from the crowd and tell me why they liked it. Thanks for the spooky pic though and for telling us about your story. Will pick that one up.

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    1. Glad you like the picture. It's one of my holiday snaps!

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  10. Not for me either ...
    It takes me long enough to write, edit and polish a story before I think it's good enough to submit anywhere, without also being expected to gather hordes of 'friends' and persuade them to vote for me!
    (And then those 'friends' will be asking me to vote for them in return...!)

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  11. Linda, I think most of us would rather spend our energies on improving our writing than on gathering voters.

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  12. Hmm... I get the feeling I'm very much in the minority here, as I decided to have a go at the Ether Books one. I don't feel hugely comfortable with going around asking people to download my work, but I've used a story that's already proved itself (it won second place at Writers' Forum a while ago), so I'm not trying to get people to download some piece of rubbish I dashed off moments before the deadline.

    Self-promotion is so much a part of the professional writer's life these days that I'm using this as a small-scale experiment into how it all works. And it's been interesting to come up with ideas to get people to notice this, and nudge them towards downloading my story. It doesn't cost them anything other than a few moments of their time and, who knows, some of them may even be glad they read the story!

    It's not something I see myself doing regularly, though. Whoever wins the contest is only really being rewarded for their marketing skills, as there's no pre-judging to ensure only stories of a certain quality go through. But, as I say, it's an interesting experiment.

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    1. The issue I have with these, Dan is that there's often very little, or no attention paid the the quality of the writing, it's all down to how many people you can persuade to vote for you.

      Good luck with your experiment though. I hope you'll blog about it and let us know what you think by the end.

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    2. I agree with your issue, Patsy. Obviously the contest is a promotional tool for Ether to get more people downloading their app, and going on (they must be hoping) to purchase more short stories from them in the future. It's strange that they've not vetted the stories upfront, because if people do download one or two to help a friend out and the writing they end up with isn't much cop, the chances of them coming back for more must be pretty slim.

      Yes, I'll definitely blog at the end of the contest with some thoughts on how it all went.

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  13. Oh, by the way, is the photo from the Wellcome Collection? If it is, I went to that too. I thought it was fascinating.

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  14. No, it's one of the bodies recovered from the Vasa in Stockholm.

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    1. Oh, it looked just like the way the ones in the Wellcome exhibition were laid out (the bones in that one were a selection from the hundreds that had been unearthed around London). Obviously, a black sand and glass case combo is what all the well-dressed skeletons are wearing this season!

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  15. I'm with you on the whole Hallowe'en thing. I rather we hadn't got dragged into the commercialism opportunity of it...If there's an equivalent for Hallowe'en of Bah Humbug, that's me I'm afraid.

    As for the comps, I'm not a big fan of any sort of competition which relies on how many 'friends' you have. What's the point of having a creative challenge to it at all if all it comes downs to is how many people you can get to vote for you. A bit like the so called 'talent' shows on telly, it's a popularity contest more than anything.

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    1. Maybe we need our own phrase ... Booo humbug?

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Thanks so much for commenting!