Entering a writing contest isn’t always fun and games. It’s exciting to write stories, essays, and poems, as you can let your creative juices flow and make up a whole new world of infinite possibilities. However, actually submitting your work and waiting for the results can affect the confidence of even the most talented writers.
A million thoughts start whirling in your head. What will the judges think of your writing? Will they actually like your story? What if they don’t like the ending?
Instead of torturing yourself with these questions and clinging to a glimmer of hope, work on truly standing out from the crowd. Practice really makes perfect, but there are some things you should always keep in mind when creating a piece for a writing contest. Here are the top tips that will help you go for the win.
- Give the Judges What They Want
- Open with a Bang
- Make an Interesting Twist
- Spice Things Up with a Surprise Ending
- Be Unique and Unconventional
- Make Sure Your Piece Is Error-Free
This really is the key to winning a writing competition. Maybe dozens of people will love what you wrote but, if that’s not what the judges were expecting, you won’t see that coveted “Winner!” in your email.
Conduct a bit of research and find out what the judges really like. Read the previous winning pieces and get an insight into the writing style and every little detail that made those essays take the prize. If you know what kind of writing the judges favor, you’ll seriously increase your chances of winning.
The opening line of your story is your best chance to hook your readers, that is, your judges. Give them something eye-catching and intriguing that will make them stick like glue and instantly get them excited to read through.
Capturing your readers’ attention right from the start is the best way to make them look forward to the rest of your story. It doesn’t matter what topic you’re writing about – just make the first line compelling enough to make the readers genuinely want to find out what happens next.
No one wants to read a story where nothing changes. If you leave your character at the same place they were when the story began, it won’t make for an interesting piece. Why would someone bother to read a story where the experiences and decisions that your character makes don’t result in consequences that completely turn the tables around?
Make a captivating twist that will engross the readers and keep them absolutely amused and curious about how the story will end.
Writing an ending is the toughest part of writing any kind of story, but you can hit the bullseye with this pro tip – come up with an ending before writing anything and then think about how you’re going to get there.
The best stories have a surprise ending. Not a shocking, out-of-the-blue ending that leaves the readers wondering what in the world just happened and why the essay ended up the way it did. Instead, use a red herring to distract your readers before you hit them with your unexpected ending.
Would you be tired of reading the same kind of stories over and over? That’s something that really frustrates the judges in writing contests because they read through a huge number of very similar pieces.
Therefore, don’t play it safe by writing like everyone else does. Be unique and go against the conventional to truly stand out. The previous tips showed you how to be unique and entice your readers, but being unique is definitely worth mentioning twice, because that’s exactly what will help you dive out of the vast sea of competition.
This cannot be stressed enough. Writing a piece that is completely free of errors (grammar and spelling) is what will help you win the contest. Before submitting, go over your entry several times to make sure everything is written and formatted perfectly. Ask a friend to proofread your writing as well, so that you don’t miss a typo or a more serious error that could cost you your well-deserved win.
Have you ever entered a writing contest? Have you ever won? If you haven’t, follow these tips and you’ll definitely be on the right track to winning the first prize!