Tackling WOL Competitions..continued

Many compers feel a little daunted by the task of creating WOL answers but it is often this type of competition that is easier to win. In my last blog post I looked at the straightforward answer. This week I will take you a little deeper into using English creatively by looking at some literary, fun, quirky and unusual answers.    

     The Rhyming Answer.

Putting together a short poem or rhyming answer can lead to a win but it all depends on the judges. I have won a number of prizes with rhyming answers so I know it can work but I also submit them cautiously. As with straightforward answers they still need to answer the question and not be too cliché. If you don’t feel creative enough to rhyme your answers yourself have a look at www.rhymer.com or get your hands on a rhyming dictionary. I have one but I only use it when I get stumped. Some judges hate rhyming answers so beware. What can be ideal is that you can put in two entries, one rhyming and one straightforward one but that is not always the case. Maybe for a Facebook comment competition, perhaps. Here is one winning answer that scored me a $200 shoe voucher:

Question: If you could choose to spend time in someone else’s shoes who would that be and why?

Answer: If I could choose, someone else’s shoes

              Into my husband’s it would be

              Then I could see…

              How hard it is to live with me. 

Here is another one that actually won me a week’s holiday at NelsonBay (although I didn’t think it was that creative at the time):

Question: Why do you want to win this holiday?

Answer: A holiday! Oh what fun

             We’re worn out from our new grandson

            We need that break at Nelson Bay…

            A great excuse to get away.           

The Haiku-Inspired Answer 

Haiku poetry was initially developed by Japanese poets. Haiku poems are short poems that use sensory language to capture a feeling, image or concept. The idea of Haiku has since been adapted to other languages including English. A Haiku-inspired WOL answer can work as long as it addresses the topic and the question concisely. Here is an example (not strictly Haiku and not a WOL answer) to give you the idea.

Rain on the roof

Stark wakening

August showers

Rain on the roof – relief! 

The Word Play Answer 

A ‘play on words’ is a sentence written with the intention of alluding to more than one meaning, usually using a pun. Puns can be created by using words that sound alike but are not synonymous (don’t mean the same thing) or use words that have similar but not identical meanings. A hairdresser might use a ‘play on words’ when creating a name for her salon – Divine Colour and Curl – A Cut above the Rest. Another example that could actually be used as part of a WOL answer might be – Camping – intense pleasure in all kinds of weather. Or for a Christmas themed answer – Christmas, a cracker of a time! Here is another kind of play on words I used in a competition:

Question: What is your favourite ice cream flavour and why?

Answer: Rocky Road. It’s my second best friend when the road gets rocky. 

There are lots of other ways you can play with words. You can even make up your own words. These can be fun if you are not afraid to try it. They may or may not impress a judge but it could be worth a go. Here are a few based on Santa – santa-riffic or santa-stic. You could even try something as simple as fun-tastic, or heavenscent and scentsational (for perfume obviously). There is always purr-fect which could be used in a response to cat food question like: ……(catfood): a purr-fect blend of nutrition and taste. You get the idea.

The Acrostic Answer 

An acrostic poem is a short poem where some of the letters (usually the first ones but not necessarily) of a word are used to create another word or phrase which read together form a poem about the original word. Because they are brief but can say a fair bit in 25 words or less they may be able to be moulded into an interesting and quirky answer. I fondly remember many years ago when my son won a $50 Kmart voucher for me for Mother’s Day with this simple one:

Question: What is it you love most about your mum?

Answer: Mum

              Understands

              Me

Something a little more literary might be more like:

              Night

              Is a mysterious

             Gateway to

             Hopes for a better

             Tomorrow

More ideas for tackling WOL competitions next week……….

After working for thirty years as a journalist/historian, Jenny started writing sci-fi for children and adults and occasionally illustrating them (when she was not spending time with her grandkids). Most have been published in The School Magazine, anthologies and online. She has also been contributing to a wide variety of magazines such as Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit, Australiana and Nurture. Now essentially retired Jenny has taken up a challenge of entering and (hopefully winning) competitions. Jenny will track her journey through this challenge here at www.competitions.com.au.

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  1. Daniel

    Fantastic tips Jenny,

    Thanks heaps.

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