wordsRLHyde

Tackling WOL Competitions

Did you waste a lot of time at school? If you were anything like me, you probably spent much of the time staring out the window day dreaming or thinking about what you were going to get up to on the weekend.  I also managed to while way a fair amount of time, up the back of the classroom, writing comical poems about my teachers. When caught this did lead to the occasional detention but now looking back I can see how it actually set me up to be able to think up quirky answers in WOL competitions and writing catchy comments on Facebook. Time wasted? I’m not sure now.

If you are really serious about tacking WOL competitions and actually winning a few prizes it can be a good idea to get acquainted with the English language and what it has to offer. Yes, despite it being rather boring at school, English can, in fact, be fun!

The first thing to do is to make friends with a dictionary and a thesaurus. A dictionary will give you the exact meanings of words and a thesaurus a list of words with similar meanings (synonyms) as well as opposites (antonyms). Where else are you going to get all the brilliant words to use to string together creatively enough to win a prize? Of course you don’t need a book-type dictionary or thesaurus anymore. You can use an electronic one or consult dictionary.com or thesaurus.com on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

So what sort of words do you need to produce a prize-winning WOL answer? In short – interesting, enticing, emotive, unusual or quirky, based of course on the theme of the question and the product or brand being promoted. Then once you have the most appealing words you can find on the topic, how are you going to put them together to gain the attention of the judges? There seems to be a few different ways you can do this. None of them will guarantee a win, however they are useful to get to know and try so you can come up with a unique personal style and a few catchy answers.

Facebook Competitions are becoming increasing popular, in some instances more popular than the traditional WOL competition. Often they require a comment to be judged or voted as the best to win the prize. Many of the same ideas for WOL answers can be used for Facebook comments but the biggest mistake people make in both types of competitions is not answering the whole question. So think carefully about the specific question being asked before rushing in with an answer. In other words – take your time!

The Straightforward Answer.

There is nothing too smart about a straightforward answer. You just answer the question as best you can with honesty, quality words, excellent spelling and good grammar. If you only have 25 words to play with, you also need to be concise and keep to the point. However it does need to come across as sincere and heartfelt, if necessary. Here is one winning example (an Enders Game Prize Pack). It was a FB comment so there was no set word limit, but I knew it was best to still keep it rather concise.

Question: What do  you love about Sci-fi?

Answer: Outer space, out of time and all the realms in between, above and beyond: your imagination soars and energises with every breath-taking adventure. It makes life worthwhile. 

6 Steps to a WOL Answer 

  1. On a piece of paper or in a word document write down everything you can think of about the topic and the question using emotive and interesting words. Don’t worry about the number of words yet.
  2. Do a rough draft of your answer using an active voice to make it lively.
  3. Edit it for clarity by removing extraneous words and combine phrases into words or shorter phrases.
  4. Transfer the answer into the entry form, then count the words.
  5. Edit again if necessary to make it stronger.
  6. Do a final count, check spelling, grammar and punctuation before hitting ‘enter’. 

More on tackling WOL competitions next week……rhyming answers, word play and so on.

Photo attribution – R L Hyde

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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