Writing Competitions

Most of the time I remember the competitions I enter and the prizes I am after but as I don’t always keep a regular record of them, occasionally I am surprised when an unexpected parcel arrives at the front door. I am also delighted, mind you. This happened the other day when I was greeted by a courier who handed over a vey large parcel in which I found a DeLonghi Dehumidifier worth about $500. It took a little while to twig but eventually I realised it was a prize for writing a letter to my Sunday paper. The letter, which took me about 10 minutes to write and email, won the best letter for September.
This wasn’t the first time I had won this monthly competition. The last time was about 16 months ago when I won my Nokia Smartphone and a 6 months free unlimited phone and data plan from Amaysim. The prizes for this letter writing competition are always good, well worth winning and not that difficult. It is just a matter of keeping it short, snappy and to the point, written from the heart and addressing an issue that the magazine might see as having interest for the readers. Use your 25 WOL skills but make the letter a bit longer. Count the number of words in the letters already printed – that should give you a clue to the ideal word count.
Entering writing letter writing competitions and other writing competitions may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it occasionally works for me so I thought I would take some time here to share a few hints and tips and a couple of current ones that might be worth entering. There are plenty around at any given time and some may appeal more than others. Here are a few:-
1. Positive Words Magazine. Each month this magazine runs a mini writing competition based on a specific topic but the entry is restricted to around 100 words. On top of this each year they also run an end-of-year competition for short stories (around 500 words) and poetry (maximum of 20 lines). It costs $4 per entry but you can pay with the equivalent in stamps. I won a year’s subscription to this magazine a few years ago and it certainly boosted my writing confidence immensely. For more information visit www.positivewordsmagazine.wordpress.com/about/.
2. Reader’s Digest – 100 Word Competition. Do you think you could write a compelling story in just 100 words? Well if you can, Reader’s Digest is offering a $1000 prize to for the best one and $250 for two runners-up. All three will then be published next year. The story needs to be exactly 100 words and the competition closes on 31st December. Why not check it out at www.readerdigest.com.au.
3. Short and Twisted. This is not a competition but an opportunity to get a story into print and a free copy of the anthology when it is published in June next year. It is a collection of stories, poems and illustrations with a twist at the end submitted by mostly amateur writers. It is run each year by Celapene Press and everything you need to know and more is on their website www.celapenepress.com.au.
4. Dear Monica Competition. This last one is being run by Penguin Books Australia. It involves writing a letter to Monica McInerney (the author of Hello from the Gillespies) about a favourite family memory in less than 1000 words. The prize for the best entry is a whopping $5000 with ten runners-up receiving a copy of her book. It is easy to enter online at www.penguin.com.au/dearmonica. However you need to get it in before November 17th.
That’s it for now and for all those who are going to give any of these a try. Good luck and happy writing!

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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