Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No Contest

The Bower Meadow,
Dante Gabriele Rossetti, 1872,
Manchester City Art Galleries.

Ah, the nostalgia.

In a kinder universe, Miss Snark Dear might have been cranking up her Crap-O-Meter about now, and we would be buzzing around like a swarm of flies above a bloody body.

Her critiques were not a contest, of course, more an exercise in self- exsanguination.

I don't, as a rule, have much use for contests, especially those which require an entry fee - though I understand the logic behind the legitimate ones - it's too much like paying for a service, like a reading fee, for my taste.

Since Miss Snark Dear said sayorana, several neat contests have appeared on the net.

Fangs, Fur and Fey held one a while ago for queries and first pages. If I remember rightly, winners received a critique from an agent.Naturally, there was the potential for representation.

Samhain Publishing just finished a fascinating "first lines" contest in accumulative stages up to five. Winners were invited to submit their manuscripts.

Archival pursuit of both might be helpful and certainly interesting.

Now, the Brava line will hold a Novella Contest. Details and links also at Tawny Taylor's site in her July 4 entry.

One may note from comments that (1) entries did not have to win to attract an editor's notice; and(2), the presiding editor is warm and willing to answer any niggling questions.

These contests offer(ed) real, direct rewards to lowly wiffenpoop(f)s. No fuss. No fees. No fooling around.

I love the internet.


Anonymous said...

It's always nice when these folks do this.

Bernita said...

Indeed, Steve.

Jaye Wells said...

A couple of years ao I entered one of the RWA chapter contests. I tell you what, receiving the call that I'd finaled was a huge moment for me. In the grand scheme of things it was a small victory. But to a beginning novelist it helped me stick with it.

Since then, I've had a couple of frustrating experience with paid contests. Now I just submit directly to the agents and editors. Skip the middle man.

Demon Hunter said...

I heard of all of the contests except the last. It's great that they're picking up where dear Miss Snark left off...

Bernita said...

Jaye, I understand that the level of feed-back from some contests can be quite inconsistent and entirely confusing.

Evil Editor does a great job replacing MS with both wit and critique for gueries and openings, my Demon.
No reward, of course, except clues.

Anonymous said...

Inonsistent feed back from judges. Compare:

"The entry read like the sex scenes were just thrown into a book that was being spiced up for a publisher."


"You write sensuality very, very well. I liked how you built it up, there was nothing clinical about it, as sometimes happens."

Same story, same contest. Whatever, I finalled. I'll let you know in a couple days if I won.

Kate Thornton said...

The last contest I entered netted me a movie poster - very nice, actually - but I'm not a conest-entering sorta gal, I guess.

I do love reading for them, though! All the headache of being an editor, but without the rewards of your name on a cover anywhere. But I still do it.

There's a lot of fine work out there, too - and the real stinkers always give me a chuckle or a wince.

Bernita said...

An excellent comparison, Seeley - seems only a 2x4 will works for some readers - and congratulations on reaching the finals.

I'm sure your critiques are thoughtful, substantive and valuable, Kate.

Bernita said...

"queries" - not "gueries"
"work" - not "works"

raine said...

I'm definitely with you on the freebies, lol.
And the ones that claim editors and agents as readers are usually the only ones worth bothering about, I think--although I have gotten some great feedback from authors as readers.

For me the hard part has been not getting my hopes up too much, even if I final...that many are called, few are chosen sort of thing.

Bernita said...

I would view finaling as a seal of approval, Raine. Once that point is reached, choice becomes much more subjective.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've always enjoyed entering contests myself. They are quite often more open ended than actual magazines. I've done quite a few in my day, although none recently. I still wish I could win the Bulwer Lytton con for bad first lines, though.

Jaye Wells said...

"I understand that the level of feed-back from some contests can be quite inconsistent and entirely confusing."

No kidding. I had a contest judge in a paranormal category mark me down because in her words she "didn't like vampire books." Say what? The funny thing is she gave me top scores for writing and story. But her dislike of fangs marked me way down. Needless to say it soured me toward contests.

Bernita said...

I thought your latest Bulwer Lytton lines were particularly fine, Charles.

And she was judging paranormals ...hmmm....
As Miss Snark would say : "WTF?"
Would inspire in me the desire to rip out her throat with my bare teeth.

LadyBronco said...


I Miss Miss Snark.

I wish I had the desire to enter contests. I often wonder how I would do.

Bernita said...

Some people swear by them, Lady B. Others, not.