Friday, June 29, 2012

When Losers Become Winners

Just because you lost a writing competition does not mean that your writing is complete garbage.  DO NOT throw it away and never look at it again.  You spent valuable creative energy to make the story/poem/script. So.... 

What do you do with a contest entry that didn't win?
  1. Edit it one more time.  Take another look at your work.  Really scrutinize it, find that lingering word that slipped by, that rogue comma, that passive voice, etc.
  2. Find a place that will publish it.  Use a resource like duotrope (I wrote about it here) and see if anyone is looking for writing of the same theme/genre/length of your piece.  You may need to tweak it here and there.  I did this and have taken two "losers" to print (although one is just online).   A modified version of "The Butler's Waltz" will be appearing in The Binnacle.  A revised version "The Open Box" will be featured on Marco Polo literary online magazine. (I'll update to actual links when published)
  3. Use it for inspiration.  If you don't want to rework or re-purpose the thing, what about the story really intrigued you the most.  Was it a character, a line, a theme?  take that element and write a new story from it.
  4. Enter it into another competition!  There A LOT of competitions that are open genre/open theme.  Cast a wide net and give your piece a chance.  If you believe in it, get it out there.  Just make sure you read contest policies on publication/concurrent submissions.
  5. Burn it.  If indeed you are so disappointed by the work that it is too painful to read/rewrite/think about, use it as a therapeutic exercise.  Print it out.  Set it on fire.  Tear it up.  Feed it to a goat.  Whatever it is that will help you move past your loss and get on to the next competition.

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