Category Archives: WVW Contest Frequently Asked Questions

WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #31

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing CompetitionsTo see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  Would I qualify for the Emerging Writers category since my news articles have been published?

ANSWER:  It kind of depends on how large the paper's circulation is. The rule is that you can't have won a cash prize in our contest before and you can't have been published in a publication with a circulation greater than 5000.  Most city newspapers will have a print run of over 5000, but perhaps a small town paper would not.  Check with the paper in question to find out.   The other major factor in this is that even if the print run is below 5000, the piece being submitted must never have been published at all.

 

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #27

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  What should go on the title page?

ANSWER:  The title page is kind of optional.  Some people choose to do a separate title page with just the title centered and the category and word count in the upper right corner.  Others choose to let the first page serve as the title page, with the category and word count in the upper right corner, the title centered below that and then the story or poem beginning immediately after.  Either way is acceptable provided the authors name does not appear on it anywhere.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #26

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I know the excerpt has to be double-spaced, but does the synopsis have to be as well? I'm having trouble fitting the synopsis onto a single-spaced page as it is, but I have managed to pull it off, thankfully.

ANSWER:  The synopsis page may be single-spaced, but must fit on one side of its single printed page.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #30

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I would like to know if a teacher or parent is allowed to make edits and recommendations on a student's writings?

ANSWER:  Having an outside proofreader is a longstanding tradition for writers of all stripes.  Students may certainly let an adult read over their submission before sending it.  We would suggest that the adult may then offer editing and revision suggestions, but should explain the reasons for those suggestions as a teaching opportunity.  Then the student should be allowed to make those changes themselves.  This way they pick up grammar tips for the future, in addition to having a cleaner story or poem.

It goes without saying, however, that in no way should a parent do any of the writing themselves.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #29

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  Does the word count include the title, or just the body of the piece of writing?

ANSWER:  Word count doesn't include the title.  Or "The End" in case you've added that.  It also doesn't include the category and word count number at the top right of the first page of your entry, so you can just count the bare bones of the story and write that number in for the word count.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #22

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I am planning to enter the Children's Book category and would like expanded definitions of the Picture/First Reader/ Middle Grade books. What is a Picture Book exactly? Or a First Reader? Or A Middle Grade book?  Or Young Adult?

ANSWER:  Great question.   

Picture books are children's books that rely heavily on illustrations to help tell the story. They can have few words or many, but illustrations are a heavy component.  Examples of this would be The Cat in the Hat, Where the Wild Things Are, and Walter the Farting Dog.

First Reader books are, according to KidLit.com, "the earliest “chapter” stories that a kid can get. They’re very short in terms of manuscript length (1,500 words max) but are broken up into either chapters or vignettes that will give the reader the feeling of reading a book with real chapters in it. Your target audience for these is kids ages 4 to 8. Early readers feature a smaller trim size, some the size of or slightly bigger than a paperback novel, and can go from about 32 to 60 pages. The font size is smaller and they feature spot illustrations in either color or black and white instead of full color throughout, like a picture book. Some examples of early readers: LING AND TING: NOT EXACTLY THE SAME by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2010), the HarperCollins I Can Read! books, and the Random House Step Into Reading books."

Middle Grade books (which for 2018 we have combined with Young Adult for their own category) are, according to FromtheMixedUpFiles.com, "intended for readers ages 8-12, with the protagonist at the higher end of the age range.  The reason for this:  while an 8-year-old would have no problem reading about a 12-year-old protagonist, a 12-year-old may be reluctant to read a book about an 8-year-old.  Subject Matter: MG readers are learning about who they are, what they think, and where they fit in. They do well with books they can relate to. They are still focused inward and the conflicts in MG books usually reflect this. The themes can range from school situations, friendships, relationships with peers and siblings, and daily difficulties that may seem ordinary to the rest of us. The parents are usually seen and have some sort of an influence. Kids at this age are also easily distracted,  so you want a faster pace and short chapters.  Word Count:  Middle Grade used to be 20,000-40,000 words, some say around 50,000 words."

And while we're in the teen-lit topic area...

Young Adult books, according to FromtheMixedUpFiles.com "deal with underlying themes and more complicated plots. It allows teens to examine deeper issues, what their role in life is, the differences a person can make, the importance of relationships, coping with tragedy, etc.  Protagonists are usually searching for their identity, figuring out who they are as an individual and where they fit in. These books generally are more gritty and realistic and the teens choices and actions drive the story. You see less parental influence.  Young Adult word count is generally more around 55,000 to 80,000 words."  

Young Adult books are combined with Middle Grade for 2018.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#21

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing CompetitionsTo see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  As some sort of reference for me, I was wondering if you could possibly forward the winning entry of the Social Change (Pearl S. Buck Award) category to me so I can get an idea what to shoot for?

ANSWER:  I'm afraid the winning entries from previous years are no longer in our organizational possession.  The judges destroy them at the end of the judging period.  However, perhaps coincidentally, we have the 1st place and honorable mention award-winner from 2014, Dawn A. Baldwin, reading her winning pieces as part of a January 2015 episode of the WV Writers Podcast.  She was kind enough to come to Lewisburg and read as part of the Literary Tea series at Greenbrier Valley Theatre back in September of 2014.  Hear her story HERE.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #25

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I read that the entrant's name should be nowhere except the entry form. How do judges and contest officials know which entry belongs to each person?

ANSWER:  The judges will not know, by design.  Part of the duties of the contest coordinator is to maintain a database for the contest which includes cataloging each entry as it arrives, using the information supplied on the contest entry form.  The coordinator assigns each contest entry its own individual code which is written on the first page of that entry before being filed with the other entries in that contest category.  So only the contest coordinator knows which entries are by which authors.  The judges never know who the author is until after the awards banquet is concluded, so they can remain completely impartial in their evaluation of the entries for their category.  At the end of their evaluation, they send only the codes for the winning and honorable mention stories, indicating the ranking order.

In the case of entries submitted online via Submittable, the Submittable system automatically does much of this for us.

 

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #24

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION #1:  I recognize the fact that there are two contests--one specifically for students, and the other just a 'writing contest'. I am interested in entering the regular writing contest, because the young writers one does not include book-length prose. There didn't appear to be any guidelines against me entering the regular contest, but I wanted to be sure before I submitted anything, just in case.

ANSWER #1:  You are right: there are no rules against student-aged humans entering the regular "adult" contest.  Students are welcome to do so, but should remember that they'll be competing with adult writers some of whom have quite a bit of experience.  Unlike the New Mountain Voices Student Contest, which is free, the adult contest does come with fees.  And whereas we notify the student winners in advance of the awards banquet at our Summer Conference so they can attend if the wish, the earliest that winners of the adult contest will learn of their win is at the awards banquet itself (June 11, 2016).  Which brings me to...

QUESTION #2:  In order to enter, must you be positive that you will be at the awards banquet?

ANSWER #2:   You do not have to attend the awards banquet to win.  I'd say probably half of the winners do attend, but it is certainly not required.  We mail out certificates and prize money to the winners early in the week following the awards banquet.  And we try to have the winners listed on our website and via email to entrants by Sunday night of that weekend.  Last year we had them listed immediately following the awards banquet.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #23

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions. To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  For the Social Change (Pearl S. Buck Award) category, the entry form says "nonfiction or poetry...on a topic related to social change," and what I'm wondering is whether nonfiction submissions need to be creative (like poetry) or whether academic, journalistic, and/or otherwise persuasive nonfiction would be acceptable?  Would you address this question for me? Perhaps you could answer by referring to the previous winning pieces.

ANSWER:  The category itself has a lot of range when it comes to subject matter.  Basically anything that isn't outright fiction is fair game.  Academic/journalistic and persuasive nonfiction essays are completely acceptable.  These don't have to be creative, but that approach would be fine as well.

It is difficult to address this in terms of what has won in the past, because any approach could be accomplished to a winning level.  From a sheer statistical point of view, many of the winning entries in previous years were poetry, but again I don't believe this to be a determiner.  First and foremost the entries had to be about Social Change, not simply espousing a viewpoint; secondly, they had to be well-written to be considered for placement.

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