Category Archives: WVW Contest Frequently Asked Questions

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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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#20

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:  When submitting an excerpt, should the word count on the cover page indicate the number of words in the excerpt or the total number of words in the entire work?

ANSWER:  The word count should indicate the number of words in the excerpt.  

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#19

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 have a piece that I would like to submit for the contest but I have also submitted it for publication. If it is accepted, it won't be published until late spring. Who/how does one make the call on that as to the guidelines for the contest?

ANSWER:  As long as the piece was not published before January 2, 2018, you're good to go.  Even if it's accepted for publication, it won't be published until later in the year at the earliest, so you're still within the guidelines of the contest.

 

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#18

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 have an entry which is ready and I would like to send it off.  However, I think I may want to enter one or two other categories once I have a chance to polish my entries a little more.  On the entry form it says "Only one entry form per person is necessary."  But what if I send entries at different times before the contest deadline?  Should I include a separate entry form for each mailing, or just attach a note to subsequent entries saying that I have already filled out an entry form with my first submission?

ANSWER:  You may send a separate entry form for any additional submissions sent later.  It's basically one form per packet of entries.  The "one entry form per person" thing is mainly to indicate that it doesn't have to be one form per entry within a given submission shipment.  You can always send more later with a separate form.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#17

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: Should the one-page synopsis be more like the "teaser" summaries that explain what a book is about without spoiling the ending or should it try to tell as much as possible about how the story ends?

ANSWER:  No.  In fact a synopsis should definitely spoil the ending.  One of the frequent things we have had to do in the past is communicate with writers to ask for more detailed synopses to be sent because the one submitted did not give the full story of the manuscript in question.

For a synopsis you need to describe the entire plot of the book, in thumbnail form, in one page.  The judge has to be able to see the overall arc of the book's plot, which will help them see how the excerpt submission fits into that picture.  So spoil away!

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#16

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.

QUESTIONFor Book Length Prose, I know that the cover page must have the title, category and word count on it, but should the narrative also begin on the cover page or on the second page? Should any other "front matter" be included, such as dedications or attributions for quotations from public domain sources? Is the title and other front matter included in the word count? (My first chapter happens to be just under 5,000 words.)

ANSWER:  Cover pages and front matter are not necessary, though they do not count against you either.  Our judges mainly need the writing itself, as that is what is being judged.  Our standard formatting is to just put the category and word count at the top of the first page, leaving the title for just above the beginning of the text.  We would not encourage including dedications or attributions.  They just eat into your word limit and are not necessary to the judging process.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#15

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: Should manuscripts be stapled or paper-clipped?

ANSWER:  Both are acceptable, though stapling the entry pages together and affixing the entry form and check with a paperclip is preferred.  Stapled entry pages reduce the risk of any pages getting lost in the shuffle.  If we feel like a manuscript needs a staple, we'll add one at no charge.  But we don't go so extreme as to discard entries that lack a staple or paperclip.  We just add them where they're needed.

Of course, the best way to avoid any staple or paperclip issues is to submit your entries online via Submittable.

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WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#14

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:  If I submit a work to the contest (whether I win or not) will I be assigning/surrendering any aspect of my rights under copyright?

ANSWER:   You retain full copyright of your work and the copy of the work you submit to the contest will be destroyed after judging.  WV Writers has no ability to do anything with submitted work without permission of the author.  Typically, every few years we do approach past winners to ask them if they will allow us to use their winning entries in one of our contest winner anthologies, but the winners control all aspects of use, including the right to say, "No, thank you."  We have tossed around the idea of doing an online journal featuring winning entries, but this is likely a year off at earliest.

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