WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #31

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.

 

WV Writers Contest F.A.Q.#49

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:  My fellow writers in my writers group suggested I submit my screenplay. Do you have a category for the 2020 contest?

ANSWER:  Indeed. We usually do screenplays every other year in a round robin fashion and 2020 is the year for the screenplay category, named in memory of Joe McCabe, a beloved playwright from Martinsburg.

 

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.

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.

WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #28

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.

A contest entrant from Maine writes:

QUESTION:  For membership, should I send my membership application form (which provides a different address) with the membership fee and contest submission, or should I send the membership application separately to its own address with a note that the fee was sent with the contest submission?

ANSWER:  If you were in-state it wouldn't really matter which address you sent your membership to (the one on the membership application for our website or the one on the contest entry form).  However, because we require organizational membership for people entering our contest who live out-of-state it's important that the contest coordinator (me) know that you're a member when processing your entry.  Rather than me needing to contact the secretary to confirm it with her, it's easier if you include your membership application and fee as part of your contest entry fees.  This way I will immediately know you're paid up and eligible.  I'll then forward the membership information on to the secretary and your check to our treasurer.

(WV Writers is an a volunteer organization with officers spread across the state, so it gets tricky sometimes.)

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.

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.

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.

 

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 8, 2019).  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.

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.