As Christians who write, we meet together to promote unity and fellowship, to encourage one another and to develop our skills as writers. We are a chapter of American Christian Writers, a national organization.

We meet at Grove Avenue Baptist Church, 1 block south of Patterson Avenue at 8701 Ridge Road, Richmond, VA 23229 in Room 211.

We typically meet on the third Sunday of each month from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Join us!

Click HERE for directions.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Tips to Winning Writing Contests

Dear Christians Who Write:

This was passed along to me. As always, read the guidelines and contractual agreement you may be entering. Sorry to say, I'm not able to read all the detail that comes to me, but even if you do not enter any of these contests the information is good. Thanks to Mary Moss for sharing this information.


The 4th Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse is now open. A total of $4,500 in cash prizes will be awarded. Please visit this site OR this site for full details.

Early entries will have an advantage. Why? I explain this in my book Write Ways to Win Writing Contests, but briefly:

  1. Because of the fewer number of entries received daily, judges have far more time to read, consider, re-read, savor and think about particular entries.
  2. In contests where there are two or more judges, ALL the judges will read ALL the early entries. This means that if one judge likes your work, that judge will go to bat for it even if the other judges are not as enthusiastic.
  3. Often a poem takes time to germinate in a judge's mind. A first reading may seem to make little impression, but certain phrases, certain ideas, certain images lodge in the mind and are recalled long after seemingly more significant entries are forgotten. Every judge I know (including me) has wasted an enormous amount of time hunting through reject baskets, looking for particular poems that are suddenly recalled.
  4. Most judges like to set standards and this is done quite early in a Contest. Tim Tyro may send in a poem called "A Lost Romance" which really appeals to the judges. Lots of other entries on this theme will follow, but the judges will measure all those entries against "A Lost Romance". Even if another entry is actually better in fact it will often be discarded because the judges will give "A Lost Romance" the benefit of familiarity and will tend to discount the freshness or the imagination present in a rival piece.

So you have a lot to gain by lodging entries early and not putting it off until the last few weeks.

On to other news. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the trade edition of Sailing in the Mist of Time: 50 Award-Winning Poems from the Margaret Reid Contest has been postponed to mid-2007. The present beautiful edition, however, will remain on direct sale at Lulu. The price is less than $10. Excellent value! Please use this link.

One of the reasons the trade edition has been postponed was the distributor's thought that the present book of 50 poems was not large enough for sale in the nation's bookstores. So we will add the winning poems from the now-judging Tom Howard Poetry Contest as well as the winning poems from this new Margaret Reid Contest. The distributor wants a big book, so he will get a big book!

This, however, could be the last time that traditional print publication is offered!

Regarding the Tom Howard Poetry Contest, your judges are hard at work, evaluating entries. Official results will be announced on February 15, 2007. However, if you have won a cash prize, you can expect to hear from us in the next month or so.

The Tom Howard Short Story and Essay Contest is now open. Please visit this link OR this link for full details. $3,200 in prizes, including a First Prize of $1,200. If you plan to enter, it's a good idea to take a look at our new Anthology entitled Watching Time. This newly published anthology of prize-winning stories and essays from recent Tom Howard Short Story Contests is now on sale at Amazon (and other book stores). The recommended retail price is $12.95, a bargain for a trade paperback of 208 pages containing no less than fifteen award-winning stories and essays. If you click on the link Watching Time above, it will take you straight to Amazon. (Of course you can also buy direct from the publisher at Lulu.com).

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