There are many ways we can flex our writing muscles and satisfy our need to tell stories. Priscilla, one of my writing buddies, recently had a powerful story published in an online journal called “Pulse.” It was so exciting to see the comments praising her sensitive treatment of a difficult subject. And Nancy, another writing buddy, has also enjoyed valuable exposure online.
Yet another friend actually found her agent and eventually a book contract with a major publisher through a competition sponsored by Amazon. Just recently, I came across a writing contest winner and thought I’d share her story from Woman’s World magazine with you:
Laurie Isop had always enjoyed writing as a hobby. When her sister alerted her to the grand prize offered by the Cheerios Spoonful of Stories contest: a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster, a $5,000 cash prize, and a copy of her book inserted in 3 million Cheerios boxes, Laurie took the plunge. She submitted a heart-tugging children’s tale called How Do You Hug a Porcupine? Several weeks later she received a once-in-a-lifetime call: her story had won the grand prize! Laurie’s advice:
Use classic storytelling elements: Whether you are writing for kids, teens, or adults, you need a character who learns and grows, an appealing theme, and above all, conflict. Says Laurie: “My story has conflict — I mean, how do you hug a porcupine? — and is told in a captivating rhyme that kids love to hear.”
Use your own life as inspiration: Laurie’s story is based on a personal experience she had as an adult that was far afield from the tale she told, but provided its seed: “We’ve all had that cold prickly feeling after an awkward encounter. Well, I had one of those at a work meeting — and voila’! — my idea was born!”
If this success story has piqued your interest, you can find writing contests in all genres, from romance to crime, at: WritersDigest.com/competitions/writing-competitions, Poets & Writers Web site, About.com (writing contests), and FreelanceWriting.com/writing-contests.php