Be your own writing judge: Six tips to help you win contests and attract agents


Some good advice on creating an excellent competition piece.

onewildword

One of the hardest things to do as a writer is see your own work objectively.

The past few weeks, I’ve been reading entries in a writing contest. It’s always a great learning experience to analyze other writers’ work, which is one reason I always recommend writers join critique groups.

It’s interesting to see how many issues are common among the manuscripts I read. See if these ideas and tips can help you judge your own work more objectively.

1. Create mystery. Every story should have questions that will spark readers to turn the page so they can find the answers. What does the protagonist desperately want? Make the stakes big so readers absolutely must keep reading to find out how on earth the protagonist will succeed. And while you’re at it, deprive readers of the answer as long as possible.

2. Create active protagonists. I frequently see protagonists who…

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