The 2009 TWG Fiction Contest winners are announced!

It’s hard to believe another year is quickly wrapping up, and the third annual Terrace Writers’ Guild Fiction Contest is completed, too.

A huge congrats to the winners, Val Laub of Smithers, BC for her story, “The Hero Campaign,” Jess Dafoe of Terrace, BC for “The Butterfly Jar,” and Charlotte Linford of Hazelton, BC for “Brave Girls.”

For full details about the winners, the prizes, the judges, and our wonderful sponsors visit the TWG website. And if you’re a writer, remember to write our contest into your planner: The 2010 TWG Fiction will open for submissions summer 2010.

Terrace Writers’ Guild Fiction Contest

I had a great time at TWG last night! It was, as ever, inspiring and fun to chat writing with a bunch of other people. And Sarah from saz communications brought in the posters her company designed to advertise our third annual fiction contest. They are beautiful! If you’re a northerner reading this post, I sure hope you’re planning to enter! For more information about the contest and/or for short story writing tips, follow the links beside the poster.

TWG Fiction Award 9.5x5.75 Northword HER

TWG Fiction Contest Rules and Submission Guidelines

Short Story Writing Tips

My Writers’ Group

My dear friend Jen must’ve been reading my mind. I was planning to post about the writing group I’ve attended (and loved) for years and years: Terrace Writers’ Guild, or TWG. (Okay, so it’s not the cleverest moniker; at least people know what our club is about!)

Jen, however, beat me to it and in a lovely, poetic way that makes you feel like you popped into the meeting for a few minutes. I may still write about it too at some point, but here’s her take on her writing group. And mine. I think the affection and appreciation she feels is pretty clear. How about you all . . . Do you have a face-to-face writing group you attend? Did you ever? What are pros to having one? Are there ever cons?

Happy writing,

Terrace Writers’ Guild 2009 Fiction Contest

logoTWGThe 3rd Annual TWG Fiction Contest is open for submissions!

Deadline: Postmarked by Tuesday, October 27, 2009

1st Place: $250.00 from UNBC and paid publication in Northword Magazine.

2nd Place: $150.00 from Marion Olson of Re/Max and author’s name and story title published in Northword Magazine.

3rd Place: $75.00 from saz communications and author’s name and story title published in Northword Magazine.

Rules and guidelines:

1. All submissions must be written by individuals currently living in Northern British Columbia—that’s any community north of Quesnel, including the Queen Charlotte Islands.

2. No entry fee is required, and all story rights remain with the author. All genres are welcome, but sorry, no poetry or stories intended for children.

3. Submissions must be between 1500 and 3000 words. Stories that do not meet this guideline will be eliminated from competition.

4. All works must be original and free of plagiarism (which includes third-party poetry, song lyrics, characters, etc., without written permission). The contest’s audience is the general public, so excessive violence or sex, determined by the judges, will result in
disqualification. Entries may not have been previously published.

5. Entries should be typed in 12-font, double spaced in black ink on white paper, and must have a cover page with the title of the work, the author’s name, contact information, and an approximate word count. Every subsequent page must carry the title and a page number, but the author’s name must be deleted in order for fair judging. Any submissions not meeting these guidelines will be disqualified.

6. Manuscripts will be destroyed after judging. A #10 (business size) self-addressed, stamped envelope must be included with the entry in order to receive judging results. Entrants may choose to not send an SASE, in which case winners may be viewed by visiting this website after December 31st, 2009.

Please mail submissions to:

PO BOX 1046
V8G 4V1

Winners will be notified by December 15th, 2009

No email submissions will be accepted. For more information, e-mail here.

On behalf of Terrace Writers’ Guild and all the writers up here in Northern BC that benefit from the inspiration and motivation this contest provides, I’d like to express a tonne of appreciation to our generous sponsors: Northword Magazine, UNBC, Marion Olson, and saz communications.

Short Story Tips

To help in our quest to write ever better, I’m going to list some of the things that are considered in the TWG Fiction Contest’s judging. I suspect other contests look at similar elements.

1. Opening ~ Is there something in your first line, first paragraph, or first page that hooks the reader and makes him/her want to read on?

2. Characters ~ Do your characters live off the page; do they seem like they must be real, living breathing people somewhere?

3. Dialogue ~ Do the things your characters say “ring true”? And does your dialogue move the story forward and add to characterization?

4. Plot ~ What does your character want and what’s getting in the way of his achieving that goal? Make sure it’s clear!

5. Theme ~ Does your story have some sort of lasting power? Does it give the reader something to think about after the last page is read? Is it about more than just the actions and events that take place between its pages?

6. Involvement ~ Does your reader get so caught up in the story that they forget they’re reading? Watch out for “telling” and explaining everything.

7. Language ~ Do you show a masterful command of language—maybe even flashes of brilliance? Find and destroy language/usage/grammar problems!

8. Pace ~ Page by page, do you create a “must keep reading” feeling?

9. Ending ~ Does your ending give your reader that “ahhh” feeling (happy or sad); does it add to the story as a whole?

That little extra ~ There are many other qualities that make a story jump off the page and into a reader’s head, so pay attention to the above, but don’t treat it like a check-list. Have fun with your stories; run with your inspirations. Concentrate on showing the story that you’re burning to tell, and regardless of contest or market response, don’t get discouraged. Keep getting the words out on paper!

Happy writing to us all,