As you know I am desperately trying to get back into the swing of things with my creative writing (see previous blog post Follow the Literary Brick Road).
So when this competition popped up on my Facebook feed I was really tempted to give it a go. I had seen it before the previous year but with quite a hefty entry fee I decided to give it a miss.
There are arguments to both sides when it comes to paying to enter competitions. First of all, why should we? There’s always that fear of getting scammed too. But on the other side of the coin the costs do have to be covered and judges paid for their time.
This year it was $55 (minus $5 if you tweeted about it – which I did). There was a reduced early bird fee but I missed that. And it is actually my husband I have to thank as he said he would pay for me to do it as an early 30th birthday present.
But this fee seemed to annoy many people and the comments on Facebook were really harsh and just mean. The one that sticks out was: “If you’re a writer you can’t afford to enter this, if you can afford to enter this then you must be a shit writer”. See? Harsh.
So was this person correct? I hope not! Judge for yourself – my first round entry Jungle Camp can be found here.
Whatever your thoughts on the fee I have to say, I’m having a blast. The challenge was just that – a challenge! And just what I needed to give me a kick up the backside. I had to write a 1,000-word (or less) story in 48 hours with three stipulations. The genre had to be romance, set in a slum, with the mention of a map. Easy, right? Wrong. And that is why I am still smiling now.
My idea changed so many times from first draft to my final entry but as I wrote I felt all those skills come back into play, my brain engaging with words once again, my knuckles sore from typing for too long.
There is also a forum where we have been able to read each other’s work (only if you decide to post yours) and it’s been really useful for giving and getting feedback. It really is like being in a workshop at university again.
I don’t know what the judges will say but my fellow contenders (a handful of the 1,400+) have been kind. I look forward to receiving my final score before moving on to the next stage. So watch this space – I will update you as soon as the scores are in.
Negatives? Well the judges of this year’s competition still haven’t been updated on the website but at least they bothered to get back to me about it via Twitter.
Thank for reading and if you do decide to read my entry feel free to leave any feedback – positive or negative.
(It’s an early prediction but I think this lady – Jen’s Pen Den – will go far in the competition)