Answers To Your Questions - Writing Tips
yesterday and here are the answers so far:
(note - all questions will be answered and I will post tomorrow,
Saturday, a few tips from Algis Budrys.
Question: Is it true that Elements of Style by Struck is the 'standard' for the contest?
Answer: No. Any consistent style is fine.
Question: I would guess that poor grammar and spelling are likely the first demise of many manuscripts. What comes after that?
Answer: Yes, you are correct that poor grammar and spelling are the first demise. K.D. Wentworth will respond with the top 5 dis qualifiers on Monday. Stay tuned.
Question: Are there certain story lines that are overdone? If so, what are they?
Answer: Yes, Vampires, Elves and Wizards. Not that we would not accept a really good story about any of those subjects but it better be unique.
Question: Based on the stories that I have read, it seems that the contest is more interested in stories of 7,500 + words. Is this accurate, or is my perception wrong?
Answer: It is not the length of the story that matters. Stories that work and what gets chosen. Do not take this to mean that a 2 page story would be accepted.
Realize that we have 12 winners per year, and 12 stories get published. My suggestion to all of you is to purchase an L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future volume and see what you are submitting to.
Question: How are the stories chosen. What is the process?
Answer: I'll break it down for you step-by-step:
1) All stories get logged when they arrive and your contact information is separated from the story, placed in a numbered envelope.
2) Every entry is sent to our coordinating judge, K.D. Wentworth.
3) K.D. selects the finalists and semi-finalists (now called Honorable Mentions) and they get sent back to the contest.
4) 4 judges are chosen to choose the winners from the finalist category (this is around 10 stories). I choose the judges for each quarter. They are never the same "group". I have a dozen to choose from and I don't use the same group of judges.
5) The judging results come back and they are tabulated. The stories that have the highest votes are the winners.
That is the simplicity of it.