By Patricia Cates
Who has ever won an essay, poetry or creative writing contest? I bet in this group there are a few. I’d love to hear about your triumphs and/or defeats.
One can easily do a web search and find a myriad of contests going on at any given time. The contests and competitions go quarterly, bi-annually or yearly depending on the genre and the outfit. They also often come with sizable cash awards. Most of all it’s pretty nice to have your material published in a magazine, anthology or journal. For those who have not ventured into the contest arena, let me warn you that they often come with a submission fee. So here is a website that offers links to free contests at The Write Life. http://thewritelife.com/27-free-writing-contests/#.yuheqp:ycGe
In the spirit of Halloween season I must say that I have noticed a trend over the years. A good majority of the chosen winner’s pieces seem to be very dark. Has anyone else noticed this? I’m not talking morose. I’m talking full on freaky, lewd and foul to the point of offending. I’m no prude and have heard and maybe even uttered profanity in my lifetime. For some reason I just have had my fill of allusions to molestation, deceased children and abuse on all levels. I just don’t need that. I want to feel uplifted or changed for the better when I’m done. Instead I often feel yucky. I know the answer is easy. Put it down and don’t read it. But I want to know why they won! So I am curious to seek out what is so brilliant. What is inside the story or poem that's winning these minor literary awards?
So here’s a shout out to all of you at MMW who have managed to eloquently and tactfully share and describe trials and tribulations. We’ve all suffered losses and many have demons. I’m impressed to see how you have managed to rise above, and frame experiences in a beautiful and pertinent way. I’m happy to be part of a group who decides to choose Christ, use appropriate language, and share the good news of healing through the atonement. Shedding tears while reading a story is great because evoking emotion from an audience is critical for writers. I want to be moved. I just believe it takes a deft hand to do it properly. I’d love to see someone win, who has something positive to say. I think we have winners at MMW.
Today I challenge each of you to enter a contest. Commit to submit. Maybe there are not enough positive works being submitted so the macabre has taken over? Whatever the case may be, I say we start a new trend in writing…and contest winning!