Last weekend, I promised you a new contest. Here’s your chance to show off your best writing. To enter, all you need is three dynamite sentences.Our first contest for 2014 is “Best Excerpt, All Genres.” So this first round is open to almost everyone. We’re really going to mix things up this time, which should be interesting.
We’ll have lovely medals for our contest finalists, as well as some sponsor-supplied cash prizes.
You don’t have to pay to enter. Instead, I’ll be looking for your help with spreading the word and choosing our finalists. More on that in a minute.
Please note: We are now closed to new entries. Additional comments and feedback are still welcome for our 3-sentence entries. Thank you all! ~Jim * 2-17-14
First, let’s recap the “why bother?” inquiry.
In my preview post, I offered this response to the question, what value is there in pitting excerpts of just three sentences against each other?
I propose that this competition holds enormous value for our writers. How many sentences do you read on a book cover’s blurb before you make your purchase decision? If you open a novel, how far do you have to read before you “know” this is a book you’ll buy?
Three sentences can carry great power in their presentation.
In non-fiction, the power of three sentences is legion. Many persuasive NF books include two or three sentences as an appended part of the title itself.
Great blog posts rely on the draw of those first three sentences to convince readers to keep reading. And in a sales letter, long form or short, if the first three sentences suck then little else matters; the letter will fail to deliver.
So that’s the “why” part. Now let’s get down to “how” this will work.
This writing contest is open to all SoWrite site members. If you aren’t already on the list, you can sign up using the blue box, below. That’s how I’ll know who you are and how to contact you if you are a finalist.
To enter, you’ll submit your three-sentences here on this page, using the Comments section. You are welcome to include a title for your entry.
Note: Please be certain that you own the copyright for your entry or entries! If you haven’t entered one of these contests before, please consult the complete rules.
Acceptable entries include three sentences pulled from:
- Newly-written material
- In-progress works of all sorts
- Poetry (use the “/” for each line)
- Short stories and flash fiction
- Novels and novellas
- Non-fiction blog posts, articles, essays, and full-length books
- Sales and marketing materials, including landing pages (etc.)
You may enter up to three times, each from a different source.
Note: Your entered sentences do not need to appear consecutively in your source work.
As “payment” for your entry, I ask that you share this contest with your networks, via whatever social media you prefer (Twitter, G+, Facebook, Pinterest, and others). Tag me if you can, and I’ll play along. (Check my Social buttons, top/right of any page on-site.)
You will also help choose our finalists!
Your opinions will form part of our judging formula (approximately 1/3). How? I’d like you to add your rating to at least 3 other entries. You’re welcome to say whatever you like (within reason — I retain edit powers!), but please be sure to add your rating, on this scale:
- The scale is a range of 1 to 10 —
- “1” is the lowest, a rating of “ho hum”
- “5” is a neutral rating of “acceptable but not exceptional”
- “7” equals “excellent”
- “8” would be “outstanding”
- “9” should be reserved for “amazing”
- “10” will only be conferred as the highest possible praise (don’t give 3 “10”s!)
- Your first priority will be to rate any unrated entries, rather than add to existing ratings.
- You will not rate your own entry! (had to make that clear)
If you have any questions about this new twist in our judging, please ask me via email or other private messaging — or use our SoWrite Facebook writers’ group.
Deadline for all entries: Sunday, February 16 at 11:59 pm EST (now closed to entries)
Finalists will be chosen during the week beginning Feb 16, and announced on Sat, Feb 22.
Here’s the link to Saturday’s announcement of finalists: http://sowrite.us.com/best-excerpt-all-genres-2014-contest-medal-round/
Here’s the twist:
Finalists will each be asked to submit up to three more sentences directly related to their entries.
Judging among our three finalists will begin anew, based on their total of up to six sentences each.
Winners will be announced on Saturday, March 1 by 7 pm EST.
Cash prizes will be determined by the number of total entries. Minimum prize purse is $25 total, courtesy of Mandy’s Pages (thank you, Mandy!).
Are you ready? Do you have three awesome sentences from your arsenal to enter in the fray?
See my sample entry for style guidelines.
Don’t forget to Share! Use the buttons provided below, or copy and paste the contest link as needed: http://sowrite.us.com/three-sentence-contest-best-excerpt-all-genres/
Important: Please be sure to Subscribe to Comments for this post, so you will be an active participant in the contest!