This week: The Sky Is Not The Limit Edited by: ❄️GeminiGem🦊
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Hello! I'm ❄️GeminiGem🦊 one of the regular editors of the Comedy Newsletter. Let's talk about contest word count limits from the contest judge's point of view.
The Sky Is Not The Limit
Do you love or hate contest word count limits?
Yeah, me too.
It doesn’t matter how you answered the question, I agree with you. I have a love/hate relationship with word count limits found in most WdC contests. I have covered this subject in a newsletter before, in "I'm Calling You Out" strictly from a writer’s point of view. I believe I issued a challenge at the end of that newsletter. Did anyone take me up on that challenge?
(Cue the sound of crickets chirping.)
Anyone? Hello? CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE STOP THOSE CRICKETS?
Okay, I’m going to assume that we are still hating on the word count limits rather than embracing the challenge they present, as I suggested in that other newsletter. That’s okay, even though they aren’t going away anytime soon.
You leave me no choice but to talk about it from the contest judge’s point of view. Let me just reach over here and grab my judge’s hat and place it on my head at a jaunty angle. Nice. Now I’m ready.
It might help to remember who the judges of the Writing.Com contests are. They are members of the site, just like you. Yep, just like you. Okay, maybe not JUST like you. They can have black, yellow, blue, or purple cases, but they are still volunteer members of the site. Just like you are.
In any given month, there are somewhere around 40-50 writing contest actively open and running, each being judged by one or more members. Don’t believe me? Check this out for the list of open contests, etc. "Contest Clues" .
When do the judges do the judging? They judge the contests when they aren’t working a job, taking care of home and family members (of the human and critter varieties), managing their health, running errands, participating in non-WdC activities, and probably not when they are sleeping. Just guessing about that last one.
Wait, did I say that WdC judges might be involved in other activities outside of WdC? Why yes, yes I did. I looked it up. It’s allowed. Shocking, I know.
So, in other words, judges have a life outside of WdC and we all know that time is a precious commodity. Word count limits help safeguard this most precious of commodities. If volunteer judges can’t squeeze the extra time in their busy lives to judge, you won’t have a contest to enter. It’s as simple as that. The least we can do as writers is respect that time.
Another side benefit (still got the judge’s hat on) is that the word count limit forces writers to tighten up their prose. I know, I know, I can hear the groans from here. As a writer, I feel your pain. As a judge, I say, “Suck it up, Buttercup, those limits are there for a reason.”
I can think of only ONE time in the decade I’ve been on WdC when I advised a writer (again with the judge hat) that they should have taken advantage of the word limit they were given to flesh out their story more. ONCE.
Nope, low word count is not the most common struggle. Typically, once the story gets rolling, it can be tough to throw the brakes on that runaway train. Think of the word count limit as a kind of backup braking system.
One bit of advice I wish to throw out to the universe, though, is to be careful what you are cutting out of your story when it comes time to do that. Yes, I told you to tighten up your prose. Just make sure it isn’t at the expense of vital storyline or character development.
Remember, once the contest is over, you can return to your piece and make it as lengthy as you’d like.
|Since this newsletter is from the judge's point of view, I am featuring CONTESTS.
ATTENTION ALL WRITERS OF COMEDY AND HUMOR!
Here are contests running just for February
Feeling romantic? How about this one:
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|From "The Overcommitment Committee"
My mind is on speed dial sometimes. Especially, when I first wake up. So... I say a mantra over and over again, until my mind settles down. It goes like this. Let Go - Be Free
It seems to work. And my day just keeps getting better.
Nice! My mind is usually a sluggish quagmire when I wake up, lol
Thank you, Oh. overcommitted one, for including my eight liner in this weeks newsletter. You obviously didn’t make any New Year resolutions to relax, chill out and learn to say, “No.”
We appreciate all that you do anyway.
Thank you, Sue, and you are correct, no resolutions. I typically don't bother with them, being the panster that I am.
The conversion from pantser to plotter should, at least, give you fodder for your next Comedy newsletter.
Laughing at my foibles is what I do best, Ken...besides laughing at yours. Cheers, my friend!
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