dreams, thoughts, and wanderings
|Dreams, thoughts, and wonderings of a strange mind|
|I hate the people who make and sell crystal meth for two reasons:
1) They make an awful drug that gets people addicted, ruins lives, and costs the taxpayers tons of money.
2) Because of them, all the over the counter cold medicine is worthless!
|Right now, I'm both proud and ashamed to be a North Dakotan. I'm proud to live in a state where people pull together and work hard to help their neighbors in need. This cooperation and generosity recently saved the state's largest city from a flood. It's hard to believe that a place full of kind, caring people would react so negatively to the Gay Rights bill introduced in the state legislature.
Letters to the editor on this subject were sickening to read. The really sad thing was that the most hate filled letters also contained the most Bible quotes and references to God. One person said that if we give constitutional protection to gay people, we might as well give to to rapists and child molesters. I can't believe that anyone couldn't see the difference, but for those who don't, I'll explain it. A rapist or child molestor forces a relationship on someone who is unwilling or unable to accept it. How is that the same as two consenting adults who love each other?
The legislator who chaired the committee that killed the bill said that constitutional protection should not be extended based on a practice that was "wrong" and "a choice". How is sexual orientation a choice? If it is a choice for gay people, it is a choice for all of us. I've made lots of important choices in my life: what to study in college, who to marry, how many kids to have, and where to live. I don't remember ever thinking "I choose to be heterosexual".
North Dakota is a beautiful place in many ways, but we are losing our most precious resource, our people. Good people leave the state every day because of the weather, isolation, and lack of economic opportunity. It's too bad that a lot of other good people have been told they aren't welcome here.
|All our snow melted last weekend and now we're supposed to get thunderstorms followed by ice storms followed by more snow. Eastern North Dakota is the highest flood risk in the country right now. Once again we may witness the rebirth of Lake Agassiz. Oh well, when you live at the bottom of a lake you're bound to get wet now and then!
|Entering contests is a great way to improve your writing and gain exposure for your work. A contest prompt may be just the inspiration you need to break out of writer's block. Here are some tips on entering WDC contests from a long time member and owner of three contests.
Read the Rules
Make sure you are eligible. Most contests are open to everyone, but a few are restricted to members of certain groups.
Pay special attention to word limits, rating requirements, and deadlines. Nobody wants to put time and effort into creating a good entry, only to have it disqualified because of a technicality.
If the contest has a prompt make sure your story follows it.
Take note of other requirements as well. Does the contest require newly written items or can you submit something you already have? Are items that have already won awards accepted? Will you be allowed to edit your item once you have submitted it? How are you supposed to post your entry?
If you have read the rules and still have questions, don't be afraid to email the contest owner or judge.
Most of us don't bite and are happy to answer questions. If the rules of my contests aren't clear, I want to know about it. I'm sure most contest owners feel the same way.
Look at the list of past winners
This will give you an idea of the type of entries the contest is looking for.
Proofread your entry carefully before you post it.
Running a spelling and grammar check only takes a few minutes and is worth the time. If the judge is having trouble deciding between two entries, a few typos might make all the difference.
If possible, have a friend review it for you. Another reader can often catch mistakes that the author doesn't notice.
After you have posted your entry, check the contest forum to make sure it shows up.
More than one person has had a contest entry disappear into the Twilight Zone because they forgot to hit "submit".
Give the judges time to review before inquiring about your entry.
Reviewing and judging contest entries takes time. Most contest judges have jobs, kids, school, or other real world responsibilities.
Read and review other entries.
Part of the reason for entering contests is to get exposure for your work and the best way to get reviews is to give them. You will learn just as much from other contestants as you will from the judges. You might even make some new friends.
If you win, say thank you.
Like everyone else, contest owners love to know they are appreciated.
If you don't win, don't be discouraged.
If you don't win, it doesn't mean your entry wasn't any good. Only a few entries can win, and sometimes the difference between winning and losing entries is extremely small. Some contests get over forty entries in a month, but can only afford to give prizes to two or three. Remember, there's always another contest and there's always the next round. If you were motivated to write something new, you are a winner no matter what!
|I think it's too bad that so many beginning writers are ready to give up when they get a negative review. Go to Amazon.com and look at reader reviews of your favorite books sometime. Now matter how popular the book is, at least one person hates it!
|Have any of you read any books by Patricia Briggs? I just found them and I love them! They're all about werewolves, vampires, witches, and the main character is my favorite magical being, a shapeshifter. This is the first time since the last Harry Potter came out that I found a book I couldn't put down. I just wish I had thought of the idea before she did!