I Plead “No Contest!” (When Entering Writing Competitions)

I’ve never entered a writing contest before. Although every time I submit my work to an editor, technically I’m competing against other author “contestants” who want to have their creations appear in the exact same magazine, anthology, or website. And when the prize is an acceptance notice of publication, yes I feel like a winner. That’s a contest if you ask me and so I’ve entered many.

However this writing contest was different. . .

I’ve written novels and screenplays before, but this contest was for live theater and the winners get their words brought to life on a stage in front of an audience. Sign me up!

The other difference was that I only found out about this contest a mere 24 hours prior to the submission deadline, which threw me into some fast and furious typing. And the rules specified it could be a comedy OR a meaningful, serious drama. After some inner debate, I chose to do humor. Big surprise.

But in the end, my biggest dilemma was needing help choosing which play to submit (somehow two distinctly different scripts had been birthed from my infertile, barren brain….fraternal twins?) because I couldn’t decide on my own which was more brilliant. Or (every other hour) which script sucked less. The rules were clear — one entry per person.

Who in my life was competent to give this kind of input and more to the point, would help me make this decision extremely QUICKLY? (Yikes! Like within the next thirty minutes!) The first thing I did was turn to another writer friend (Samantha) who owed me a huge favor since I had recently critiqued her query letter and it helped her land an agent.

Samantha expediently sent me a ton of elaborate feedback on both my scripts. But what wasn’t clear, was her opinion of which one she recommended I should enter into the contest — essentially the only question I had originally asked!

I emailed back and said, “Thank you! But which one was better?” Samantha replied, “That’s personal preference. But I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear what you thought of my feedback?”

So here I am with hours to go until the deadline and I’ve got a narcissistic friend/egomaniac writer expecting me to critique her critique!?

Ugh. Frantically I sent both possibilities to my mother, along with the rules of the contest so she could see the criteria with which they’d be judged. “Ps. Please Hurry!” was how my email ended. After many long hours, she wrote back, “I contemplated this very carefully. I’d go with the one about your multiple personalities falling in love with each other at a cocktail party. But both of them were very meaningful and serious dramas.” I wrote back, “Thanks, mom! But they were both comedies. Which one made you laugh more?”  And then she called me and said, “If you like contests so much, the county fair has a watermelon-eating one you can enter this weekend.”

Okaaay! I’m done with asking females for help. Turning to men has sometimes worked for me in the past. Quickly I sent my scripts to a great guy who performs in local community theatre, pleading “Which one??”  He finally wrote back that both of them had dialogue sections that didn’t sound very good when belted out in his shower. I forgot he only does musical theatre.

Feeling truly desperate, I took my beginning narrator’s lines from each possible entry and sent them as my introductory messages to two different men with dating profiles on Match.com. Whoever wrote me back first and said “That’s really funny!” would be how I would make my decision.

The first bachelor wrote back,  “Hi! Sorry, I’m only 5 ft. 4 and I make it a rule not to do taller women because things won’t line up properly.” Very helpful input. And then the other wrote back, “Meet tonight at 7 pm for a drink? Ps. And are you a therapist? Damn! That was some crazy psycho-babble, babe.”

But now thinking about therapists and my own past sessions… I had the answer to my quandary of which script to submit to the contest. I would send both! One would be entered under my own real name. And then the second script (about my multiple personalities falling in love at a cocktail party) would be sent under the name Sybil. Problem solved!

Readers– Have you entered writing contests? Have you had as much trouble as this? Oh! Also I was recently interviewed. You can check it out just below. But why is it called “Woman on the Edge of Reality?” Lol. 

An interview with Stephanie Lewis, author of Lullabies & Alibis

 

 

Will You Participate in Your Life? Yes/No/Maybe

fullsizerender-40Are you bombarded with companies asking you to fill out customer satisfaction surveys, enter sweepstakes/contests, and even requests to call designated phone numbers to report your feedback?

It’s time to turn the tables with some unique variations for your own personal life! 

“HOW’S MY DRIVING??”

“How’s My Cooking?” Post this bumper sticker on the kitchen microwave with the number “1-800-INEDIBLE.” Forward all phone calls to your local Dominos Pizza.

“How’s My Lovemaking?” Leave this placard conspicuously under a pillow and only field the obscene phone calls giving off-the-chart glowing reports.

“How’s My Parenting?” Follow this up with the direct cellphone number to the parent of your child’s very best friend . . .  so they can finally receive the correct feedback you ALWAYS inadvertently end up hearing. “So & So’s mom always lets her wear short shorts with platform heels to school everyday!” and “So & So’s dad says buying a 16-year-old a brand new Mercedes reinforces taking care of nice things.”

EXCITING GIVEAWAYS! 

Punisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes!”  Cash, Prizes, & Trips! Motivate your child to think about what they’ve learned during their Time-Out discipline by having them submit a 300 word handwritten essay. Tell them last year’s winning entry was creatively titled, “Thank Goodness Washing Mouths Out With Bars of Soap is Now Considered Child Abuse!” In the small print, have a legal disclaimer stating there are a few minor typos and “Cash, Prizes, & Trips” is really “Squash, Pretzels & Chips” — AKA their after school snack — when they emerge from their bedroom as the lucky recipient!

“Enter Raffle To Win Giant Shopping Spree!” Darn that pesky keyboard. That should read, “Mopping Spree!” Sponsored by Swiffer, of course.

“You Could Be Holding The Next Instant Winner!” Sheesh, really need to fire that proofreader on this whole contest copy thing. This one is sponsored by Lipton Noodle Soup — just add water and you’re holding Your Next Instant Dinner!

SATISFACTION SURVEYS!

Instead of writing in the comment section about the food and service on the back of your restaurant check, give the quaint cafe a survey to fill out for YOU for once!

  1. What’s your favorite menu item listed under PASTA to cook for your patrons? Don’t you think $29.99 is a bit much to charge for just noodles and sauce?
  2. When did you first get the idea to keep your prices the same but slash the portion sizes in half?
  3. Do your chefs spit in our food when it comes back into the kitchen for a do-over or do they just drop it on the floor?
  4. When your waitress flirts with my boyfriend by touching his shoulder a lot, does she realize I leave the tip?
  5. On a scale of 1-10 please rate your experience with your customers regarding the following:

a) Knowledge of that old adage, “The customer is always right.”

b) Dietary Restrictions and how slappable our faces are in proportion to how many food allergy intolerances we actually have.

c) Weight Watchers wondering how many points your creamy caramel cheesecake is on our silly plan.

d) Regular diners who feel we’ve earned the right to pinch the bottoms of your cocktail servers.

Thank you! We’ll let you know how your answers modify our choosing your establishment on our next night out.

Social Media Marketing

Don’t just cozy up to random new buddies and pals in real life anymore. Ask them to go online first and tweet about how fun you are for a chance to register for monthly membership where you’ll explain how they can earn extra points by signing up for your Friendship Loyalty Rewards Program. After twelve months of swiping their card, they’ll earn a free invitation to your birthday party, a $100 value.

Let me know when you go to leave a comment here if WordPress asks you to rate them with something like this:

 

fullsizerender-41

They’re not allowed to do that on MY blog today!!

The Blogcademy Awards (The Bloscars!) – Will You Win?

Image Credit to the Skyscanner.com who for some reason uses this word (which I thought I made up) to run a contest for Travel Bloggers. They appear to be an airline?

Image Credit to the Skyscanner.com who for some reason uses this word (which I thought I made up!) to run a contest for Travel Bloggers. They appear to be an Airline.

C’mon, admit it.  You just knew you’d find me with this Blog title today, right?  With my love of inventing Blogger Vocabularly (read here) and how I honored the Winter Olympics with “The Writer Olympics” (read here) and Super Bowl Sunday (read here) then it follows there must be an event called “The Bloscars.”

Now let’s walk the Red-Carpet and enter the actual Post to see the grandeur that awaits, shall we?  Beware of the Blogarazzi with their blinding camera flashes, whoops and hollers.  Smile nicely, with that odd, “look over your shoulder at who-the-hell-knows what” type of pose.  Maybe all bloggers should keep looking over their shoulder for the next odd thing to happen to them?photo-217

THE PRE-CEREMONY TIME WASTERS & A PRIZE!

Welcome! First of all – – instead of Ellen Degeneres and pizza, you’re stuck with me serving Blogdogs on Buns. Children Bloggers get CornBlogs.  Sorry.  I won’t pass a hat around for $ contributions, but please don’t blog one single word about how I didn’t take into account alternative meal options for Blegetarians and Blegans.  We like our blogs meaty here!  i.e. – – “Where’s the Beef  Blog ??”

photo-216Insert your Favorite Opening Dance Sequence Here to the left.  Idina Menzel (pronounce it however you like, but give John Travolta a break- – he’s barely “Staying Alive” since his Saturday Night Fever stint) can also sing “Let It Go” from the animated film, Frozen, which is what happens to Bloggers who refresh their Stats page too much.  Their computer freezes.

And yes, there will be a Selfie Photo Contest, so let’s take down Twitter…Wordpress!  No WordPressure, but please take a photo of the front page of your Blog the way that it looks on your laptop/computer with you (the proud Blog creator!)  in the photo as well.  Shy, retiring, inhibited, insecure, and/or paranoid Bloggers (that would be me) feel free to just portray your blog alone, without any human in the pic.   Put the photo or a link to the photo (since I don’t know if it’s even possible to post a photo here?  Some of the higher-tech Bloggers will tell me, no doubt) in the comments section and the winner (based on the most eye-catching, creative photo) will receive two movie passes. (or the equivalent of such, on an Amazon Gift Card)  Deadline will be this Friday, the 7th of March to post Selfie photos and a winner will be picked and prize awarded on my birthday, March 12th.  Since I will have nothing better to do on that day, other than to sob about turning 50.

And Now . . . The Blotion Picture Blogcademy Proudly Presents . . . THE BLOSCARS! (think of orchestras rising here)

During the silence that follows each category,  please imagine who would deserve this particular award in your own real life world or Online world that you call your Blogosphere.  I would never be so presumptuous as to start naming Names here!  The idea is to get YOU thinking about the kinds of people (bloggers and non-bloggers alike) that you consciously surround yourself with each and every day.  It CAN make a difference.

And the Featured Categories Are ????

Best Supportive Commenter:  Who regularly leaves you lots of love?

Best Editor:  Which individual do you count on to give your posts a onceover, so you don’t get blatant errors like “onceover” when published?

Best Original Score UnderScore: (Note: Strikeovers would also fall in this category)

Best Blog Header:  Your eye was drawn immediately!

Best Blog Background:  It compliments, rather than detracts.

Best Song: (Oh!  I feel another contest coming on!)  In the comments section below, please leave the one best song (with either a Title or the well known chorus lyrics) that would best suit your blog.  In other words, you would most want to have this song blasting when someone clicks open your blog.  Give a brief explanation as to why you chose this song. One winner will be announced (same dates given for the Selfie Photo contest above) and awarded a $20 itune Gift Card.  Looking again for Creativity here and some Wordplay. (See InspireTheWorld2Day (who happens to be the first entry) in the comments section below for a clear example.)

Best Tagger:  Who gets the best traffic from tags?

Best Motivator:  Who inspires your ideas?  Which individual do you most find yourself telling to “hold that thought” for a second while you jot something down in your “Blog Notebook”  You do have one of those, right?!?

Best Brusher-Off-er:  Who changes the subject the fastest when you bring up your Blog?

Best and Worse Dressed List

Clothing is a huge deal.  I know.  Just not here. And breasts are not going to be mentioned here at all.  If you want to know why, go here.   So alternatively,  there will be no hiring Mr. Blackwell  Blogwell to ogle (blogle) and rave or conversely rant/diss any certain Blogger’s Pajamas Attire – – but the following categories will rhyme with the word “Dressed” instead.  You should nod your head right about now and see this as a perfectly suitable solution.

Best Jest:  Favorite Non-Serious Blog

Best Guest:  Who regularly has the most interesting Blogger Guests writing for them?

Best Blessed:  Whose Blog seems to have the most Gratitude or Grace?

Best Addressed:  Who takes a Controversial Subject and Nails it?

Best Confessed:  Who takes the opportunity of blogging to bare their soul, show their authentic truth?

Best Assessed:  Who is the Best Reviewer you know.  Books, Movies, Food, etc. Their opinion matters to you!

Best Compressed:  Who can blog in the fewest words you know and still make it work?  Really distill down their ideas so you just get the concentrated bottom line from them?

Best Distressed & Stressed:  Who is always having an issue?  Yes, this could be a Drama Blog, but maybe not?

Best Obsessed:  Who focuses on just one topic every single solitary time, but you love them anyway?

Best Cardiac Arrest:  Who shocks you the most with their outrageousness?

Best Nest:  Which Parent Blogger gets the most “oohs and ahs” because their love of family shines through?

Best Quest:  Who seems to have the loftiest goal or purpose in Blogging?

Best Teenage Blogger who is wise beyond their years:  Hey that doesn’t rhyme?  That’s right, just seeing if you are paying attention.

Best Contest:  Who regularly has Blog Giveaways that excite you?

Best Pest:  Who is that Blogger you wish you could secretly Unfollow?

Best Rest:  Their Blog is where you hang out when you want to unwind and relax.

Best Pressed:  They haven’t been Freshly Pressed, but you think that’s just a matter of time. Either that or they make really good freshly squeezed orange juice.

Best Detest:  Okay, you hate their blog.  You don’t follow it at all, but you’re aware of its presence and you want them to clean up their act.

Best Intelligence Test:  Wow, are they just off the chart smart or what??  Do you even belong there as a reader?  Yep, you do!

Best Request:  They’re the Blog-Pleasers.  They will do what you ask because they want crowd approval.  But do you really know what they’re about?

Best Impressed: They are the equivalent of the  Name   Blog-Dropper who wants you to admire their Blog for the Flash, not the substance.

Best Protest:  They are never going to be happy unless they can keep blogging about how unhappy the world makes them.

Best Mae West:  “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?”  That’s right, I finally ran out of rhymes that had any connection to blogging! And besides we needed a real movie star right about now.

Along with leaving a comment, Please don’t forget to enter one or both contests above (Selfie & Song) and we’ll see you next year at the BLOSCARS! Also signing up to follow my blog will guarantee you won’t miss the next time I get zany enough to decide to bizarrely tie a Giveaway Contest with a Posting Topic.