The Stagazine: Issue 81

Page 24


Writing for Competitions ach year there are hundreds of writing contests, competitions, prizes and awards for prose or poetry. Competing with hundreds and thousands of other entries, any chance of winning seems minute; so why should an aspiring or accomplished writer enter, and how or what could they win? An imaginative writer can often struggle to decide what to write about next. Many writing competitions provide useful parameters; subject focus, a strict deadline, a particular audience, word count limits, and sometimes content guidelines. A decision to enter a competition narrows the focus towards execution, in the same way a commission would. To even be short-listed in a competition encourages the writer, and improves the chances of that writer finding an agent or publisher. It strengthens the writer’s creative

Love Has a Name

CV, and provides significant public recognition of ability and talent. It requires skill, but also the initiative to find a suitable competition and understand the brief, before crafting suitable work for submission. Writing competition judges will be very subjective in their evaluation of submissions; yet whether or not the work is chosen, the writer is left with an additional piece to add to their portfolio, plus the experience gained from writing it. The copyright usually stays with the writer, but make sure to read any terms and conditions before submitting. If you are successful at winning, the prizes vary widely but will typically comprise one or more of the following: guaranteed publication for the winning piece, a modicum of fame depending on the prestige

by Stephen Davids

of the contest, tickets to a related event, money (from a token purse to thousands of pounds), scrutiny by an agent or publisher, or a publishing deal. There is occasionally a small cost for entering a competition, but many are fee-free. Others are based solely on material already published. They cover almost every topic that could be of interest to a writer, are of widely variable lengths, and are often annual. They are well promoted, and can be found on the Internet. In summary, there are many and varied good reasons for taking the risk of writing for competitions, and very little downside. Why not try? Stephen Davids is currently studying for the MA Creative Writing at the University of Surrey. He has won several writing competitions, including the Young Freemasons Essay Prize in 2007. Stephen’s most recent poem, Love has a name, was just selected through competition and published in Interflora’s Little E-Book of Romantic Verse. It is reproduced here:

my one love / to love’s embrace I’m drawn And races forth my heart in rivalry with my arms Though my eyes triumph, for they behold you always A petal in moonlight. A benign wind suspires our names In a bouquet of jasmine, and orange blossoms. As gleaming stars meld with our firework souls waking robins into nocturnal song. How breathed I, before you? How live now, but with you? Sharing all as one spirit Love’s form and love’s essence entwined. Love has a name / it is ours whispered by each to each In a swaying embrace / to the rhythm of our kisses As the trees too, bend and bow. you are heart’s imagination given shape Spun from water-reflected moonlight ethereal. Full-honeyed inspiration to adore Every night, forever more


©Jonathon Reyes


by Stephen Davids, Creative Writer

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