Tuesday, April 3, 2012

And now a word from our Judges…

The Elora Writers' Festival Writing Competition judges were asked for their favorite writing or editing tip. Here’s what some of them said:

Editing Tip: "Is this adverb necessary?


"Chances are, if you are using a lot of adverbs, you are telling and not showing. Adverbs are words ending in ‘ly’ such as happily, sadly, angrily, gloomily. Think about a character that has just won the lottery. Rather than have her yell hurray “joyfully', why not have her jump up and down screaming so loudly that her cat runs under the bed in terror and it takes her twenty minutes to get it out. Maybe she runs to her closet and throws all of her old clothes in the garbage while blasting 'If I Had a Million Dollars' on her MP3 player. Both of those pictures show how the character reacts instead of telling, and create a more interesting picture than the word 'joyfully.'"
—Heather Wright, Author of Writing Fiction: A Hands-on Guide for Teens (Judge: Short Story, Category 3)

Writing Tip: "Getting started!"

"Remember you can't be a writer if you don't make the time to write! Sometimes the hardest thing about being a writer is actually getting paper to pen or fingers to keyboard. Here are 5 quick and easy ways to get going!

1.  Make writing a priority. Daily tasks and other life stuff can often get in the way of writing. Try setting a specific time each week that you devote to writing no matter what else is going on.

2.  Keep a small notebook close by where you can jot down your ideas when the come to you. You want to maximize your actual writing time, so keeping track of your ideas will help you get started more quickly.

3.  Waiting doesn't need to be boring. Instead of using your phone to keep you entertained while you are waiting in line or for an appointment, use the time to write!

4.  Challenge yourself to do writing exercises. Give yourself 5 minutes to write the beginning of a novel.  Write a letter to your parent or child that they are to open on a special birthday years from now. Take a walk and find an object, then sit down and write a poem about that object.

5.  Perfect can paralyze.  Sometimes we feel that can't move forward until we have each sentence perfectly crafted. Just let it flow and then go back and work on improving word choice and making your sentences and ideas unified."
— Carey Gallagher (Judge: Poetry, Category 4)

Writing Tip: "Trust yourself!"

"If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be to trust yourself. It's very hard to quiet your internal critic, that little voice that says, 'That's a stupid idea.' You have to put those thoughts aside and be open to whatever comes through you. When you write through that questioning, that judgement, that uncertainty, that's often when the most surprising, creative and authentic work emerges."
— Heather Debling (Judge: Short Story, Category 2)

Writing Tip: "Multiply by six."

"It’s poetry season again (hot off the heels of poultry seasoning), and perhaps you’re playing with words and their order. And, maybe you’re contemplating ordering those words into a form you will send to me.
     If you are pondering the second point, here are some words I’d like to share: Imagine you are doing the thing you like to do most in the entire universe and multiply that by…six.
     I know you are writers, so don’t be too put off by the math I’m using here, and if your favourite thing ever is math, well, bonus!
     Okay, so your favourite thing times 6 is just an inkling of how you will feel when you have devised, written, tweaked, and submitted your poem to our writing competition.
     Yes, that’s DWTS and, again, if Dancing with the Stars is your favourite thing, then BONUS x2.
     So, get busy devising your poem, in the shower, on the football pitch, during dinner with relatives who keep forgetting to put money in your birthday card, etc.
     Write out that poem and feel smugly satisfied while admiring it. You are a poet, after all. Read it aloud to the teddy bear you still have but do not publicly admit to having…he’s a good listener.
     Then, get your pencil/keyboard/Burnt Sienna crayon ready and TWEAK IT. Make all those clunky words – again, seek Ted’s advice – smooth and fluid. Read your future masterpiece aloud again, maybe this time to some humans.
     Satisfied that your poem has grown to its full potential, print out those all-important final drafts and submit them to the competition so I can have the pleasure and privilege of reading them.
     And, there you have it – awesomesauciness to the power of six. Are you still here?
     What are you waiting for? GO!"
— Keri-Lyn Durant (Judge: Poetry, Category 2)

The EWF Writing Competition deadline is fast approaching! Submit your short story (1500 words maximum) or poem (75 lines maximum) by Friday, April 27. Entry details can be found by downloading the contest flyer here...

And for more information go here...

For information about the 2013 Competition, go here...

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