Writers’ Writing Competition: Grand Winners

After much delay and some serious navel gazing, I am pleased to present the grand final tally of winners.

Editor’s picks

These are a series of winners picked out by me for special attention. With so many awesome entries it was not always possible to award a prize to all the posts that deserved it. This is my last opportunity to make up for that and dish up some more prizes.

Editor’s pick for a really good entry that didn’t win but should have done

This is a section that I have been thinking about since week one. There are so many entries that I wished I could award a prize but, for one reason or another, I did not. Of all the competition participants there was one who got the short end of the stick.

Of all the competition participants there was one who got the short end of the stick. As a member of our board of trustees, this entrant was often tied for the first place and to avoid any appearance of favouritism I let slip back to second place. She was the only writer to only win one prize. Even so, she never once made a fuss and was a good sport about it.

Thus I want to honour Laura with this special editor’s pick prize both of being a good sport and for writing a post that should have taken a prize.

Why do I write in my genre, by L. L.. Winder is a fantastic reflection on the drive to write and why we write what we write.

As I said in the “best post” section of the winner’s post for that week, every single post was a contender. Laura’s just happens to be the one I singled out for some overdue praise.

Editor’s pick for a post that made me laugh out loud

We asked “What stops you writing” and Artimis Blake wrote the following:

I’ll finish this later….

That made me actually laugh out loud. Imaginary high-five my friend, imaginary high-five.

My pick for a post that packed an emotional punch

There is one post that sticks in my memory, even now. It took the subject of time travel (one of my all-time favourite topics) and made it into one of the most emotionally memorable short stories I have read in a while.

Stories from the edge had this post: If I had a time machine. I swear you’d wish it as hard as the character does.

After the deadline: A post made after the deadline but before the grand finish.

This prize is for getting things finished even when the main thrust of the competition was already past. It is awarded to encourage that dedication to writing where better late than never is the rule of the day. A rule I live by.

This prize goes to L. L. Winder (BraidySpice) for her reflection on Plotting vs Pantsing.

Editor’s pick for most ambitious blog

Most folks were content to set up on a  free platform like WordPress or Blogger. But one entrant set up a custom WordPress on a custom domain name. Despite having never done anything like that before and after a few false starts, Ben J deserves some serious love and respect for not only sticking with it tot he end but doing so on a brand new and unfamiliar platform.

Not only is this likely to become the most useful of all foundations for an author platform, it contains some really good writing. For example, with no bias at all, this post on what he loves most about Thanet Creative Writers. Like many of his posts, Ben has found the most interesting ways to subvert the prompt.

Editor’s pick for a blog that carried on after the competition

The Kentish Rambler carried right on blogging (as did some of you others). The Kentish rambler caught my eye for simply having the most amazing and pretty pictures.

Pretty pictures count for a lot.

Take a look at April Ramblings.

Reddit Grand Vote

The initial plan for the big finish was to use Reddit as a quick and easy source of both traffic and a voting booth. It turns out that Reddit is deeply unpopular which I was not expecting. Nevertheless, you guys rallied on anyway and so I am going to award prizes here anyway. Not the original prizes but good ones nevertheless.

The sticking with it regardless prize

This prize recognises the willingness of the writers who took part to jump through some strange hoops and do it all anyway.

It is shared Jointly by Neil and Jess who posted a lot of their stuff the Reddit vote. Because the Reddit vote turned out to be something akin to last week’s zoo leavings, and all votes were about the same, I have randomly picked two good posts to make the “winners”.

Take a bow you two hard working writers. You deserve it.

The Grand Winner

In the grand tradition of Time magazine, the winner of the competition is you.

We are all the richer for the great writing that has been put forward during this competition and everyone who took part is a step closer to building an author platform.

Well done, you.

Time youcover01.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

What are your picks?

Which posts would you pick as the winners? Tell us in the comments.

The Final Contest: The Big Vote

Well, we are finally here. You have written, comments, and voted you way through twelve weeks of platform building themes designed to prompt you into establishing your authorial platform. Well done.

This week instead of writing an entry you will be picking a winner. Of course, I will be reading the last entries and picking winners. This last batch of winners will include three editor picks that did not win in their week but deserve a conceptual prize anyway.

chimpanzee_seated_at_typewriterThat (image to your right) is an artists impression of me trying to figure out which amazing post deserves to be a winner.

Before I get to giving you the details for the big vote, a few words about building on what you have created.

How to make the most of it

Over the last twelve weeks, you have written drawn an audience. Some blogs take months to get to that level of audience. Some of you seem to have a full year’s worth of audience building under your belt in just three months. That is very impressive and you should make the most of it.

For example, this blog took two months before anyone besides me even properly recognised its existence. We launched last year to no fan fair at all and came up the hard way. For those of you that took part in even some of the contest, you have a head start. A huge head start.

Make the most of it – keep writing posts. Build that platform and when your first book comes out enjoy being able to tell loyal readers all about it.

If you prefer to write to prompts we have two entire categories of prompts, which I try to put something out for each week.

  1. The Platform Builder Prompt
  2. The weekly story prompt

There might not be a winner announced each week for these but the prize was always the thing that you created not what I gave out.

You may also want to consider making a platform at Author Buzz UK. It is a website that I am helping to build (based on WordPress) specifically for authors to build a presence. It is based on a lot of the platform building theory that I have been talking about here. The forums will be a good place to chat with fellow writers once we start to pick up steam.

Whatever you do, keep writing. Make amazing art.

The big vote

The big vote has two parts to it.

  1. Sharing as many of your entries as you can
  2. Voting on the entries that have been shared

The big vote takes place at /r/ThanetWinners2017 and will run until at least one items gets a solid lead or we all get fed up with waiting. The deadline is, erm, sometime randomly decided after Monday the 5th of June so share soon, vote often and may the best post win.

Getting your fans to go vote for you is allowed. Anyone can vote for the grand winner. Anyone at all.

Also, any theme that you wrote for outside of the deadline time can be entered. So if you missed a week, you still get a chance to shine.

Best of luck to you all. You wonderful writers, you.

Week 9 and 10 Winners

Here it is, a bit late but nevertheless here all the same. Two sets of winners.

Week 9: My Favourite book

The theme of Week 9 was My Favourite Book Ever. The thinking behind this theme from a platform building perspective was that telling readers about the writers that influenced you would help you connect with readers who like the same writers that you do.

There are only two winners for this week. This is because exactly zero people managed to get a link for it posted in the Reddit. An easy win missed by one and all. I am a titchy bit worried that I might have confused you with the change of direction mid-contest. If I’ve not been clear you will say so with a comment, right?

There was just one link in the Reddit but for a blog rather than a blog post. So, erm, no. I’m not going to count it.

Also, the lower than expected number of pings for this week had me checking all the blogs in the Directory, just in case I had missed one.

Week 9: Best Post

Although there were fewer entries for this week, the one that really got to me was Tiger by Jess Joy. It was a story that hits you right in the feels and at the same time points to a well-loved book too. By doing both Jess wins the crown for best post.

Week 9: Best Comment

There were some amazing comments to be found on each of the blogs that entered the week 9 competition. I was almost tempted to award the prize to a non-competitor. I have to say, you guys have some amazing readers. Well done.

After much deliberation, I was left with two comments and could not pick which one would be the winner. In the end, I picked Jess Joy’s comment so I could link to another deserving blog. Click through and give the post the comment is for a read. You will not regret it.

Week 10: What mistake do I make most with writing?

This theme, mistakes with writing, was designed originally as an introspective. Sometimes being honest with your readers about your weaknesses can be a good thing. As a platform builder, that vulnerability could act as a catalyst for connection.

As always you took the theme and turned it into a reading extravaganza that went places I could never have imagined when I suggested this contest.

After the original deadline, I even had a go with the theme on my new writing blog. Don’t worry, it would not be fair for me to even consider including it as an entry. I’m the judge for this after all.

As I noted for week 9, there are only two winners for this week too.

Week 10: Best Post

I have a confession. Stroking my ego works. I love getting mentioned. But this is not why this week’s winner was a winner. I loved the use of dramatic irony to also call back to all the other posts as a meta-index of entries. Brilliant. AUTHORity takes the crown in week 10.

Week 10: Best comment

Picking a “best” comment this for week 10 was even harder than week 9. I finally settled on this comment by Kentish Rambler. Not only was the comment on a post that deserved a mention (it is just as good as the winner) but it really typified a good comment.

Final thoughts

I think we all noticed how badly I have been lagging of late. In fact, last week there was no winner post nor a new theme. That’s my bad and I am sorry.

The new theme will be live on Tuesday in the normal slot. I needed to give myself a clear week off (to catch up). Hopefully, we are back on track with two weeks left to go. I hope, even if you do not write anymore or even if you join us late and only write for the last few themes, that you will come back and vote for a grand winner.

I was a bit disappointed that BradySpice aka L. L. Winder did not enter either of these competitions themes. I noticed recently that I have yet to award her a victory and she most certainly deserves one. There are only two left. So, please, hon, come back and write some more.

The fact is that without exception your posts have all be amazing and worthy of a prize. It was delightfully hard choosing a winner each week.

Well done to everyone who has kept up. At least 50% of the secret of writing is to just keep writing things down. Talking of which someone was so keen to get on with it that they have already written next week’s entry. Now that is commitment.

Lots of Winners

Is it Friday already? Wow. Where did my week go? I honestly figured I would have the winners list published by Wednesday at the latest. This week’s theme of what stops us writing seems oddly appropriate now.

Last week we switched things up and pushed you to start using new social media outposts.

Best Post

Oh ye gods, this is the bit I do not find easy. You are too talented by half. Seriously, very few of you had ever written a blog post before much less ran an entire blog and written for it each week. I am so impressed with all of you that words fail me. Really they do. And, if you know me, you know that words rarely fail me.

This week, I have given up trying to pick one winner and have selected a handful. One overall winner and several category “prizes”.

In the category of most meta post

The award for most meta post of the contest so far goes to Artimis Blake who writes:

I will finish this later…

We have all been there, I think.

In the category of best reflective post

The award for the best reflective article (with a meta twist) goes to Night of the Hats. [1]

[1] Spoiler: I have read the entire thing.

In the category of experimental writing

The award for experimental writing goes to Braidy Spice. Along with this award, comes a link to our guide on linking.

In the category of Romance and Relationships

The award for best post goes to Kentish Rambler. I’d say Kentish has what it takes to write for the large women’s magazines market. This is a top quality entry in this category.

In the category of crime drama

The award goes to ProfBenJ. A great example of well-paid-off foreshadowing. There were some Dirk Gently moments there.

And the overall winner is…

The overall winner this week is Jess Joy with a well-executed sequel to her lady of letters. I am reminded of Irene in “A Lady of Letters” from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.

Best Comment

For best comment this week I am going to award the prize to the most prolific commenter: ProfBenJ. Seriously, you seem to be everywhere. Well done.

Reddit voted top post

This is the feature that replaced the “most comments” section. The idea is to vote for what you liked best. The community voted top post was a tie between Niel, ProfBenJ, and JessJoy who all got two votes.

Either you loved each other equally or no one voted for anyone else. I’m going to go ahead and assume the love was flowing freely.

I’m feeling talkative right now and am going to let you in a little secret. After the 12 weeks of this contest are over, there will be one grand winner. The final winner will be chosen by you out of all the posts written for the contest over the entire time it was running. Even ones that were written by me (I’d love to know how you think I stack up).

This final contest will take place here. That is a special Reddit set up just for us and this contest. You may post as many of your entries as you wish, vote for as many as you want, and you may do so from now. (Let’s see who was paying close attention, eh).

Over to you

Everyone who took part did a great job and deserves as much comment, upvote, like, and share love as you can give. Go show these amazing bloggers some serious love.

My Genre: Winners

As I think I might have mentioned, I have struggled to choose one winner this week. At last, I think I have picked one but it was not at all easy.

The theme was why I write in my genre – a question that not all professionals can answer. You each approached the theme in a different way and I was deeply impressed with each and every post I read. You are a very talented bunch.

The participants

Below I have listed all the posts that I found. If yours is not here then I did not find it. I checked the pings & comments, the regulars, and the Facebook group. Only four of you commented a link or pinged the blog I awarded you four non-countable bonus points which are only redeemable for bragging rights. (If you need help linking).

Up to this point, there have always been seven or eight of you but some of you took a week off. At least I hope you did because I would feel terrible if I missed anyone out.

Now for the winners. Drum roll, please.

Best Comment and Most Comments

Jess Joy was the runaway winner this week in terms of comment count. Posting something fun and easy to engage with can do wonders for getting comments going. This is a great platform building technique in and of itself.

The most commented post was also the home of some amazing comments. Many of the comments mimicked the style of the post and it looks like you all had a lot of fun with it. So I am awarding Ansteysp the best comment prize.

Best Post

This week I am awarding the prize to Artimis Blake’s “Why do I write in my Genre”. While every single last post was a contender for the prize, for different reasons this post spoke to me where I live. This is purely chance, I think, but as I have to choose just one and it was so very, very close…

From a platform building perspective, this post is very good content because it is something fans and the press can quote easily.

Over to you

Feel free to heap likes, comments, praise, and general congratulations to our winners.

There is no right or wrong answer here, who would you choose as the winner from this set?

Week Three Winners

As you get stuck into the Week Four Theme, it is time to announce the winners of week three.

You might have noticed that the winners’ post has come a little later this week. This is because I have started to experiment with the timing of this second post. I wondered if waiting a few days might work better. Not to mention that I have had a few health issues.

As in weeks past, there are three areas to win in:

  1. Best post (as picked by me)
  2. Post with the most comments by different people
  3. Best comment (as picked by me)

The only thing I can say for certain at this stage is that the next time we run one of these, I am going to ask more people to help me pick the winners.

Best Post: Theological Mistakes

It was very hard to choose a winner. Again.

I wanted to pick several of you as winners. Again.

However, after going back and forth (again) and not being able to make up my mind (again), I chose the Night of Hats article. What particularly impressed me was the fusion of column-writing style with a blog post that starts by hinting that this might all be nonsense and yet keeps a straight face when it presents it. A well-deserved win.

Most Comments: If I invented my own religion

Although I was a bit dubious about the websites reported 40+ comments, this was the blog post with the most comments.

One oft-repeated technique for getting more comments is to end with a question. Think about giving it a try.

Best Comment: profbenj The Joy of Words

Like the posts, the comments are all of a similar standard. It was very hard to pick out a “best comment”. This one made my short list for engaging with the post and showing that the commenter had read it by asking an insightful question.