Monday, 4 November 2013

Guest Post - Helen Hunt gets competitive

As I mentioned a little while back, Helen Hunt is soon to take over the competitions column in Writers' Forum. Here she blogs about how she began writing, and asks for input for her column.




Competitive Edge – new competition page for Writer’s Forum

As some of you will already know, from the January 2014 issue of Writers' Forum, I'll be taking over the competition page from the wonderful Sally Quilford who has been running it for five years now.

Although this blog is mainly aimed at people who are writing for the women’s magazine market, I know that there are lots of you out there who enter competitions as well.

I’ve always had a love of competitions, because they’re a big part of how I got to where I am now. I started off writing for, and trying to get published by, women’s magazines several years ago, but back then I just didn’t seem to be able to get anything accepted.

So I took a detour down the competitions route, and it was there that I had my first fiction success. It was having one of my stories published as a result of a competition that kept me going in the face of what felt like endless rejections from women’s magazines. You’ll be able to read more about that in my first column!

These days I’m primarily a women’s magazine short story writer, but it was competition writing that gave me my first breakthrough and that’s why the subject is so dear to my heart, and I’m so pleased to be taking over this job.

As I prepare to take over the page, I want to hear from you if you’re a women’s magazine writer who also writes for competitions.

How do you balance writing women’s magazine stories with competition style stories? What are the main differences in approach? What do you think the areas of crossover are?

I also want to hear from people who have any competition news, views or queries. Let me know about your competition wins, or any unusual competitions you come across. And if you’re a competition judge or organiser, I’ll do my best to list your competition if you can send details three months ahead.

If you want to get in touch you can email the competition pages at competitiveedge(at)writers-forum(dot)com

I look forward to hearing from you.


Thanks very much to Womagwriter for letting me take over her blog today.


You're very welcome, Helen! And best of luck with the new column.

Edited - just found Writers' Forum on Facebook.

10 comments:

Sheila Cornelius said...

Great news, Helen. Like you, although somewhat later, I've turned to competition stories fed up of all the delays and rejections of writing for womags. I did get one accepted, and I won't give up entirely, but the relative freedom and quicker feedback of the competition world is more encouraging -even if they do charge a small fee. I knoew I'm in for a good read when I see your name at the top of a womag story, so I'm sure the competition years fed into your style.

Captain Black said...

Helen, is the column now going to focus just on competitions that are womag-themed or otherwise womag-related? I think Sally's column had a somewhat wider scope. This is not a complaint, you understand, but it will be useful information for people who only occasionally write in that genre – such as myself.

Kate said...

I so echo what you say about the importance of competitions, Helen. Congrats on the new post; I know you'll do a great job.

Karen said...

Good luck with the new column Helen :o) I had my first success with a writing competition and it really spurred me on to keep writing.

HelenMHunt said...

Thanks, everyone.

No, not at all Kev, the column will continue to cover all writing competitions. I just tailored this post for the audience of this particular blog.

Maria said...

Hello Helen,

Congratulations!

I went down the competition route because I discovered my writing doesn't fit the womag market. I ahve been lucky enough to have a little success over the years.

It does seem to be nowadays, that the door to getting into a magazine is shut and bolted, unless you are already over the threshold. I feel sorry for anyone striving towards publication in the very few magazines publishing stories for women.It is difficult.

Therefore, I'd say to all womag writers, send your stories out to competitions. Many of you are incredibly talented short story writers.

If you can write comedy, all the better, judges are looking for good upbeat entries.

Just do it! To coin a famous phrase, and you never know... :-)


HelenMHunt said...

Thanks, Maria

You're right, the womag market is very competitive, although it is still possible to break in if you really study, and respond to, its needs.

And, as you said, not all fiction is suited to women's magazines.

Competitions are a great way of getting your work noticed, and I know that some people out there are successfully doing both, which is brilliant!

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Samantha Tonge said...

Good luck with running the page, Helen, i'm sure you'll do Sally proud!

Kate Blackadder said...

With fewer magazines publishing stories now it's good to have competitions to enter - all the best.