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Friday, January 01, 2010



Greetings, from Contest Central,

The WVW Board of Directors and I have been busy readying the West Virginia Writers 2010 Annual Writing Competition, and I want to take this opportunity to update everyone on a few changes for this year, and to encourage you to start thinking about your entries for this year's contest.

Last year was my first as the Contest Coordinator and I really enjoyed interacting with so many of you throughout the contest period. It was an honor to be part of such an established and important writing competition. Here's a few facts about the contest you may not know:


Established in 1982
The state's largest writing competition.
Open to West Virginia residents and members of WV Writers, Inc., adult or college-level.
New Mountain Voices Student Writing Contest (with different writing categories for grades 1-5, 6-8 and 9-12)
Over $105, 000.00 in prize money awarded since 1982.

You may have noticed in that "fact list" that our Youth Competition has had a name change, that comes with an exciting make-over as well.

This year our contest for students in grades 1 -12 will become The New Mountain Voices Student Writing Contest. In an effort to get more students to enter, this year there will be no entry fee. Let me say that again, for the STUDENT competition this year, there will be no entry fee, yet the prize purse remains the same. First place $100; second place $50; and third place $25.

In addition, we have provided students with a series of writing prompts to give them some direction and provide them with a fun challenge. I think students, parents and teachers alike will find the changes we have made make this a student competition with a little sizzle.

Please check our web site for details.

Meanwhile back at the ADULT competition, we have added a new category for this year, simply entitled "Inspiration". You can enter either poetry or prose in this category, and because of the variety of writing that can fall under the "inspirational" heading we have purposefully not been to specific as to what can fit this category.

All of our other categories are back this year; and our cash prize purse remains the same. First place $250; second place $125; and third place $75.

Let me give you a few tips on entering, that come from my perspective as contest coordinator:

* Follow The Instructions Closely: This may seem obvious, but believe me some people spend a great amount of time crafting and editing their work, and then forget to slow down and fill in the entry form as required. Don't disqualify yourself by not reading the Contest Rules. If you've got a question, my email address is on the form and on our web site. We will work with you (as many of you can verify from last year); so just double check everything before you mail.

Is your check signed? Is it for the right amount? Is your word count correct? Did you remember to NOT put your name on your work? Did you mark the correct categories you intended to enter? Pay attention to the deadlines. Etc.

When I get your entries I use our coding system so that the judges just see a little code number on your piece, along with the title you supplied. They then let me know what pieces they have selected as winners by title and code number, and then I track it back to YOU on my spreadsheets.

* Don't Be Afraid To Enter Pieces You Entered Last Year: Every year we have new judges for each category. Just like in school, where one teacher loved your work and the other didn't "get" it, something you sent last year, that you know was unjustly ignored, might just sing to the new judge on the job.

* Try Entering a Piece in More Than One Category: Some of you already do this, but for others, it will increase your chances of winning without writing a new piece. Yes, if you enter one piece in three categories it is three entry fees; but you also now have three judges considering your work, rather than just one.

The contest opens January 2, 2010, with a deadline of March 15, 2010. As always we have an extended and final deadline of March 31, 2010, but there is $2.00 late fee PER entry after March 15. Here again, pay attention...if it's late, and you send no late fee(s), it doesn't get entered.

And finally, because we hope to see the New Mountain Voices student contest really take off, those entries will be handled by Nadine McKinney. Check the web site for all contest rules, mailing instructions and contact information.

Please note that there are some changes to the rules and format of the student contest.

Entry Form (.doc) Entry Form (.pdf)

Student Entry Form (.doc) Student Entry Form (.pdf)

Good luck,

Steve Goff
WVW Contest Coordinator