Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Spring 2008 Flash Fiction Contest Update

Phew... What a marathon! We definitely took on more than expected by critiquing entries this season. Pages of the Chicago Manual of Style and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers are officially dog-eared and bookmarked. It's strange to say, but reading and scoring entries is much different than actually critiquing them. When critiquing, you aren't simply reading for pleasure, you're looking for mistakes. It puts you in a different mindset. When you think you find a mistake, you have to make sure you're correct by referencing one of the aforementioned books. Don't get me wrong, it's fun and all...but add impending magazine issue deadlines, Premium-Green Ebook deadlines, editorial, and day-to-day operations, and...wholly guacamole sister! We probably spent over an hour on each entry: formatting, reading, critiquing, deliberating, and emailing. I know Annette wants to beat me with a wet noodle--the whole thing was my idea. Well, we gave it a shot. And perhaps, when we get more womanpower in the future, we'll be able to pull it off without holding up the contest results!

Oh, and if you slid under the deadline, before we removed the critique purchase option for the Summer '08 Flash Fiction Contest, you'll still get a critique. We had the option up for the month of June, but had to take it down. We don't want to be late with the contest results again!

Okay, here's the good news: we've sent out all the critiques for the Spring 2008 contest. If you purchased a critique, you should have received it already. Oy! There were so many wonderful entries this season! We are proud to have such a talented bunch of contestants! If you didn't receive your critique, for some odd reason, please let us know and we'll check into it.

We have officially notified the Top 10 and Honorable Mentions for the Spring FF Contest. We sent out email notifications this morning (around 8:30 AM EST), so check your inboxes. If you did not receive an email...I'm very sorry. Those of you who know me, know how much that kills me. Like I said, there were so many wonderful entries that little things like punctuation etc. made all the difference. Our Webmaster will be working on formatting the contest winner's page, and our esteemed guest judge, literary agent Wendy Sherman, is choosing her top three as we speak. When we get the contest page up, we will send out an email announcement to those on our "Contest Newsletter" with a live link to the page. We will also post an announcement here.

Thank you to all who participated in the Spring 2008 Contest. We truly enjoyed reading your stories. Please keep writing and working on the craft. You are all winners for completing a story and entering. You have what it takes, so write on!


Remember, this is the last season for the OPEN prompt! Enter the Summer 2008 Flash Fiction Contest with guest judge, Elise Capron, here:
Deadline: August 31, 2008 (Midnight, Pacific Time)

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Sunday, August 03, 2008


Spring 2008 Contest Update!

Just a quick note to let Spring 2008 Flash Fiction Contestants know that we finally finished critiquing your entries! Hooray! Those of you who requested a critique will receive an email sometime this week with your scores and your critique pasted into the body of the email. It will come from a WOW email address.

We also will be notifying Honorable Mentions and Top 10 winners this week. Top 10 winners will be asked for their bios and picture so we can begin formatting the contest winner's page. After the page is formatted, we will send out an announcement via email to those who signed up for our "Contest" Newsletter. If you haven't signed up for this, please visit our home page and enter your email addy in the gray box located in the upper right hand corner. If you get our regular monthly newsletter, please note that these are not the same. You can sign up for the "Contest" newsletter by following the instructions listed above. There are also other newsletters to sign up for (Workshops, Markets, Store, Events etc.) so take advantage!

Thank you all for being so patient. We're almost there!!

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Saturday, June 28, 2008


Update On WOW! Spring 08 Flash Fiction Contest

Dear Contestants,

If you received an email informing you that your entry made it through first-round judging, please note that we are still in our second-round of judging. The Top 10 and Honorable Mentions haven't been notified yet. Please be patient, as we are still deliberating. Believe me, we are as excited as you are!

We are also working on the July Issue of WOW! and are hoping that by the time we finish doing the issue our Guest Judge will come back with her final decisions so that we can post the winners in our July issue. We will try to be as expedient as possible.

Thanks again for your patience, and stay tuned! ;)

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Update on WOW! Spring '08 Flash Fiction Contest

As you contestants know, the Spring 2008 Flash Fiction Contest has closed. Many previous contestants know the drill, but for you newbies, here's the skinny:

1. We are working on formatting the entries to send to the guest judges. This means we remove awkward email formatting (strange spacing, odd characters) only. We also format the entry into Verdana 14 pt, to make it easier for our judges to read, and remove any contact information (names, addresses, etc.) to ensure blind judging.

2. Scoring: Your formatted entries will then go to our guest judges, who will be scoring them on the categories of Subject, Content, Technical, and overall impression.

Here's a breakdown of the categories:

Subject: Topic choice. Is it original? Appropriate for WOW! readers?

Content: Is it fiction? Is the story well developed? Is there a plot/point to the story? Is it compelling? Are the characters well drawn?

Technical: Is there a title and proper word count? We also check for spelling, punctuation and grammar, correct tense, active not passive sentences, overuse of adverbs, and use of "wrylies."

Overview: General impression about the writing style, how the story affected the reader, etc.

These categories are judged with a 1-5 score (5 being the best) by a round-table of 4-5 judges over the following weeks.

3. First Round Judging: At this point, if your story isn't disqualified and scores well, you will receive an email confirming you made it through First Round judging.

4. Top Scores: Then, the entries are narrowed down by top scores and sent to our guest judge of the season. In this case, literary agent, Wendy Sherman.

5. In the third week of June, we will notify the Top 10 Contestants that they placed in the Top 10. This means your entry will be published on WOW!, although we don't know yet who the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are yet. We like to leave it as a surprise! At this time, if you are among the top 10, we will ask you to submit a brief bio & head shot. Note: depending on how fast our guest judge decides, we may send out an email informing honorable mentions of their win. We will try our best to make this happen, although we cannot guarantee it.

6. July Ezine Issue of WOW!: everyone is notified! All winners will be in a feature article on WOW! Women On Writing, media releases will be sent out, an announcement will go out in our monthly newsletter, and many, many kudos will go out to all who participated.

7. Critiques: those of you who purchased a critique, will be receiving your critique via email during the month of July. We have to wait until after all the winners are chosen and published on the website to ensure fairness. We wouldn't want anyone leaking their scores to others (not that you would!), but that's the reason why we have to wait until the winners are officially published. This is very exciting, since this is the first time we're offering critiques. When you receive yours, please let us know how we are doing.

8. Prizes: if you are in the top 35, you will receive a prize via snail mail, or, if you are international and in the top 35, you will receive an Amazon gift certificate via email. Prizes are typically sent out late July/early August, depending on the expedience of our sponsor and our manufacturers.

9. Interviews with Top 10 Contestants: After contest winners are announced in our July issue, we will be sending out interview questions for the top 10 entries via email. Interviews will then be posted each Tuesday over the next few months (on The Muffin, here) on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is a great chance for promotion! So if you are in the top 10, get your links, clips, and important info together and we'll promote you. Tuesdays are Contest Winner days!

So, that's about it! I hope this has shed some light on the process. We will be posting updates and other information here on The Muffin, so be sure to check back.

Also, if you missed this contest, or want to enter again, the Summer 2008 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN. This will be our last open prompt contest until the Winter season (we're not sure if that will be an open prompt or not), so take advantage, polish off those WIPs (works in progress), tailor them to the word-count, and get moving! Remember, our guest judges love to read entries early, when they are fresh and unstressed. Visit our contest page, and enter the Summer 2008 Flash Fiction Contest with Guest Judge, Literary Agent, Elise Capron!

Cheers, and happy writing!

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