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Blog: Competitive Writing

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As part of my PANIC RIDDEN THRUST to WRITE as many things as possible and send it out to as many PEOPLE as possible I've entered a LOT of writing competitions over the past six months. These have often involved writing something NEW, which has been lots of fun, much like back in the first year of my MA when we'd get a new writing assignment every week. It's been especially good while I've been working on the Big Script for the end of the course - being able to spend a couple of days writing something a) new b) short gives the BRANE a bit of a holiday.

The only downside of all this is that it IS a competition, which usually means at the end of it you don't WIN. Now, if there's one thing that The Krazy World Of ROCK has prepared me for it is REJECTION, but in ROCK this rejection usually comes in the form of INDIFFERENCE. In The Distinctly Less Krazy World Of Writing rejection is a lot more organised, so you tend to (eventually) get TOLD about it, which, after a while, can become a bit depressing.

I was in one of these depressing bits the week before last - I've got a big list of everything I've sent off for the past few months, including what happened to each script, and it has become a long list of "NO". I'd been telling myself this was FINE, but when I finally GOT something (the internship and the course from last weekend)I FINALLY admitted to myself that I'd been a bit SAD. A moment of self-realisation? That calls for a SONG!

Anyway, what all this is leading to is that a couple of OTHER results have come in, and they've come in quite nicely. Last night I got an email from Pint-Sized Plays saying they'd announced the longlist for their 2014 short play competition. I went to have a look, fully expecting not to be included (the type of competition I have entered more than ANYTHING, and thus have had the most rejections from, is short plays competitions) but BLOW ME my play "The Green Ghost" was in the list! This is ONLY the longlist (cutting 300ish plays down to 50ish) which leads to a shortlist which THEN leads to 5 plays which actually get performed, but still, I was rather chuffed!

Then this morning I got another email about the first round results for ANOTHER competition - The NYC Midnight Screenwriting Challenge. The idea of this one is that you get a genre, a subject and a character and have to write a 12 page screenplay in 8 days. There's HUNDREDS of people in this one, so they divided all the entrants into 25 groups of 30ish people, each with a different assignment. The top five from each group go into the next round, where you write 8 pages in 3 days, and then the winners in THAT round have to do 4 pages (i think) in 24 hours.

It's a GRATE idea, and having to write a MYSTERY STORY (as my group did) was a whole heap of fun. The only trouble for me, if I got through, was going to be the timing - the next round takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I'm spending this entire weekend going to, attending, and returning from my sister's wedding in Cornwall. I had various plans for taking laptops and writing on the train, but it was going to be an ALMIGHTY hassle, so part of me thought "I really won't mind if I don't get through." The rest of me, however, thought "No! Me! Me! Let ME get through and get the ACCLAIM!"

I thus went to look at the results not knowing WHAT i wanted. If I'd got through I'd be glad, but worried about how to do it, while if i DIDN'T I'd be SAD. However, when I looked i found it was the best possible outcome - i HADN'T got through but I HAD got an Honourable Mention, thus getting the PRAISE I so clearly crave but without having to LUG a laptop round the south west for the weekend. HOORAH!

I think what this all points to is that I'm going through a GOOD BIT at the moment. I know these GOOD BITS of old, when you have a flurry of things going well and fun stuff popping up (they often come around the time of an album release) and I know that they don't last all that long, so you have to enjoy them while you're IN them. So that's what I'm going to do. The only trouble is, most of the results from my competition entries are IN now - I've got to get entering some more ready for next time!

posted 24/6/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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