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Tips for progressing from Round 2 to Round 3

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Clare1564 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 5:04am
This is the third year I have made it into the second round, but I have never progressed further. I’m perfectly happy to believe that this is my ceiling, but I wondered if anyone out there who has made it further has any tips. Is it a good idea to be more experimental or less, for example? Should one stick more slavishly to the genre, or take the prompts more literally than perhaps I have done in the past? Or should I just keep doing what I’m doing and hope I get a judge who “gets it”....?
All advice gratefully received!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steven Kay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 5:20am
I have the same concerns, especially as I placed 5th! Following to see what replies you get :)

P.S. Well done!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote nickofnight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 5:44am
Congrats both! 

I wish I had good tips, but the truth is you just have to write a story the judges like better than the others. I came top of my group in the second round last year, but I was lucky with the genre. I got sci fi and I leaned heavily into it - whole thing was set on a spaceship. I was lucky enough to sell that story to a sci fi mag, and recently sold it again to a podcast (ty, nycm!).

My tips are applicable to any round, tbh, but I hope there's something's useful to you here:

1. Write a draft early - try to get feedback, if you can. There are threads on the forum for finding/exchanging readers, and there's also a discord server.
2. Don't be afraid to rewrite, especially if your feedback points to major plot/structural/character issues. That's why you want a draft completed early. What's that saying... if one person points a problem out, it doesn't mean they're right and that it's an actual issue; if multiple people point the same thing out, then it's prob an issue.
3. The story should (imo) be about the character first and foremost, and then the genre and plot should fit in around them. They're the stories that have performed best for me with judges.
4. Have fun with it. If you don't enjoy writing it, the judges prob won't enjoy reading it. Plus, you've already done great to make it to round two, so don't put pressure on yourself to write your best ever story.


Best of luck!





Edited by nickofnight - 07 Apr 2021 at 5:55am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 10:26am
I've never gotten out of the second round so there are no expectations.  This weekend's contest is therefore completely stress free.  

Which means I can write whatever I want and not worry about it  Big smile

<edit>
Pfft.  Redundant school of redundancy.  Never make it into round three with redundant round three prose.
</edit>


Edited by Random - 07 Apr 2021 at 1:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nod1v1ng Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 10:31am
Originally posted by Random Random wrote:

Which means I can write whatever I want and not worry about it  Big smile

Actually, when I write like this I usually score better... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 10:52am
Originally posted by nod1v1ng nod1v1ng wrote:

Originally posted by Random Random wrote:

Which means I can write whatever I want and not worry about it  Big smile

Actually, when I write like this I usually score better... 


Of course Nod gets it... 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NorthernPixels Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 11:27am
Honestly, just write your heart out. It's important to remember that whether or not you progress is determined by three people's opinions. 

Write a story you're interested in. Write it to the best of your ability and do your very best to ensure there are no technical issues. 

There's really nothing else you can do besides that. I've seen incredible stories that I love not progress. That's just down to taste.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2021 at 5:18pm
It might also be worth mentioning that I am shamelessly perusing highly-scored stories in the likely event the flying fickle finger of fate points my way and I get some combination of 'rom' and 'com' tomorrow.

That's in addition to work on the Beast Project and writing a few bit of this and that in various genres and voices just to keep warmed up and limber should something wicked this way come. 
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