Sparks Fly At The Writers Bureau!

Call it sour grapes if you will (because I entered this and didn’t come anywhere) BUT the Writers Bureau have just announced the winner of their Halloween ‘Tweet’ story competition (it had to be the same length as a tweet – ie: 140 characters) and the winner – as others on Facebook have already pointed out – is too long. Not just by one or two characters, which we might be able to forgive but 38 characters too long!!

Add them to the Naughty List immediately!

When I judged my little mini saga comp this week (she says, primly), the first thing I did was check all the word counts in every entry. Anyone over 100 words would have been disqualified. I didn’t have to do that, as you had all read the rules properly (well done, you brilliant people!), but it’s rather bad of The Writers Bureau – who purport to be experts in this kind of thing – not to get it right!

What do you think? Should the winner get to keep her prize?!

They’ve put the following on their Facebook page (should be rechristened red-Face book page):

Drat! We’ve made a huge error, which has been pointed out by Francesca and Alison – thank you. Yes, we now realise that the winning entry is well over the 140 character limit! However, we’ve now informed Averil and so feel it would not be fair to go back on this. Rest assured we’ve learned our lesson – we will be checking thoroughly in the future!

OK – Here’s what we’re going to do. It is vitally important that you adhere to the rules when entering competitions because you will automatically disqualify yourself if you don’t. So to emphasis this point and because we didn’t stick to our own rules – we made a mistake, we do sometimes – we will give a fiction course to the runner up YOU vote for.

We will post five short listed stories that fit the 140 characters, with spaces, and the one with the most comments by Noon GMT on Friday 11th November 2011 will win.

If you want to have a look at the winner and shortlisted entries – and maybe even vote for one – then have a look on the Writers Bureau Facebook page here. But then again, like me, you might have better things to do!! *flounces off*

Update at 6.30pm: Ooh, it’s all kicked off! One of the 5 shortlisted writers has asked for her entry to be withdrawn as she expected – and wanted – it to be judged by ‘professionals’, not, what WB have turned it into – a kind of ‘popularity contest’. Good for her!

Have a good weekend! x

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15 Responses to Sparks Fly At The Writers Bureau!

  1. You do make me smile…
    I have had the same problem recently with a flash comp when the winner did not include the chosen word in their entry…
    Like you say tho… better things to be doing..xx

  2. I would be mad if I’d entered a competition & someone won who hadn’t followed the rules – would make me think twice about entering one of their comps again.
    I also think that putting things to the public vote is not the right thing to do – makes it a popularity contest.
    WB have got themselves in an awkward situation – difficult to take a prize away once its been awarded.

    • Sally, I agree. I feel a bit sorry for the person who’s won (that sounds weird!) because they are caught in the middle but if I was that person, I think I’d be tempted to forfeit the prize. It’s difficult for WB to take it off them, I agree, but I would feel wrong if I’d won something unfairly like that. Everyone’s entry would have been better with another 38 characters to play with!!


  3. Hi Helen, I’m with you on this. Rules are there to follow. If you enter a competition and get the word count over, you’re a dunce I think. What next, no full stops and capitals? W.B. Who’re they??? Thanks for highlighting this.

  4. Susan – I agree and if I’d broken the rules when I entered a competition, by not reading them properly, then I’d expect to be disqualified – not to WIN! The world’s gone mad!!

  5. Doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence about Writer’s Bureau – if they don’t pay attention to the rules of their own competition, do they properly check the info they give students or read assignments properly? I suspect not.

  6. Helen says:

    oooooooooooh, but one of the people to vote for is me. Please please don’t just flounce off but, if you think it’s any good at all, leave a comment on my story; “I dump his life at Oxfam, glad he’s gone. His Oxfords well heeled, spiteful. Walking home, flickers invade my periphery. Oxfords at my door.”

    • Oh, well done Helen, I didn’t realise you were one of the shortlisted stories!! That’s great – and how could we resist your heartfelt plea? I will definitely leave a comment so you get a vote from me! Good luck!

  7. Prue says:

    I almost feel that it is a marketing gimmick – designed to have everyone go back and read all the stories again and plug WB – I hope not. Else they could have chosen the runner up themselves and announced them as also getting the free course. Am sure they had one in their selection process – but maybe I am just too cynical.

  8. Prue says:

    Oh dear…bad organisation. What’s the point of having rules if they don’t check on word count.
    I’m not a great fan of voting – possibly those with the most friends get most votes rather than the story with the most merit.
    That’s life, I guess.

    • Ooh, two Prues! Or are you one and the same?!
      I agree, I don’t like ‘popularity contests’ for judging writing competitions – it just boils down to who has the most friends at the end of the day (and who can be bothered to try to rally them all to vote!). They should be judged on merit – it’s just a lazy way of doing it, in my humble opinion!

    • Prue says:

      I’ve been around on the Internet as Prue for years and never come across anyone with this name. How intruiging.
      My Prue is short for Prudence Wombat – a name with a long and involved story which harks back to the late 1980s.
      Don’t tell me you’re also a wombat!?!

      There’s Matilda Wombat too – an historic figure who was Will Shakespeare’s pet wombat. Not a lot of people know that 😀

  9. Prue says:

    I think Prudence is lovely name.
    My real, and only, name is Anne – but I don’t like being called something which sounds like the indefinite article.
    As a child my pet toy cat was called after the Prudence in ‘Prudence Kitten’s ABC’ pop-up book. I still remember Z is for Zinnias 🙂 Later, I had a beautiful black cat with amazing attitude who was called Prudence, and I loved her dearly. Then came the cartoon Prudence, this time a wombat, who got up to all sorts of exciting escapades on the white board at work.
    So Prudence, or Prue as others call me, seemed the logical name to use on the Internet which is a very creative place 🙂

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