I was really pleased with the response to my little competition to win a Beginners Writing Course from Creative Writing Ink.
Firstly, although you didn’t actually have to read the whole story ‘The School Bus Driver’s Daughter’ to get the answer, it seemed, from the comments I received, that lots of people had – and they said some really nice things (OK, I know they might have been trying to ‘sway’ me into choosing them as the winner but I honestly didn’t take any of the compliments into account!)
That story is actually one of my favourites and I was really disappointed when it was turned down by at least two magazines and failed to find favour with several competition judges, before those lovely people at Creative Writing Ink decided it was the one for them.
It just goes to show, if you believe in a story, don’t give up on it. It will eventually find a home and an audience!
I had 69 correct entries. By that, I mean those that gave the correct answer to the question ‘What is the full name – first name and surname – of the school bus driver’s daughter?’ The answer was DONNA JOHNSON (or DOCTOR DONNA JOHNSON). Not ‘Donna’ or ‘Terry Johnson’ (had quite a few of those), or ‘Christine’ or ‘Helen Yendall’ (?!) or even, Hampshire. (don’t ask).
All of those incorrect answers (17 in total) were disqualified, of course (although one entrant realised the error of his ways and sent in a second entry with the correct answer, which I accepted – well done, Bob!)
But it made me realise how easy it is to read the rules incorrectly and thereby disqualify yourself (I’m sure I’ve probably done it too).
Organisers of writing competitions often bemoan the fact that so many entries don’t follow the rules. The stories are too long, or the writer’s put their name on the story, when it’s supposed to be anonymous, or they don’t use the given theme, etc, etc. And I can believe it. Because I thought my competition was pretty straightforward and the question was fairly simple. But 20% of people disqualified themselves by not following the rules properly. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Anyway, the winner, drawn from the bowl of names, this morning, by an impartial third party (my Other Half, as he ate his Weetabix), is CHRISTINE KELLY. I’ve emailed Christine with the good news and the voucher and I hope she enjoys the course!
But for those of you that didn’t win, all is not lost! By chance, my writing buddy Sally Jenkins has kindly posted some information about a FREE Start Writing Fiction course that the Open University is offering. See here for more details.