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How to Write Winning Manuscripts
by Gloria T. Delamar

Here are some tips that should help you to increase your chances of submitting winning manuscripts in writing contests.

Pay heed to the guidelines:

Entries which do not comply with word limits or other listed formats will be eliminated from consideration. (Don't send 500 extra words with a coy note suggesting that the last 500 words need not be read--they won't be--the entry will simply be declared ineligible. The same applies to the maximum number of allowable lines for poetry entries.) 

Grammar counts: 

No judge likes to read a manuscript that is full of spelling errors or misused words. It's up to you to do your homework. If you show careless attention to the basic details of usage, judges may have reasonable doubts about the accuracy of other details in the manuscript. 

Neatness counts.

In many contests (especially national poetry contests), entries with crossed out lines are automatically eliminated from consideration. Faded or otherwise difficult to read type can subconsciously negatively influence a judge. 

Final Note: 

Now--everywhere you see the word "judge" above, mentally put the word "editor." If you're thinking like a professional writer, you'll have figured out that in addition to increasing your chances at winning contests, the sub-message here is that the same guiidelines apply to your chances of selling manuscripts to editors. And that, after all, is the final goal you're aiming for with that winning manuscript. 

-   ©  Gloria T. Delamar

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