Thursday, September 19, 2013

Start Typing: Harlequin and Wattpad Host 'New Adult' Writing Contest - And It's FREE

I've never entered a writing contest for the simple reason that I consider writing contests to be scams. The people who run these contests know that unpublished writers will - usually without the active participation of their high faculties - shell out their meager funds for any chance of recognition. In the end, these contests always earn much more money than they award.

But this contest is different. For one thing, it's free. For another, it represents yet another interesting alliance between an amateur writing platform with a huge readership - Wattpad - and a well-known publisher (Harlequin). And for yet another, the prize is publication with the well-known publisher. Finally, the award process is surprisingly democratic, relying on votes from the public.

How did this unusual partnership come about?

Basically, the New Adult genre is terra incognita. It is the publishing world's response to an as yet largely unexploited marketing niche - college students, and those who have recently graduated from college. The themes that publishers imagine this niche will be interested in include "life decisions" and, of course, the mainstay of romance novels, sexual tension. (Hence the active participation of Harlequin.)

If you write for this niche, or think you can write for this niche, start typing. Even if a gazillion other people enter this contest, getting your work up on Wattpad, and getting it widely read, is worth the effort. (Much more rewarding than NANOWRIMO.)

(Plus, have I mentioned this? IT'S FREE!!!)

Here are the details (taken from the Wattpad website)
Wattpad is partnering with Harlequin to present the New Adult category in this year’s So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) contest . Writers from Wattpad are invited to write a first chapter (max 5000 words) for a New Adult story, as well as a 100-word description that details your concept, plot, characters, conflict, and setting. If your story is loved by the public voters and picked by contest judges, you could be signing a publishing deal to write for Harlequin!

So, if you think you can write enter the contest today

About New Adult

Stories submitted for this contest must reflect the Harlequin New Adult themes. This genre focuses on characters between the ages of 18 and 25, who are dealing with a time of choice, independence and risk-taking. The characters face significant change: college, new jobs, falling in love, sexuality, military deployment, moving from depending on family to being self-reliant. It is a time of taking risks and discovery

Overall, New Adult stories contain a level of sexual tension between the protagonists, but whether you write love scenes or prefer to fade to black, the choice is up to you and your characters. Romance is the most important emotional element. As well, the hero and heroine should have strong and important connections to secondary characters who add depth to the story. However, as a writer your most important task is to create characters with whom readers will fall in love

To learn more about the New Adult category, visit the So You Think You Can Write blog on Thursday September 19th at 12pm EDT to listen to hear what Harlequin and Wattpad have to say about this exciting new genre

How To Enter

To enter your work in the contest, upload the first chapter of your story to your Wattpad user profile and tag your work with “SYTYCW”. For more details on how to submit your story, please click here.

Please note that stories should be complete or close to completion before entering the contest as you will need to submit the completed work (of 50,000 words) by November 6, 2013 if you are chosen as part of the top 25 entries.

For entries that are already posted on Wattpad and are longer than one chapter in length, please tag only the first chapter. This will be the only chapter that will be read and judged in the first round.

A book cover is not required to enter the contest but is highly recommended.

For more information, please read the full contest rules.

Key Dates

September 23: The contest opens for submissions. Send in your first chapter and 100-word pitch. All entries will be posted on Wattpad for comments and voting.
October 28: The contest closes for submissions. The top 25 ranking chapters will be shortlisted for the editors who will request the full stories from those writers
October 29–November 6: Editors will request the full stories from those writers in the top 25.
October 29–November 26: The editors will read and evaluate all the full stories.
December 4: The four winners will be notified and their names posted on our website.

Contest Guidelines

The contest is open to both published and unpublished writers residing in the UK, the US, Canada (excluding Quebec), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. We are looking for fresh, original stories that will fit the New Adult Romance line.

Your story should be finished—or close to completion— in order to be considered by the Harlequin & Wattpad editors. We are accepting only one entry per person, and it should be 50,000 words in length.

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