Thursday, September 29, 2016

Quick Poll: How Do You Feel When a Contest Deadline is Extended?

Last year I was asked to serve as contest chair for a conference occurring this fall.

In the past I've enjoyed attending this conference, have paid to sponsor contests, have been a guest speaker, and have served as a volunteer judge. So, I agreed to volunteer for the conference chair job, as well as help with registration.

One of the benefits of attending this conference is that anyone registered (except of course the board members and conference chair) has the opportunity to enter the dozens of contests -- at no additional cost.

The contest entries (two copies each) began to arrive in July. I was excited when they appeared in my mailbox and started sorting and organizing them right away.

Dozens of people entered multiple contests. (There were 31 categories in all.)

One person who entered several contests sent each entry in a separate envelope, which made a lot of extra work for me, and added expense for her. I wrote and suggested she bundle her entries together to save money but did not receive a response. Some folks included notes thanking me for being conference chair, which made me feel good.

The original deadline for entering fell a few days before the Labor Day weekend, so I suggested to board members that the deadline be extended until the day after Labor Day.

The only drawback I could see was the judges would have a few days less time to complete their judging. All but one judge was fine with the shortened time for judging, and that was because he was leaving for vacation the day the entries arrived at his house.

The biggest (and most hurtful) complaint about the deadline extension came from someone who felt cheated because other writers would have extra time to submit their entries and thus more opportunities to win contests she might've won. (Although she also had the additional days to submit more entries if she chose.)

I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, so I won't go into all the ugly details, but I would like to take a quick poll of my writer friends out there:

How do you feel when a contest deadline is extended?

Do you feel relieved to have a few extra days to submit?

Do you get angry if a deadline is extended?

Do you feel cheated that it's unfair to those who entered at the original deadline?

Have you ever been a contest chair and had to deal with an issue like this?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Missouri Resources, a Free Magazine with Resources for Writers

Image from the Missouri Resources magazine
Timing is everything, and this week the Fall 2016 issue of Missouri Resources magazine arrived in my e-mail box while I was in the middle of doing rewrites for a historical short story that features a teenage Sam Clemens. (Notice the subtle way I gave a writerly excuse for not posting on my blog for several weeks?)

Image from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Back to the magazine: Published by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the free magazine is filled with interesting facts, figures, and photos.

As a Missouri writer, I'm always searching for interesting tidbits about the "Show Me State" to weave into my writing or give me inspiration for a story or an article. And, as luck would have it, the fall 2016 issue includes the article "A Magical Tour on US 36."  US Highway 36 runs across the top third of northern Missouri and has been dubbed "The Highway of American Genius" because of some of the raw American talent with roots across that stretch of land. 

The "A Magical Tour on US 36" article features phots of the birthplaces or childhood homes of famous Missourians, including Samuel L. Clemens (aka Mark Twain) in Florida, MO; Walt Disney in Marceline, and General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing in Laclede.

Being a native St. Louisian, I also found the article "The Bricks that Built St. Louis," fascinating. This issue also includes a really cool photo from 1904, the year St. Louis hosted the World's Fair. The "Time Exposures" photo was taken in front of a shoe store in Old North St. Louis, which is the neighborhood where I was born and grew up, so that got my attention.

Did I mention the Missouri Resources magazine is free? Click here to read the latest issue.

A word of warning, reading this magazine can cause a writer to get lost in the fascinating articles and research material.

Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

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