That’s the imposed limit on a writing contest into which I’m contemplating an entry. It’s local, administered by the WV Writers’ Association for which I am a dues paying member, and they only charge ten dollars to enter if one happens to be a WV resident.
I did not check to see what the entry fee is for non-residents.
They have a writing conference every year, and they’ve already begun their solicitation process for entrees into the various competitions. I’ve previously discovered that fiction is not my forte, and while I can usually string along some words that rhyme and that also fairly make sense, I can’t really call myself a poet, either.
I’ve just eliminated myself from three quarters of the available categories.
I am not working on a novel, which means I’m down to one category and one alone. It’s a nonfiction category with five thousand words or less.
I try to keep my blog posts under five hundred.
If I enter, I have to decide to whom I’m writing. Will I be judged on level of interest of the topic to the judge that happens to draw my piece? Will the judges award to the best written works of grammar and punctuation? The most interesting story?
The contest’s deadline is March. Is my ghost story out, then? I think I could wrangle 5,000 words out of that one, easy. It would also serve to give Husband a laugh because he doesn’t believe in ghosts, which immediately calls into question the legitimacy of entering it into a category classified as nonfiction.
Should I write something philosophical and enlightening, sparing no ends to convert the opinions of others with my well-reasoned and witty conclusion that a lawn was indeed invented by somebody? That a tree makes no sound if it falls on the perimeter of a village comprised solely of deaf people?
Whatever I enter has to be an unpublished work, which means I can’t post it for opinion and feedback prior to submission. Apparently, because my blog has the ability to be seen by more than a thousand people, anything I’ve posted on it becomes a published piece in the eyes of these particular contest creators. That I normally only average about fifteen views, and only then on days that I actually post something, doesn’t matter.
Never mind that only two of the fifteen actually like what I’ve posted, or that only eighty-four accidentally hit the button one day that said they were now obligated to follow me. It’s the possibility of viewing that knocks me out of it.
So, regardless of how much I might be fond of it, I can’t reach back for a piece I’ve already written and posted. Several articles come to mind that would make wonderful entries, but the rules are specifically and explicitly against them.
I’ve procrastinated long enough. It’s time to get my thinking cap on and write up a really good story to wow the judges. I only have two and a half months to please people I’ve never met in a competition with real judges for categories I’m not even sure I’m qualified to enter.
But now the question that’s haunting me is whether or not I can write a ghost story and proclaim with dignity that it is nonfiction.
I think I can. I was there.