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An Entry That Sparkles

By on Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 in Craft, Preparing Your Contest Entry | 0 comments

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Recently, I’ve judged a few contests and I’ve finaled in a few.  And I have until Sunday to revise an entry any way I want before I turn it in again for the final judging.

All this leads me to think and think hard–what exactly makes a great entry?

As I ran down the list of this week’s talented Golden Heart winners, I saw some finalists who had finaled previously.  What precisely do these talented folks know??? Is there an elusive secret that makes a person final again and again?  If anyone knows what it is, please don’t hesitate to come forth and tell me!!!  Bottle it and I’ll pay!!!

So anyway, all bitterness aside (I’m over it, I really am :), I decided to compile a list to help me revise my entry and focus on making it the best I can.


         Here she is describing a little girl:
         “She weighed no more than a dandelion fluff, her small arms loosely wrapped around his           
         forehead.”  (p. 96)

         The idea of relating the weight of a dandelion fluff to a little girl is so brilliant, and the small arms  
         wrapped around this big man’s head–for anyone who has ever seen a little girl riding high on
          someone’s shoulders, it’s just perfect. 

          More unexpected metaphors:

          “The scene scattered like an overturned display of greeting cards.”  (page 141)

         “Lucy had not been able to identify the nagging feeling that had drawn her insdes as tight as
          violin strings.”  (page 5)

          And here is a description of an inanimate object, a house:  “Even in its ruined condition, the house 
          possessed winsome charm.  Unknown stories lingered in abandoned corners and rickety
          staircases.  Memories had seeped into its walls.”  (page 35)

          Memories don’t usually seep, but in this case it is just the perfect unusual metaphor. 

          Good authors know how to mold language in unique ways that surprise the reader. 

           Okay, I’m goin’ back to the drawing board!  Wish me luck.