on Fiction University:
Contests are great for short story writers, because they motivate you to create more stories and to revise them until they sparkle like diamonds. If your story wins, you’ll gain recognition, validation that your writing is good, a boost for your credentials. You may also reap a cash prize, and perhaps a certificate, trophy or plaque to display.
So how do you make your story stand out in the eyes of the contest judges?
Of course, you need to write a really good story. All the usual guidelines for story writing apply: character, goal, motivation, conflict, structure, dialogue, hook, satisfying ending and more. Unless you’ve mastered the craft of short story writing, your chances of success are small, and no insider tricks will help.
But here are several steps you can take to draw the judges’ attention to your good story and win their favor.