10 November 2015

[CA-SCGS] Tips for Entering the 2015 GENEii Contest

Guest post by Pam Wiedenbeck, GENEii Contest Coordinator

Entering the 2015 GENEii Family History Writing Contest

Many of you are considering submitting an entry to the SCGS GENEii Family History Writing Contest. As coordinator of the contest, I would like to pass on some hints about both submitting a story and creating an entry that will catch the eyes of the judges.

Your entry will be competing with between 100 and 300 other entries. Please note that this is a contest that covers two main publishing genres: literary non-fiction and memoir. Both of these forms require that the author tell a story using techniques that are most frequently identified with writing fiction. The common factor is ‘The Story’. The story has to have overall interest and impact. As such, it should evoke emotions in the reader.

The story must have the basic historical and genealogical facts correct. However, it is much more than a recitation of names, dates and places. The story must be crafted with care with regard to basic writing mechanics: spelling, grammar, voice, language and citations, if appropriate.

Entering multiple times will not increase the author’s chance of winning. However, submitting a thoughtful, well-crafted story showing human and historical interest is the best strategy. At most, an author can expect to accomplish this with a single story in each category. In addition, just because the story was published elsewhere does not mean that it will automatically be a winner.

Read your story out loud to friends and family. Take their suggestions to heart. Rewrite multiple times. Submit only the best of your work to the appropriate category. Those qualities will pique the interest of the judges.

After you have the best possible story that you can write, then be sure to follow the contest rules. In particular, your contact information and cover letter information, must be in the body of your e-mail along with the word count. This information may not be in a separate attachment. Your story must be in a single attachment either in Adobe PDF format or Microsoft Word format. Apple formats, WordPerfect formats, pictures or other formats are unacceptable. Multiple entries in a single e-mail are unacceptable. Every word in the attached story counts except for references and citations, which should be at the end of the document. Remember, only electronic entries are accepted. Entries that are submitted by mail will be returned unopened.

If your work does not conform to the rules, it will be disqualified. In the past, authors have been given the chance to resubmit. With several hundred entries, that will no longer be possible. Whatever you submit on or before December 31, 2015 will be considered your entry. If you did not conform to the rules, your entry will be returned explaining why the entry is unacceptable.

All of us at SCGS are looking forward to your entries. Good Luck and Happy Writing.

Pam Wiedenbeck, GENEii Contest Coordinator

For more information on the GENEii Contest visit the SCGS website.

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