Therese here to introduce a fun summer contest, with a quick turnaround time. The window for receiving entries is a mere 24 hours, so let’s get right to it.
We haven’t had an Epic WU Contest in a while, so when the opportunity presented itself to give away a truly worthy prize – a Freewrite, valued at $499 – we thought it was time to put ourselves back into contest-mode.
This is what you’re playing for: a new Freewrite will be shipped to wherever you live, whether it’s in the U.S. or anywhere else in the wide world. (The winner chooses between the American Keyboard, ANSI, or the International Keyboard, ISO.)
The Freewrite is similar to the AlphaSmart of old — a distraction-free device that looks like a keyboard with the functionality of a word-processing program — but modernized.
As you can see in the above photo, the Freewrite offers a mini-screen directly above the keyboard. That screen allows you to view ~two paragraphs of text at once using the standard font size (adjustable). It comes with the following features:
- E Ink™ screen with front light
- Full-size mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches (that purportedly feel like playing a piano)
- Internal capacity for over one million pages
- Automatic Wi-Fi back-up as you write
- Document cloud sync through Wi-Fi (Syncs automatically with Dropbox, Google Drive & Evernote)
- International language and keyboard layout support
- Rugged construction with aluminum body and stowable handle
The How and When (Now!)
I’ve recruited longtime WU contributor Ray Rhamey to help judge this contest, and together we’ve come up with a spin on Ray’s popular Flog-a-Pro column.
- With a window of just 24 hours (with the stopwatch officially started this morning, 7 a.m., EST Monday) writers will type a brief entry in comments—no more than 200 words–reflecting the beginning of a ‘must-turn first page’ of a would-be novel.
- This 200-word comment/entry should be fresh writing — not from your work-in-progress — though if you really want to submit 200 words of your wip, we sure can’t stop you. We’d prefer you submit something new, though, that allows you to experiment with openings, and to ensure that everyone is playing with a similar amount of time.
- Only one entry per person.
- After the 24-hour window closes–your entry must be in before tomorrow/Tuesday at 7 a.m., EST–Ray and I will choose the top five entries based on our opinions of strong writing but also considering ‘likes’ from the community.
- Top five entries will be profiled Flog-a-Pro style here this Thursday, July 20th, each entry with its own poll.
- Community members can then vote on each of the five final entries: Would you turn the page?
- Thursday’s polls will time out on Friday morning (7 a.m. EST), after which the winner will be determined by identifying the entry with the highest percentage of “Yes” votes.
- The winner will be announced on Saturday morning, unless there’s a tie. In case of a tie, Ray and I will concoct a write-off. So here’s your job: Don’t let there be a tie. :-)
A checklist: Here are some of the items from Ray’s “first page” checklist that he urges writers to consider for their first page; they are not required, but can contribute to a strong narrative.
- It begins to engage the reader with the character
- Something is wrong/goes wrong or challenges the character
- The character desires something.
- The character takes action. Can be internal or external action: thoughts, deeds, emotions. This does NOT include musing about whatever.
- There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
- It happens in the NOW of the story.
- The one thing it must do: raise a story question.
Questions? Ask in comments, and if I’ve forgotten something substantive I’ll add it here.
Otherwise, write on, WU’ers! The contest has officially begun.