What to do when the deadline looms

What to do if the deadline looms and you haven’t finished your writing… (This could apply to contest entries of any kind, submission deadlines, query letters for conference critiques, etc.)

  1. If you’ve already started, but the piece isn’t ready to submit (to Writers’ Mill, or to any other contest):
    1. Turn short into long: Pick your favorite scene. Expand on it. Polish it. Make sure it has a beginning, middle and end (as all scenes should) and then submit it.
    2. Turn long into short:
      1. Pick a suitable chapter break and submit a single chapter. Leave your readers begging for more, or
      2. Cut, cut, cut, until your start and your finish, both beautifully polished, matched up in the middle perfectly.
    3. Edit the life into it: Take your perfect beginning – perhaps it’s the only bit you’ve written – and expand on it, edit it, polish it, until it’s so perfect everyone will demand to know what happens next.
  2. If you haven’t started yet but had an idea:
    1. Write the beginning and submit that
    2. Write the synopsis and submit that
    3. Just get one scene written – anything’s better than nothing.
  3. If you haven’t started yet and didn’t have an idea: Let’s assume you have a prompt, say, a message in a bottle…
    1. Find a bottle lying around your abode
    2. Think of a message you’d like to receive
    3. Write short – a poem, a one-line zinger, a two-paragraph essay, whatever….

Just write, and enjoy!

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