You want to Impress the Judges?
Give yourself time to redraft your work!
Every year we receive many potentially good entries that are poorly presented. Here are some simple things you can do, or avoid, to increase your chances.
Do use Times Roman or a similar serif font.
Do not use a mix of fonts or underline titles or create page borders.
Do not centre justify even in a poem unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Do not – especially in dialogue – write in capital letters. Keep these for comic strips.
Avoid unnecessary repetition. Repetition can be useful, but used often it's like a stone in a shoe.
Do vary your sentence length and structure.
Do use exclamation marks sparingly. It has been said they are “like laughing at your own jokes”.
Do paragraph carefully. A paragraph (stanza or “verse” in a poem) should work arm in arm with those before and after it, to develop stages in a line of thought or to indicate a change of focus.
Do punctuate dialogue accurately. Do indicate a change of speaker with a new paragraph.
Before you send your entries, do check your work carefully and ask a friend to read it, too. Reading your work aloud always helps.
Do proofread beyond the electronic level, and do please set the Language function to English (New Zealand) or English (UK).