Do you want to know why honorable mention and not winner?

Me too!

I’ve received the Honorable Mention label a few times and truth be told it was exciting.

First time, second time, third time, but then…

Well, then I got the always a bridesmaid syndrome. You know what I’m talking about, right?

What was wrong with me? I mean my stories. Sorry, that sounded so whiny. 

Thanks to David Farland latest email I got a few answers. Not satisfying answers but answers nonetheless. 

Here’s what I learned from the Story Doctor.

It’s not me, it’s my writing. Ouch, that hurt.

Not because the writing is bad, it’s just not good enough for the judge. Ouch again.

Since there are no new ideas under the sun, I’d better make sure my take on whatever I write is fresh, unique and interesting. There must be something original that lifts it above others written on the same subject.

Beautiful writing does not make up for sloppy execution. 

A dynamic beginning still needs a firm six-pack middle and a satisfying ending with a try-fail cycle that leaves the reader breathless.

Missing elements – no character is an island. They may live on one but they don’t live in a vacuum void of interaction with someone or something. Characters, think and feel about the things around them and that is what brings them to life. Judges need to see that.

David did give me some encouragement. He said if a writer is receiving Honorable Mention then we’re on the right track. Whew, there’s hope for me after all.


Plus, He suggested making a tip sheet of 25 things judges might grade on before submitting. Great idea.

Thanks, David!

If you’d like to read the entire article click the link below.

 Why editors reject your story? by David Farland Story Doctor

What do you think? 

Is Honorable Mention a Win?

Do you have any tips to take contests past the HM level?

Thanks for stopping by my blog.
You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.



9 thoughts on “Do you want to know why honorable mention and not winner?

  1. Honorable Mention sounds pretty good to me, it is not the winner but it is certainly a step in the right direction. I have actually never entered any of my writing in a contest.


  2. I think an honorable mention should be a confidence booster rather than a cause for despair. It means there’s already a lot that’s very positive about the writing, so the next step is tweaking and polishing rather than starting over from scratch.

    Liked by 1 person

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