It's that time of year again for the Highlights fiction contest. To officially enter the contest, one must submit an original fictional story under 475 words (beginning readers) or 750 words (older readers) to Highlights between January 1st and 31st, 2012. This year's theme is "A funny story inspired by an unusual newspaper headline".
I've been thinking about ideas for over two months. I also wrote three different stories. I liked my first story, but it wasn't funny. Strike one. The second story had promise in my mind. It didn't have that "WOW" factor though that you see in some of the winning entries. Strike two. So I tried to incorporate some of the elements that I liked in story number two, with a few surprises and VOILA, I had a third story that just might work.
Last year, I didn't enter after 5 consecutive entries because I was working on my entry for one of the SCBWI writing grants. Even though I didn't win, I learned a lot.
One more thing before I sign off. I just noticed that the word count for the 2012 contest has been reduced from previous years. I guess it is good practice to double-check the contest rules. I'd hate to be disqualified because of the word count.
Good luck to all those who enter this year!