The Much-Anticipated Contest FAQ

In Contests on July 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Work Stew Essay ContestQ1. So, I dug deep and sent you my 800 words. What now?

A1. Now we get to read what everyone wrote in response to the contest prompt. Here’s the plan: in about a week (i.e. by Thursday, August 1), I will start to post, in no particular order, those entries which meet the basic requirements set out in the Terms and Conditions. As we’ve discussed on Facebook, each entry will be identified only with a number; the author’s name will not be displayed. Update: I have started to post the entries, which can be viewed here.

Q2. But we won’t be doing any voting, right? Please confirm that this year there will be none of thatbecause I really hate public voting.

A2. Correct. This year, thanks to a popular uprising (and by “uprising” I mean “extremely polite discussion on Facebook”), there will be no public voting to select the ten finalists. Instead, I will be choosing the finalists myself, after your names have been removed from the entries by my minions.

Q3. Do you really have minions?

A3. No, if you must know, I have no minions. Not a one. But I do have a very kind husband who has agreed to remove your names from the entries for me. I will probably have to watch any number of slacker films (how much Seth Rogen can a girl take???) to make up for it, but such are the compromises of marriage.

Q4. What are my chances of winning, or as Tasha Huebner likes to ask, “Have I won yet?”

A4. Your chances are really very good, assuming you are: a) an actual human b) who submitted a response to the prompt c) of the prescribed length. I received more entries this year than last but—sad for me, lucky for you—it seems that many of them are not legit. Once I weed out the messages that are actually from spam bots and disqualify those which failed to meet the basic requirements, I think we will once again be looking at only a few dozen contenders. Again: this is a little disappointing from my perspective (read: I’ll probably cry myself to sleep tonight), but, um, woo hoo for you!

Q5. What will happen after you pick the ten finalists?

A5. I’ll be sending the finalists’ entries to our judge Roman Krznaric on August 30. Within two weeks, he’ll get back to me with his picks for first ($1,000), second ($400), and third ($100) place. These winners will be announced no later than September 15, 2013.

Q6. What if I have some less frequently asked questions that you have failed to address here?

A6. Write your questions in the comments at the bottom of this post, email me at, or ping me on Facebook. I’ll answer as quickly as I can. In the meantime, thanks again to all who entered. One day, this might be a bigger arena, but for now “cozy” has its charms.

  1. Do NOT cry yourself to sleep over this (I know you’re kind of kidding but …..). It takes time for a tradition to take hold and if nothing else you’re created what is sure to be some interesting content for everyone to toss around.

  2. Thanks, Paula. You are always so encouraging–I really appreciate it!

  3. […] Editor of Work Stew).* For additional information on the selection process, please look for the Contest FAQ that will be posted on July 23, […]

  4. As with NPR’s Three Minute Fiction contest where many of us writers met for the first time, this contest features a welcoming community of motivated people who love to write and discuss that craft. As word of this contest (and Work Stew) spreads through publicity and word-of-mouth, writers will crawl out of the woodwork like ants after sugar. This year, however, Work Stew loyalists who were there from the beginning have a fair chance at winning something: to average writers, rare indeed. Next year it won’t be so easy.

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