Welcome to the Winners Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we’re celebrating Shelley Jones Clark whose entry Say Cheese was our First Place winner in the Funny Family Essay Contest!
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Funny Family Essay
How many writing contests have you entered?
Five a year
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
One school picture day at our house went horribly wrong, causing me to question my
qualifications as a mother.
What inspired your winning entry?
My funny children and my own cluelessness as a mother.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
I have been concentrating on middle grade novels for many years and writing an adult essay was a nice exercise in using other skills. Also, it boosted my confidence.
How did the critique in the Winners’ Workshop help you?
I very much liked Susan Ludwig’s presentation on writing essays (Lay off those exclamation points!). Her rubric for judging and her discussion of what was working in the winning essays was a wonderful overview.
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your “day job”?
I am recently retired. I do write every day, but I don’t know if I would consider myself a “full-time” writer.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was in grade school.
What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?
I submitted it to Chicken Soup for the Soul because there was a call for funny essays.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
I haven’t decided yet. I was so surprised about winning that I hadn’t thought about what I would do with the prize money.
What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I have been concentrating on middle grade novels. When I was discouraged about how my novel was coming along, I wrote the essay that won this contest. When I’m stuck, I like to write something
different-a picture book, a poem, an essay, or research a non-fiction subject that interests me.
If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children’s literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
Lyra Belacqua’s alethiometer in The Golden Compass or maybe the music box from Tuck Everlasting.
Anything you’d like to share about your IFW experience?
I love the writing tips that come in the ICL newsletter. Also, I have entered a few of the ICL contests over the years. What I enjoy most is the presentation of the winners which is always a good discussion about the particular genre of the contest.
Are you our next winner? Check out our Writing Contests today!