There are a number of simple things you can do to improve your chances in short story competitions. This article lists some of the most important ones.
A story needs to be fiction. A factual account of something that happened to you, or an article, is unlikely to make the short list.
Otherwise, the pages may come apart, but avoid using pins. A judge who has just pricked their finger will not be in the best frame of mind when reading your entry.
Eleven is good, twelve is better. It needs to be easy to read, but not so large that only two hundred words fit on a page. Stick to boring fonts like Courier and Times New Roman again because they are easier to read.
Competitions often ask that you don’t put your name on the manuscript. This is done to make judging fairer. If you break and of the rules, however unimportant they may seem, you may be disqualified and waste your entry fee.
If the word count states 2000 words, a 2100 word story could be disqualified. Aim for a word count just UNDER the limit or write a shorter story. After all, there is nothing to prevent a one thousand word story winning a competition with a longer word count. It’s the quality that counts.
A great story will not win if it fails to get delivered because you haven’t used enough stamps, and if the cheque isn’t made out correctly, your entry will not even get to the judging stage.
It may be boring, but judges prefer all the entries to be on the same colour and size of paper as that makes it easier to sort the entries, and to read them.