Category Archives: Random Thoughts


Write to Win: Techniques & Tips for First Place

Learn how to make your entry stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re entering writing contests or submitting to agents and publishers, it’s all a contest. And many entries never make it past the first reader.

When: Saturday, June 17, 2017;  10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location:Minden Branch of the Haliburton County Public Library, 174 Bobcaygeon Road, Minden, Ontario

Write to Win is all contest, all day, with exercises, surprises and prizes. This hands-on workshop will help you

  • choose the best contests before you even start writing
  • learn what eliminates many entries
  • understand the process of judging
  • try on various writing forms and approaches
  • take home a wealth of tips and materials

Dorothea Helms and Ruth E. Walker are prize-winning writers. Between them, they have won:

  • Barbara Novak Award For Excellence In Humour and/or Personal Essay Writing
  • Whitchurch-Stouffville Grimm Fairy Tale Short Fiction Contest
  • Canadian Living short story contest
  • Ontario Arts Council grants
  • Geist Literal Postcard Story Contest
  • Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Contest
  • The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region short story contest
  • Suburban Newspapers of America Advertising and Promotions Contest

Dorothea and Ruth have also created and administered contests, and are sought-after judges for international, national and regional writing contests.They have seen some wonderful entries get eliminated early on. And they have had to decide first, second and third place with dozens of brilliant entries to choose from. How did they do it?

To register, visit


BOW Tip #10

Avoid putting clients on your I-think-this-is-funny/touching/important or I-want-to-share-this-virus-warning-with-you bulk e-mail list. As an editor, it ticks me off when people assume I want to get these messages. I already get more emails a day than I can handle.

BOW Tip #9

Make the most of every opportunity. I have been teaching creative writing for years, during many of which I was editing numerous publications. Only a couple people ever queried me with ideas for the magazines and newspaper sections I edited.