Competition Submission Criteria


2018 Competition No 4: Drama – a one act stage play involving (closely or loosely) a famous historical event.

  1. The performance should last 10 to 15 minutes (if in doubt, time yourself while reading it out loud).
  2. Attention should be paid to structure, plot and characterisation.
  3. Don’t be over ambitious with the setting and size of cast.

Entries are to be submitted on 13 August, with the results being announced on 17 September.

NB To make the submissions evening more “fun”, please think about asking other members in advance to help you read out your play.



Write a “How To” article of up to 2,000 words

This can be serious or funny, specific or general, technical or casual but should show the following:

  1. A carefully chosen topic which the writer knows something about or has researched
  2. An indication of who the article is aimed at, with a tone appropriate to the perceived audience
  3. A clear, succinct title
  4. An introduction
  5. A logical progression through the “how to” process. This can be broken down into steps with sub-headings or bullet points, and can include such things as anecdotes, quotes and references
  6. A summary

Entries are to be submitted on 18 June, with results being announced on 16 July. The judge will be John Dowling, former Editor of the Bexhill Observer.

NB Given the number of specialist magazines around, a factual article stands more chance of being published than a piece of fiction. A good “how to” article is way into this market.

TV or Radio Situation Comedy Competition

  • Describe characters and setting (max 500 words)
  • Do a brief synopsis of the first episode (max 500 words)
  • Make suggestions for further episodes (max 500 words)
  • Provide, say, 3-5 minutes’ worth of script

The judge will be John Knowles.

Song Writing 2017

1. Lyrics must be your own work but you may have as much help as you need with music and recording, and you may use an existing tune if you wish.

2. If you are setting words to an existing tune

a. Please bring a paper copy of your lyrics and the name of the tune to the competition entries meeting on March 6th.

Example: “There was a young lady from Dover to the tune My Bonnie lies over the ocean” and then your lyrics.

b. At the meeting on 6th March, you may sing the song yourself or ask someone else to sing it. If you would like to ask Anna to sing your song or play the guitar while you sing, please contact her at in advance of the competition entry evening to discuss it.

c. If you cannot come to the meeting, please email your entry to not later than 5 pm on March 6th.

d. Please do not put your name anywhere on your entry.

 3. If you have written for a new tune

a. Please submit a sound file of your song (wav, mp3, iTunes, etc) plus a Word document containing the lyrics by email to not later than 5 pm on March 6th

b. The sound file and the Word file should have the title of the song as their file names so that Anna and the judge can easily match them up.

c. In the Word document containing the lyrics, please add a short explanation of how much you did yourself and how much help you had.

Examples: “Lyrics by self. Melody mainly by self with some help from a friend. Guitar accompaniment and singing by Anna.”  Or if you’ve been more adventurous,  “Words, melody, chords and singing by self. Keyboard accompaniment by another.”

d. Please don’t include your name anywhere in the submission.

e. On the competition entries evening on March 6, please come prepared to perform your song or play a recording of it.


Rules for all competitions

1. Entries must be your own original work and not commercially published. *
2. Don’t put your name anywhere on your entry. If you are writing autobiographically and need to include your name, use a pseudonym.
3. Hand in entries on time at the meeting shown on the programme. If you cannot attend, you may send your entry by email before 5 p.m. on the final date.
4. Prose: entries must be within the word limit and show the word count either on your front cover sheet (if you have one) or at the end of your manuscript in brackets.
5. Poetry: entries must be within the line limit.

*The content of commercially published work is ‘fixed’ and is the copyright of the publisher and therefore cannot be entered. Self-published work remains the copyright of the writer and may be revised or re-written as he or she wishes and it may therefore be entered.

Formatting Guidelines

1. Use the font Times New Roman 12pt.
2. Use wide margins (minimum 1″ or 2.5 cms).
3. Print on only one side of the paper.
4. Number pages and staple them together.

5. Use double spacing.
6. Indent paragraphs except for the very first line of the story. Shifts in time, scene, point of view, etc. may be indicated by a space paragraph.
7.Use single-spacing.

HWG Writer of the Year scoring system:
5 points for first place
4 points for second place
3 points for third place
2 points for fourth place
1 point for entering

Manuscript Evenings – guidelines for presenters:

Please contact the Chair if you would like to book a place on Manuscript Evening; this is an opportunity for you to read and receive feedback on your work.   Email your manuscript (up to 1200 words) to the Chair before the meeting for circulation to members – and bring a few spare copies to the meeting.  At the meeting, members will give feedback and discuss the work you read out; you can ask focus questions if you wish.

Writers’ Exchange

The New Manuscript Evening

As voted for in our 2016 programme planning meeting, our traditional manuscript evenings will now become a ‘Writers’ Exchange’.

Writers’ Exchange will provide feedback on manuscript extracts as we currently do at manuscript evenings, plus creative problem-solving for our writing troubles.

Each person who wishes to participate will be allocated up to 20 minutes. Normally, slots will be allocated ‘first come first served’, but if someone has recently participated, the Chair will first offer places to those who have not previously or recently taken part.

You can choose any of the following:

  1. Read an extract from your work and invite the group to give feedback. Ask members to generate, while you are reading, a list of points for you to consider. To allow time for feedback, extracts should be limited to not more than 1,000 words.
  2. Discuss your submission to an agent or publisher – ask for feedback on your synopsis and covering letter
  3. If you would like to use your 20 minutes differently, contact our Chair and explain what you’d like to do. Provided the Chair finds it is appropriate, you can use your time in the way that will be most helpful to you.
  1. Read a piece of writing without feedback. This can provide a deadline to work toward without anxieties over whether or not the piece is ‘good enough’. Consider having another member of the group read while you note things that might need revision. As no feedback time is needed, you’ll have a 10-minute slot for reading up to 1,000 words.
  2. Present a writing problem that you need to solve. Invite the group to brainstorm or to free-write possible solutions and share the results. Sharing writing issues will also help us understand members’ challenges and to plan relevant workshops and activities.
  3. Discuss your writing progress. Tell us about completed parts of your project, how you overcame the hurdles and how work that was previously discussed is now evolving in response to group comments. Explain the obstacles that hinder your progress and ask the group how they deal with similar issues.
  4. Share your writing plans. Discuss with members whether your goals seem realistic. Ask members to help create your writing calendar and to e-mail you with reminders of deadlines and encouragement.

Please choose one of these options for presenting your extract:

  1. Submit your extract (not the whole work, please!) to the Chair for circulation before the meeting.
  2. Bring paper copies to the meeting. As in option 1, short extracts of no more than 1,000 words should be presented. The group can annotate the copies with their comments and return them to you at the end of your session.
  3. Without having circulated copies, read an extract aloud. This is suitable if you are opting not to receive feedback as in 2 above.