Diana Beyer – Guest Contributor
Sep 26 2016
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For the past thirty years, the Colorado Gold Writing Contest has served as the premier Denver event for aspiring writers and undiscovered novelists to have their work reviewed by professionals in the publishing industry while obtaining highly valuable feedback and support for the art of writing. 

With unpublished writers and self-published authors making up the bulk of contest participants, Colorado Gold is primarily concerned with fiction authors writing under one of the following genres:

  • Action/Thriller
  • Mystery/Suspense
  • Romance
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade
  • Mainstream and Other Genres

And while you may enter if you already have an agent, a number of the judges are in fact agents themselves and could very well offer you the opportunity to work with them if they’re particularly impressed with your work.  Additionally, since the contest is for authors essentially unknown to the publishing world, if you’ve earned $250 from the sales of novel-length fiction during the last 10 years, then you’re not eligible to participate in the Colorado Gold Contest. A key point to note though is that if you’ve had short story anthologies published through a traditional publisher you’re still eligible to enter your novel. 

So how does the contest work?

Submissions for the contest open on April 31st and close on May 31st with two Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer Judges (RMFW) evaluating and scoring each entry. From there, the five highest scoring entries that have scored 130 points or higher enter the final round where the judging takes place by an editor or agent. 

As for numbers, there’s a fee of $30 for each entry made by a participant, or you can pay a fee of $55 which will allow you to receive  a critique from one of the judges in the first round.  An entry includes the first 4,000 words of the particular work you’re submitting plus a 750-word synopsis in one of the genre categories mentioned above.   


In addition to the exposure you’ll receive and the possibility of being discovered and signed by a major publishing house, finalists will receive a fabulous certificate and a cash prize that is paid in the following order:

1st place: $150

2nd place: $100

3rd place: $75

2 remaining finalists: $30

So with the excitement and potential rewards involved with entering Colorado Gold, you’ll definitely want to submit the best work you possibly can. Here a few tips and tools that will help you snag a top spot in the finals:

Use A Writing Software Program

A good program will go long ways in helping you keep your work organized while allowing you to keep your focus on story and great writing without having to constantly figure out what goes where. yWriter is a terrific free program you can use for this that lets you break down your novel into chapters and scenes while creating characters, locations, and plot points with just a simple click of a tab.  With the best part being that everything is in one neat, very convenient place.   

Try A Writing Service

Of course, not all writing is fictional, and whether you’re writing for the academic or business world, sometimes an aspiring writer needs a bit of help to get it all down on paper. Bestessay.Education is an excellent custom writing service that tailors the essays it creates to your specific needs with a 100% guarantee  that it’s top quality writers only provide you with superior, non-plagiarized work. 

Be Sure To Write In An Active Voice

Nothing will put a judge’s feet to sleep faster than having to read work written primarily in a passive voice. Writing actively makes your work stronger in that it clearly shows who or what is performing an action and also has the extra benefit of reducing the number of words you use so that your writing is cleaner and more precise. 

Distinguish Whether It’s A Literature Contest Or A Writing Competition

In order to win, you’ve got to first give the judges what they’re looking for, so it’s essential to know the difference between these two types of fictional writing.  Thus, if it’s described as a literature contest, the judges are seeking depth, subtlety, creativity, a focus on captivating and often times, dark characters, and a clever – possibly poetic – use of language, with an emphasis on setting over plot. 

On the other hand, if it’s a writing competition you’re entering, the judges are looking for well-written fiction that will reach a broad audience.  The focus should now be on an engaging plot that is based around the protagonist’s conflict.  In this case, you want to throw an array of challenges at your main character who by the end will overcome the odds to  achieve victory.