The Writer’s Games.
May 2016
By Diannika Alyse Star

The Writer’s Games is a unique event held every year by The Writer’s Workout. But… what is it? That is what I set to find out.

“I like that you get to kill the other writers until you are the last writer standing and then you win a publishing contract.” That is what non-participant Derek Gott had to say when I brought it up.

Of course, that isn’t really what it is, though I do have to admit that was my first thought on hearing the name.

The Writer’s Games is a free competition hosted by The Writer’s Workout. According to their website (!games/nbu58 ):
The Writer’s Games (originally dubbed the NaNoGames) were the brainchild of Heather Glomb. The first Games took place in May, 2014, and set out to encourage creative writing. When they finished, the writers wanted more, and this group was born.

There are two parts to the contest, and while it is too late to register for the individual portion for this year, team registration does not open until July. They welcome writers of all skill levels and any age as long as they are old enough to be a member of The Writer’s Workout facebook group, membership in which is practically the only requirement to enter.

Each part of the contest lasts for about 2 months. They consist of 1 practice piece and 7 challenges. Those challenges vary year to year, and are kept a secret until it is time to start that week’s task. However, the site does give a list of potential challenge types, although it warns that the list is not all-inclusive.

Each challenge period lasts for one week. On Thursday, the event is announced. From there, contestants have until midnight UTC to submit their entry by email. Over the next several days, from Monday thru Thursday, the judges read and score all of the entries. On Thursday, two hours before the next event is announced, the previous event’s winners are announced.

“If your entry won the previous week’s event, you’ll also receive a link to edit your winning entry for publication. But you’re not alone! The entry has been reviewed by a professional editor and contains suggestions for improvement. You’ll have this time between events to make changes, create you writer’s bio, and add any social media links so your fans can find you!”–from the ‘How it Works’ Page (!how-it-works/l0u1q)

Why is that so important? Let’s take a look at the prizes for the events. This is what their website has to say:
First and Second Place Winners of each event are published in the Games Anthology. Publication of third place winners is subject to participation. This applies to both the Individual and Team portions.

[Proceeds from the sale of that book go to benefit the Office of Letters and Light, the company that run NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, as well as both Camp NaNo sessions (in April and July). They also help promote writing among children and young adults. A worthy cause indeed!]

There are also overall prizes for both portions of the contest:
Free social media consult with Robson Green ($75 value)
50% off editing service with Robson Green
Free copy of Anthology
Winner interview on The Writer’s Workout
25% off editing service with Robson Green
Free copy of Anthology
Winner interview on The Writer’s Workout
Free copy of Anthology
Winner interview on The Writer’s Workout

FIRST PRIZE (applies to each team member):
50% off editing service with Robson Green
Free copy of Anthology
Winner interview on The Writer’s Workout

So, now that we know a bit about the games, what do participants have to say about it?

I first heard of The Writer Games from thudsquad, a group of writers, and decided to interview a couple members who are participating this year. Here is the interview with authors J A Duxbury and Trish Olson–who also writes under the names T. D. Olson and Sydney-Mae Baker

Diannika Alyse Star: How did you hear about the games?
J A Duxbury: I heard about them here – in the thudsquad
Trish Olson: I heard about them via the NaNoWriMo Facebook group last year.

Diannika: What made you decide to do them?
J A Duxbury: I decided to do them to stretch my writing skills.
Trish Olson: I decided to participate originally because I thought it sounded like a lot of fun.

Diannika: What is your favorite thing about the games?
J A Duxbury: Hehe, we’ve only done one event which was a practice event that I enjoyed.
Trish Olson: My favorite thing about the games is the randomness of the events. It really pushes you as a writer.

Diannika: Have you participated before?
J A Duxbury: No I haven’t participated in them before.
Trish Olson: I participated for the first time then [in 2015] but didn’t do well.

Diannika: Do you think the games have or will help your writing in the long-term?
J A Duxbury: I think they will help. 🙂
Trish Olson: I think the games are a huge help to my writing. It pushes my limits, challenges me to try new things, and helps me write faster. The shortness of each event helps me work on deadlines and my commitment to getting myself into the habit of writing every day.

Diannika: Is there anything else either of you want to say about the games?
Trish Olson: The Writers’ Games is a great event that is worth getting involved with regardless of someone’s skill level. They’re fun and really help build your skills and portfolio. The Games offer people a chance to get published and contribute to a great charity at the same time.