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We’re thrilled to announce LiveJournal’s very first writing contest! With all the avid readers and writers here on LJ, we’re wondering why we didn’t do this sooner.

What’s the topic?
This non-fiction writing contest is focused around National Women’s History Month, celebrated in the United States each March to highlight the significant contributions of women to events in history. The topic should center on how women’s issues and/or women’s history have affected you personally.

What are the requirements?
We are accepting the first 1000 separate submissions fulfilling the criteria below. All submissions are subject to the contest requirements, in addition to the terms and conditions identified below:

  • Your submission must be written in English.

  • Your submission must be emailed to lj_contests@sixapart.com with “LiveJournal Non-Fiction Essay Competition” in the subject line. Please submit your entry as an attachment in .txt, .doc, or .rtf format.

  • Your submission must be your own original content, based on a true story, about how women’s issues and/or women’s history has affected you personally.

  • You submission must not have been previously published in any media formats, online (this includes your journal within LiveJournal.com) or in print.

  • Your submission must not be defamatory, offensive or obscene, and does not violate or infringe on the trademark, copyright, publicity, privacy or other rights of any third party

  • Your submission must be no longer than 1500 words.

What are the criteria for judging?
Judges will choose the submissions with the highest composite scores based on these factors:

  • Content 30%

  • Originality 30%

  • Style 20%

  • Grammar 10%

  • Spelling 10%

Who are the judges?
Our panel of judges includes 3-5 people from the LiveJournal staff.

More important, what are the prizes?
What? You want something besides the massive amount of fame you'll receive for winning? Of course you do!

There‘ll be two winners: one “Grand Prize” winner selected by us, and one “LJ Community Grand Prize” winner selected by the members of the LiveJournal community from a list of finalists that we’ll choose.

Each Grand Prize winner will receive a five hundred dollar ($500) cash prize from LiveJournal and the right to choose one out of the following four charitable organizations, to which LiveJournal will donate five hundred dollars ($500):

LiveJournal will also provide the winner with an official Award Certificate, which they can proudly display above their desk or mention on their resume or college applications. Bragging rights are included, of course.

How do I enter?
Your submissions should be sent via email to lj_contests@sixapart.com with “LiveJournal Non-Fiction Essay Competition” in the subject line. Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, on Saturday, April 7th, 2007. We’ll accept up to a thousand (1000) submissions; we can’t guarantee that we’d be able to judge any more than that.

Approximately two weeks following the deadline for submissions, we’ll post the judges’ top ten selections to the lj_contests community. Every user on LiveJournal will be able to vote for their favorite submission, and voting will close on 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, on Saturday, May 5th, 2007. The submission with the most votes will win the LJ Community Grand Prize. After the polls have been tallied, we'll announce our other Grand Prize winner and hand out the prizes!

No purchase necessary. Purchases made to LiveJournal (of a paid account, v-gifts to the judges or otherwise) will not increase your chance of winning.

What will happen to my entry?
LiveJournal reserves the right to use each entry in whole or in part however we see fit, including but not limited to quoting winning submissions in press releases, reprinting entries within LiveJournal, etc. Read the Official Promotion Rules & Regulations (the “Official Rules”) for the full details.

Eligible Contestants

(Our lawyers make us say this.)

The contest is open to individuals who are legal residents of the United States or its territories (excluding Arizona, Puerto Rico and any other jurisdiction that may require a translation of these Official Rules), who have an active e-mail account and Internet access, who are registered LiveJournal.com users, who are eighteen (18) or older as of 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, on Saturday, April 7th, 2007, and who, under applicable law, can form legally binding contracts (hereinafter legal participating individuals shall be referred to as "Participant").

Becoming a registered LiveJournal.com user is free. The Promotion is not available to any individual who has been suspended or terminated from using Sponsor's or its affiliates’ websites.

Employees of Sponsor, past employees of Sponsor, immediate family members of Sponsor’s employees, or members of the household of any such employees, or any employees of Sponsor's various affiliates, partners, their parents or subsidiaries, or employees of Sponsor’s advertising, promotion, fulfillment or other coordinating agencies, or individuals providing services to Sponsor through an outsourcer or temporary employment agency during the Promotion, are not eligible to participate in this Promotion.

By entering this Promotion, Participant agrees to these Official Promotion Rules & Regulations (the “Official Rules”) and the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. This Promotion and any participation therein are void where restricted by federal, state, or local law.

Participant must have access and rights to use equipment and software that meets the technical requirements necessary to register for an account at LiveJournal.com (the “Promotion Site”).


( 138 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 7th, 2007 07:34 am (UTC)
I just wanted to say what a really cool idea this is! :)
Mar. 7th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful contest. ^_^ I'm a little sad that people who don't live in the U.S. (and territories) can't join, though.
Mar. 7th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
The US has very strict laws about this sort of thing, far stricter than most of Europe - and dare I say it, far stricter than they really need to be. It's very annoying, especially since every time I look it seems that there's yet another US-only feature on LJ but in this particular case it is the law and we can't blame LJ for it.
Mar. 7th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
Brillant! This is a great idea!!
Mar. 7th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
Great idea guys. I was thrilled. I love to write. I had a topic in my mind just reading the front page.

Then. Then I read the legal stuff. 18 OR OLDER? Ugh. Heck with this then. I dislike legal stuff.
Mar. 7th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Ugh
Yeah, unfortunately it's not our rule, though. :/ I'm sorry!
Re: Ugh - katran_sama - Mar. 8th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Ugh - rahaeli - Mar. 9th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Ugh - sensiblemaniac - Mar. 9th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 7th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
If we do enter, will our Live Journal names be anonymous? For me, that would be a mild concern, having thought about it (probably too much).

Mar. 7th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
No, the winner will be identified (most likely) by LJ username rather than real name.
(no subject) - none_too_subtle - Mar. 7th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
As You Say - senseless - Mar. 10th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - veronikajecob - Jul. 17th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - none_too_subtle - Jul. 17th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 7th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
Checking on this for you!
(no subject) - rahaeli - Mar. 7th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hopefulnebula - Mar. 9th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rahaeli - Mar. 9th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 7th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
Well, first off, it's very, very hard to offend any of us. Certainly not just by stating an opinion. That's standard language for any contest set of rules, and it's a cover-your-ass sort of thing; you're not being oppressed, I promise. :) (Seriously. I'm primary judge on this one, and I literally cannot remember the last time I was offended on the internets.) It's intended to convey a statement of audience appropriateness; hardcore smut, for instance, is best submitted elsewhere. (And then tell me where it is, so I can go read it.)

Likewise, the spelling and grammar requirements are also standard for a writing contest such as this; we are, I assure you, perfectly familiar with variations of SAE and the grammatical dictates thereof (I'm a linguist and writer by avocation), and no, it's not intended to denigrate people with learning disabilities or educational disadvantage, though those people are strongly encouraged to use an editor (as are, of course, all entrants). I've read a lot of slush in my life; it's actually very easy to tell the difference between someone who's genuinely operating at a severe disadvantage, and someone who just can't be arsed to care enough to run something through spellcheck or get a second pair of eyes before submitting.
(no subject) - magicmitsuki - Mar. 10th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - magicmitsuki - Mar. 10th, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - magicmitsuki - Mar. 10th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 7th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
Your submission must not have been previously published in any media formats, online or in print.

Just to be painfully clear here, the submission of a journal entry that has been posted in our LJ does NOT constitute having been "previously published", right? There's so much discussion back and forth about this that I thought I might as well just ask.
Mar. 7th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
An essay that's previously been posted in your LJ does count as having been "previously published", yeah. (Think of it like submitting a piece to a magazine -- we're basically asking for full rights, which includes first electronic rights, and posting an entry to LJ would qualify as publication for a commercial publisher, too.) We're also trying to level the playing ground and make sure everyone's writing from scratch instead of revising previous pieces. :)
Mar. 7th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
Well that sucks.
You may be a US-based company, but you have plenty of non-US members, so I think it kind of sucks to run a competition that only some site members can enter. A writing contest may be a great idea, but now non-US LJ-ers (and those from Arizona) are going to feel really excluded. Couldn't you have come up with something everyone could have joined in with? Could you at least come up with a decent explanation of why people from other countries can't take part? Is it to do with copyright, or what?
Mar. 8th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Well that sucks.
Believe me, it's not our choice. Any time you start offering prizes for a contest or sweepstakes, you trigger complex legal requirements; each country has vastly different sweepstakes laws (many of which contradict each other) and accepting non-US entrants would require us to do prior sweepstakes clearances in every country we anticipate getting submissions from. It could quite conceivably take a team of twenty lawyers a good month and a half to handle it, and that's assuming we could even design rules that didn't conflict with every country's laws.

It's not just non-US users who are barred from participating, even; Arizona's sweepstakes laws are so complex that we have to leave them out, too. This one totally isnt us; the law is an ass.
Re: Well that sucks. - hailerro - Mar. 8th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Well that sucks. - rahaeli - Mar. 8th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Well that sucks. - stargazersilent - Mar. 9th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Well that sucks. - erunamiryene - Mar. 11th, 2007 04:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Well that sucks. - linear_flower - Mar. 13th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 8th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
I was born right here in Australia. But my husband is a US citizen! That counts, right? RIGHT?!

Woe. :( I look forward to reading the Top 10, though, definitely.
Mar. 8th, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)
1500 Words
I should know this, but about how many typical paragraphs do 1500 words constitute? My computer doesn't calculate number of words. Thanks.
Mar. 8th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: 1500 Words
Paragraphs, etc, are pretty useless for estimating, since there's all sorts of variance in paragraph length from person to person. The rough way to estimate, if you don't have a program that will do word count and can't find one on the web, is to do the following:

1. Count the number of words in four random non-contiguous lines from your document; add up, divide by four, to gain the average word count per line.
2. Count the number of full lines.
3. Multiply average word count per line by number of lines :)
(Deleted comment)
Re: 1500 Words - suesox - Mar. 9th, 2007 10:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 8th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
I'm very excited! This is a fantastic chnce to spread my ideas.... even though I already know that a good haf of the population already disagrees XD.
(no subject) - anikowugaj - Jul. 11th, 2008 07:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
This is asinine
All the brilliant, creative writers on here and you're asking for the equivalent of a high school composition? The cause is admirable, (as is the matching donation); this contest is not ... in fact, it's an insult to people who use this community for actual intellectual debate on gender issues and other causes. Maybe next time invite an actual writer to create the contest prompt and criteria? Because this is sixth grade all over again.
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Re: This is asinine
The prompt's substantively similar to the specs for a fiction anthology or a nonfiction essay collection. Like a professional call-for-submissions, this topic's intended to provide an opportunity for a wide-ranging and diverse flavor of responses; we wanted to be as non-restrictive as possible, to allow for the maximum level of flexibility and creativity. And also like professional markets, not every market is to every writer's taste, but we'll continue to offer a number of various prompts and contests as the year progresses, and perhaps you'll feel more inspired by something in the future!
Re: This is asinine - charlotte_webb - Mar. 9th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is asinine - rahaeli - Mar. 9th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is asinine - charlotte_webb - Mar. 9th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is asinine - beckyzoole - Mar. 9th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is asinine - charlotte_webb - Mar. 9th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is asinine - pygmalion - Mar. 14th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is asinine - clearedtruth - Mar. 30th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Maybe a dumb question, but can it be an issue that affects you and still be written in a more or less academic way? Like, with outside research and such? I just finished college so I'm extremely used to writing in a more academic style and I don't know if that's a problem with what you're asking for.
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
Yes, by all means, write what inspires you! We're just looking for a personal touch -- something that feels immediate and connected to your life and your history.
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:35 am (UTC)
Not even Canadians are allowed to join? Ahh pity, and I wanted to. *peeks over the border.
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( 138 comments — Leave a comment )


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