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I am a 12 year old aspiring writer who would love to enter writing contests. I'd like to find some writing contests that are free to enter, are for people my age, and preferably, have prizes.

How can I locate contests like this? How do I know which ones are worth entering?

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If you are based in the UK, there is a really great charity called young writers and they run lots of competitions throughout the year to encourage writers of poetry and short stories right from primary school. Also, in November you could take part in NaNoWriMo, an international novel writing "competition" with the aim of writing 50,000 or more words in a month. There are prizes for completing the challenge, but there's no first place etc. Everyone who passes the 50,000 words mark gets the prizes.

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  • NaNoWriMo sounds great! Thanks for the referral! May I ask what prizes are there? – user21114 Aug 18 '16 at 21:49
  • @MathMuse the prizes often consist of discount codes for various sponsor companies, such as writing software (I remember Scrivener had a discount code as a prize in 2015). The prizes vary from year to year, but the main motivation for NaNoWriMo is that 50k start on the first draft, really pushed me to give writing a go in the run up to my exams and helped me develop a style. – Gladiator Kittens Aug 18 '16 at 21:53
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Most writing contests have a fee to enter because they need the fees to pay for the prizes. In fact, a lot of small magazines need fees from their writing contests just to stay in business.

A few well funded magazines or publishers may put on contests to find new writers, but this is rare because they already receive far more manuscripts than they have time to read. These contests are usually not open to children.

The places you are most likely to find contest with no fee that are open to children is your local library or town council or other community organizations or charities. Children's magazines may also occasionally run contests.

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