As a writer, you’re likely inundated with emails about contests, classes and new ways ‘to break in,’ countless times a day.

Every few months or so, there’s scuttlebutt about a scam or what contests are worth your hard earned cash. This site was actually conceived as a safe place for writers to get some hard truths and to that end, I’m happy to bring the first of many posts in a campaign that will highlight opportunities that are worth your time and money – or as the title suggests – separate the chaff from the wheat.

According to dictionary.com, to separate wheat from chaff means to sort the valuable from the worthless, as in I hope we’ll get a preview of the auction so we can separate the wheat from the chaff. This idiom alludes to the ancient practice of winnowing grain.

But what the hell is the chaff to the wheat?

What is in grasses (such as rice, barley, oats, and wheat), the ripe seed is surrounded by thin, dry, scaly bracts, forming a dry husk (or hull) around the grain. Once it is removed it is often referred to as chaff. I’m guessing that was the proper way to say, crap, back in the day.

jasmine rice seed farmer hand

So, much like the amber waves of grain seem a beautiful promise, like the lure of a writing competition win, it’s what you get out of it that counts.

First up is the Finish Line Script Competition.

In its second year, FLSC, offers cash, and access to winners and finalists and consults all throughout the process.

Many writers enter contests just for feedback. If you ask me this is a ridiculous waste of money because if you want solid feedback pay for that, implement it and THEN enter and you may actually advance or win.

Some competitions offer coverage and notes separate from the competition for just this very purpose, but I believe FLSC is the only contest that allows you to resubmit at no charge after editing based on feedback received.  Read that sentence again, it’s a huge difference.

In addition to cash and resubmits based on notes, FLSC has a lot of fantastic prizes that will also help further your career as a screenwriter, such as consults and pitches with Stage 32, and money to spend at The Writer’s Store — useful stuff for us all.

But the one thing that truly sets FLSC apart is that the winner gets his/her script sent to ANYONE… any actor, director, producer or studio of their choice.

One of my main issues with the vast majority of competitions is that most people who can actually move the needle on a project, don’t care if won the Boondocks Fall Cousins and Brothers Competition.

But for FLSC to do this for the winner? THIS is a contest game changer. Your winning script gets to break bread with someone who can actually do something with it.

And while it is very true that I do work for well-known competitions, this is not one of them, so I am not compensated for this post at all.

Check out the Finish Line Script Competition and see for yourself. Earlybird Deadline is March 13th. http://www.finishlinescriptcomp.com

Best of luck!

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