Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Win the Palanca Without Even Writing Part IV

Oh boy, I tried to open the Palanca website and it's under maintenance. I tried to Google other sites and there seems to be no back-up for this. Could this be the end of Palanca? Hope not.
Well let's pretend that after press time, the site is back and we are off again to our dreams. So why is the website important. Because in there is the guideline. It tells you what categories are open and what are the mechanics for each. It is usually a two-page guide, written in 8.5 points so that YOU, the writer, is guaranteed to miss the salient points. As all the points there are important, so important that it will guide you to the rest of your life as writer. Or waiter. Or whiter.
I Googled an article about how to win the Palanca and I got this stuff like "Write because you want to share something that may connect with other people." My friend Wendell Capili wrote that? How saccharine. But oh so true if you deconstruct it differently.
To whom would you "connect." The reader? The young student, the old librarian, the lover? No, Wendell meant the "judges." Write for the judges. What do they want? Do your own SWS.
Of course, he added, "If you keep on writing the best way you can, recognition will come later." Oh sly Wendell. Don't believe that.
The most important thing is to study the two-page mechanics. In this age of 200 automatic fonts in your computer, when it say 10 pts Courier, better believe it.
Unless you are still using typewriter. Oh man, the teary-eyed drooling charm of typewriters. When I judged the poetry in Filipino a few years ago, I received more than a hundred manuscripts and 15 of them are typewritten. I ended up compiling these typewritten manuscripts and read first their poems.
I remembered those writers who wrote only on typewriters and I found it nostalgic and truly courageous in this times (that story of Ricky Lee borrowing a typewriter of a government office at night came to mind).
The sad part was only one made it in the second round. Why? Because they Xeroxed their other copies (or the copies I got) and I thought they spent 15 centavos per page on the photocopying.
Their poems may be good but I savor my vision first. I don't want to be squinting reading them so there, Payatasville.
If it says, only standard-sized coupon bond,then abide by it. If it says, you can photocopy then do so but get the best photocopier there is. If not, email the whole thing and let Palanca pay for the printing, At least they are very legible, if I may judge the ones I got.
If it says, Courier, do it. Don't make it New Times Roman. Definitely not Comic Sans. Try the typewriter fonts. But smudge them and Liquid Paper if possible for that real typewritten look. Maybe you might hit the right judge.
If it says, double spaced, please follow suit. If it says, one inch margin on all sides, do it. I knew manuscripts which were disqualified because of this I know one writer last year who placed third because she used 1 1/2 spaced instead of 2. One drama critic was so  strict on spacing because that's how it is. I heard poetry judges are the most lenient but don't tempt them. Our point is, if you give them a chance to disqualify you they will. Judging a hundred manuscripts is no joke. Abide by them.
Now there's no rule against folders to protect your manuscripts. So that's where you woo them. Use Morocco folders. Or the most expensive leather folders using dugong skin or ostrich. At least when you lose, you would know that some writer is using your folder.


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