7 Free-to-Enter National Writing Competitions That Impact Your Career

Writing contests have always been extremely popular (at least as long as I’ve been around the writing community), but entry fees can really add up if you’re frequently or widely entering competitions.

But there ARE a handful of national writing competitions—totally free to enter—that can make a huge impact on your writing career. Here are seven.

Amazon Novel Breakthrough Award
There are two categories: general fiction and young adult. Unpublished OR self-published work is allowed. Entrants must provide a full manuscript, an excerpt from the beginning of the novel, and a novel pitch (plus some other info). The winner receives a publishing contract with Penguin.

Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel
Manuscripts must be between 100-224 typewritten pages. Manuscripts entered in this contest may not be under consideration with another publisher or an agent. The winner gets a publishing contract with Delacorte.

Real Simple Life Lessons Essay Contest
This popular newsstand magazine runs a contest every year looking for a personal essay by a new voice. Max of 1,500 words. The winning piece appears in Real Simple.

First Crime Novel Competition (Minotaur)
Open to any author who has not published a novel (plus self-published authors, though you may not submit your self-published work). Length should be about 60,000 words or at least 220 typewritten pages. The winner gets a publishing contract with Minotaur.

Writers of the Future Contest
All types of fantasy and science fiction work are eligible for this contest founded by L. Ron Hubbard. To be eligible, entries must be works of prose, up to 17,000 words in
length. The contest is open only to those who have not professionally
published a novel or more
than three short stories, in any medium. Winners receive cash prizes.

Harlequin New Voices
Harlequin occasionally runs competitions; the deadline for their next competition is tomorrow! Entries are accepted across 6 different romance subgenres. The first stage of submission requires your first chapter only; subsequent stages require more material.

Iowa Short Fiction Award
The manuscript must be a collection of short stories, at least 150 typewritten pages in length. Any unpublished fiction writer is
eligible to enter. Previously entered manuscripts that
have been revised may be resubmitted. Writers are still eligible if they
have published poetry or self-published a work in a small print run. The winner is published by the University of Iowa Press.

So, there you have 7 excellent contests I know about that don’t require your cash to enter. Are there any other contests you know about and recommend?

Photo credit: mbgrigby


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About Ben Sobieck

Benjamin Sobieck is a Wattpad Star and 2016 Watty Award winner. He’s best known on Wattpad for Glass Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective, the Watty Award–winning sequel Black Eye, and When the Black-Eyed Children Knock & Other Stories. Four of his titles have appeared on Wattpad Top 100 Hot Lists, all at the same time.

14 thoughts on “7 Free-to-Enter National Writing Competitions That Impact Your Career

  1. Jawad Daud

    @ Jessica: I realize that the list of eligible countries that can contest is shrinking as fast as the list of eligible individuals who can apply for immigration! But thanks for pointing out the silver lining.

    I appreciate your kind gesture.

    @ J: You do realize you are good, don’t you? I mean, you told me exactly what I needed to hear (although I didn’t want to!) I am sure the list of cons of pursuing this path is pretty exhaustive, but at least I have an immediate idea of what barriers I am up against. The picture looked bleak until a writer came to rescue.

    In her short story ‘Nettles,’ while describing a golf course, Alice Munro writes, ‘The bushes right at the edge of the grass had dark leaves and an almost formal look, as if they had been a hedge, set out there. But they were in a clump, growing wild. They also looked impenetrable, but close up there were little openings, the narrow paths that animals or people looking for golf balls had made.’

    While looking for a little opening, I can keep referring to the top of this page that promises, ‘There are no rules!’

    Thank you and God bless.

  2. Gilbert Wainwright

    I hope you will consider my book to your contest I am focused at the prison population. thank you! Gil Wainwright






    Parents need to teach children and if there is no parent someone needs to teach
    that child principles and directions to live by. Now I will give to you an over
    view of a few plans to resolve gang , crime and violence problems . Number,
    one is the martial arts schools for self-defense training plans to teach youth
    principles such as real men do not need to carry guns, and or that to disrespect
    another person does not make you stronger nor tougher,
    and many principles to
    carry them through to a successful life and prosperous future. Then there is our
    Network Marketing plans. Which creates jobs and promotes unity self-worth and
    business opportunities unity and love, the lack of independence is ruining
    children’s will to participate in the business world, the United Coast to Coast
    net-work marketing company and our associates with our One Love directives are
    changing that welfare state of mind which looks for someone else to provide a
    way out to people who are trapped in a life style of learned helplessness and,
    Finally I present to you our parenting programs which are plans to get involved
    in supporting family units by going out to meet and greet the parents of young
    people and inquireas to what parents and guardians require and help the families to attain a place
    in our businesses and organizations.
    We encourage unity and love as well as
    respect for family . We encourage leadership and regulations. Clear goals and
    ideologies that teach the value of life as well as the responsibilities that
    each person is obligated to respect as well as to uphold.. I have dedicated 4
    years to finding out why people are involved in gangs and drugs and crime, I
    have spoken to hundreds of people about their views and their opinions and their
    concerning the young people in America. I have experienced all of the crime,
    drugs, gangs and the prisons, personally but this search was bigger than I am
    because truth is a relative term and each person has their own perceptions of
    the exact same situation and yet the interpretations will always be different. I
    wanted a well rounded perspective to base my findings upon. To enable me to come
    up with a plan solvent plan of solutions that will resolve this self-destructive
    behavior and right the wrongs that I assisted in causing self hatred and false
    values for young people to grow up and uphold. I am a part of the root of the
    problem of gang violence and crime, so I began this book with myself and attack
    at its roots. Which in my view is at the home and family units or lack there of.
    The elders and the parents or guardians. Now I will give to you an over view of
    a few plans to solve gang, crime and violence problems juvenile delinquency ECT.

    We are going to give financial support and counseling, to families and young
    children free of charge. To help the family units operate better at the
    advantage of guiding the youth to achieve greatness and any dreams they may
    have. We have plans to provide jobs in the security and protection services as
    well and our United Coast to Coast security and protection services will provide
    private security guards and body guards, event security services and property
    security, we will employ hundreds and thousands of people in our services. The
    armed guards and the unarmed guards will be available through our services.
    These jobs will be available to the shut out and the side tracked people who
    keep on getting pushed back out of society and deeper into the shadows, you know
    the person who can not stay out of jail and the one who can’t find a job, these
    people deserve a chance to do well also and we are here to create the conditions
    for the change to see a

    who has been side tracked or railroaded into an undesirable path by whatever the
    causes or excuses , a way to get involved in their families and their
    communities as well as get the sense of self respect and self worth that
    everyone deserves a shot at. We will also work with the individuals who have had
    problems getting a job in their past and provide new opportunities to work on
    the job and make a good wage and earn an honest living.

    Greatness is not determined by how mighty we are but how willing, willing to try
    the unreasonable or to challenge the righteousness of the righteous. greatness
    is the power to face yourself and say yes even when everyone else is saying no.
    that is greatness. The courage to stand alone as well as the courage to stand
    together. Thank you and I hope to be hearing from you. I have an interesting
    inspiration to share i.e.: It is only in the darkness of night we are able to
    see to stars and their beauty.







    I have composed a book to reach at risk youth in the paths of gangs, violence,
    crimes, and drugs. The book is compiled with letters and notes written by my
    hands over the last four years from 2-06 thru 1-10, this book is composed of 4
    short stories about a character named O.G.

    O.G. is an animated fictional character created to put out a message of
    leadership and end gang violence. A little about the author. I was born in St.
    Louis Mo. In 1960, to a family of 2 brothers and 2 sisters. My mother and father
    divorced before I was two years old,. My mother lived in the projects there for
    awhile and eventually in 1962 left St. Louis and moved all of her children out
    of a hopeless life in the run down projects of St. Louis and went to Los Angeles
    California. I lived in Compton California, Watts, the East side of what is now
    known as South-central Los Angeles and the West-side of South-central, including
    the cities of Inglewood and Hawthorne.

    I was involved with crimes and drugs and gangs as a young man and young adult.
    Our family moved many times during my childhood to different areas of town.
    Being a child growing up in LA of a single parent home had many disadvantages
    and challenges, but I made my choices and survived at the end, fortunately this
    book is here because I lived and kept my sanity. Ironically my nick name as a
    young gang member was Lil Nut which meant that I was crazy, and I thought that I
    was. I know that if I was not that I had a pretty good front going.

    I attended 3 Jr. High schools and 4 high schools I was expelled from three of
    those high schools for different disciplinary reasons. As I said I was a work of
    art as a child.

    I joined the United States Marine corp. in 1980 and was honorably discharged
    with a good conduct medal 30 days later because of my fraudulent enlistment to
    get in.

    I met my father for the first time in 13 years when he had come to LA. For a
    visit, then again 2 years later when my mother wanted to get me out of Los
    Angeles and asked him to send for me to come or go and live with him in San
    Francisco California. I was 17 years old and had just gotten out of juvenile
    hall for another crime. I got a call from him one day out of the blue, asking me
    did I want to come up to San Francisco? I did not know that my mother had set
    the whole thing up. I just found that out in the last few years now, but I said
    yes and that yes actually changed the direction of my whole life.

    This book is about gangs, drugs, crime and violence but it is really about the
    young people having a man who feels like I can help them in some way by its
    content. More about the author.

    I worked in the food and beverage industry as a bus boy, waiter, bar back,
    houseman, in hotels and restaurants for 8 years collectively; I was a banquet
    captain and a banquet manager for hotels in Southern California.

    I did 3 county jail terms from 3 to 9 months and two state prison terms a 2 year
    and a 5 year term and earned time off both for good time work time even though I
    was not so good. I was struck with an aneurism in my brain that burst in 1993,
    and had a brain surgery that left me handicapped and in a coma for over a month.

    I attended trade school in 2004 and 2005 for air conditioning and heating
    technology and graduated with a universal e.p.a. certification. I went on to
    raise my 5 young children with my then wife of 7 years. I worked in the air
    conditioning field as a helper, then a welder and installer, as a technician and
    in the production department of new construction. I had moved to Las Vegas
    Nevada at that time where I now reside as a divorcee and a committed Christian
    and proud minded black man, unprejudiced and unaffected by racisms hate.
    I have discovered the victim mentality and learned helplessness mind set that
    had a grip on my mind before and removed the chains. I bought the big house and
    raised the kids up which is an ongoing process, but the night of December the
    13th 2005 changed my life forever.

    Stanley Williams was executed and I watched all of the news reports and listen
    to them mis pronounce his name again and again. I expected that a riot was going
    to break out in LA. I even called my brother in law and told him to stay inside
    that night because they were executing Tooky and that a riot would probably
    break out. I was wrong nothing happened and all of the old crips are not even
    concerned about Tooky at all if so not enough to go out into the streets about.

    I picked up this mission to go out into the streets of Los Angeles and talk to
    the young people about gangs and crime and drugs. I was much younger than Tooky
    about 3 to 5 years age difference so while I knew him and had ran the streets
    with him once or twice that was only because of my being the little brother of
    Thomas Wainwright known as Mad Rock and my other older brother who was going by
    jr. rock at that time the summer of 1972. I watched Tooky and Monkey man and big
    Mouse and others lift weight and drink beer many of hot summer days. I became a
    baby crip myself. The night that Tooky was executed that brought some kind of a
    loyalty alivewithin me and this book is my contribution to honor his good works
    and to represent that positive out come from all of our negative lives. May my
    big homboy rest in peace. Gilbert Wianwright.

    In the summer of 2006 a few years back
    I went from door to door in Los Angeles California talking to people about gang
    violence and drugs and our youth.

    I enjoy talking to people so I had fun with it. But what I found out was
    astounding to me; it was also an eye opener too.
    A sock in the stomach if you
    will. Here I was 47 years old then, speaking to people of all ages and they all
    were on a different page. Nobody was trying to join me with my ideas and calls
    for change. The only thing people wanted was a free T- Shirt or a job to make
    some money. It seems like I heard a large amount of complaints and fingers
    pointing at many things including Took, but nobody wanted to do a thing about
    it, but talk their talk and blame people or the system.
    Everybody is a genius,
    But don’t ask them for any help; because that’s too much to ask for them to make
    a sacrifice. I had D.J. Vegas and my old friend from the hood Mike, to lend
    their support by sponsoring the talent show competition and providing free D.J
    services and loaning cash to fund the gifts and prizes that I gave away., but
    not too many other people were
    willing to give of their time or money to support my cause of ending gang
    violence in Los Angeles California and bring some sanity into an insane mind set.
    God never
    turns his back and I believe God is still watching over me. The old homboy’s
    were not there for me. Not the way I expected them to, not one. I learned a
    valuables lesson about what we believe in. That is that everyone who you know
    sees what is happening to you and to them very differently. That is reality 101.
    And 200. Bag it up it’s a rap!

    . epidemic that was flooding the neighborhoods back in the 70s and 80s. I got
    kicked out of three high schools and went back and forth to jail many times,
    including 2 prison terms. Why am I revealing this information to everybody?
    Because I want you all to know that our organization is not a weak one because
    iron sharpens iron. I am not ashamed anymore, this is me, and I am here to play
    the game of business all I have grown and moved on, so that all said, here is a
    mission statement and a few of our new plans for the organization and net-work
    marketing company.

    The mission is to change the face of young people in America, and that means
    everybody, all races are included in our plans. We are going to provide
    opportunities to avoid crime and violence and facilitate stopping the revolving
    doors to prison and young people being herded to the slaughter houses of
    incarceration and the cold hearted street life to the gates leading to death.
    The old ideas that kept me trapped into a cycle of prisons and chaos , young
    minded people keep on people being taught that to be mean and rude and crazy is
    a good way to be. I am here to create opportunities where there are none. I am
    not a government 501 C-3 PROGRAM. We are a business with a mission our
    network-marketing company where We have branded our services and products with
    a trade-marked logo and the company partnerships whom we support are promoted by
    our net-work marketing company and its team members at a 15% marketing fee.
    partner must be evalated by our
    management team to review their values and mission statements, upon approval by
    the board members the company and or services will be approved or disapproved to
    be a net-work partner of the united Coast to Coast and One Love net-work
    marketing company .. Our martial arts and self defense schools are a very
    important partnership in re-educating young people about personal
    responsabilities and family values. Our Security and protection services are
    also a very important job creation effort to create opportunities and jobs in
    the urban communities.

    How does O.G come into existence

    One bright sunny day in Los Angeles California, crime and violence in South
    Central is going on as usual.
    Scene one

    The daily activities are going on as you can see: drive by shootings, gang
    banging, drugs being bought and sold, robberies and thefts being done , dice
    games on the streets, right out in the open , and in the alley ways ,fist fights
    taking place ,and people are standing around arguing over petty stuff, kids are
    walking to school with school books under their arms headed off to school , and
    dog fight being held out in the middle of the street , with thugs betting money
    on which dog will win , this is a ghetto. Now focus on scene two

    Scene two

    Drug dealers walk up on a man who is known as O.G
    Thug: hey’ nigga you stole my money off the table back at my spot.
    O.G: no’ you got me mixed up with somebody else.
    Thus#2: no not no more we don’t.
    Thugs pull out hand guns and unload them into O.G; they shot him over 20 times.
    O.G fell to the ground and they kept shooting him. O.G died. The thugs ran away
    from the scene of the crime.
    Scene three:
    Suddenly two miniatures O.Gs come out of O.Gs chest, one of them dressed in red,
    and the other dressed in blue. The one in blue was dressed well in a dress
    shirt, tie, an Ace duce gangster hat and Stacy Adams shoes; the red O.G was
    dressed in khaki outfit, tennis shoes, and an Ace duce gangster hat as well.

    They were identical twins in physical appearance, except for their clothing and
    their attitudes.
    The red O.G went down to hell and spoke with the demons. The blue O.G went up to
    heaven and spoke with the angels.
    The ambulance came and pronounced O.G dead on arrival. They took his body away
    from the crime scene and police officers there, which was tape off with yellow

    scene four

    Red O.G: Hey’ this place is hot, I see crazy Mike, Hey’ crazy Mike, what’s up my

    Nobody can hear red O.G because he had not been processed yet. His body
    continued to travel through hell to see the top demon , whose name is Voteron.
    Finally he arrives to a stop. He saw a huge throne and looked upon it, there was
    a little demon seated upon it. The demon spoke.

    Demon: you are here because you activities are wickedly commendable and we
    applaud you, but there is one problem.

    Red O.G: what’s that?

    Voteron: your mind and soul are split you are divided. You must be complete to
    join us here.

    Red O.G: Hey’ wait what am I suppose to do?
    Voteron: defeat your self who calls you now.

    Scene five

    suddenly a magnetic force pulled red O.G out of hell, and up into the sky above
    the clouds. To a table with a chess board on it and placed him into a seat of
    two chairs there.
    Scene six

    the blue O.G floated upwards into the outer space and went into a paradise area
    where he saw his grandmother.

    Blue O.G: Hey’ granny! Hey’ granny over here!
    O.Gs grandmother does not her him because he has not been processed yet He
    continued to float closer to a huge light until he reached a huge throne. Upon
    it was a bright light that was too bright to look at. The light spoke to O.G.
    Light: you are here because of your good heart and your loyalty. But, there is
    one problem.

    Blue O.G: what’s that, did I do something wrong?
    The light: your soul and mind must be one for you to be here. You are
    incomplete. Go to the realm of humanity and defeat your demon and then you may
    enter our paradise. Your challenge is the young one they call Nut. Suddenly the
    blue O.G is transported to the seat opposite of the red O.G at a table with a
    chess board between them. They both looked at one another and then looked at the
    chess board. They saw a scene playing itself out down below, not chess pieces,
    but they were looking at a real life event unfolding. A young man was talking to
    some others about doing a crime, one of the young men said to another, “Nut",
    you need to come and get some of this money nigga. At that moment the blue O.G
    understood what was going on. The red O.G under stood the challenge as well.
    The conclusion to the manifestation of O.G the mentorship series by Gilbert

    I created this animated script/series, Titled, "O.G. I would appreciate if you
    will read it. I believe that I have a positive message for people here. Please
    take a few minutes to read this script. I created and produce this script of,
    "O.G," in three days. Here are three short stories. The graphic arts are not
    included here today, but I introduce to you, "O.G the animated series". O.G is
    my way of making a constructive contribution to the world, from the very many
    bad choices that I made in life, while promoting a true inspiration close to my
    heart, which is gang intervention through mentorship, and self improvement
    activities. The interesting lesson to learn from O.G is like the young eagle
    forced out of the nest, only in experiencing his or her greatest fear; when it
    is falling, that it discovers its’ greatness. I hope that rule of discovery
    happens here today in life.

    This script is for mature audience and contains strong language.
    Thank you and I hope to be hearing from you. I have an interesting inspiration
    to share i.e.: It is only in the darkness of night we are able to see to stars
    and their beauty.

    A bright and clear day above the clouds. The camera focuses in on two O.G’s
    while they are seated at a table with a chess board between them. Engaged in a
    game of wit. They play a game of chess which represents the verbal arguments and
    evaluations, attitudes and the thoughts going through the main characters mind.
    The good conscious O.G is wearing a blue outfit and the bad conscious O.G. is
    wearing a red outfit. The color red is selected to be the bad conscious only
    because of a common association with red to the negative and blue is chosen to
    be the opposing color to focus the attention on two common colors usually
    opposing one another. Let the games begin now.

    The homboy got shot scene one

    Mad Rock: Hey’ Nut the homeboy Wolf got shot today by some scabs!

    Nut: Is he dead?

    Mad Rock: No, but he is fucked up. They got him in his gut my nigga.
    Scene stop:

    Introduction scene set up

    A bright and clear day above the clouds. The camera focuses in on two O.G’s
    while they are seated at a table with a chess board between them. Engaged in a
    game of wit. They play a game of chess which represents the verbal arguments and
    evaluations, attitudes and the thoughts going through the main characters mind.
    The good conscious O.G is wearing a blue outfit and the bad conscious O.G. is
    wearing a red outfit. The color red is selected to be the bad conscious only
    because of a common association with red to the negative and blue is chosen to
    be the opposing color to focus the attention on two common colors usually
    opposing one another. Let the games begin now.

    Scene one

    Red O.G: let’s go to the crib and get my shit. We can do this, fuck that
    somebody is going to die today.

    Blue: stop and think, don’t believe everything you hear. This going to kill
    someone because the homie got shot stuff is getting old, this is the third time
    in two weeks. At some point I need to elevate my life above this life style. At
    some point I need to make a meaningful life for myself and have children, I need
    to grow up because this stuff is not worth me losing my life over. I need to go
    up to the hospital and find out what happened. Let’s see what wolf has to say
    about this. He may be dead for all I know. When are we going to rise above this
    cycle of self destruction and unproductive behavior? I need to start with me,
    nobody loves me like me, but God. I need to refocus my attention towards
    bettering my life condition. I am going to the hospital to see Wolf myself, and
    see what he has to say.

    Red: fuck all that weak ass shit nigga we need to go handle that shit O.G style.
    We don’t need to be going to see nothing. Just go get the heat and ride. Nigga
    we don’t compromise with terrorist. If you fuck with one of us your ass is out.

    Blue: that is the mentality that has held us back that mentality ,not being able
    to look beyond the circumstances, We have been over reacting since the Watts
    riots back in the 1960s. We need to start thinking about our ideas and the
    genius that we possess. We need to be individuals who can think independently.
    Stop jumping the gun and not over react. A man’s character is only as large as
    his views about himself. Life can be our paradise if we try to create peace in
    our life. Don’t be like some people I know and rush to war and destroy people.
    The end result is always more of the same and it goes on and on it never ends
    until you decide to get out of the rat race, by stopping it yourself. for you.

    Red: what nigga you sound like some kind of broken record, the only thing that
    has held us back is weak ass nigga’s who are scared to stand up and fight get
    out in the thick of this war zone and put work in , nigga , put a motherfucka on
    his back!

    Blue: that mind set is why people fail in life. You need to rise above the
    circumstances and see the vision of your future. The things that you want to
    come true in your life. They can all happen, but first get away from people who
    are not trying to move their own life forward, and people who try to hold you
    back, you can figure them out by the way they dress , talk , act and the easiest
    way to spot one is by the way they see you. You know my momma told me a long
    time ago that if you are not moving forwards in life then you are moving
    backwards, because nothing in life is standing still everything in life is
    moving all the time. I say, go up to the hospital and talk to wolf about what
    happen. Get it from the horse’s mouth, not the other end.

    Red: I say go get your pistol and gear up for this payback, all hands on deck.
    187 time nigga ride with mad rock nigga lets go. It is time to lay some mother
    fucka’s down. Let’s put these punk bitch made nigga’s on notice. The set
    tripping is on! Next page #2

    The homy got shot

    Blue: I say avoid going to get a gun at all cost trouble is easier to get into
    than it is to get out of. Focus on avoiding people like mad rock and wolf as
    much as possible, build a future for yourself. You have star qualities and you
    are very intelligent , be original originality does not mean you get there
    first, it means to be unique or one of a kind. I’m unique, one of a kind and I
    think for myself. I know how to be original first of all nut, don’t be a
    follower for one thing. I say stay on the high ground in your life and inspire
    others don’t be a follower. Rise above the negativity that pulls great minds
    down and ruins your life.

    Scene show nut imagining to carry out red o.g advice

    Nut goes to get a gun from home with mad rock following along. Let’s go. They go
    and do a drive by shooting nut is the trigger man seated in the passenger’s
    side, yells out fuck you nigga’s as he shots six or seven shots from the car
    window striking two men.
    Before they could get far the police pulled up behind them. Rammed their car
    over jumped out and pulled their guns out ready to blast. The police arrested
    Next scene

    Nut and Rock are in court charged with 2 murder charges and facing 27 to life
    for each count. The judge sentenced nut and mad rock both to 27 years to life in
    the state correctional department concurrent.
    Scene shows nut going to see wolf in the hospital

    Nut goes to the hospital room of wolf
    Nut: hey’ wolf how you doing man?

    Wolf: as well as can be expected. Nigga, how you think I’m doing? I just got
    shot by some punk as scabs.

    Nut: what happen?
    Wolf: I was getting at this broad in the mall, she was acting all uppity and
    shit, talking about she was already taken. I told that bitch fuck you and your
    punk as nigga. I’m wolf man, bitch, the Mack captain ho.

    Nut: you said that?

    Wolf: yea, nigga you know how I roll.

    Scene returns to original scene

    Mad rock: what’s up nut you in?

    Nut: no, Rock, I’m not in man, we need to rise above this kind of Insanity that
    promotes killing people. I’m not going to continue to do the same things that I
    have been doing for so long because I need a change in my life. I am tired of
    the non productive activity that destroys every thing but never ever builds up
    anything. Going out to kill somebody won’t make me tough, it will make me
    stupid. Disrespecting people does not make us tough ,it makes us stupid. We need
    to respect the next man if we expect the next mans respect. I think I’m going to
    bail up to the hospital and check out the situation for myself. We need to start
    using our heads, Rock. Right now there are too many of our people out here dying
    in these streets and behind them concrete walls over immature juvenile wasteful
    things and we are wasting our lives too often.
    Return to O.G scene in the clouds

    Blue: I’m glad to see that nut is thinking wisely. I am proud of him, he has a
    bright future ahead of him. One small step at a time and the next thing you know
    , Nut is going to make a new life for himself. Many great men and women’s
    overcome adverse life condition and rise up from abject circumstance on into
    prosperity and very successful lives. Nut has the same opportunity.

    Red: Man, I don’t give a fuck, nigga lock me up! I was made for that kind of
    shit. No pain no gain mother fucka.

    Blue: That is why you lose I’ll see you again next time checkmate

    Robbery Scene
    Scene set up: Nut is in his home when all of a sudden, he hears a knock at the
    door. When he answered there are mad rock and wolf.

    Nut: what’s up, what brings you guys over here?

    Rock: let’s go do a lick man; we need to get some money.

    Wolf: yea’ we need to be counting some paper, my nigga fuck this being broke

    O.G. scene begins above the clouds

    Red O.G : count me in nigga let’s go get some of that paper. Hey’, hey’, hey’
    nigga let’s get some paper! (Happily.)

    Blue O .G: you got bigger and better dreams for your life than, doing a robbery.
    Remember those green jobs are about to be on and popin, I can train for a green

    Red O.G: you know how we roll nigga where is the artillery? Smash and grabs are
    the shit. We can come up real quick, nigga like grease lightning we can be

    Blue O.G: why is it that every sentence you make is followed up by saying ,
    "nigga"? nigga this and nigga that. Nigga, this nigga .You become what you see
    yourself, you actually create your own reality by how you define you. In your
    mind just put a still picture of what a think a nigga looks like. Really just
    imagine a nigga in a picture. Is he respectable? Is he smart, good looking. Is
    he someone you respect?

    Red O.G: look who’s talking Mr. Goody two shoes, nigga stop making a big deal
    out of meaningless bullshit. You want to be Mr. Intellectual and shit fuck all
    that intelligent bull shit. Nut is a G, and he knows how it’s done a nigga got
    to do what he got to do.

    Blue O.G: Nut is his own man. He knows that fast money is not always good money.
    Fast money like that is like a mouse trap, it is holding a nice looking slice of
    cheese, but once he gets inside; wham", the trap snaps closed, then it’s a
    different ball game. Tell mad rock and wolf, thanks but no thanks. When you give
    in to despair and hopelessness , and give up on yourself in a situation such as
    this, you can never rise above this neighborhood where you live now. Life has a
    challenge for us all, that is where you will end up in it. You can start
    anywhere in life at the beginning and take yourself to any destination that you
    believe is possible. My motto is, "so, shall a man think in his heart so is he",
    my grandmother taught me that. Strong beliefs and strong states of mind creates
    miracles, Joseph Mc McClendon, the book unlimited power a black choice. One of
    my best studies. Nut, don’t do it, you are better than that.

    Red: Man that weak as sympathizing talk is why niggas losing now. I’m trying to
    blow up nut get your money homboy. Your grandmother was talking that same old
    stuff for a long time, where did it get her? All due respect to granny in all
    but nowhere. That is that classic slave mentality, okay, masta, and this side be
    over soon and shit. Fuck to nigga wake up let’s go get this money,point blank.

    Blue O.G: I was disturbed by the depth of your ignorance at first, and grieved
    by your discouraged mind, but as I look from an objective perspective at you and
    consider you life experiences and evaluate your emotional immaturity, I can only
    imagine the levels of distress assimilating you mind state and character. Nut
    you can reach any dream and any desire, if you are patient and not rushing into
    situations seeking overnight success. You just got to believe in you. You r
    thought create your own reality, you can rise above this situation be strong.

    Red: Nut, say yea and go with the homies they gone hit a jewelry store, we about
    to do a smash and grab baby all eyes on you my nigga. We gonna be living the
    good life, movin on up, to the eastside to a deluxe apartment in the shy, it’s
    on my nigga let’s roll. This is a simple ass lick all we got to do is mob up in
    there, smash the glass jewelry cases fill up the motha fuckin bags, full of
    diamonds and gold, and get the fuck out of there, nigga we gonna be riding like
    Jesse James and the James gang. You gonna be strapped ain’t nothin to worry
    about. If anybody gets Froggy put a cap in they ass, that’s it that’s all.

    Red G side plays out in nuts mind

    Nut: O.K let’s do this mad rock wolf and nut are off to do the robbery. They go
    inside of the jewelry store
    They order everybody to freeze and start to hitting the jewelry case glass cases
    with their gun butts. Breaking the glass and grabbing hands full of gold and
    diamond jewelry. Filling their bags with the goods. The store owners and clerks
    are scared to death because of the guns. But one of the clerks pressed an alarm
    button behind the counter when they had first arrived. The store was surrounded
    by the police, and helicopters. They heard a loud speaker telling them to come
    out with their hands up now. Your are surrounded. They decided to give up.
    When they went to court, they were all found guilty and sentenced to 10 years

    Blue G side plays out

    No thanks fella’s I’m not into that life style on more. I’m planning on doin
    real big things with my life. No disrespect but I got to go. I’ll see you niggas
    when I see you. I’m expecting my girl over any minute. Peace out. I got plans
    that I need to be on deck for.

    Scene return to Nut

    Nut : No, fella’s I’m just gonna chill I think things are going to turn around
    for a me, I believe that I can rise above this same old negative day in day out
    stuff we been doin for years. We still here, they say the definition of insanity
    is to keep on doing the same thing and expecting to get a different result. I’m
    tired of this same old stuff cuzzy Count me out.

    O.G chess game scene returns

    Blue O.G: That was a good call, fast money looks good but it is not always what
    it is cracked up to be. Now, thankfully nut can stay in the game to win another
    day. Checkmate.

    Red O.G : I am not worried about no motha fuchin police, police are the least of
    my worries. I’m a motha fuckin gangsta understand me. I could have been Rollin
    in the big league jewels and cash flow like a motha. Fuck it!

    Offer to sell dope

    First scene: Nut walks up to the corner store and bumps into mad rock and wolf
    Mad rock: hey’ Nut when you gonna stop starving yourself out here and come get
    some of this chedder my nigga?

    Wolf: yea, my nigga them white folks ain’t trying to give a nigga no job. You
    got to make your own job.We entrepreneurs, get with the program my nigga.

    Nut: man I am getting tired of going around here broke ,starvin like Marvin.

    Scene stop goes to the scene above the clouds at the table of O.G’s chess game

    At the chess table above the clouds it is a bright sunny day. O.G red and O.G
    blue are seated at their table engaged in Nut’s situation. Each one gave their
    own evaluation of the situation and stated their recommendations. Suggesting the
    action for Nut to take.

    Mad rock: yea;’ man get involved, you need to get plugged in with us. Start
    making some real paper. We need to eat nigga, ain’t nobody doing nothing for
    you, but yourself.

    Blue: Don’t leap before you look. Everything that glitters is not gold. Keep on
    trying to find an honest job don’t give up . Sometimes the circumstances may
    look bad but if you stay strong and don’t give up hope, your circumstances will
    change for the better. You have to stay in the game to win. Honesty is the best

    Red: selling dope is an honest job nigga that is entrepreneurship and I can run
    my own shit. I ain’t gonna be hanging out begging nobody to help me do a mother
    fuckin thang. Man I’m about getting my money.

    Blue:If you perservere , and have faith in yourself and in your God, He will see
    you through. You can get a job,you and you won’t need to keep looking over your
    shoulder. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.

    Red: man I wish a mother fucka would try to gank me, that’ll be the last motha
    fucka they try to jack, that’s why I stay strapped, and I ain’t gonna ever get
    caught slippin nigga, never you dig.

    Blue: but when the police roll up on you everybody wants to start running like a
    little cowards. Mr. Tough guy is not so tough anymore.Once the police show up.

    Red: I’m not trying to hear all that fool,I need to eat. I got to look out for
    me, and mines.By any means necessary and I will deal with the consequences, come
    what may. Scared nigga’s need to go to church,we handle our business out here.
    This shit is real nigga, you trippin.

    Blue: Sounds good, but the negative side of all that is jail or maybe even
    death. You still didn’t tell me how you are going to handle the police when they
    show up. You know confidential informants are made every day. If a crack head
    gets busted, their going to tell on you. The police will send the dope Fein back
    to buy some dope from you with marked money, don’t get it twisted. Your best
    customer could turn out to be your worst nightmare. Drug addicts don’t have any
    moral values; they will turn you in for 50 cents.

    Red: man you can’t be scared out here if you want to make this money. You just
    got to do what you do. All that weak ass, punk coward shit is gay nigga. I’m a
    rider, I got this. Say yea, hook me up and let’s get it popin. Don’t worry about
    tomorrow, eat drink and be marry for tomorrow we die nigga. I don’t give a fuck.
    Scene of the blue G plays out in his mind

    Nut says no ,goes home, no food in the refrigerator his family are all broke no
    money and hungry.He goes in his room and looks at the news paper employment
    section where the only job listing was for a dishwasher for minimum wage. Nut
    puts the paper down and begins to think.

    Red G scene plays out
    Nut says yea rock I want to get with it.

    Rock: come over to my spot tomorrow.

    Nut went over to rocks drug house and picked up an ounce of crack on consignment
    the following day.

    Rock: now you in the game nigga get your money. You don’t have to be broke no
    more Nut, welcome to prosperity. This is how the west was won my nigga one
    dollar at time.

    Return to original first scene

    Nut: yea, rock I’m in.

    Rock: come over and see me tomorrow, you know where I’m at.
    Nut: I’m all on it homie I’ll be there.

    Scene 2

    Nut went to Rocks dope house and picked up a package of crack cocaine. He went
    out in the neighborhood and begins to sell crack near the corner liquor store.
    A police car pulled up with one of his customers inside pointing their finger at
    him, the police got out of the car with their guns draw and arrest Nut.

    Scene 3

    Nut goes to court
    Nut went into the court and took his seat next to the public defender then the
    crack head took the stand. He pointed Nut out to the jury for selling drugs. The
    judge sentenced him to 5 years plus ten years more for being in a school zone.
    O.G scene return to the clouds

    Red: Well that’s the breaks nigga you win some and you lose some. That punk ass
    snitch needs his ass whipped. Oh’ and checkmate.

    Blue: He could have taken that dishwashing job. He would have made more money
    than he is going to be getting in jail. In there Nut is going to be washing
    dishes, sweeping Floors, mopping. Whatever they tell him to do and for free.
    He could have made more money out here working on a job. He is going to be in
    jail for a long time, that little minimum wage job would have added up to a
    fortune by the time he gets out of jail. He could have became a doctor in 8
    years. People need to have a little faith in themselves and in God. More success
    and less arrest, man I am sorry for Nut.

    You got dissed

    Scene set up:

    Nut is at a party, with Wolf and Mad Rock standing near the punch bowl table
    A young man was walking by and stumbled he nearly fell down on the floor, he
    stepped on Nut’s foot. He regained his balance and walked on by.

    Nut was offended, he began to think.
    Scene one O.G’s appear seated at the chess table above the clouds.
    Red O.G : Man wack that nigga across his mother fuckin head, that’s out of line.
    That nigga didn’t even say excuse me or nothing. I’m about to check this nigga
    right now. He got me mixed up with somebody else. I don’t play that kind of
    shit, you gonna respect me, point blank. That shit chaps my hide.

    Blue O.G: Think reasonable, the man almost fell and broke his neck, he probably
    did not even know that he stepped on my foot. I need to be able to see a
    situation from more than one perspective. My foot is not even hurt , why would I
    need to jump on that man over some immature stuff like that? I am on a higher
    level than that. A man cannot rise any higher than he can see himself. I need to
    see myself rising above this kid stuff right now.

    Re O.G : Man that is some weak weak ass shit the next thing I know you gonna
    start singing cumbyya, man fuck all that rise above this and let go of that weak
    ass punk bull shit nigga we gangsta’s this shit ain’t no joke out here nigga
    this shit is real. We lay mother fucka’s on they back for steppin on our toes,
    on the freshly shined Stacey’s! Man and then don’t even say excuse me pardon me
    or nothing? Man that’s an automatic ass kickin, my 87 year old grand mama would
    beat his ass, he was out of line period, nigga don’t get weak on me, we run this
    shit like gangsters. Handle that shit, O.G, style.

    Blue O.G: Think about the situation, you were standing there and the man almost
    fell, he accidentally stepped on your foot, and walk away. The choices are
    simple either I be understanding and reasonable or I act a fool. I want to be
    successful in my life, and every decision that I make is taking me into a
    direction, if the decision is good the direction will reflect a good outcome if
    it is not it won’t. The truth is that I am in control of my life and I am behind
    the wheel. If I make good decisions I will have good things happen in my life. I
    chose to take the high road. I want to rise up, and shine like the new money I
    am. I’m a winner and I was made to win. So, that said I am too big to think so
    small. That stepping on my shoe, is kid stuff, I out grew that a long time ago.
    Think big Nut, be big live big don’t let small people small things or small
    minds pull you down rise up Nut and be the man you were made to be.

    The Red O.G scene plays out
    Nut rushed the kid and started beating down. He knocked him into the punch table
    and broke the table down and the punch and glasses all fell on the ground and
    broke up. Nut said "nigga you don’t ever disrespect me fool". Nut lost control,
    then the house lights were turned on real bright. The party was stopped, and the
    police were called. The fight stopped the police came in and took Nut to jail
    for assault and battery.
    Nut went to court and the judge sentenced him to 6 months in jail and 3 years of

    The blue O.G scene plays out

    The young man regained his balance and walked away, Nut tried to help him stay
    on his feet and over looked that his foot was stepped on. The young man thanked
    Nut and walked away, Nut said no problem and let it go. The party kept on going
    and Nut met a pretty young lady and asked her to dance. Nut has a great night
    and got the young ladies telephone number before he left the party. He also
    discovered that the person who bumped into him was the cousin of the person
    giving the party.

    Nut stood there at the scene with his associates Mad Rock and Wolf.

    Wolf: Nut you gonna let that nigga diss you like that man?

    Mad Rock: Man if a nigga step on my shoe, he just signed up for shining my
    mother fuckin shoes. I’ll be getting a spit shine out of the seal or something.
    Nut: I am trying to elevate my life and to do that I need to start by looking at
    the big picture and get out of the small mentality thinking. I am going to let
    that ride.

    Red O.G. Nigga fuck that letting it ride the only riding that nigga is going to
    be doing is on these nuts. I about to put my foot in that punk ass nigga’s
    behind. I’m Nut the craziest nigga on the Westside, don’t take no prisoners and
    don’t fell no sympathy for nigga’s crossing the line.

    Blue O.G. Very wise and forward thinking on Nuts part the key to being a
    respected man is not in how you pump fear in the hearts of others; it is in how
    you make greater things happen for yourself than the others around you are
    doing. Check mate you lose.

    The End

    Gilbert Wainwright creator and writer.


    Speech about Gangs

    Gangs are a very serious subject; many lives have been lost and affected by
    them. Many have been negatively impacted by gang activity.
    Gang activity offers a young person some good times and it offers some bad
    times. The worst part about gangs to me, was when I was betrayed by someone you
    trusted. Someone who you would have given your life for, but sadly to say is
    that everyone has their price.

    It might be a cash amount payable by cash , check or money order , it maybe
    because of envy or jealousy, also known as a hater, it may be behind a serious
    desire or love also known as behind a broad. But everybody has their price. Sad
    to say that sometimes it could cost you your life. You can end up with a bullet
    in the back of your head, like my homeboy, Stanley Cheatham did got crossed by
    his own so called homeboy’s. A person you think is cool, somebody you trust to
    watch your back. But, greed and jealousy do not have any friends. Money and
    power changes people and that goes with for anybody.

    I was locked up in the most notorious prison in California back in 1993, the
    security housing unit at Pelican bay. I my friend was a rider. I did not sweat
    the consequences. That was why I ended up being kept locked in my cell 23 hours
    a day and had very limited contact opportunity. It looks cool but it really is
    The further from people I was kept the worst at getting along I became. I think
    I got worst being in the S.H.U program. If you lock a dog up in a cage long
    enough even a nice one is going to turn mean.

    Gang banging is a dead end street. There are three common endings , death ,get
    locked up for life, and ending up as a nobody living on the streets. This is
    real talk.

    Characteristics are transferable. The same self respect that a person uses to be
    successful at gang banging or making money out there in the streets; can be used
    at being successful to do whatever they chose to do. Stanley Williams tried to
    tell people that right before he was executed. Self discipline and commitment
    and loyalty , all of those fine characteristics are transferable.

    I never saw a bird fly too high if he uses his own wings. The best kept secret
    is to really believe in yourself. And believe that you can change your own life.
    You need to be the person you look up to. The last thing is take actions to make
    it happen, be about it don’t just talk about it. Do not be afraid to do you.

    Respect in gangs is supposed to be a top priority, why is it that the tough guys
    in a gang is so disrespectful? Respect is not a characteristic of gang banging.
    Do not fool yourself.

    I personally believe that you have to give respect to get respect. Some people
    say that they are all about respect but , if you listen to the words they use
    with others sometimes that claim is a lie. It is an oxymoron. The claim does not
    match the facts.

    Now I am going to try to help you by my inside knowledge, if you want to hear it
    ,if not I am sorry for you. All gang banging leads to death, the question is. Is
    this worth it? That is the question that you have to ask yourself.
    You can do a million different things with your life to get money and respect,
    including self-respect which is the top respect of all. I would fight ten people
    by myself if I felt my personal self respect was in jeopardy. I mean that too,
    no matter if I get whipped to death, I would stay down to the fullest.

    But, if someone else’s idea of me being a certain way was in question? I need to
    ask myself some questions. Here is the thing; if you need to question yourself
    about anything you probably need to stop doing what you are uncertain about..
    Back to my statement to youth.

    It is always somebody out there who is crazier than you, there is always going
    to be a Jessie James, character out there gunning for you. No matter how bad you
    think you are. Their is somebody who thinks he can take you .Gang banging is a
    rat race with a weak prize. It is not worth losing your life over in the end you
    do not come out on top.

    You can do so many great things with your life, for yourself, your family, and
    the people you love , life is a gift souse it, and enjoy it. You have to be free
    and stay alive to do that.
    Many of you are not in a gang that has a big name, But you are in gangs too.
    Gang banging is more of a state of mind you are in. Like if you hurt me or any
    of my friends? I hurt you and anybody who hangs around you. We gangsters say
    that we are all about respect and love, but I beg to differ. Respect and love

    We demand to be respected, but that is as far as that commitment goes. Do not
    waste your life behind bars, and throw your life away over street names and
    numbers, hand signs and symbols. The colors of clothing’s nor the area of town
    you are in. You must be larger than that.

    In conclusion the same commitment to your family and your future is the way to
    go. That will pay off for you I guarantee it. I have a great number of associate
    in prison with 27 or 30 to life and they are never getting out, especially if
    they stay down to the fullest as presume they will. Gangs are not a way to live
    your life , gang banging is a great way to throw your life away.
    I represented the set to the fullest in prison and did a S.H.U. programs as a
    result, and I survived to tell you, that all you really can depend on is your
    family so love them appreciate them and change your life for them and yourself,
    most of all just do it.

    No man is an island, everything we say, do, think and feel affects someone else,
    rather it is positive or negative it is up to you. The quote that I espouse to
    is from Anthony Robbins, one of

    the great minds of our time, “Negative people are losers, and positive people
    are winners.

    Sincerely Gilbert Wainwright United Coast to Coast Organization C.E.O


    My name is Gilbert Wainwright and I am 47 years
    old. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Los
    Angeles, California. I am recently divorced after 16 years
    of marriage. The union produced five children.

    I live in
    Las Vegas, Nevada and work hard to fulfill the
    American dream. Whenever material things receive
    priority in your own mind your mind gets lost the “Black
    love movement and united coast to coast clothing’s needs
    you to educate, elevate, and liberate young minds. To
    support a young mind is priceless.
    I myself grew up in a
    single parent home, dropped out of high school, got
    involved with drinking liquor. Smoking weed and angel
    dust, lovely and sherm sticks. Stealing and taking money
    from people. I spent time in jails and prisons, and was a
    gang member and proud of it. But, no matter where I
    have been it will not tell me where I am. Going to end up.
    Here is the first step towards my vision for me.
    This book is going to speak about prejudice,
    bigotry and character. It will share my perceptions The
    aim of my book is to enlighten and open up the doors
    between fake and truly concerned people

    The ultimate
    goal is to help everybody to learn respect and how to love
    each other. The book is going to create dialogue about
    black people and white people in America. I believe we
    have to let go of the past. Hence the title, “Negro Please
    Stop Bringing That Up”. Yes we do need to stop bringing
    that up but we need society to understand that the
    damage has been done and that needs to be
    acknowledged. Then the healing can begin for black
    people in America. I grew up in Compton and Watts, and
    I know the streets of the East and the West side, better
    known as South Central L.A. I hope this book will tell it
    like it is and open up your mind to a bigger picture than
    you are seeing.

    I believe we have certain struggles, however we all
    have the opportunity to change. But then there are
    challenges and challenges. My heart bleeds for the
    African slaves. They had to go through hell, physically
    and mentally. I am not a slave, but sometimes I feel like
    one. Even though the master does not have a whip to my
    back, everything else is in effect. Our fortunes will start
    changing when we attain full economic respect.

    should invest and believe in ourselves. You don’t have to
    like Jay-Z or P. Diddy, but we can respect their
    single-minded achievements. The money game is on and
    we have to play the game. Writing this book for me is a
    pleasure because I believe it’s God’s work. I am a poor
    black soul who like so many got into gang-banging and
    the evils that entails. But we all have the capacity to
    change and transcend our circumstances. I want to be
    able to say I wrote a book to help my people wake up. I
    believe the first step to reconciliation is to admit whatever
    it is you feel that you did and to tell another person what
    you feel has offended you. The problem with white folks
    and black people is that nobody wants to talk about the
    past. Whose idea is it not to talk about the past? (Guess
    who’s coming to dinner? It is not the spook who sat behind
    the door.) Why do white folks insist on leaving all of
    that slavery stuff in the past? It is in the past, but can’t we
    talk about it?

    Hell no, you say. I never did anything to
    your people, I wasn’t even born, so why are you blaming
    me? "Does that sound familiar?" I have grown tired of
    that dry reasoning that takes the pain of slavery and desensitizes
    it. Maybe, black people and white people are
    just too different. Our music, art and dance, add up to two
    cultures. I believe talking about the past between black
    people and white folks is necessary.

    The past is the only
    connection between us. We can forgive each other and
    love one another also, but first we need to be honest with
    each other. If the conversation makes white folks uneasy
    and black folks angry, that’s okay too. We need to be
    truthful. Then the healing will begin. I dislike the bad
    attitudes that scorn black people, just for being black. If
    the hell of slavery and so called reconstruction did not kill
    us, we are not going to be bowing down period. So get
    used to this face, the black man is not going to break
    down for white people. There are no more chains on a
    person that you can see or touch no chains except the
    ones in a black person’s mind. They take shape and gain
    control to hold a person back in a few ways. The main
    one is whenever that person is trying to block out the
    reality of the truth and of the past.

    Everyone knows you have to know where you
    came from to be aware of who you truly are. Racism in
    this world is like a virus. If you live in the world long
    enough you are bound to catch it. Looking back, I was a
    Christian for 10 years and I hardly missed a Sunday
    morning church service and that is because I believe that
    fellowship is very important to grow your faith. I believe
    that statement is true with all of my heart and you cannot
    break it down. The problem was that I began spending
    more time trying to be holier than thou; than I was spending
    being myself. People in church put on their best faces
    every week, study the bible and pontificate about what
    the word means. But as Christians we are quick to correct
    somebody else’s behavior. Is that hypocrisy? I call it not
    being for real. People, please stop telling one another
    what the bible says that they should be doing. Do your
    own part.

    The criticism that makes us tell each other what
    we should be doing, the need for denying who I am, was
    ultimately the last straw for me. I believe that people
    should learn not to put God in a box. They preach like
    they know so much about God. People know so much
    about what God says and what god expects. But they
    can’t think for themselves. They will never know until it is
    too late.
    You can’t put God in a box. God is way beyond
    our reach. He can do whatever he wants to do. So I do
    not pretend to be on a special level anymore. I am tired of
    playing the game of pointing fingers. However, I do point
    fingers when looking back at the political and economical
    history of our people in the United States. Both parties,
    especially the Republican Party, have not given enough
    time nor money to helping the black people they were
    happy to enslave. They want to forget about the past and
    what mistreatment has done to black people. I think that
    they should want to accept responsibility for it and make
    up for the damages done to American black men and
    women because of slavery.

    The republican agenda
    elected not to have anything to do with the problems that
    black people face today. The programs set up by the
    federal government to repair the damages to black people
    and to help them move forward keep getting cut down by
    conservative dogma. Too many good-willed programs
    have been cut or canceled. America still owes black
    people compensation from our forefathers. I am a
    graduate of the school of hard knocks.
    I hold a degree in

    getting locked up and doing without the basics. I grew up
    in Los Angeles, hustling, stealing, just because it was the
    "thing to do," But when I look at what happened in New
    Orleans, I do not consider the looting as theft. Those
    people were trying to survive. During Katrina, it seems
    black desperation for food was more newsworthy than
    white. We won’t forget that we were called refugees in our
    own country. Unfortunately, stereotypes of black people
    often fuels negative coverage by the media. Growing up
    in L.A. with its all pervading gang culture and death, I
    thank God for helping me to escape.
    Now I have the
    desire to speak up and the capacity to care about young
    people and where they are heading. I also am thankful to
    God for helping me to write this book; and reach out to
    black people in America. And to all people, no matter
    what color. As I have said, whites and blacks are very
    different. The closer that I became to my white friends,
    the more this was borne out. We can mix and mingle but
    we are just different. Different is a good thing – vive la
    difference, as the French say.

    The amazing thing about
    black people is that we are still thriving and rising up into
    greatness. The white supremacy is constantly trying to
    hold us down, but we will not fold. Black people keep
    holding their heads up, anyway. Despite their control
    white people fear black power. It motivates them to hold
    us back and to stone-wall us. The barricades that are set
    up to hold a black person down seem to make us try
    harder. The saddest part is that whites and blacks genetically
    crossed racial lines a long time ago. White is black
    and black is white.

    Cheney and Obama are cousins, if
    eight times removed. How can anyone be sure who is
    what race? Let me ask, will there ever be a black
    president (Discounting Bill Clinton)? Like Martin Luther
    King and Malcolm X., some people are gifted from God.
    They did not choose to be great, they were just great.
    God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. I
    saw Louis Farrakhan speak at the million man march and
    his love of black people shone through radiantly.

    I saw
    Russell Simmons and Jessie Jackson. I saw many people
    who I am not familiar with and I do not remember their
    names. But I saw great black leadership. It was uplifting
    and very inspiring. I tried to offer a solution to end gang
    violence on the West Coast, but for now my mission has
    fallen on death ears. But I will persevere. Who will carry
    on the struggle after Farrakhan and Al Sharpton? I ask
    myself, why not me? Racial justice; I write about it, I
    believe that I will die for it, so now I will live for it. They
    say that courage is not the absence of fear, but to carry
    on in the presence of fear. I believe myself to be a
    courageous man because I will not stop and those in
    opposition will have to kill me if they want to shut me up.
    The program was also inspiring because I saw black and
    white people sitting together in front of the White House
    talking about a racist capitol and it was not hostile at all.
    Usually, black people get rowdy. But not today, that was
    top shelf. I wish that I could have been there. I thought of
    all the black people, who just like myself, could not make
    it to that important life changing event.

    Chapter Two
    Black is beautiful, but sadly some people are as
    dark as Clarence Thomas, yet white as snow in their
    minds like he is. After much thought and soul searching
    my people, I have placed Mr. Russell Simmons in a
    position of respect and love in my heart. He has stepped
    up to the plate for his people. I do not see him as a yes
    Negro. He is not a coward that is for sure. The man loves
    black people he has created and enabled wealth in our
    community. I realize that the glitter and glamour of money
    and what it can buy is enticing. The drugs will make you
    some money, no doubt, but the pay-off bleak. Intelligence
    is measurable in how fast you are able to learn not on
    how much information you are able to remember. Some
    people will do anything for you if you’re holding enough

    They would sell you their own mother if the price
    was right. It’s a shame, but true. Society thrives on people
    just like them; the jails are full of them and the game is
    perpetually taking black people out. There are far too
    many black men and woman incarcerated rather than on
    the front lines fighting against white supremacy. The
    Glitter of diamonds and gold changes people. I was in the
    box too, that is how I know so much about the situation.
    But I will not sell out again, not twice. Big eyes for money
    and lustful hearts make excellent puppets and games for
    the selfish and wealthy. Women are not excluded from
    being just as wrong in their hearts and as evil as any
    I am always pleased to meet a respectful soul.
    Respect is everything to me. Honor and dignity reign
    supreme. Word is bond, death before dishonor. As the
    great James Brown sang I’d rather die on my feet than
    live on my knees. Say it loud, I’m black and I’m p

  3. Jessica Brockmole

    @Jawad, as a veteran of the ABNA contest, I can tell you that in the past it’s been open to some writers outside of the U.S. I was living in the UK when I entered for the first time. There are some countries, however, whose residents were not allowed to enter, which is available in the entry rules.

    Best of luck to you!

  4. Jane Friedman

    @Jawad – A good question, but tough to answer since there isn’t any rule to unilaterally apply. You have to read each contest’s entry guidelines to see who is eligible. They will ALWAYS list whether citizens outside of the U.S. can enter—but it is true that most contests I’ve mentioned here will only be open to U.S. citizens.

    Yes, there probably is a bias from U.S. agents/editors; they are likely to prefer clients who live in the U.S. There are many reasons for this, but (1) foreign authors may not have as good of a command of the language (2) foreign authors may not be writing stories that are commercially appealing to Americans and (3) it’s tougher to market/promote an international author to U.S. readers. It can also be difficult for a foreign author to adequately support a publisher’s marketing efforts from abroad.

  5. Jawad Daud

    Dear J,

    I have been an admirer of your blog and have often found myself rereading and returning to your tips and texts.

    This may sound smart (!) but I still have to ask it: a question I have posed to many people (including Brian A. Klems) but never have had an answer.

    PS in the middle of the mail: My apologies if I am asking this at the wrong place.

    I am a writer hailing from Pakistan. In the absence of local novel and short story market, I had to turn to television. I have been trying to break into the US market of magazine and short story writing while taking up writing courses and reading up books on craft for over two years. I sometimes wonder if there is an invisible glass ceiling that hampers my flight whenever I try.

    Specifically talking: are the abovementioned contests only open to Americans? Generally talking: Does it matter to editors and agents if the cover page states the writer is from anywhere but the US?

    Thank you and God bless.

  6. Jane Friedman

    @Elizabeth – Not a stupid question at all. As long as the guidelines do not specifically prohibit you from sending your manuscript for consideration elsewhere, don’t worry about it. You can always withdraw your entry should you get a publishing deal or agent.

  7. Elizabeth West

    Jane, I have a question perhaps you can help with. It might be kind of dumb, but I’m new at this.

    The First Crime Novel competition says the entry must be unpublished. Is it okay to submit a manuscript for a contest that you are currently also querying? I can’t find anything on the webpage saying that would be unacceptable. Would it be better to stop querying if the manuscript is in the contest? I’m not getting any bites but that may be my letter (which I have been working on).

    Thanks for any advice you can give.


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