A good contest is great motivation to complete and polish your WIP! Check out some of these: (Active links as of March 2014.)
A. Annual Contests
B. Monthly Contests
C. Query/First Pages Critiques (ongoing)
This is an anonymous submission game for kidlit at the Writing for Children and Teens website. You submit one page at a time. You will either get a request for another page or be sent back to the start where you can submit a NEW story. This particular link sends you to the 2014 contest: http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/free-tiques/rlgl2014/
The Maggies–June 10, 2014 for unpublished work, May 8, 2014 for published work
From their website: Each year countless generous published authors contribute their time and expertise to critique the first round of Unpublished entries. This hands-on approach by the first round judges is a hallmark of the Maggie Award. An always stellar line-up of editors judge the final round.
1. SECRET AGENT contest: Changing genres; check at beginning of each month. Participating agent is revealed with the winners.
2. Margie Lawson’s DAREDEVIL DACHSHUND contest.
Find the cartoon dachshund on her website, email her the location and be entered to win her EDITS System Power Pack, including a certificate for one hour editing consult.
3. Gotham Writers’ Workshop:
Various ongoing contests:
4. Dear Lucky Agent Contest. Hosted by Chuck Sambuchino over at Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents blog. The contest is reoccurring with a changing focus. Keep checking for when your genre is represented. Contests are judged by agents and offer great prizes.
Here is a sample of a past contest (from March 2014):
Query/First Pages Critiques:
1. Query Shark: http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ (Janet Reid, lit agent)
2. About My Query: http://ktliterary.com/category/ask-daphne/ (Kate Schafer Testerman, lit agent, scroll through the blog (linked checked March 2014 and she’s still posting critiques)
3. First Page Critique: (Archive; no longer updated) at The Kill Zone http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/search/label/critique
4. Ongoing Contests: Several contests at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, including pitches, first lines, and first pages.
5. #PLGqueryCritique: by agent Pete J Knapp. http://petejknapp.com/blog/