- Poetry: one poem, 30 lines maximum, in any style. We’re looking for use of language and depth of feeling
- Sudden or Flash Fiction: 600 words maximum. A short–short story aimed at adults or teens. The challenge of flash fiction is to tell a complete story in which every word is absolutely essential, to peel away the frills and lace until you’re left with nothing but the hard, clean-scraped core of a story. Include a surprise or twist.
- Novel Beginnings: 1500 words maximum. The first chapter of a novel aimed at adults, teens or mid-grade readers. Please specify target age. Any subject—humorous or serious, contemporary or historical—in any genre. Grammar and presentation are considered.
- Nonfiction Article: 1500 words maximum of your best nonfiction writing. Personal experience, inspirational, or informative—you decide. This can be aimed at either a secular or religious publication.
- Children’s Picture Book or Short Story: 800 words maximum. Quality must be “ready to publish” by standards generally recognized by publishers. Any child-appropriate subject using vocabulary and grammar for ages 6 to 12 that can be easily understood.
- Humor: 750 words maximum, prose. This can be a monologue, a short prose scene, or personal experience. The goal is to make people laugh—not a pain, but at absurdity, irony, our own foibles, and their comic consequences at times.
- Devotional: written in the format of The Upper Room or The Secret Place. Please specify which format you are following. Check their websites for guidelines. Make sure your scripture passage is more than a few verses long, and relates well to your devotional.
- All conferees of the SDCW conference who attend at least one workshop daily all week may enter the contests.
- Faculty members are not eligible to compete in their areas of expertise. (They may enter other categories.)
- You may enter up to three categories, but only one manuscript per category.
- All entries must be unpublished and not accepted by a publisher at time of entry.
- First, second, and third places and honorable mentions receive certificates at the Friday evening banquet. The first-place winners are read aloud at that time. The judges, who are experienced writers, do not always award all the prizes in all the categories. Although those judges usually comment on entries, the contests are not a critiquing service.
How to Enter:
- Entries must be submitted by e-mail, with a separate e-mail used for each entry.
- Please put the category you are entering in the subject line. Place your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address in the body of the e-mail, along with the category and title of your entry.
- Attach your entry to the e-mail as a Microsoft Word or Word compatible document. Do not include your name or contact information on the attachment, but do make sure that the attachment has a title and specifies the category which you are entering.
- Send each entry to firstname.lastname@example.org
- All contest entries must be received by midnight, Eastern standard time, on May 15, 2014.
- Entries will be returned to you by e-mail, along with any judging comments, after the conference.
- If you place first in any one category three years out of five, you become a member of the SDCWC Hall of Fame and are retired from participating in that category.
- Decisions of the judges are final.
- Manuscripts must fall within the standards of the Christian community that SDCWC represents. Except for the devotional category, subjects do not have to be “religious,” but they should not be offensive to Christian values.