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2014 PNWA Literary Contest Submission Guidelines & Rules
a contest for the unpublished author . . .


  • The eight finalists in each category will be notified June 2014 prior to the PNWA Summer Conference (July 17-20, 2014).
  • Award Winners will be announced at the conference.
  • Every entry accepted in the contest will receive two critiques—a useful tool for any writer.
  • Finalists who attend the PNWA Summer Conference will receive a Finalist ribbon for their name badge, giving them high visibility to the agents and editors at the conference. Finalists’ manuscripts will be made available to agents and editors during the conference.
  • In addition, finalists' entries are read and judged by an agent or editor to determine the top TWO in each category.
  • Winners are given the opportunity to attend the Agents and Editors Reception at the PNWA Summer Conference.

Awards will be given as follows:

    • First Place: $700 and the Zola Award (The Zola Award honors founding member Zola Helen Ross for her vision in creating a writing community more than 50 years ago.)
    • Second Place: $300

Entries must be RECEIVED BY February 21, 2014.
Requirements that apply to all categories are stated in the Contest Rules; those that are specific to each category are listed here.

1. Mainstream
2. Historical
3. Romance/Women's Fiction    
4. Mystery/Thriller
5. Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal   
6. Young Adult (ages 12-18)  
7. Middle Grade (ages 8-12)
8. Nonfiction/Memoir
9. Poetry
10. Short Story
11.  Children's Picture/Chapter Book
12. Adult Short Topics (Article/Essay/Short Memoir) 

BOOK-LENGTH WORKS: Fiction & Nonfiction
Each of the following categories has the same submission guidelines as described below:
Category 1: Mainstream
Category 2: Historical
Category 3: Romance/Women's Fiction
Category 4: Mystery/Thriller
Category 5: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal
Category 6: Young Adult (ages 12-18)
Category 7: Middle Grade (ages 8-12)
Category 8: Nonfiction/Memoir

Submission Guidelines for categories 1-8:

  • Maximum length: 28 pages. The 28 page limit includes your 1 page double-spaced synopsis and the first 27 pages of your book (beginning with chapter one or prologue). The entire entry must be double-spaced, in 12point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).
  • Synopsis: Maximum 1 page. Must be double-spaced. The synopsis page number must be listed with your manuscript entry. Synopsis begins page one. Click here to download materials on writing a synopsis.

Category 9: Poetry
  • Maximum length: 3 pages. Each new poem must begin on a new page.
  • Each poem must be titled on the entry form.
  • Poem(s) must be targeted towards adult readers (no children’s verse).
  • Single-space within each stanza, double-space between stanzas, no multiple columns.
  • Use 12point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).

Category 10: Short Story
  • Maximum length: 14 pages.
  • Submit one complete fiction short story for adult readers.
  • Use standard double-spaced manuscript format.
  • May be mainstream or genre fiction.
  • Use 12point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).

Category 11: Children’s Picture/Chapter Book
  • Maximum length: 14 pages.
  • Submit one of the two listed below:                                              
  1. Text for a picture book (no illustrations/images of any kind); use standard double-spaced manuscript format.
  2. The first 14 pages of a children’s chapter book.
  • Use 12point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).

Category 12: Adult Short Topics: Article/Essay/Short Memoir
    • Maximum length: 14 pages.
    • Submit one complete article, essay, or short memoir.
    • Use standard double-spaced manuscript format.
    • Use 12point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).

Failure to follow instructions will result in contest disqualification.

  1. All entries must be ORIGINAL and NOT previously accepted for publication or production by contest deadline.
  2. Entries must be RECEIVED by FEBRUARY 21, 2014.
  3. Category Restrictions:
  • An author may enter separate works in different categories. 
  • Only ONE entry per category.
  • Entries from previous PNWA contests may be revised and re-entered (except for finalist entries from previous years which may NOT be re-entered).
  • Each entry must use a separate entry form and pay separate fee.
     4. All entries MUST:
  • Be in English and the author’s original work (no plagiarism).
  • Be typed or computer-printed.
  • Include THREE (3) clean copies of the manuscript.
  • Single-sided printing only (no staples).
  • Be double-spaced. (Except Category 9)
  • Typed or printed on standard 81/2 x 11” WHITE paper (one sided). International entries may use their country’s standard printing paper.
  • Have 1” margins all around.
  • Use an unjustified (ragged) right margin.
  • 12 point Times New Roman or Times (Mac). If you are using a typewriter, you may use either Elite or Pica type.
  • All pages of the submission must have the category number, manuscript title, and page number listed in the upper right-hand corner. (Category number, manuscript title and page number DO NOT need to fall within the 1” margin requirement.)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph. (Except Category 9)
  • Indicate scene breaks (such as: POV/Location/Time change) by three spaced asterisks. (Except Category 9)

      5. DO NOT include picture, images, or drawings of any kind.

      6. Your name must NOT appear on any page of the manuscript. Your name should only be located on your envelope, registration form, and return SASE (please adhere two postage stamps to your envelope).

      7. NO resubmissions or page replacements allowed. 

      8. Exceeding maximum page limit will result in discarded extra pages. Your entry will be critiqued accordingly.

      9. Non-refundable fee for each entry:

  • PNWA member: $35.00
  • Non-member: $50.00
     10. Failure to follow instructions will result in disqualification. Should your entry be disqualified, you will receive a letter stating the reason for disqualification and, time permitting, an opportunity to resubmit at no additional charge. 

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