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Rules and Guidelines

PNWA Literary Contest submission rules & guidelines

Entries must be RECEIVED BY March 29, 2019.
Requirements that apply to all categories are stated in the Contest Rules; those that are specific to each category are listed here.

1. Mainstream/ Literary
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/ Literary 
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: Entry and Synopsis MUST not exceed 6,500 words.. (Approximately 27 pages) 

Entries that exceed the page or word limit will be disqualified.

Your entry must be sequential starting with your prologue or Chapter One. 

The entire entry must be double-spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).

Synopsis: Visit our website on writing a synopsis.



Each of the following categories has the same submission guidelines

        Category 1: MAINSTREAM/LITERARY       

        Category 2: HISTORICAL

        Category 3: ROMANCE/WOMEN’S FICTION



        Category 6: YOUNG ADULT (ages 12-18)

        Category 7: MIDDLE GRADE (ages 8 - 12)

        Category 8: NONFICTION/MEMOIR


Category 9: POETRY (Please note that this is the only category where a word count is not used).

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 12 point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).


Category 10: SHORT STORY

Maximum length:  3,000 words.

Submit one complete fiction short story for adult readers.

Use standard double-spaced manuscript format.

May be mainstream or genre fiction.

Use 12 point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).


Maximum length: 3,000 words.

Submit one of the two listed below:                                              

Text for a picture book (no illustrations/images of any kind); use   standard double-spaced manuscript format.

The first 3,000 words of a children’s chapter book.

Use 12 point Times New Roman or Times (Mac).


Category 12:  SHORT TOPICS (Article/Essay/Short Memoir)

Maximum length: 3,000 words.

Submit one complete article, essay, or short memoir.

Use standard double-spaced manuscript format.

Use 12 point 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 MARCH 29, 2019.
  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 or fan fiction).
  • Be attached in one of these formats: DOC, DOCX.
  • Be double-spaced. (Except Category 9)
  • 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)
  • Processing Fee for All Entries:  All entries include a $2 processing fee to cover printing costs, the envelope, and postage to mail your critiques.

      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 email account from which you are sending the entry from.

      7. NO re-submissions 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: $37.00
  • Non-member: $52.00
    10. Failure to follow instructions will result in disqualification. Should your entry be disqualified, you will receive an email stating the reason for disqualification and, time permitting, an opportunity to resubmit at no additional charge. 
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9/17/2019 » 3/1/2020
Literary Contest 2020

9/24/2020 » 9/27/2020
2020 PNWA Conference

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