Monthly Fiction Contest - the Contest & Entry Rules

This fiction contest is designed to encourage PSWG Members to write. It is also an exercise to practice working under a deadline, keeping story momentum using only 500 words, writing within submission guidelines, accepting winning accomplishments in a public setting, as well as improving on the willingness and persistence to submit additional work should a story not be selected as a winner.

2018-2019 themes TBA

Entry Submission Rules

Be sure to comply to all requirements. As with most professional writing submissions, there is no leeway on the rules. Questions? Please contact: pswgcontest@gmail.com.

  1. Must be a member of Palm Springs Writers Guild with current status.
  2. Monthly entries accepted starting and closing dates - see corresponding theme above.
  3. Entry Fee: $10. Please enter contest by registering and paying online. Submit your story separately - see #10 below.
  4. Fiction entry. 500 word maximum.
  5. One inch margins, double-spaced
  6. 12-point Times Roman or Times New Roman
  7. Indented paragraphs
  8. Story title must be typed on your entry in the header. The theme is not the title.
  9. Pagination must be indicated in the footer.
  10. Do not write your name on the submission (word doc), only in the body of your e-mail.
  11. Submit entry to pswgcontest@gmail.com, no hardcopies accepted. Limit of 1 entry per contest.
  12. Blind submission entries  are judged by selected Guild Members who are professional, published authors. 
  13. Winner receives cash prize based on number of entries submitted. 
Judging Criteria
  1. Adherence to all rules above.
  2. Adherence to the theme or prompt.
  3. Compelling and original plot:
    a. Traditionally consists of a beginning (exposition), middle (development), and end (climax and resolution).
    b. However, very short fiction often consists of a “slice of life.” The narrative should still exhibit a plot-like arc so that the story feels self-contained and complete.
  4. Compelling and original characters:
    a. At a minimum, the viewpoint character has dimension, with a substantial stake in the story’s resolution, making the reader care.
    b. Dialogue is believable and suited to each character.
  5. Consistency of narrative voice:
    a. Point of view. Tense. First, second, or third person.
    b. Level of omniscience: omniscient or all-knowing narrator, limited-omniscient narrator, or non-omniscient “objective” narrator.
  6. Fundamental writing skills:
    a. Spelling. Punctuation. Grammar. Usage.       
  7. The writer’s “secret sauce” that, when blended with the above criteria, makes the story stand out. For example:
    a. Artistry and clarity of language.
    b. Creation of mood through setting, description, and detail.
    c. Distinctness of voice.

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