Take part in our Yearly Contest

Don’t pass up this opportunity to showcase your skills and win cash prizes

Contest takes place from February 1st to July 1st every year

Must be a paid Idaho Writer’s League member to enter


The Idaho Writer’s League offers an annual contest for IWL Members.  Choose from Themed or Open categories in a variety of genres.

CASH PRIZES

  • Cash Prizes will be offered from 1st to 3rd place in each category.
  • Up to three honorable mentions will be offered for each category.

 

 

 

Themes

  • Each year, the Idaho Writer’s League provides a Theme or Title for its contest.
  • Members have two categories to enter:  Open title and/or the Assigned Title or theme.
  • For 2019 The Assigned Titles are “The Box in the Closet” or “The Clock Stopped at 10:04.”
  • The 2019 Assigned Theme choices are: “Border Crossing” OR “Hidden Behind the Curtain.”
  • Open Entries, and Assigned Title or Theme Entries will be judged separately. 

 

 

 


CONTEST RULES

  •  All entrants must be paid members of the Idaho Writer’s League.
  • Membership entitles entrants to enter the writing contests for free, with the exception of the book contest.  The book contest entrants must pay a $30 entry fee.
  • Entry must be the work of the author, not previously published or contracted for publication (or if self-published, not yet available for sale to the general public) at the time of submission; and not be a previous winner in any IWL League contest (either monetary award or honorable mention).
  • Only one entry per Category per member is allowed in each contest. In the Assigned Contest, members may only choose one Assigned Title OR one Assigned Theme for each category.
  • Only the first entry in any category will be accepted, additional entries will be disqualified. No duplicate entries may be used in the Open or Assigned Contests.
  • When using either of the Assigned Titles, the exact title must be used. Any changes to the title will result in disqualification.
  • Only one entry per member is allowed. Entries from the same book in the First Chapter and Excerpt Contests are NOT allowed; i.e., no “cross-entries.” Members may submit a joint entry, but may not submit an additional individual entry. Additional entries will be disqualified.

 

 

CATEGORIES

  • Adult Genre Fiction:  A story written in the romance, mystery, western, suspense, speculative, or any other genre, using the elements of plot, theme, character, tone, mood, and style. Adult fiction is geared for people in their 20’s on up in general. The protagonist must be past teenage years, and the general rule is that the age of the protagonist (give or take 2-3 years) will be in the age range of the target audience. The types of occupations, themes, issues, problems, obstacles, etc. will appeal more to an adult audience. “Adult” fiction does not imply an R rating–merely that adults are the target audience. Limit: 3500 Words
  • Flash Fiction: A concise, sharply focused story, also known as a short-short story, with strong, interesting character(s), engaging plot, and selectively detailed setting(s). Its goal is “a single effect from a single cause.”  This can be any genre. It must focus on a particular character with a very specific problem that must be solved or specific obstacles (including an antagonist) to be overcome. It focuses on a single event. The setting is quickly established. Description is kept to essentials. The plot and its effect on the character is central. It usually has a “twist” or surprise ending. A powerful, emotional, or otherwise satisfying ending is vital to the story’s success  Limit: 400 to 1,000 words. 
  • Teen Fiction:  Concise, sharply focused work of fiction that explores a single idea or emotion, set off by conflict. Written for ages 13-18. The action and plot of the story should center around teenagers.  Teen fiction is written for the YA audience (roughly ages 12-14 for Middle School or 15-18ish for High School). The types of activities, themes, issues, problems, language/vocabulary/slang, obstacles, goals, etc. should appeal to an audience within the age-ranges listed above. The general rule is that the protagonist cannot be more than 2-3 years older than the maximum age of your target YA audience.Limit: 3,000 words.
  • Children’s Fiction: A fictional prose narrative written for children. Indicate target group (under 8) or (8-12) under title when submitting. Children’s Fiction for IWL is divided between the under-8 group and the 8-12 Elementary group. You must specify which group is your target audience under the category on your Cover Sheet (e.g., Category: Children’s Fiction, under 8). The protagonist must be no older than 10 in the under-8 group or no older than 14 or 15 for the 8-12 group, using the principle that the protagonist cannot be more than 2-3 years older than the maximum age of your target audience.(1) Vocabulary, concepts, issues, etc. must be appropriate for the target age group of your audience.  Limit: 2,500 Words.
  • Short Humor:  Fiction or nonfiction that is written to entertain.  This can be either a humorous fictional story of any genre or a humorous true story (usually in first person). The humor, whether subtle, ironic, sarcastic, or knee-slapping uproarious, is key. Frame the story as an extended narrative “joke.” Depending on the story, the setting might be vital–or merely the backdrop for the action or dialog to take place. Don’t dwell too long on the setting or give too much description if it is not important to the story or the humor. Description of characters, however, might be important in establishing a humorous situation or interaction.Limit: 2,500 Words.
  • Creative Nonfiction: Nonfiction works that use fiction techniques such as dramatic description, dialogue, and an inner point of view to give the writing the feel of fiction.  This category is told in narrative or story form using setting, characters, plot, dialog, etc. BUT everything in it is TRUE. It is a true story based on facts. So this category must be carefully researched. It should also indicate at the beginning that “the story you’re about to hear is true” (just not in those overly obvious words). It should be clear that it is a true narrative rather than a fictional account of something that is “historical.” Reader’s Digest’s “Dramas in Real Life” are perfect examples of Creative Non-Fiction. All events, actions, locations, characters, and as much of the dialog as possible must be true. You cannot mix fictional characters, locations, events, etc. with the true ones. Otherwise, it becomes “historical fiction.” Since the story is true, you must answer all the journalistic questions in the course of the narration: Who, What, When, Where, How, Why. Limit: 2,500 Words.
  • Article: An article is a nonfiction composition that deals with a single topic. It may be instructive, informational, or persuasive, and focuses on people, places, historical events, and personalities, new ideas, how-to, or personal experience. An article usually appears in magazines, newspapers and journals, and often involves research. This is the most “objective-sounding” of our non-fiction categories. It is usually researched with sources cited in the body or in endnotes or footnotes. While you can write this in first person and include subjective comments and thoughts, they need to be supported by other–outside–sources. Some articles can be a combination of subjective views and objective facts, such as a travel article, where you personally went on a cruise or tour. It depends on your topic and personal (or not) experience with it as to how subjective or objective you wish to make your article. Think also about who would publish it to help determine how personal or objective it should be. It should proffer useful information to the reader. It can also end on a persuasive note, provided there are enough facts and arguments to prompt a reader to take action.Limit: 2,500 Words.
  • Personal Essay:  Nonfiction prose that expresses personal experiences and opinions dealing with aspects of everyday life. It can be entertaining or persuasive, varying from serious to light and humorous.  This has two facets: it is an essay rather than a story. But it is also personal–your thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc. It could contain short anecdotal stories to illustrate a point you are making. It can use various essay forms or a combination of forms: description (e.g., travel essays), how-to (e.g., make something or do something), comparison/contrast (e.g., which is the better/ best X or what are the pro’s and con’s of X), cause and effect (e.g., the effect of X on you, your spouse, your children, grandchildren, etc.), or argument/persuasion (e.g., why the reader should do, change, vote, demand, read, believe something, etc. ). But all of these essay types are tied in to YOU and your thoughts, experiences, desires, beliefs, etc. An essay must have at least one point but could have as many as 3-5, and everything must tie together and come to a conclusion at the end.Limit: 2,500 Words.
  • Light Verse: Is written mainly to entertain and features crispness and unexpected twists. Greeting card verse, limericks, whimsical short poems, etc. Any form, rhyming or free verse.  Poems of this category are “light” in theme. They can be humorous, joyful, thoughtful in an uplifting way, or on a theme or topic that’s not meant to be taken seriously. They can be in any poetic form or free verse. Note: Poems that are NOT overly “abstract” (comprehensible only to the poet) tend to fare better..  Limit: 100 Lines.
  • Serious Verse: May be structured or prose-like, free verse or rhyming, in any meter, on a serious subject or written in a serious tone.  Poems in this category are more “serious” in theme and tone. They can range from true, personal free verse to fictional narrative poetry, and the effect on the reader can range from thoughtfulness and peaceful contemplation to sorrow, anger, or even horror. They can be written in any poetic form or free verse. Note: Poems that are NOT overly “abstract” (comprehensible only to the poet) tend to fare better.  Limit: 100 Lines.
  • Screen Writing/Stage Play: Screen writing is a blueprint for the film it will become. It can be an original piece or based on a true-story or previously written piece, like a novel or newspaper article. Screenwriting is primarily visual cues for the characters. It must contain the screenwriting format for margins and indentations, scene headings, action, characters, dialogue, transitions, and focal point.This comprises one category, but you will need to list under the “Category” section on your Cover Sheet whether the script is designed and formatted for TV, Movie, or Stage. You will also need to clarify this in your 1-page synopsis. (A Synopsis is a story summary of your script/play. It is single-spaced, written in the present tense, and covers the beginning, middle, and end. The judge must know how the story concludes.)Study the differences between the three types of scripts and their formatting. Submit only the first 10 pages in proper script or play format and append the 1-page Synopsis to the front. Your name should not appear on anything except the Cover Sheet.TV Scripts –These emphasize a balance–50/50–of dialog and action/setting (visual elements). 

    Movie Scripts –These emphasize more action/setting (visual elements) over dialog.

    Stage Plays –As setting and action must be limited, dialog is the main element.10 page limit

  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: A fiction story about science, perhaps invented science. It might be about strange lands and weird characters, alien worlds or robots that do human tasks. The story must have all the elements of plot, theme, character, tone, mood, and style. Science Fiction can be futuristic, apocalyptic, Utopian, Dystopian, Steampunk, space opera, hard science, etc. It incorporates technology (real or imagined), possible aliens or alien creatures, and often features themes such as first contact (friendly or unfriendly), the rogue hero, empire vs insurgents, exploration, terraforming, alien invasion, warring factions, etc. It can be set in the near or distant future or in alternative universes or dimensions. Fantasy can follow some of the same themes as SF (minus technology) but is frequently more “medieval” in feel and hosts humans, elfs, dwarfs, giants, dragons, bogeys, and other “fairytale” creatures. Authors often invent their own peoples or creatures. The world, lands, geographical features, plants, etc. can resemble our world or be entirely invented by the author. Both of these genres lend themselves well to novels. For short stories, you must focus on a single event or battle that impacts your protagonist. Use vivid description to frame your setting, but limit where you go in the story as we can’t explore an entire galaxy, universe, or world in 3500 words.  3,500 word limit

SUBMISSIONS

  • All entries must be mailed to the receiver for open, assigned or Book contest (1st vice president.)
  • Entrants may begin submitting by February 1st
  • All entries must be submitted (postmarked) by July 1st this year since June 30th is a Sunday.
  • Cover Sheet: Each entry must include a cover sheet. The cover sheet will include in the upper left the author’s name, address, phone number, email address if any, chapter name, contest name (Assigned, Open, First Chapter, Excerpt, or Nonfiction Book), contest category (Assigned and Open Contests), title, number of pages (Book Contests), words (Assigned or Open Contests, fiction and nonfiction categories) or lines (Assigned or Open Contests, poetry categories), and Genre (Assigned or Open Contests, Adult Genre Fiction category). Each item must be on a separate line, double-spaced. Failure to include a cover sheet will disqualify the entry.
  • Manuscript format: Place the title about one-third down from the top margin, centered and in all caps. Drop four lines and begin the writing. Title and page number must be on the top right corner of every page after the first page. NOTE: “Excerpt” manuscript pages may reflect actual pagination instead of beginning with “page 1.” Author’s name must NOT appear ANYWHERE on the manuscript or the entry will be disqualified. Entries must be typed using Times Roman, Courier, or Arial font and double-spaced with one-inch margins all around. Poetry may be single or double-spaced. Do not staple manuscripts. Use paper clips or butterfly clips with manuscripts and synopsis pages.
  • Only one entry per Category per member is allowed in each contest. In the Assigned Contest, members may only choose one Assigned Title OR one Assigned Theme for each category. Only the first entry in any category will be accepted, additional entries will be disqualified. No duplicate entries may be used in the Open or Assigned Contests.
  • When using either of the Assigned Titles, the exact title must be used. Any changes to the title will result in disqualification.
  • Failure to abide by these rules will result in disqualification.
  • Contest for 2018 is closed.
  • Entries for the 2019 contest will be accepted starting February 1st 2019.
  • Send Assigned Contest entries toJohn GessnerCoeur d’Alene Chapter IWL

    PO Box 1286

    Coeur d’Alene, ID  83816

  • Send Open Contest Entries toLinda HelmsTwin Falls Chapter IWL

    PO Box 303

    Jerome, ID 83338

  • Send Novel Entries toCynthia Deatherage350 S Meridian St

    Blackfoot, ID 83221

BOOK CONTESTS

  • Two Book Contest are offered,
    Non-Fiction (First Chapter)
    Novel (First Chapter)
  • Only one entry per category per submitter. 
  • Submissions must include a synopsis for the book up to two pages single spaced and a manuscript up to twelve pages using the same format as described in the submissions section on this page
  • Synopsis pages must include the word “Synopsis” and the title in the upper right corner of each page. Each page after the first must include a page number after the title in the upper right corner. Author’s name must NOT appear ANYWHERE on the synopsis or the entry will be disqualified. If no Synopsis pages are included the entry will be disqualified
  • Manuscript pages must be numbered separately from the synopsis pages.
  • Three copies of the synopsis and manuscript must be submitted in the entry. Only one cover sheet is required. Entries with fewer than three copies of the synopsis and manuscript will be disqualified.
  • There is a fee of $30 for the book contest as three judges are paid for three critiques and scores.

 

 

2019 Theme

  • Each year, the Idaho Writer’s League provides a Theme or Title for its contest.
  • 2019 Assigned Titles: “The Box in the Closet” OR “The Clock Stopped at 10:04”
  • 2019 Assigned Themes: “Border Crossing” OR “Hidden Behind the Curtain”
  • Writers may also submit their work in the “Open” category.
  • Open Entries, and Assigned Title or Theme Entries will be judged separately. 

 

 

 

VARDIS FISHER AWARD

  • The Vardis Fisher Award will be given to the most humorous entry in all categories

 

 

 

IWL Awards

  • Three special awards will be given to IWL members each year.
  • Poet of the Year
  • Published Author of the Year
  • Lifetime Service Award
  • Any chapter or member may nominate one current IWL member per year for these awards. Nominees must have been a member of the IWL during the year prior to the nomination.
  • Authors may be re-nominated if not selected. Previous Published Poet of the Year or Published Writer of the Year winners may be re-nominated.

 

 

 

POET OF THE YEAR

Criteria for nomination:

  1. a) Publication (see  Publication) of written work during the previous year.
  2. b) Nominee must be an IWL member during the year of nomination and the year prior to nomination.

 

2)   Nominations must include:

  1. a) A completed Nomination form,
  2. b) A letter of introduction about the nominee.
  3. c) A resume of the writer’s work published in the previous year (e.g., work published in 2018 for the 2019 award).
  4. d) Original copies or photocopies of work(s) published in magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., including the masthead of the publication showing the date of publication. Entire published books should be sent; these will be returned.

 

AUTHOR OF THE YEAR

Criteria for nomination:

  1. a) Publication (see  Publication) of written work during the previous year.
  2. b) Nominee must be an IWL member during the year of nomination and the year prior to nomination.

 

2)   Nominations must include:

  1. a) A completed Nomination form,
  2. b) A letter of introduction about the nominee.
  3. c) A resume of the writer’s work published in the previous year (e.g., work published in 2018 for the 2019 award).
  4. d) Original copies or photocopies of work(s) published in magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., including the masthead of the publication showing the date of publication. Entire published books should be sent; these will be returned.

 

 

 

IWL LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD

The IWL Lifetime Service Award is established as the highest honor the League may bestow on any of its members. The award may be presented in any given year to a worthy nominee or nominees, but does not need to be awarded every year.

  1. b) The IWL recognizes that members make many sacrifices to provide leadership and service to the League and the chapters.
  2. c) The IWL presents this award in recognition of outstanding service given by members to the League, their chapter, and their community.

 

2)   Criteria considered for nomination:

  1. a) Current member of the IWL with a minimum of eight consecutive years as a member of the IWL prior to the nomination.
  2. b) A minimum of five years of service to the IWL at the League and chapter level with two or more years as a League and chapter officer. Service must consist of any of the following:

 

  1. Any League elected officer position.
  2. Any chapter officer position.
  3. League or chapter secretary.
  4. League committee chairperson.
  5. League chapter newsletter editor.
  6. League writing contest receiver.
  7. Participation in IWL sponsored community service.
  8. The award may only be given once in a member’s life

Nominations must include a completed Nomination Form