In the Beginning

This contest is designed for unpublished writers. Enter original works of fiction or nonfiction to a maximum length of 1500 words OR the first three chapters of a work in progress (up to 15 pages). Read on for more details.

Contest opens November 15th and closes on February 15th at midnight EST.

Age of Entrants:

2016 In The Beginning Unpublished Writer Awards


> Download ITB Poster    

  Age 25-99

Genre Categories:

  • Fiction short piece (1,500 words max)
  • Non-fiction short piece (1,500 words max)
  • Poetry (1,500 words max)
  • First three chapters of a fiction or non-fiction piece (15 pages max)
  • NEW! First 15 pages of a short script – Screen or Stage (up to 45 pages)

What are the 2017 prizes?
Grand prize (one overall winner):

  • Free entrance into Write Canada OR mentoring sessions with a published author.
  • Valuable detailed critique and marks from those in the writing community.

Runner up (one for each genre category):

  • Complimentary membership in The Word Guild for the following year.
  • Valuable critique and marks from a professional.

In the Beginning winners will also be recognized at the Word Awards gala on June 24th.

Who can participate?

  • Contest is open to any Canadian Christian writers between the ages of 25-99 who affirm the Apostle’s Creed.
  • Unpublished Writer Definition: For the purpose of this contest the entrant will not have been previously published in the category they have chosen. If entering in the short piece category the entrant cannot have written more than three paid published articles/short stories. If entering in the First 3 Chapters category then the entrant can not have been published in either novella or full length novel format.This includes print or online formats.
  • Previous Fresh Ink or In The Beginning winners (or runners up) are not eligible to re-enter
  • There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted, however, a single manuscript may not be entered in to multiple categories
  • All judges will look for an underlying expression of the writer’s Christian worldview informing and influencing the writing, however, the entry does not have to be strictly for the Christian market. The entry should not contain undue profanity, graphic sex, or other objectionable material, and must otherwise conform to generally accepted standards of the CBA (Christian Book Association) as determined by The Word Guild. Judges may request submissions not meeting this requirement be disqualified.

What will you Write About?

  • Short pieces can be on any topic you would like.
  • First three chapters/First 15 pages of a short script: Any genre. Any theme. First three chapters (or up to fifteen pages).

What format should I use (short pieces and first three chapter)?

  • Courier or Times New Roman 12-point font
  • Number pages
  • Double-spaced
  • Margins of at least 1″ (2.5 cm) at left, right, top and bottom
  • In the header include title, category, and word count
  • Do not include any pictures or graphics

Submission Format for Short Scripts:

  • first page should have the title, author, and the character names (this page is NOT included in the 15 page count).
  • Stage instructions should be minimal, EG, “KWENE COLLAPSES. CROWD SURGES FORWARD.”

Extra Screen play formatting info:

Extra Stage Play formatting info:

  • Courier or Times Roman fonts in 12 pt
  • double space separates each element
  • no extra formatting (weird fonts, different font sizes, masses of stage directions) as this clutters the piece.
  • examples of good formatting: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/stageus.pdf (American) OR http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/stage.pdf (British)
  • Title, character and setting page (first 3 pages) do NOT count in your 15 page count.

What is the entry fee?

Short piece:

$25 (+ HST) for Word Guild members
$32 (+HST) for non-Word Guild members

First three chapters/First 15 pages of a script:

$40 (+ HST) for Word Guild members
$50 (+ HST) for non-Word Guild members

Entry fees will be paid online via credit card or PayPal. NOTE: You do NOT need a PayPal account.

If an entrant must withdraw from the contest for any reason, they must forfeit their entry fee.

Judging sheets are based on a point system and awards will be given based on the quality of writing.

Winners will be announced by May 16, 2017

In The Beginning Entry Form