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This contest is designed for unpublished writers.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.

in the beginning

Age of Entrants:

2016 In The Beginning Unpublished Writer Awards


  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)
  • First 15 pages of a short script – Screen or Stage (up to 45 pages)

What are the 2018 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  • Contest open to any Unpublished Canadian Christian writers who affirm the Apostle’s Creed.
  • Unpublished Writer Definition: For the purpose of this contest the entrant will not have been previously published and/or paid for in the category they have chosen. If entering in the First 3 Chapters category then the entrant can not have been published in either novella or full-length novel format (Print or Online).
  • Not Eligible to Previous Fresh Ink or In The Beginning Winners or Runners-Up
  • There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted, however, a single manuscript may not be entered into 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: poetry, fiction or non-fiction can be on any topic you would like.
  • Short Script, Screen or Stage: Any genre. Any theme (Up to 45 pages).
  • Manuscripts for a book – First three chapters

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: (American) OR (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 The Word Guild members
$32 (+HST) for non-The Word Guild members

First three chapters/First 15 pages of a script:

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

The contest is CLOSED for 2018 and will reopen in Fall 2019

Fresh Ink & In The Beginning Contest Submissions Enter Here >