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This contest is designed for unpublished writers.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.


Age of Entrants:

  •  Ages 25-99


Genre Categories:

  • Fiction short piece (1,500 words max)
  • Non-fiction short piece (1,500 words max)
  • Poetry (1,500 words max) May include more than one poem but total word count of all poems will be 1500. If more than one poem is submitted it shall be considered one submission with one judging form.
  • 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 2024 prizes?

Grand prize (one overall winner):

  • Awards Certificate
  • Complimentary membership in The Word Guild for the following year.
  • Cash Prize
  • Valuable critique and marks on entry writing

Runner up (one for each genre category):

  • Awards Certificate
  • Complimentary membership in The Word Guild for the following year.
  • Valuable critique and marks on entry writing

In the Beginning winners will also be recognized at The Word Awards Celebration.


Entry Fees:

Short Story, Non-Fiction Piece or Poetry

  • Members: $25 CAD + HST (per title and/or category entered)
  • Non Members: $35 CAD + HST (per title and/or category entered)

Manuscript 1st Three Chapters, Script

  • Members: $35 CAD + HST (per title and/or category entered)
  • Non Members: $50 CAD + HST (per title and/or category entered)


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  • Contest open to any Unpublished Canadian Christian writers who affirm the Apostle’s Creed.
  • Unpublished Writer Definition: For the purpose of this contest the entrant will not have been previously published and/or paid for in the category they have chosen.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).
  • 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 chapters)?

  • 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:

  • FinalDraft(.com) is the industry standard software for automatic formatting screenplays, and it includes several (British & American) acceptable stage play manuscript formats in the same software.  There are various competing softwares that are good.  There are many websites which review what the manuscript should look like for meeting industry standards.
  • UNIVERSAL SCREENPLAY MANUSCRIPT: 12pt courier type, 1” margins.


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.


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


Ready to Submit?  Click Here >