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Everyone's A Reader

Worship Write Witness
Everyone's A Reader
Novella Contest


Literacy is still a problem in the U.S. Thousands of adults, middle schoolers, and high schoolers can’t read or can’t read well. These struggling readers want stories at a level they can comprehend to help them develop into better, stronger readers. They also want stories that are geared for their interests. They don’t want to read Magic Tree House and Captain Underpants just so they can have something to read. If a book interests them, they will work harder to read it.


Contest Details

EVERYONE’S A READER Novella contest is sponsored by Worship Write Witness, a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Write a 15-25,000 word YA novella or a 25-35,000 word adult novella. These are Hi/Lo books. (High interest, low reading level.) YA needs to be written at a 2nd-3rd grade level; Adult needs to be at a 3rd-4th grade level.

Then enter the first fifteen pages for a chance at a variety of awards including a prayer shawl, Starbucks gifts cards, or even the possibility of a contract with Harpstring if accepted by their review board.

This contest is open to both published and unpublished authors. Event is sponsored by Worship Write Witness, ACFW Colorado Springs chapter.



GRAND PRIZE: The winning novella will be submitted to Harpstring with the possibility of a contract if accepted by their review board, and the author will receive other goodies including a prayer shawl. [To learn about Harpstring go to http://www.writtenworldcommunications.com]

SECOND PRIZE: A prayer scarf & $10 Starbucks gift card

THIRD PRIZE: $5 Starbucks gift card


Submission Requirements

  1. Worship Write Witness represents a Christian organization. While it is not required that your story have a spiritual theme, submissions containing sexually explicit scenes or descriptions, swearing, foul/suggestive language, or graphic violence will be ruled ineligible.
  2. Entry fee: $10 for ACFW members, $15 for non-ACFW members. If you wish to have your fifteen pages critiqued, add an additional $15 to your entry fee.
  3. You may enter as many times as you wish; however, for each submission you must also fill out an entry form and submit an additional entry fee.
  4. Only online entries submitted to Worship Write Witness will be accepted.
  5. Contest is open to everyone eighteen and older.
  6. Contest will open for submissions August 5, 2013.
  7. All entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, October 6, 2013, Mountain Time.
  8. Top three finalists will be announced on Saturday, November 23, 2013 on the ACFW Colorado Web site, ACFW Colorado Facebook Page, and Worship Write Witness Facebook Page. The finalists will be notified by e-mail and will have until November 30, 2013 to send in their completed novella manuscript.
  9. The Grand Prize Winner will be announced at the Peak Writing Conference, February 1, 2014. You need not be present to win. If winner is not present at conference, the winner will be notified by e-mail on Saturday, February 1, 2014.
  10. By entering you allow us to post your name on Worship Write Witness and ACFW Colorado websites, The Inkwell blog, and HIS Writers and ACFW Colorado social network sites (such as Facebook and Twitter).
  11. The grand prize winner will have until midnight on Sunday, March 31, 2014 to send in their completed, edited novella in an approved format to Harpstring for final approval where it will be determined if it is acceptable for publication or not.
  12. Any entry that is ruled ineligible or withdrawn from the contest will not have their entry fee returned.


Format Requirements

  1. Submit only the first 15 double-spaced pages of your unpublished completed novella, plus a two-page, single-spaced synopsis that includes the title, a one-sentence plot summary, story theme, a teaser paragraph, full synopsis, and one-paragraph author bio. Completed manuscript: YA 15-25,000: Adult 25-35,000. Put the two-page synopsis and fifteen pages in a single document for a total of seventeen pages. Click here for a sample two-page synopsis.
  2. .doc format (NO PDFs. NO .docx)
  3. Double-spaced
  4. 1” margins all the way around
  5. 0.5” paragraph indentations: NO TABS. (See FAQ)
  6. Do not TAB at the end of a paragraph; use Enter.
  7. Do not insert an extra space between paragraphs. (See FAQ)
  8. Size 12 Times New Roman font in black
  9. The header needs to include your name, title, genre, word count, and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Scale (See FAQ) in the upper left corner. Page number in the upper right corner. (Header is the only place you may use TABS).
  10. No “fancy” formatting. No bold. No all caps. No highlighting. No tables. No illustrations or pictures.
  11. Reading level for YA needs to be 2nd-3rd grade level, Adult 3rd-4th grade level. Use the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Scale on entire manuscript to determine readability level. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Scale is part of Microsoft Word. (See FAQ)
  12. Submissions not meeting these requirements will be deemed ineligible. The entry fee will not be returned.
  13. Novellas must fall under the theme of “Stories that resonate with your heart” and may be in any of the following genres:

Historical Fiction
Romance: historical, contemporary, mystery, suspense, etc.
Young Adult





1. How do I determine reading level?
Use Microsoft Word to determine the grade level using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Scale.
  • First turn on the Show Readability Statistics Option. You will only need to do this once.
  • To turn this option on, select FILE (or the windows symbol) in the upper left hand corner of the screen.
  • From the dropdown on the left, choose OPTIONS.
  • From the Options menu, select PROOFING.
  • Select O.K. at the bottom right-hand corner of the Options box..
  • Once this is done, readability statistics will display at the end of each grammar and spelling check.
  • From the Tools ribbon at the top of Microsoft Word, select REVIEW.
  • Then select SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. At the end of the spelling and grammar check, when you have gone through your entire manuscript, it will give you the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Scale. (example: 3.2 is third grade, second month.)

2. What if my reading level is too high?
Go through your manuscript and find multisyllabic words. Replace these words with words with fewer syllables. Choose easier to sound out words. Shorten your sentence length.

3. If my story exceeds the maximum grade level, will my manuscript be ineligible?
Yes. It must fit within highest grade levels given or lower because of the express purpose of this contest.

4. If my story is lower than the minimum grade level, will my manuscript be ineligible?
No. Your story may fall below the minimum levels given.

5. How do I know if I have used Tabs?
Click the Paragraph icon to show all the hidden formatting. For a tutorial go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwqvmdWDJto or refer to “Perfect Pages” by Aaron Shepard.

6. How do I indent without using Tabs?
On your tool bar, go to FORMAT, choose PARAGRAPH, under INDENTATION click on special and choose FIRST LINE. The next box over shows how big of an indent it will be. You want 0.5”. For a tutorial go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwqvmdWDJto or refer to “Perfect Pages” by Aaron Shepard.

7. How do I remove the extra space between paragraphs?

8. How do I create a header?
Click on VIEW in your toolbar. Select HEADER AND FOOTER. The header should open at the top of the page. Type in your info.

9. What is a one-sentence plot summary?
One sentence plot summary: 15-20 words. Make every word count! Who, goal, motivation, and conflict. DON’T USE NAMES!

10. What is story theme?
Theme is what your story is about. Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D. calls this the moral premise. Think in terms of what your protagonist needs to learn. Themes are generally values. Examples could include: reconciliation, lying doesn’t pay/honesty is the best policy, gossip hurts/is wrong, love, importance of obedience, thou shalt not lie, letting go of control, forgiveness, honor your parents, greed, vanity, laziness, controlling your tongue, pride, etc.

11. What is a teaser paragraph?
70-100 words. Make every word count! Try to answer who, what, when, where, why & how. The purpose of the teaser paragraph is NOT to tell the whole story. It is a highlight of the highlights. Like back cover copy. It makes the reader/editor want to buy your book.

12. What should I put in my bio?
One paragraph author bio. List education, publishing credits, why you are qualified to write this book, writing related awards won, ACFW member, crit group member, etc.

13. What if page fifteen ends in the middle of a paragraph or sentence?
That is fine. Don’t worry about it.

14. Can I enter a story that is concurrently entered in another contest?
Yes, but if the entry finals in either contest, it must be withdrawn from the other contest/s.

15. If my story has been previously published on a blog or personal Web site, is it eligible?
Yes, but the story must be taken off the website, blog, or any other places before entering it and for the duration of the contest. If the story wins, negotiations will be made whether or not it can be put back up and when.


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