Friday, June 10, 2011

2011 Writing Contest Guidelines

The El Paso Writer’s League
2011 Writing Contest Guidelines


The contest is exclusive to EPWL members who have paid their annual dues in full before the contest deadline.


  • Submissions must be original and unpublished.
  • Submissions may not have been awarded prizes in either an EPWL or any other literary contest.
  • Manuscripts being considered, but not under contract, by publishers are eligible for submission in this contest.
  • All entries must follow the rules written down anywhere in this document.


POETRY: ANY TOPIC (Nature, Southwest, Humorous, or whatever inspires you.)

  1. Traditional: Poetry distinguished by the prosody of historic structures of meter, rhythm, rhyme, and versification, (including Blank Verse).
  2. Closed Form: Poetry in specific and traditional patterns recognizable by their structure, e.g. couplets, ballad, sonnet, villanelle, limerick, sestina, among others.
  3. Open Form (Free Verse): Poetry that does not conform to any established or historic meter, rhyme, or stanza structure. Such poetry derives its poetic qualities from the repetition of words, phrases, grammatical structures, arrangement of words or lines on the printed page, or any other innovative means of expression.
  4. Haiku, Tanka, Senryu, Ghazal, and other forms of international poetic expression.
  5. Children’s: Poetry that consists of whimsical, lyrical, laughable, loveable expressions of wit and wisdom. ANY FORM.

PROSE, NON-FICTION (2,000 words MAX.)

  1. Inspirational: Think Chicken Soup stories. What are the words of wisdom that have guided you along your life’s path? What inspiring message or insights would you like share with others?
  2. Personal Essay/Op-Ed/Feature Article: Discussion of a single subject from a personal point of view. Think newspaper Editorial Page or Living Section. Challenge others to think about, act upon, or appreciate your perspective on issues of common interest or concern.
  3. Character Profile: Description of the qualities and characteristics that contribute to a particular person or pet’s unique personality.
  4. Southwest / Travel: An article or essay describing and detailing the cultural, geographic, or historical significance and/or current events impacting an interesting local, national, or international location you have experienced.
  5. Reminiscence: An account of your personal reflections about a memorable time or event that had a significant impact upon you and your life.


  1. Adult Short Story: 3000 words MAX.
  2. Adult FLASH Fiction: 500 words MAX.
  3. Children/ YA Story: 1500 words MAX. Please specify appropriate age group.
  4. Book Chapter: Please specify fiction or non-fiction.
  5. Theater/Screen Play: A one-act play, or the first ten pages of a longer play.

Submitting entries

A member may enter any or all categories, but no more than two entries per category .
Submit two copies of each entry along with an official Entry Form to Mike Grunsten by the deadline: Sept. 11, 2010.

Entry fees

$20 for 1-5 submissions and $3 for each additional entry. If a contest entrant brings in a sponsor of $60 or more, the $20 entry fee will be waived.

Minimum entries

Categories with fewer than five entries will be absorbed into a Mainstream category.

How to submit
  • All submissions are to be submitted anonymously, enclosed in a manila envelope at least 10x14, with the name and telephone number of the author on the outside of the envelope.
  • Use standard size, plain white paper. Do not staple the pages of your entry. Instead, hold the pages together with a removable clip.
  • All contest entries must be typed, and with the exception of poetry, double-spaced. Use one-inch margins all around. Indent each paragraph 5 to 7 spaces. Entries must be typed according to appropriate, professional form. See attached example of format.
  • Contest entries must be clean and neat. Misspellings, strikeovers, hard-to-read, and old or yellowed manuscripts are not acceptable.
  • Do not use fancy or script fonts for your text, except when stating character’s thoughts. Those go in italics. Stick to Times New Roman or one of the other fonts that most publishers use. Use 12 point size.
  • The category and subject matter of each entry must appear in the left hand margin of the first page. (Example: Fiction: Romance or Book Length: Nonfiction or Poetry: Children’s, etc.) Word count of prose entries needs to appear on the right. Word count for poetry is unnecessary. On the following pages, type a key word from the title of the contest entry in the upper left-hand corner and page number in the upper right-hand corner. Do not put your name on any page of the manuscript.
  • Do not include a cover page, illustrations, or pictures in the manuscript.
  • Please sign your official Entry Form (to be given out at the August meeting) with your name, the titles of your entries, and the amount of money you submitted with the entries.
  • Any deviation from these rules could be basis for disqualification.


The contest deadline is Saturday, September 10, 2011. If you want to submit prior to the contest deadline, please send the completed Entry Form (August meeting), two copies of each entry, and the entry fee to:

El Paso Writers’ League
P.O.Box 13567
El Paso, Texas 70013

Attn: Mike Grunsten, Contest Chair

No entries will be accepted after the close of the EPWL business meeting on Saturday, September 10.

Need help?
If you have questions, feel free to call Mike Grunsten at 915-731-1318, or send an email to

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