Once Upon a Time… Our new contest

(the storied towers that are A Word with You Press in Moscow)

Literati (that would be vouz)

You have a novel on ice, hibernating, a literary lethargy. The pages are stiff with winter and inactivity, the imagined words brittle, or sluggish, almost atrophied. You have promised yourself and the world your masterpiece, only…winter interceded, and your manuscript remains curled up in a cave, incomplete.

But today, something strange begins; your fingers begin to thaw and have a sudden appetite for a keyboard. The vocabulary of intent begins to bud; frozen words begin to have an unexpected fluidity. The writer’s block that you could not move is melting of its own accord, because today, March 20th, is the first day of spring, and the start of our new contest:

Once Upon a Time

Unlike other contests, there is neither prompt nor word limit. You will submit as your entry the prologue to your work in progress. Write enough but not too much to give a vision of what is to come. This is foreplay.

The work must be previously unpublished, and by submitting your work, you grant A Word with You Press one time permission to publish on-line and in print (at our option).

All entries must be received by June first. All entries will be posted by June 7th, at which time five semi-finalists will be chosen, who will then submit chapter one to their manuscript by June 10th. On June 17th, three finalists will be selected, who will then submit chapter two, which is due June 20th.  The winner will be announced on June 27th, to coincide with the Fifth Annual Editor-in-Chief (moi) Surprise Birthday Party.

All five semi-finalists will receive a $25 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble or the bookstore of their choice if available.

All three finalists will in addition receive any three books published by A Word with You Press

The winner will receive all of the above and $250.

Entry fee is $15 per contestant made payable through Paypal to thorn@awordwithyoupress.com. All entries should be sent to thorn@awordwithyoupress.com as well. If you have previously entered three of our contests, you are considered family, and the entry fee is not mandatory, but a much appreciated donation to help defer the cost of the prizes.

If you have a previously published novel we would love to have you submit it, though it will not be eligible for the competition. We will publish prologue, then first chapter, then second chapter. We will put a link to your website where people can read more or buy your book.

* * * * *

The intent of this contest is to get people writing. Because if they are writing, they are also thinking, and feeling, and connecting themselves to humanity. And isn’t that connection what we are all after?  And why we write? I am grateful for the comments, both in the comment boxes on the site and by email, that helped me shape the rules and dimensions of this contest. As you can see, I took them to heart. We will concurrently be running other contests that don’t require so much heavy lifting, and will  address non-fiction, poetry, and perhaps screenplays.


30 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time… Our new contest

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    Have you, dear maiden both frozen assets (Russian not so funny joke) and Chilly-Willy cheeks all penguin? Well open your mind Monty Python and write the other page for this Holy Grail Knight. My Arthur, King of the Brits, roundtable advice is too deice the moat bridge and gate, because it is time for us to pass our stones, I mean wordy novel, unarmed fate, pen drawn “Once Upon a Time”.

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    My donation is PayPal sent which I mention to request that other vested writers do the same, so we can continue to share the benefits of A Word With You Press.

    Being a very old-fashioned and extremely lyrical, narrative romance writer, I would appreciate opinions of the length of a modern day “Prologue” in word count.

    • Parisianne Modert says:

      Currently my prologue is 1400+ words or about 4 pages. Too little? Too much? Just about right Goldilocks?

      • Gary says:

        can’t sign into Discus – should anyone be surprised? But, Madame, my own prologue is over 2,000 words and a quick scan of the internet states there is no set length for a prologue.

    • thorn says:

      I am leaving the length of the prologue to the discretion of the author.the longer it isthe more you are at risk of creating a hurdle for a stumbling block to slow down the reader. nuance and detail can be expected was in the body of the novel but the prologue serves the very important function of setting up the story and persuading the reader to go further. once we are into a story and we have established a rapport with the main characteras readers we are more tolerant of any diversions from the plotthat might distract us.that luxury does not exist withz the prologue. 1400 wordsmaybe just the perfect length for what you need.don’t tell the story;tell the story of the story you are about to tell. Gary’s is bigger than mine. Size does not matter as long as something comes of it!

  3. Chuck Chuckerson says:

    I believe the old contest rules gave this site first publishing rights on contest entries. Is my memry correct? Is that still true? Is it true of this contest in particular?

        • thorn says:

          Yup. submitting does not guarantee that we will post the stories. generally we post all stories as long as they are not overtly pornographic or denigrate any particular category of people (excrpt for editors of course) we also avoid anything with a political or religious agenda.

          • thorn says:

            Misread your comment! I read ever instead of never! If we dont puvlish your work by the end of our contest we makw no claim to it!

  4. Parisianne Modert says:

    My prologue, picture request and video request have been submitted not in the name of the mouse, but by the Goddess Aurora in her modern chariot bringing sunlight to the starry dawn of a modern young woman alive in Switzerland in 1917. Let the adventures take flight.

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  17. Don Maker says:

    I’ve never seen a “proper” length given for a prologue. I have been told many times, however, that “no one” reads a prologue any more, they skip to the first chapter. Although I felt one was necessary to my WIP, I tried to keep it short. Personally, I feel 2000 words is a chapter, not a prologue.

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