How to Enter
Create a poem, fiction or non-fiction story.
Follow the Contest Guidelines and General Rules listed below.
Category descriptions are also listed below.
Submit your writings along with an entry form.
|POETRY (grades 3-12)|
What is Poetry? The language of the imagination and feelings. Prose explains, and poetry sings, but it doesn’t have to rhyme. Poetry is precise, concrete, fresh, memorable, and magical. A poem, like food, can feed us. It can be a peach, a pizza, a taco, or a four-course meal. But it can also be popcorn or a candy bar. Always, poetry uses words as ingredients to let us taste, touch, see, smell or hear something in the world as if for the first time.
|FICTION (grades 3-12)|
|What is Fiction? The art of storytelling. To build a good story, a writer needs: plot, characters, place or setting, point of view, dialogue, action and conflict. When we read a good story we’re pulled into another world and leave this one far behind. We travel to different places in our imagination, and when we return, we often see our world with new eyes.|
|NON-FICTION (grades 5-12)
|What is Creative Non-fiction? An essay with real events and people that mattered or changed you—the day your pet chicken died, that summer your best friend moved away. Characters, settings, and events are true. The writer decides the best way to grab our attention, how to start, what elements of poetry to add as spice—images, metaphor, simile—and what elements of fiction to add zing—characters, place, dialogue. This genre is popular because we read it and think, “Wow, this really happened to someone else, but I feel like I was there!”|
General Rules—Contest Rules & Guidelines need to be followed or your entry piece will not be accepted.
1. Entries must be the student’s original work and previously unpublished
2. Entries must be proofread for punctuation, spelling and grammar by teacher or parent
3. NO Essays accepted
4. Entry forms are available on website; Fill out the entire entry form. An email address is required.
5. One entry form per student; 1 contact person per school must fill out Summary form
6. Each entry form can be used for up to three poems, three fiction and three non-fiction submissions
7. When mailing entries, please include a copy of the registration form and payment. Entries must be postmarked by January 20, 2017
8. Each entry submission must include the entry fee of
9. Winning entries will be published in an anthology, please refrain from explicit language or content
10. Save an electronic version of each entry
11. For a reference, a PDF of last year’s anthology is on the website
12. All students entering from the same school will be listed under one contact person from that school
Contest Guidelines (must follow)
¨ Title each entry piece
¨ Typed on white paper
¨ 12 pt. Times New Roman font
¨ 1 inch margins
¨ DO NOT put your name on entries
¨ No staples, please
¨ No pictures, images or graphics
POETRY: limit 3 Grades 3-12
¨ One poem per page
¨ Any style or set-up of poem
FICTION: limit 3 Grades 3-12
¨ Numbered pages
¨ Maximum length: 12 pages
NON-FICTION: limit 3 Grades 5-12
¨ Numbered pages
¨ Maximum length: 6 pages
Entries are screened by SMSU creative writing students who score the entries according to a rubric. Each entry is scored by multiple student judges. The entries with the highest scores are submitted to the final judges, faculty in the SMSU Creative Writing Program.
|After the results are determined; the top three place finishers will receive an Award Ceremony Invitation. RSVP is needed. As a place finisher, you will need to submit an electronic version of all entries. Winning entries will be printed in the anthology.|
|An awards ceremony will be held on Sunday afternoon, April 23, 2017, for finalists, their families and teachers. Attire is business casual. Additional details will be sent to finalists at a later date. This year’s special guest speaker will be James Autio, author/artist, from Minneapolis, MN.|
¨Students are eligible to receive only one $2,000 Creative Writing Scholarship per year (junior year, senior year). If they have won multiple awards for a maximum of two scholarships, one scholarship may be used during their freshman year and the second one during their sophomore year. The student must be enrolled as a full-time, degree-seeking student (minimum 12 credits/semester) at SMSU.
¨ Gift certificates for the 1st place finishers from each grade level in each writing category.
¨ Medals for the top three place finishers in each grade level from each writing category.
¨ 1 free copy of the anthology (book) for all place finishers.
¨ A recognition award will be presented to the school with the most place winners.