Writing Contest Categories and Length Limits
Instructions for all writing categories
Font: Times New Roman or Arial at 12 pt.
Titles: Titles at the top of the first page only. Do not use a separate title page. Poems should be titled individually.
Do Not Use Real Names: Real names should not be used. Winning work is displayed publicly and the identities of real people must be protected.
No Name: The student's name should NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript.
No Images: No illustrations, photographs or graphics.
Sources: Sources must be cited. Footnotes/works cited are not considered part of the word count.
Collaboration: Collaborative works are not allowed in any writing categories.
Categories do sometimes change from year to year. If you have submitted in a category in a previous year, please check to see if guidelines have changed. If you are not sure which category or categories you should submit in, or if you have a question not answered by the category descriptions, please e-mail us.
Note about Art Entries: The Missouri Writing Region accepts writing entries only. We do not accept art submissions. Even if you are a student in Missouri, your art submissions will be made to a different region. You can check which writing and art regions you belong to on the artandwriting.org website.
Note about Novels: Novels are not judged at a regional level; they are judged at a national level. Details are in the Novel category description below.
Excerpts may be submitted.
Stories in which humor or science fiction/fantasy are key elements should be submitted in those respective categories.
Work in any genre in which humor is the key element should be submitted in this category.
Writing that informs and educates about newsworthy topics or current events. Examples include (but are not limited to) writing intended for publication in newspapers, magazines or online media and characterized by a presentation of facts or description of events. Length Limits: Grades 7 - 8, 400 - 2,000 words; Grades 9 - 12, 500 - 3,000 words.
This category includes nonfiction work only. Fictional essays should be submitted in the Short Story or Flash Fiction categories. Sources must be cited. Footnotes/works cited are not considered part of the word count.
This category includes nonfiction work only. Fictional essays should be submitted in the Short Story or Flash Fiction categories.
Writing that makes an argument to support a particular point of view or position. The writer presents a clear stand or opinion, and then provides facts and data to support it. Examples of persuasive writing include: editorials, position papers, essays prepared for debate or speech. Length Limits: Grades 7 - 8, 400 - 2,000 words; Grades 9 - 12, 500 - 3,000 words.
Sources must be cited. Footnotes/works cited are not considered part of the word count.
Writing in verse. May include prose poetry, free verse, structured poetry (sonnets, sestinas, tankas, cinquians, villanelles, etc.), song lyrics, and spoken word. Length Limits: Grades 7 - 8, 20 - 100 lines (total for the entire collection); Grades 9 - 12, 30 - 200 lines (total for the entire collection).
Each submission consists of 1-5 poems to be considered as a collection. Each collection of 1-5 poems counts as one submission. Students may submit more than one collection, but must register each as a separate collection.
Work in any genre in which science fiction/fantasy is the key element should be submitted in this category. Do not base characters or plots on already published works (books, movies, comics, etc.).
Please note word length limits for Short Story compared to Flash Fiction. Short Stories in which humor or science fiction/fantasy are key elements should be submitted in those respective categories.
Writing Portfolio (for Graduating Seniors)
PORTFOLIOS ARE OPEN ONLY TO GRADUATING SENIORS. Writing Portfolios must include 4-8 different works from varying categories (outlined above) or from the same category. Novels may not be submitted as part of a Writing Portfolio.
The word count for each piece submitted in a writing portfolio should adhere to the length limits listed in each individual category. The maximum length for a writing portfolio is 24,000 words (not including the table of contents or writer's statement). Please do a word count before submitting work.
- The Writing Portfolio must include a writer's statement. The statement should be 300-750 words and answer the following questions:
Why did you select the work you submitted for your Writing Portfolio?
How do you hope people will react when they read your work?
What role does writing play in your life?
- Students may submit individual pieces in their portfolios to be considered for individual awards. However, for a piece to be considered for an individual award, it must be separately registered in that category.
- Seniors may resubmit writing works submitted in a previous Scholastic Awards competition as part of their Writing Portfolio, but should note the previous title and award.
Graduating Seniors are allowed one Writing Portfolio per student.
Novel Writing is a National Category and judged only in New York. Novels are not judged at the regional level. Please register online, upload work, and mail submission forms and fees to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers in New York. DO NOT send submission forms and fees to your Regional Affiliate (Missouri Writing Region).
A novel is an extended, fictitious work of prose. In collaboration with Scholastic's PUSH imprint, one national-level Novel Gold Medalist will work with a professional editor to complete his/her manuscript, with the possibility of publication.
Length Limit: Grades 7 - 12, submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript (not including outline).
Include an outline (up to two pages) for the entire novel.
The outline is meant to provide readers with a full understanding of the scope of your novel. It does not count toward the maximum page limit/p>
The outline should include:
- A plot overview summarizing your complete story.
- A brief summary of each chapter (one or two sentences per chapter).
- A brief character development summary for each of your main characters (one or two sentences per character).
Submit an excerpt of up to 50 pages of your manuscript (not including outline). Please note the following.
- Submissions must be uploaded online AND printed and mailed to the address below, along with the submission form.
- Printed work must be double-spaced in 12-point font with one-inch margins (does not apply for work entered in the text editor online).
- The title of the work should appear at the top of the first page only. Do not use a separate title page.
- The student's name and school must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript itself.
- Adaptations of or sequels to existing published series are not accepted.
- Due to the large volume of submissions, we're unable to give feedback on manuscripts.
Novel Writing submissions are judged in New York. The same deadline applies for Novel Writing as for all other Writing categories. Submission forms for Novel Writing should be mailed directly to:
Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
Attn: Novel Writing Submission
New York, NY 10012
Novel winners will be notified in May 2013.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.