The Short Story contest is open to all authors, published or unpublished, 18 years of age or older. Individuals under 18 may enter with a parent or guardian’s permission.
Entries & Fee:
Short Story: An original short story (6,000 word maximum). Entries must not have been previously published in any form.
Theme: Matt 17:20
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Your short story can be about anything as long as it fits into the one of the genres listed below, contains the theme mentioned above, and has a clear faith element (Christian). The theme should be obvious to the reader. For instance, if the theme was “Storms” there would need to be a storm in your story somewhere. Metaphorical storms would not count.
Categories and definitions:
Stories set in year 1960 or after that do not fit in one of the other categories
Any story with a setting prior to 1960
Romantic suspense would fit here
Any type of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or combination.
If it’s weird, it goes here.
contemporary, Earth-based, regular fiction
Protagonists younger than 20 years
The Contest Committee reserves the right to combine categories if a minimum of 5 entries are not received.
This is a Christian fiction contest. No objectionable content allowed. The manuscript should not contain profanity, graphic sex, gratuitous violence or other objectionable material, and must otherwise conform to generally accepted standards of the CBA. Submissions not meeting this requirement may be disqualified.
Entry fees via PayPal:
$15 per story for ACFW-Houston & ACFW-The Woodlands members.
All others $20 first story, additional entries $15.
Entry fees are non-refundable. They are used by the local ACFW Chapters to finance the contest, as well as fundraising for local chapter events.
Category Coordinators will determine whether the entries meet the required theme, content, and formatting requirements. Entries that do not meet the requirements will not pass to judging.
First Round judging: Panelists will score entries based on 5 categories. Scoring results will be returned to the contestant as feedback. Panelists can only vote in categories they have not entered as a contestant.
Final Round judging: The short story committee will select stories for publication from the highest rated entries and will award at least a first prize in categories with 5 or more entries.
Winning stories will be edited with the cooperation of the author prior to publication.
Winning cover art will be revised with the cooperation of the artist prior to publication.
Winners agree that the Houston-area ACFW chapters shall have the exclusive right to use their story for a period of two-years from the date that the story is published. After the two-year period, rights to Author's Work revert back to Author, though ACFW retains the right to publish and promote the issue in which Author's Work appears in perpetuity.
Proceeds from the sale of the anthology will be donated directly to the ACFW Scholarship Fund, but authors can receive a report each quarter upon request.
July 1st - Contest is open for entries.
August 31st - Submissions closed (Midnight Central Time).
September 1st - Scoring begins.
September 31st – Finalists announced.
October 21st - Winners announced at the ACFW-The Woodlands Indie Publishing Mini Conference.
Entries must be .doc or .docx files
Include a title page with a 2-3 sentence explanation of how the story fits this year’s contest theme (“faith like a mustard seed”)
Name should not appear anywhere on the entry
Bible verses must be referenced in a footnote or endnote
Manuscript pages must be in standard format:
Size 12 Times New Roman (Including the header)
Unjustified and aligned left text with no extra space between paragraphs
Begin one third the distance from the top margin
Scene breaks should be indicated with a single (#) or triple pound sign (###) as their own line with a single blank line above and below
Header should contain the category and title aligned left and the page number aligned right. For example