Contest Rules

FI: Contest RulesThank you to all who entered.  The 2012 PPW Fiction Writing Contest is NOW CLOSED!

2012 Contest Rules

Official rules for the 2012 PPW Fiction Writing Contest can be downloaded in two formats:  Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF.

Before entering the contest, we strongly recommend that you read the rules carefully and review the FAQs below.


Download Word Document (includes submission checklist)


  Download PDF Document (includes submission checklist)

2012 Contest Submission Checklist

Use this handy checklist to ensure your submission is ready to send!


Download Word Document


adobe_reader_iconDownload PDF Document


Frequently Asked Questions

Author’s Name.  The rules state that an electronic copy of the entry must be sent as an attachment without the author’s name.  Does this extend to the e-mail itself?  Should we include our name in the body of the e-mail, or is the title of the manuscript sufficient for identification purposes?

It’s fine to have your name on the e-mail.  You just can’t have it anywhere on the submission document or synopsis. For instance, make sure your last name isn’t part of the header.

Can I submit more than one entry?

Sure can! The one restriction is no more than two entries in any single category. Each entry must be sent individually, with its own entry form.
Is it acceptable to submit the same work for two different categories?

Yes, you may submit the same manuscript in different categories. Just remember, each submission requires its own entry form and entry fee.

What if I’ve published book length nonfiction?

Nonfiction publication does not disqualify you from our fiction contest.

I have some questions about my eligibility for the Contest.  I would like to enter in the novel-length mainstream fiction category.  I have been published in short fiction both online and in print, and the print story won a monetary prize. Am I still eligible for submitting in the novel-length mainstream fiction category?

Based on what you wrote, you are eligible to enter any of the novel-length fiction category of the contest.  Your short stories would not affect your eligibility to enter the book-length categories even if you did receive monetary compensation.

Times are tight. What is the entry fee money used for?

Mainly, the entry fee pays the costs involved in running the contest: postage and mailing awards for the contest winners in eight categories, and a small judging credit to help judges attend the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.  Our goal is to bring in more money than we spend on the contest to pay for other Pikes Peak Writer events such as workshops, Write Brains, online chats, and American Icon.  You can see a list of past and upcoming events

My story is a thriller.  Are you placing those in mainstream or mystery?

You may place it in either category, but we recommend the Mystery/Suspense/Intrigue category, since thrillers can have any or all of those elements.

Where does paranormal fit into the categories?

It always depends on the main thrust of the story. A paranormal romance goes into romance, but other  stories involving paranormal elements might go into any of the other categories. Please refer to the rules for more information about genre if you aren’t certain which category to
enter in.

My question concerns the Target Market paragraph for short stories.  I can sum my short story target up in two sentences.  Those who would be interested, (sentence one) and the magazines that might publish it (sentence two).  Am I missing something?  Should I “defend” my choice?

Your two sentences sound like enough for the Target Market paragraph.  No need to defend your choices; they will speak for themselves.  If a judge feels that any of the magazines you list may not be a good fit–for example, you mention The New Yorker as a possible venue, but your judge feels the story isn’t in the magazine’s usual style–the judge may comment on that.

Must a manuscript be completed to be submitted?

No. The main purpose of the contest is to get feedback on your writing. You do not need to have a completed manuscript to enter the contest. We do advise, however, that you have a completed manuscript if you are seeking an agent or editor appointment at the Conference.

For a novel entry, is the 4,000-word guideline a maximum or a firm page requirement? I have a natural break in the story slightly earlier, but I don’t want points taken off for submitting fewer than 4,000 words.

The 4,000 words are a maximum; you may have fewer words if it better fits a break in your story.  You may also go right to the end of the 4,000 words and break in the middle of a sentence.  Your choice.

I’d like to clarify the word count requirements for this year’s fiction writing contest, specifically for novel length fiction.  I noted that the word count for synopses will be 1250 words, while the entry should be no more than 4000 words. My question is this:  Are you considering actual word count or calculated work count (250 words per page)?  This could make a difference in the number of pages, and I would not wish to be disqualified for submitting a 6 page synopsis with 1200 words, when you’re really looking for a 5 page synopsis. 

We use the actual word count, not the “calculated” word count. Don’t worry about the number of pages anymore. With electronic submissions, we can’t be sure that the number of pages you sent is the number of pages we received, and so the word count is safer.

Receipt Confirmation: Someone I know who entered the contest received a confirmation to their e-copy contest entry. I didn’t, though I sent mine before she did. Should I worry about this?

If you haven’t received a confirmation of your entry within three business days, please feel free to contact us ( Depending on where we are in the contest, our response times may vary as our sanity levels fluctuate.