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Announcing the First Ever Writing Show Contest!

The Writing Show is proud to announce our first ever writing contest.

We are looking for the best first chapter of a novel. That's all you have to do - just the first chapter.

Set up your story and hook us!


There will be three prizes: a first prize of $150 and two second prizes of $50 each.
Each winning entry will be featured on our website, and we will also have them read by some excellent voice actors and made available as audio files.

What we're looking for:

Your writing will be judged on the following five critera:

  1. Concept. Is it a compelling read with a great hook?
  2. Style. Is the writing smooth and flowing?
  3. Dialog. Is the dialog natural and does it move the story along?
  4. Character. Are the characters interesting?
  5. Mechanics. Are grammar and punctutation correct?

We're not necessarily looking for great literature of fancy writing. We just want an absorbing story that grabs us quickly. The point is to write tightly and economically. You don't have to write in a spare style like Hemingway, but you must make every word count.


Entries are limited to 3000 words, which should give you a lot of room to get into the story. In setting that limit, we did a little research on some famous books to see how long their first chapters are.

For example:

  • Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities: 1007 words.
  • Herman Melville, Moby Dick: 2218 words.
  • Henry James, The Golden Bowl: 6269 words.
  • Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass: 3254 words.
  • William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes: 3102 words.

In light of these numbers, we think 3000 words is adequate for the first chapter of a modern novel.

  • Any fiction Genre is okay.
  • You must write in the English language, although of course, a few foreign phrases are okay if they're necessary in context.
  • G, PG, and R ratings are okay.
  • The chapter must be your original work and must be unpublished.
  • You must holod all the rights to the material.
  • Relatives of the judges may not enter the contest.
  • Only one entry per person. There will be lots of other contests, so you'll have a chance to enter more writing later.

How to Submit:

This contest will be conducted entirely electronically. To send us an entry, you should do one of two things:

  • Send a link to a PDF or HTML version of the work.
  • Semd an email attachment of a txt, doc, rtf or pdf file.

The address to submit to is:

Your submission must include the following:

  • Your name.
  • Your phone number. If you're outside the U.S and Canada, we need your country code.
  • Your email address.
  • Your snail-mail address.
  • Title of the work.
  • Word count.
  • A log line - a one-sentence description of this work. Use it to hook us!
  • The following text: I am the author of this work and hold all rights to it. If i win, I grant The Writing Show permission to display the work on its website or sites and to have an audio recording of the work made and distributed.

Note: Please do not put this information on the chapter itself, only in your email. If you include any identifying information on the chapter, it will make more work for me as I will have to strip it out before I give it to the judges.

You'll find information about the contest on our website at We'll be updating both the blog and the pages section of the site from time to time, so please do check back with us.

Please follow these directions carefully to minimize the amount of work we have to do to administer the contest.

Good luck, thanks for listening, and we'll be looking forward to receiving your entries.

Paula B.