Who May Enter
- You must have completed The One Year Adventure Novel course.
- You must be no older than 19 years old on August 15.
- You must not have previously won first place in this contest.
- You must have a valid curriculum license. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and shipping address if you have lost your curriculum license number.
To be eligible to enter this year, your first rough draft of the novel must have been completed in the past 14 months. If you completed your rough draft after June 15 of this calendar year, you can choose to enter this year or the following year.
If you finished the first draft of your novel after June 15, 2020, and entered it into the 2020 Student Novel Contest, you may choose to resubmit it to the 2021 contest, since it was still completed within 14 months of the contest deadline. Novels completed prior to the 14-month limit may not be resubmitted, even if they have been edited since the initial completion of the rough draft.
All entries will be posted on the Novel Showcase page of our Student Forum unless the entrant requests their submission be omitted. Finalist and winning manuscripts may also be posted on the main website Showcase. We reserve the right to refuse inclusion on our site at our discretion, for any reason.
You retain all rights to your work. A notice of your copyright will appear with the description of your novel in the Novel Showcase.
Manuscripts must be formatted correctly in order to be considered. Follow the formatting instructions indicated in chapter 77 of your textbook.* However, do not include your address, phone number, or email address on the cover page (as you would when submitting a novel to a publisher). Instead, your cover page should contain only the book title and your name (or pseudonym).
*In Edition Two (spring of 2014) we made two updates based on industry changes. Both Courier New and Times New Roman are now accepted. Use 12-point size for either font. You may italicize if you use Times New Roman, but you must still underline if you use Courier New.
Manuscripts must be under 125,000 words and follow the general guidelines outlined in The One Year Adventure Novel curriculum. This means:
• Your OWN Work
Your novel must be an original work in English.
• Not Violating to the Reader
Your novel must be free of offensive content (especially of a sexual or gratuitously violent nature). While we respect the right of authors to create honest stories, we also respect the right of readers to retain their innocence. We therefore reserve the right to disqualify any novel we deem to be offensive to a general audience. (We’re not saying it can’t be “PG-13,” but please email us if you have any questions about this.)
• “Heroic Quest” Model
Your novel must be based on the “heroic quest” story pattern, though that pattern may be expressed in many different genres. You may submit an adventure, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, contemporary, or mystery/thriller novel—so long as the plot is built around a “heroic quest” model.
• First Person, Unless…
Your novel must be told in first-person point of view unless you have previously completed a novel with The One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN) in the first-person point of view. We will accept third-person point of view novels from students who wrote their first OYAN novel in the first person and are now submitting a second, third or fourth OYAN novel in the third person.
• One Author
Submissions must be the work of one and only one author. We cannot accept works by multiple authors.
• Novels Only
We cannot accept fan fiction, short stories, or poetry.
The decisions of the judges are their own, and are final.
The winner(s) are announced on this website and during our Contest Webinar (date to be determined).
- Our panel of staff readers each read the first ten pages of every entry. Those stories that fail to hold our interest are removed from the competition.
- We read the entire first chapter, removing those novels that fail to live up to the promise of the first ten pages. When in doubt, we leave the novel in the competition.
- We read deeper into the remaining novels, this time setting aside those we feel merit a complete reading.
- We read the complete novel and discuss the merits of each. We then choose finalists.
Three top awards are chosen from among the finalists.
These three novels are given to two independent judges. We ask the judges to read and evaluate all three manuscripts based on the five categories listed below, and rank them in first, second and third place. We also ask them to comment on the novels. These comments are returned to the authors with their awards.
What We Look For
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”