F&A Contest Rules

After much demand and internal squabbling over trivial semantics, we are proud to present the “official rules” for the 2013 DFW Writers’ Conference FIRE & ASH writing contest (try saying that five times fast). Considering we are indeed human and prone to mistakes, there is some level of certainty that these rules do not cover all the possible questions. Should you find yourself stumped and in need of clarification, please email director@dfwcon.org. Otherwise, here are the rules for this contest.

Contest Guidelines

The goal for the DFW Writers’ Conference is to provide a professional educational experience at an economical price. This contest will challenge writers to demonstrate their creative prowess by writing a short story — or the opening of a story — based on the opening few lines from Jonathan Maberry’s upcoming YA novel, FIRE & ASH (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books, August 27, 2013).

Benny Imura sat in the dark and spoke with monsters.
It was like that every day.
It had become the pattern of his life. Shadows and blood.
And monsters.

The writer has the freedom to use as much or as little of the opening as needed. However, Maberry’s opening must be recognizable in the entry’s opening. All genres are open, with the exception of zombies. The selected genre must be recognized in the entry.

Judging Criteria 

Each piece will be evaluated on several key areas: Creativity, Technicality, and Story. These elements will be graded by our panel of judges, with the top three scores moving to the Jonathan Maberry final.

  1. Creativity:
    Value here identifies the writer’s ability to utilize the contest’s theme and maintain the overall scope of the contest. The author needs to employ a creative stance in modifying the opening in order to sway the reader to a genre other than zombies. The new genre needs to be easily recognized throughout the piece.
  2. Technical:
    The entry needs to be of publishable quality. All the technical areas of story-telling will be reviewed. These include, but are not limited to: grammar, punctuation, structure, and conciseness.
  3. Story
    The writer needs to create believable, memorable characters with the uniqueness, complexity, and individuality of real people. The story must be vivid and unique enough to capture the readers imagination and hold them through-out the piece.

Binding Agreement 

To enter the contest, you must agree to these Official Rules. Therefore, please read the following rules prior to entry to ensure you understand and agree. You agree that submission of an entry in the contest constitutes agreement to these rules, which form a binding legal agreement between you and the DFW Writers’ Conference with respect to the contest.

Contest Period

Entries can be submitted from August 1, 2013 to 11:59pm CST September 2, 2013.

Who Can Enter

  1. To be eligible to participate in this contest, entrants must be older than 16  and be able to attend the conference and cover any additional related costs (travel, meals, lodging). Only one story per entrant is allowed. If the contest winner is under the age of 18 (and older than 16), contest prize will be awarded to custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
  2. Members of the DFW Writers’ Conference committee and their immediate family members are ineligible. The term “immediate family member” includes spouses, grandparents, parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren.

How to Enter

  1. No purchase or payment necessary to enter or win. A purchase or payment will not improve your chances of winning. Entrants who already have purchased conference admission may elect to be refunded (less $75 refund fee), re-use toward other DFW Writer Conference fees, or transfer purchased admission to another attendee.
  2. Qualified entrants (only one story per entry) will submit a 500 – 1000 word short story, or novel first chapter, by the contest closing date and time. Stories are to be submitted via email to editor@dfwcon.org and must be embedded in the body of said email. Entries with attachments will be deleted unopened.
  3. All entries must include author’s full name, pen name if applicable, story title, genre, and phone number. Each entrant agrees not to submit any entry that infringes any third party proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, industrial property rights, personal or moral right or any other rights, including without  limitation, copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or confidentiality obligations, or otherwise violates applicable U.S. law. Entrants are authorized to use FIRE & ASH opening with Jonathan Maberry’s permission for this contest only.
  4. By entering this contest, the entrant is authorizing DFW Writers’ Conference (and conference sponsor, the DFW Writers’ Workshop) publishing rights for all entry works. Publishing includes, but is not limited to, website and program printing.
  5. The DFW Writers’ Conference and the DFW Writers’ Workshop are not responsible for lost, late or misdirected mail, printing errors, server unavailability, or computer or other electronic or telecommunication malfunction


Any false information provided within the context of the contest by any participant concerning identity, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, ownership of right or non-compliance with these Official Rules or the like may result in the immediate elimination of the participant from the contest. The contest sponsors further reserve the right to disqualify any entry that it believes in its sole and unfettered discretion infringes upon or violates the rights of any third party, otherwise does not comply with these Official Rules, or violates U.S. or applicable state or local law.

Winner Selection

  1. All entries will be reviewed by the DFW Writers’ Conference board to ensure that the piece follows the ‘Contest Guidelines’. All applicable entries will move on to the next round.
  2. Entries meeting the ‘Contest Guidelines’ will be blindly judged by a panel of DFW Writers’ Workshop authors using the ‘Judging Criteria’ listed above. Those three with the highest scores will be selected as finalist.
  3. Finalist will be selected by September 9, 2013.
  4. All finalists will be notified by September 11, 2013 via email. Finalists’ entries will be published on the DFW Writers’ Conference’s website on September 13, 2013
  5. The final entries will be forwarded to Jonathan Maberry, who will select the winner by September 30, 2013.
  6. The winner will be notified via email and will be announced on the DFW Writers’ Conference website and newsletter.


  1. All three finalists will receive copies of FIRE & ASH, autographed by Jonathan Maberry. (To be presented by Jonathan Maberry at the 2014 DFW Writers’ Conference).
  2. The winner will receive a promotional code for free admission, to be used when registering for the DFW Writers’ Conference.
  3. Winning admission is only valid for the 2014 DFW Writer’s Conference.
  4. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received.

Winner Notification

  1. Winner and finalists will be notified via email address used to submit entry.
  2. By participating in the contest, each participant and winner waives any and all claims of liability against the contest sponsors, and their employees and agents, their respective employees and agents, for any personal injury or loss that may occur from the conduct of, or participation in, the contest, or from the use of any prize.
  3. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation, of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice/photograph and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including, without limitation, radio broadcasts; newspapers and other publications; television or film releases; slides; videotape; distribution over the Internet; and picture data storage) the contest sponsors may deem appropriate.

Additional Rules

  1. The conduct of the contest is governed by the applicable laws of the Unites States of America and State of Texas, which take precedence over any rule to the contrary herein. The contest sponsors shall follow the applicable laws for conducting contests, including notice to the state attorney general or consumer affairs office, posting of a prize bond, furnishing lists of winners, running specific on-air disclaimers, providing specific written information about the contest, etc., as required by local and state law.
  2. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of contest sponsor personnel. The contest sponsors reserve the right to disqualify any participant or winner and may refuse to award any prize to a person who is ineligible or has violated any rule, gained unfair advantage in participating in the contest, or obtained winner status using fraudulent means. The contest sponsors will interpret these rules and resolve any disputes, conflicting claims or ambiguities concerning the rules or the contest and contest sponsor decisions concerning such disputes shall be final. If the conduct or outcome of the contest is affected by human error, any mechanical, technical, electronic, communications, telephone, computer, hardware or software errors, malfunctions or failures of any kind, intentional interference or any event beyond the control of the contest sponsors, the contest sponsors reserve the right to terminate this contest, or make such other decisions regarding the outcome as the contest sponsors deem appropriate. All decisions will be made by the contest sponsors and are final. The contest sponsors may waive any of these rules in their sole discretion.
  3. The contest sponsors reserve the right to withdraw or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice.

Good luck to everyone.

3 thoughts on “F&A Contest Rules

  1. I have a question concerning #2

    2.The winner will receive a promotional code for free admission, to be used when registering for the DFW Writers’ Conference.

    What if one is already registered and paid? Not that it’s likely in my case but, hey, I have a vivid imagination and a rich fantasy life. :)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s