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Deadline extended until May 15!

Novel Beginnings 1st Chapter Contest

The Great American Novel beckons! (Or any other country for that matter!) You accept the challenge. But first things first, you must write the opening chapter. Your objective: to write the best attention-grabbing, heart-stopping, thought-provoking chapter imaginable. So get started, your adoring public awaits!


Free critique available upon request! To request your free critique, write the words "free critique" on your title page.

(Optional: To receive a thorough line edit, enclose an additional $2 PER PAGE, [250 words equal a page] plus 9 X 12 SASE with enough postage for returning your chapter.)

DEADLINE: Postmarked by April 30, 2013.

ENTRY FEE: $10 per entry, maximum of three entries. Checks payable to: The Write Helper.

PRIZES:  1st Place $150

               2nd Place $75

               3rd Place $50


  • Open subject, open genre. (No graphic sex or gore.)  
  • Unpublished at time of submission, original work of contestant.
  • Standard manuscript form: 81/2 x 11 paper, typed and double-spaced, pages numbered, 12 point Times New Roman.
  • First chapter of a novel only. (Limit 6,000 words or fewer.) 
  • Attach paper clip to your chapter, no staples.
  • Cover sheet for each submission, with contestant’s name, address, phone number, email (if you have one), and title of entry. 
  • Postmarked no later than April 30, 2013. DO NOT SEND BY CERTIFIED MAIL!
  • Send to:

       Novel Beginning 1st Chapter Contest

       c/o Amy Harke-Moore

       104 Harke Lane
Old Monroe, MO 63369

Checks payable to: The Write Helper.

  • For free critique, provide either an email address or business-sized SASE so we can get your critique to you. For optional line edit (additional $2 PER PAGE [page equals 250 words]), enclose a 9 X 12 SASE with enough postage to return your story.
  • For electronic submission, attach chapter AND paste work into the body of an email along with the title, your name and address, and send to: Click on the PAY NOW button at the bottom of this page to send payment. (For processing electronic submissions, each entry is an additional $1.) After we receive your payment, you will be notified that we received your entry. (PAY NOW buttons do not include the option of purchasing a thorough line edit. If you would like a thorough line edit and would still like to enter online, please contact me at and I will send an invoice for editing services at the the rate of $2 per page [250 words equals a page].)

For a list of winners, check our website in July.

Winning entry published on our website, along with a profile of the author. Manuscripts will not be returned.


Line edits and critiques returned, prize checks mailed by the end of July.

Click here for one contest entry.

Click here for two contest entries.

Click here for three contest entries.