2014 Writing Contests | Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference

2014 Writing Contests

WINNERS of the 2014 Writing Contests will be posted on Saturday, November 22!

ATTENTION: Will all contestants who entered the 2014 short story contest please contact Dave Lambert at lambertedits@aol.com as soon as possible. Thank you.

In honor of our past director, Leona Hertel, we are sponsoring our 6th Annual Leona Hertel Awards Contests. Leona worked tirelessly on the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference, and we are still blessed today by the seeds she sowed in the lives of fledgling writers.

This year, contest entries will be accepted until October 15. You’ll have nearly a month after the conference to polish up your piece and get it in ahead of the deadline. Entries must be submitted on hard (paper) copy; they may be submitted at the conference or by mail to:


Attn: Maranatha Writing Contest

300 N. Ferry, Suite A

Grand Haven, Michigan 49417

Winners will be announced by Nov. 1 on the conference website. First-place winners in each category will receive $75, and their winning entry, edited by one of the professional editors on our faculty, will be published on the conference website. Second-place winners in each category will receive $25, and third-place winners will receive a certificate. All winners will be announced on the website and the Facebook page.

Entries will be accepted this year in two categories:



Judge: Lissa Halls Johnson

Short stories will be accepted up to 5,000 words in length, any genre, with an inspirational element, whether in plot, characterization, or theme.

Manuscripts should be double spaced with margins of at least an inch, printed in 12-pt Times New Roman.



Judge: Eddie Jones


400-800 words

Single space lines and double space between paragraphs (in Word, paragraph formatting is: Indention 0, 0, Spacing [Before, After] auto, auto—Single, Special indent first line.0 )


Block format—do not indent

1 scripture text reference

Header should read as follows:

devotional title                       word count


Devotional Aspects:

Each devotion should lead with a strong hook in the first line. Devotions will be judged according to how well the author:

1)    Engages the reader’s imagination

2)    Twangs an emotion

3)    Accurately interprets the scripture verse

4)    Provides a compelling and concise nugget of God’s truth (Such as: Who is your neighbor?)

5)    Shows a strong practical application

6)    Presents a challenge to the reader—offers the opportunity to make a decision.

7)    Delivers a strong takeaway

Devotions should avoid preaching, be clean and crisp grammatically.

Dialogue, when used, should move the devotion forward.

A good devotion takes a scripture and teaches through stories and examples.

While there are hundreds of ways to present devotions, every devotion should contain these basics. Devotions entered that do not follow the guidelines will be disqualified, so read the guidelines carefully.