Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs

FAQs - All FAQs

Well... yes, that is probably what happened.

This could have happened because your entry was too long. We will cut you a little slack on this. If your Senior Short Story entry is 1510 words long, we will let it slide. But if it's 2500 words, we will disqualify it.

We will disqualify your entry if you send us two or three of something. No kidding, we've had entrants send us three short stories, or two poems. If they don't follow the rules, we'll take the first one uploaded and toss any others they place in the same category.  Therefore, you won't get any feedback on entries the judges don't see.

If we don't get your permission form, you will be disqualified.

Of course, if we find out your work is not your own, we will disqualify that work and all your other entries. You also won't be allowed to enter again. We will contact you to give you a chance to explain the situation.

We do not inform entrants of disqualifications.

Unless your entry is disqualified, your work will be judged. You should receive feedback. Let us know if you don't and we'll figure out what happened.

Yeah, it's a long form. The good thing is it gets all the information we need at one time. Here's the general rundown:

Your information: your name and email, your mailing address, your parent's/guardian's name, telephone number and email.

Your school's information: your school's name, the school contact's name and their email, your school's mailing address and phone number.

A short personal biography: please don't include anything too personal, but tell us something about yourself: your likes, dislikes, hopes for the future. What do you want to do with your life? Please include your thoughts and feelings about eBooks and ePublishing, if you have any.  Some love it, some hate it.  You are limited to 200 words, so make them count.  This information will be included in the anthology, if you are chosen as one of our winners.

Your entries: are they named correctly?  Will we be able to know which ones are yours? Have they been polished and tweaked? Be sure to run one last spell-check and give them a look-over before you upload them.  Our judges tend to get picky about grammar and format.

Your permisison form: has it been signed and scanned?  Remember, if we don't receive your permission form, you will be disqualified.

You may enter one...that's one... in each category for your division. So you can enter 1 nonfiction piece, 1 poem, and 1 story. You don't have to enter a work in each category.

You can take a picture of the form and upload the picture. Make sure the signatures are very clear.

Ask your teacher, or librarian, and see if they can help you.  Most schools have some type of scanner. You can also check places like the UPS Store, FedEx, or similar stores.  They may do this for a small fee.

As for sending us your permission form, there will be a section on the entry form where you will upload your form.

We have no way to verify your age, so we require all entrants to provide a permission form signed by the parent or guardian.

If you don't send us a properly renamed file, the very nice Competition Drones will probably rename it for you. However, it's gonna cost you. You will be docked a quarter point. That could be the difference between winning a prize or not. Gosh, it makes the drones sad...

Why would we do such a rotten thing? Think about it, okay? Even though renaming files isn't a huge deal for one file, imagine a dozen or two dozen or 100 files. If you don't rename your file properly, we have to go hunting for it in the guts of the website, make sure it's the right one, then rename it. It takes time. So cut us both a break and take a few minutes to make sure you have it right.

One aim of New Voices Young Writers Competition is to help you develop the habits that make a successful writer. One of these is to follow formatting guidelines. Check out some publishers' submission guidelines. They all want something different. If you send a submission to a publisher and don't follow their guidelines, they will delete your submission without giving you a chance. We're not going to disqualify you if you're close, but a little care on your part will save us a lot of time and aggravation and we will be eternally grateful!

The judges have the ability to score your formatting. They are not impressed by fancy fonts or imaginative formatting. They read your words and judge the quality of your writing. If you send something that's annoying to read (remember, the judges have to read a lot of entries), they may dock you for it. That may cause your terrific entry to be cut.

Just to review, here are our guidelines.

  • 12-point Times New Roman font;
  • black letters on white background;
  • 1 inch margins;
  • left-justified;
  • no graphics, please. No comic strips, illustrations, etc.;
  • saved as a Word document (doc or docx) or Rich Text Format (RTF).

Okay, we're not creeps here. If it's close, it'll probably be okay. But center justified, .odt (Open Office format), 3-inch margins, will probably get you dinged in the scoring. No kidding, we've had all of these things submitted.

This kind of question is particularly discouraging to our barely competent drones.

A look at the New Voices home page, or our How To Enter page, will give you the correct entry period.

Sorry. If you can't choose, we will have to. We'll take the first one uploaded and disqualify the other two. No, we won't read them and choose the best one. It would be better if you make the choice.

Anything that's not fiction or poetry may be entered in the Nonfiction category. These can be essays, memoirs, biographies, opinion pieces, articles written for your school newspaper, etc. 

That's to let you know what you entered on the form and give you one last chance to let us know if something isn't correct. Review your entry form information and be sure everything is correct, that you sent the correct files and that they were uploaded correctly. You can reply to the email and ask for a correction if something needs to be fixed.

What do you think we do with these types of emails? Bit-bucket...that's the recycle bin. We do not accept emailed entries. We have a nice form that delivers your entry files and permission forms, putting them in the correct folders on our server. Then we can find them without digging through the guts of the website.

One aim of this competition is to help you develop good habits that make a successful writer. One is following guidelines. So, read the rules, name your files like we ask, upload them on the form.

If our rules are not clear, and you can't find the answer to your question in the FAQs, you can contact us and ask a question.

Judges are teachers, librarians, published authors, publishers, editors. 

It's not hard at all, though it may require some consideration. Judges read entries, then score each one on a form that is available on the website. The form has several areas where you evaluate aspects of the work. Then you write feedback.

The feedback is necessarily brief, limited to 150 words. It should not be overly technical, but give the young, and impressionable, writer words of encouragement so that they may improve their future writings. Do give honest critique, but remember to be kind. Start with the good points, things you liked, and move on to areas for improvment. Keep in mind that the young writers receive feedback from all their judges, so be mindful that these are kids. Try to remember when you were a kid and how hurtful words impacted your future, whether it affected your writing or general outlook. 

We're here to inspire, while mentoring.

Let's give these young writers the ability to fly!

When you register to judge, you are asked to specify the categories, as well as the age division, you wish to judge. You will also be asked about the number of entries you can take. The NVYW Judge Coordinator uses that information to assign you reads.

You will receive your judging assignment by email and the files will be attached to that email.


There are three rounds of judging:

In the First Round, all entries are read and, based on the scores from this first round, the finalists are determined. . 

In the Finalist Round, the entries are judged and ranked according to the scores from the judges. The top six entries, from each category, determine the winners.

These winners will appear in the New Voices Anthology

In the Grand Prize Round, the first place winners from each division category are judged. The overall winner from each division is declared the Grand Prize winner of that division. 

Three judges read each entry in each round. Because judging is largely subjective, there are often differences of opinion. Based on the scores, and the ranking, the Competitions Chair identifies the winner. This judging process works for us; we can only use data the judges provide and make the best determination possible.