2018 Brainerd Writers Alliance writing contest

Open for submissions June 18, 2018.

BWA Member writing contest entry: $10.00
Non-Member writing contest entry: $15.00

After payment is made, you may submit your entry per guidelines below.
Please read carefully before submitting your work.

This contest is open to all writers who are residents of Minnesota.


Fiction: 2500 word limit.

Tips: Stories need a strong hook to get the reader into the first scene; good development of character and scene interwoven with action; clear rising action to a turning point and resolution; consistent point of view; theme or story idea is clear by end.

Creative nonfiction2500 word limit.

Memoir stories use fiction guidelines above but are based on actual events.

Essay should concern an issue but still have a hook and be developed using examples, narrative, cause-effect, or comparison-contrast; rising action to a climax – arguments get stronger to the turning point; and come to a clear conclusion.

Poetry: 3 poem limit (each poem limited to maximum 40 lines).

Poems need strong imagery that enhances the theme or emotion. Robert Frost said, “Poems should begin with delight and end with wisdom.”


Nonmember: $15.00       Brainerd Writers Alliance Member: $10.00

You may submit one entry in fiction, one entry in nonfiction, and up to three poems for one entry fee.


Contest is open to writers who are residents of Minnesota. Work must be submitter’s original, not previously awarded, and unpublished.


  • Entries must be accompanied with payment no later than August 17, 2018.
  • Winners will be notified by Sept. 30th.


        • Cover letter, separate from entry, must include name, postal address, phone, and email address.
        • List entry titles with category and word count. Example: “Olivia”–creative nonfiction2,455 words.
        • Two (2) typed copies of each entry title (if submitting by postal mail)
        • All entries must be typed on standard 8 ½ x 11 paper
        • Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font or similar, double-spaced / Poetry may be single- or double-spaced
        • Fiction and creative nonfiction. Include title, category, and word count on top of each page; double-spaced, DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME.
        • Include title at the top of the page, DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME.
        • Submit no later than August 17, 2018. Entries received before the open submission date of June 18, 2018, will be ineligible.
          • SUBMIT via email
          • Submit via postal mail: BWA Writing Contest, 30755 Old Hwy 371, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472

    Prizes are $100 for first place and $75 for second place. Winners also receive free entry to Brainerd Writers Alliance 2018 Conference. (Does not include Book Fair space.)

    Winners will be notified by September 30, 2018, and are invited to read their winning entries during the conference with an introduction by the judge in their category. Prizes will be awarded on conference day or mailed to winners the following day.


    Winning entries will not be published on our website or published in any way, so that they may be submitted later as “not previously published” in magazines, anthologies, etc.

    Our judges are skilled in the writing craft. We encourage them to attend the conference and give comments on the winning entries.

    All contest entrants are encouraged to register to attend the Brainerd Writers Alliance 2018 Conference and Book Fair.

    Brainerd Writers Alliance

    Meets the 2nd Saturday of each month at the Brainerd Public Library. Please join us!