2016 Leona Hertel Writing Contests - Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference | Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference

2016 Leona Hertel Writing Contests

WINNERS of the 2016 Writing Contests will be posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2016!

In honor of our past director, Leona Hertel, we are sponsoring our 8th 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.

The contest is open to those attending MCWC in 2016.  This year, contest entries will be accepted until November 1.  You’ll have one month after the conference to polish up your piece and get it in ahead of the deadline. Entries must be submitted by email to:  Bonnie@MaranathaChristianWriters.com   Please be sure you follow the formatting guidelines, or your submission will be disqualified.

Winners will be announced by December 15 on the conference website. First-place winners in each category will receive $75, and the winning entry in each contest, 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. All winners will be announced on the website and the Facebook page.

Entries will be accepted this year in two categories:



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.




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:

(left aligned) devotional title                  (right aligned) 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, and should 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.



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