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Guidelines for the Catholic novel (1st
--50,000 words or more
--It captures the readers' imaginations.
--It has a distinct beginning, middle, and end.
--It has well-formed characters.
--Its dialogue is authentic—and the dialogue furthers the plot (rather than being dialogue merely for speaking's sake).
--It is moral fiction (but is not "preachy"—definitely no homiletics) that point to sustaining values.
--The story represents Catholicism in more than a limited sense (e.g., characters that simply pray or say the Rosary). Instead, it shows Catholicism in the broad sense of John Paul II and Flannery O'Connor.
--Catholic meaning—that is, small instances of the theme(s) being explored, sprinkled throughout the story, culminating in a Catholic theme that somehow presents a Catholic message or truth that we (and maybe the protagonist) can discover or realize more fully or in a new way.
--It has "closure" of some kind—in all the ways the acclaimed John Gardner states.
For more information, please see the Tuscany Press website, the Writers Resources tab on the menu bar: Required Reading for Writers of Catholic Fiction. We strongly recommend you read Pope John Paul II's Letter to Artists and the recommended books.
Note: All submitted manuscripts, not just the prize-winner, are considered for a publishing contract.
Guidelines for the YA Novel (1st Place $3K):
--50,000 words or more.
--The protagonist/narrator must be young (between the ages of 12 and 17).
--Characters must be well drawn and believable. The actions and dialogue should be appropriate for the ages of the characters.
--The story must contain a Catholic perspective. Our young adult fiction must have characters or heroes that support and exemplify a Catholic worldview. (See our "novel guidelines" for an explanation of what makes Catholic fiction.)
--The characters may not start out with a Catholic perspective, but should end with a Catholic perspective. Also, not all characters will have a Catholic perspective. Good fiction contains conflict. Young adults understand that not everyone or every action is morally good.
--Please note that good Catholic young adult fiction might never mention Christ, the Church, or the faith. Instead, Tuscany Press YA fiction is infused with grace and a morality consistent (through characters and their actions) with Catholic teaching.
--Tuscany Press YA fiction must be good writing for a YA audience.
--Young adult fiction is not an excuse for poor writing. Teens don't appreciate (or tolerate) being talked down to. Don't shy away from or sanitize real life. The story must be entertaining. The story must capture readers' imaginations, engage their interest immediately and be well paced throughout the book and chapters.
Guidelines for the Short Story (1st Place $1K):
--Greater than 1,000 words; less than 9,000 words.
--Distinct beginning, middle, and end. "Set-up", the first two paragraphs, must have tension/conflict to drive the reader forward.
--Protagonist has development or growth in character.
--It is moral fiction (not preachy or didactic) that points to sustaining values.
--The short story represents Catholicism in the broad sense of John Paul II and Flannery O'Connor, not a limited sense (e.g., characters that simply pray or say the Rosary).
--The story's central character or protagonist and/or reader has an epiphany at the story's end.
--The story ends on Christian hope. It captures the reader's imagination.
--All submissions considered for a publishing contract, not just winners. Multiple submissions OK. Additional runner-up prizes in all categories.