Those of you who’ve read my twitter feed know that I have submitted an entry to Athanatos Christian Ministries 2015 Novel Contest. With the deadline at 12 PM today, I ardently burned the midnight oil in finishing off my novel and submitted it with around an hour to spare. I might have used that time to make more adjustments, but my brain felt and still feels rather fuzzy after only two hours of sleep. And so, after returning from a half-day at work, I was speaking to a friend of mine who made the comment that I had until the 20th to make improvements to my novel. At first, I did not understand him; but, checking out the website again, it now indicates that the deadline has been extended to October 20, 2014! I could have had another fortnight to write the book!
In a way, it affords me the opportunity to advertise the contest, and the extension itself indicates that the organizers would like more submissions. I had felt guilty for not doing so after my friend reminded me of it through a Facebook post on October 1st, but I felt five days was not enough time unless someone–like me–was nearing the completion of his novel. But, with a fortnight, a very gung-ho individual could write an entire novel. Their suggested length is 40,000 to 90,000 words, which means one would have to write 2,900 words per diem. Though rather high, such an output is possible for certain people. I invite those of my dear readers would hold to the Christian faith and have a novel in progress to submit their work. Even people outside of the United States may submit an entry as long as the story is written in good English.
I mentioned that I felt guilty for not mentioning the contest sooner. That is because Athanatos Christian Ministries began the contest with a very laudable goal: to offer talented Christian writers an avenue to publish their work. The best stories these days seem to be written by people with secular humanistic beliefs, and this has a discernible influence on American culture. We need more people who adhere to the principles of Christian culture to not only teach doctrine, but to also help people see the nobility of Christian ethics and beliefs through story. Few mediums are capable of influencing the heart and mind as deeply as story.
Though, I have a few caveats for those who are now interested in entering the contest. First, your essential goal should be to write a story, not to preach. The values you hold in your heart will be apparent in the story. No need to belabor the truths of the Faith to the detriment of telling a good tale. The organizers say that a work like Tolkien’s would be acceptable. The Christianity in his works is hidden very well, but this does not change the fact that its foundation is Christian. Whatever you do, don’t bore the judges!
May you have good luck and much fortitude in writing!