top of page

PRE-WORKSHOP CONTEST 2018:  "Catalyst"

Every story begins with change. Sometimes the change is pleasant. Sometimes it is disastrous, and sometimes it hits when you least expect. Change is a catalyst that propels your main character into an adventure unlike any they have ever experienced. 

For this contest, your job is to craft a 4 page scene which 1) shows us who your character is, 2) tells what event changes his/her life, and 3) foreshadows what may happen next. This is our contest. This is your challenge. A more detailed contest description is coming soon.

The Official Contest Guidelines will be sent to students after they have registered for Sharp Pens' next workshop. If you would like to get started before you register, please send us an email requesting the Official Contest Guidelines. However, you will not be able to submit your entry until after you have registered for the workshop.



  • The scene cannot be more than FOUR pages long while properly formatted. Entries not meeting this criterion will be disqualified. No exceptions.

  • Header must contain Title and page number ONLY (no identifiable information, ie. name)

  • FONT: Times New Roman, 12 point

  • Double spaced

  • One inch margins

  • Ragged right (no right justified margins)

  • No profanity or graphic content will be accepted

  • Save your entry under: Your-Title_Catalyst2018

  •     Example: The-Dark-Rising_Catalyst2018

  • Only 1 entry per workshop participant

  • Author retains full ownership of document submitted

  • Winners will receive a certificate and a prize




GRAMMAR- Does the author follow traditional, English grammar rules closely? Points will be deducted for grammar mistakes. This does not include the grammar in a character’s dialogue; we understand that some characters “do na speak so good as they ought ta”.

STYLE- Does the writing have a nice style that flows well and is easy to follow? Is it written in an active, strong and interesting voice? (passive vs. active words)

HOOK- Does the writer capture a reader’s attention right away? Has he/she crafted a strong, interesting beginning that pulls a reader straight into the story?

CHARACTERIZATION & EMOTION- Does the writer demonstrate a mature understanding of human behavior, thought patterns and emotions? Do characters portray dynamic personalities and experience realistic emotions?

BELIEVABILITY- Do the scenes and scenarios progress in a realistic way that complies with the writer’s genre and story world? Do the characters act, interact and react in believable ways?

CONFLICT/VALUE CHANGE –Does the author’s scene revolve around a compelling conflict that produced a value change? A “value” is simply the state of something in the story. In the scene, a value must change between the beginning and the end. It can either change for the better or the worst, but something must change… That’s what makes a story, a story.


LESSON- Do the events of the story portray a moral lesson? We understand this is difficult to do in short scenes and the absence of a lesson will not affect a writer’s score negatively. However, it is something we love to see in a writer’s work.



bottom of page