Iron Pen 2017 – Guidelines & Prompt

Hello Iron Pen 2017 Contestants,

Thank you all very much for participating in the fastest writing contest in the Midwest! We appreciate your writing courage & quick imagination, and we look forward to seeing all of your terrific submissions.

Before we get to the prompt (which will also be available via phone on the MWC’s outgoing voice message at 309-732-7330, via the home page and the Iron Pen page on the MWC website, and on our Facebook page), a few guidelines and other important bits of information:

  1. Submissions must be received by Saturday, February 18th at 5:00 p.m. CST (tomorrow!).
  2. Submissions must be emailed to (preferred), or to, or delivered to the MWC office—please do not mail your submissions.
  3. If you have not yet indicated which category you will be competing in, or if you would like to change categories, that’s fine—please indicate which category you are submitting for when you email/return your submission. If you decide you want to compete in more than one category, that is fine, but you will need to pay $10 per category you will be competing in.
  4. We strongly encourage you to submit via email. Email submissions should be sent as MS Word attachments (.doc, .docx, .rtf—no .pdf please), or pasted into the body of the email (attachments are strongly preferred for formatting). Please include “IRON PEN SUBMISSION” in the subject line of your email.
  5. Limit of one poem, one story, or one nonfiction piece per entry (but you are, of course, welcome to write as many as you can/want/need—just submit your best one!).
  6. Fiction and nonfiction pieces must be 2,000 words or less; there is no word/limit for poems.
  7. Submissions will be read anonymously by the judges.
  8. Winners will be announced the afternoon of Wednesday, February 22nd via email, on the MWC home page, and on Facebook.
  9. The awards ceremony is Saturday, February 25th at 2:00 p.m. here at the MWC. The winners in each category receive medals, 2nd and 3rd place in each category receive certificates. Winners will be featured readers at the awards ceremony, but anyone who participated in this year’s contest is welcome to come and read their submission so we can all enjoy your efforts!
  10. Please remember that everyone that participates in this year’s Iron Pen Contest will have a chance at winning a full registration with value of approx. $265 for the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference, June 22-24, 2017. There will be a drawing at the awards ceremony next Saturday to determine the winner. You do not have to present to win, but it would terrific if you are!
  11. A Note on the Prompt: The Iron Pen prompt can be used as the title of your piece, as an epigraph, as the first line, somewhere in the text of the piece, as a premise for your piece, an inspiration, etc. The prompt does not have to appear explicitly in the text of your submission, but its influence/inspiration/other use or reference must be clear in your submission. Your submission will be judged on artistic merit and the adherence to/use of the prompt.

Now that we have all of that established, I get to play Chairman (like in Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium) and reveal the secret ingredient (THE PROMPT!):

(drum roll please…)  The prompt for the 2017 Iron Pen contest is:

“Miracles are wrought with axes”

Go words!

Please let me know if you have any questions—I’ll be in the office today until 5pm, and tomorrow from 11am until 5pm. Please call or message me with any questions at 309-269-6569. Thanks again for being a part of Iron Pen 2017. Have fun & best of luck!