Taking Flight contest 2022

Winged Publications presents its fourth annual contest–Taking Flight!! FICTION ONLY (Indie published okay to submit)

Any genre! Only clean or inspirational, please.
If fewer than five submitted in a category, your book will be placed in the next, closest genre.

Entry fee $15 for Taking Flight Writing Contest 2022

First prize winner receives a book contract

Second prize winner receives a critique of synopsis and first three chapters

Third prize is a critique of a synopsis

*Book contract entails the publication of winning title under the standard contracts held by Winged Publications. Grand prize winner will be provided with details upon announcement.

Submissions will be received from March 15 31, 2022 until May 30, 2022.

Semi-Finalists chosen by July 30, 2022 and will have two weeks to input suggestions by judges in order to enter the final stage.

Finalists announced the end of August and winners announced September 30, 2022.

Judges will be multi-published and award-winning authors with final judge being the acquisitions editor. Send your synopsis and first three chapters to [email protected] putting Taking Flight Contest 2022 in the subject line. You will then be emailed the link to pay the submission fee (If enough entrants.) Your entry will not be valid until fee is paid. Indie published authors welcome to submit.

There will be a winner for every category of more than five entries.



NOTE TO CONTESTANT: When you read your judge’s comments, put yourself in her chair and interpret her response to your writing through her eyes. We see our setting and our characters because, most likely, we’ve written and edited our story enough times that we don’t realize how much we are visualizing in our own heads . . . and unwittingly presume the reader (critique partner, beta reader, judge, agent, editor) also sees in her mind what we see. A contest judge 99.9% of the time is new to your story. When she scores less than a 5 on a question, you should interpret that as you need to take more of your story out of your head and put it on the page. Winged Publications advises you to ask a writing friend to help you evaluate the scores and comments.

NOTE TO JUDGES: These scoresheets are returned to the contestants. Please write constructive comments, being as specific as possible, on either the entry document or scoresheet. Remember that a 3 is average. Thus, an average entry will have a total score around 60. If you score less than a 5, please comment to explain.

Individual Elements (5 points value)

5 = Submission ready

4 = Minor edits required

3 = Moderate edits required

1-2 = Extensive edits required

Full Score (100 points max)

90-100 = Submission ready

80-89 = Close to ready, some minor edits needed; close to ready except one medium to large fixable craft issue; or if the submission is well crafted but has some content issues

70-79 = In moderate need of edits

60-69 = Several major craft issues

10-59 = Extensive craft issues


STORY – 30 POINTS (1-5 points each)

____ HOOK: Is there a great opening line or paragraph? Does the entry start with an incident that creates a desire to read more? Does each scene end with a hook? Does the entry hold the reader’s interest to the end? Is there an ending hook that leaves the reader wanting to read beyond the submitted pages?

____ STAKES: Are the stakes (what the protagonist will lose if goal not achieved) significant enough that the reader cares what happens to the protagonist?

____ SETTING: Is there a sense of time and place that grounds the reader in the story?

____ GENRE: Do the plot situation, inciting incident, and character goals create a believable storyline appropriate for the genre? If this is a romance, is the stage set for an emotional relationship and attraction between the couple, even if they do not meet on these pages?

___ CONCEPT: Is the plot concept clear, fresh, and hooky? Does it feel like something you’ve read before? Are clichés kept to a minimum?

____ CONFLICT: Is there sufficient internal and/or external conflict for the protagonist and antagonist (or whichever characters’ points of view are in the submitted pages) to keep the pace moving forward and to sustain a story for the entire manuscript? Is foreshadowing used to hint at the possibility of future conflicts and complications?

STYLE – 30 POINTS (1-5 points each)

____ PACE: Is the pace (the balance of narrative, dialogue, and action that keep the scenes moving forward) appropriate to the story and for the genre? Do the scenes seem purposeful and maintain continuity so the reader can easily follow the story from scene to scene? Is the story free of unnecessary backstory and exposition?

____ NARRATIVE RHYTHM: Is the writing vivid and evocative, with an easy-to-read style using varied sentence length and syntax structure? Does the syntax structure, number of sentences per paragraphs, and the degree of white space on the page create rhythms fitting for the story and genre? Is the narration smooth and not choppy sounding? Are fragments, if any, useful and not distracting?

____ SENSES: Do the sensory details (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) enhance the scenes?

____ POINT OF VIEW: Do the switches from one character’s POV to another’s POV flow smoothly without head hopping? If only one POV used, is it consistent without author intrusion (author injecting their thoughts, viewpoints, and knowledge into the story)? Does the POV of the main character(s) show her/his/their distinct personalities, virtues and/or flaws?

____ SHOWING: Does the writing generally show the action using vivid, active verbs instead of tell in a passive manner? Are the characters’ emotions shown through facial expressions, actions, dialogue, tone of voice, silence, body language, and (if the POV character) thoughts?

____ PROFESSIONAL IMPACT: Are the spelling and punctuation errors kept to a minimum so errors don’t affect the overall readability? Are serious violations in sentence structure (inconsistency of tenses, reference pronouns, misplaced modifiers, etc.) kept to a minimum?


CHARACTERIZATION – 20 POINTS (1-5 points each)

____ LIKEABILITY: Is the protagonist (both hero and heroine if this is a romance) likeable? If not necessarily likeable, is she/he compelling and/or sympathetic? Do you see potential for character growth? Do you see distinctive character traits and histories?

____ GOALS & MOTIVATIONS: Does the protagonist show hints of internal and/or external goals? Are there obstacles and/or sacrifices that hinder the protagonist from achieving goal(s)? Are there clear, realistic, logical, and believable motivations to reach goal(s)? Do the protagonist’s motivations induce sympathy/support from the reader?

____ SECONDARIES: Do secondary characters contribute to the story? Do they support rather than overpower the main character(s)? Do they seem to have their own story goals and motivations that could create conflict or support to the goals of the main character(s)?

____ EMOTIONS: Do the actions, (thoughts if POV character), dialogue, body language, and facial expressions fit each characters’ emotional state?


DIALOGUE – 20 POINTS (1-5 points each)

____ APPROPRIATE: Is the dialogue appropriate for the setting (scenario) and the time period? Does each character’s dialogue ring true to his/her gender, age, position, and background?

____ TAGS: Are the lines of dialogue, when not tagged, easily attributable to who is speaking? If dialogue is tagged, are the tags useful and not distracting?

____ ORGANIC: Do the conversations seem natural and not stilted, forced, or wordy? Does the dialogue seem purposeful, add tension, reveal character, and/or advance the plot?

____ BALANCE: Is the narrative (action beats, setting/sensory/character details, backstory, and introspection) necessary and well-placed with the dialogue?


_____TOTAL SCORE (out of possible 100 points)