by Max Griffin
It's all about one character's point of view
Welcome to the Just One Point of View Contest!
Third person limited dominates commercial fiction today, comprising about 70% of all published work. The purpose of this contest is to give authors the opportunity to showcase their mastery of this mode of story telling.
The most basic rule for our contest is that you must use third person limited for your story's narrative mode--first person and omniscient narrators are banished!
What are the rules? ▼
The basic rules are simple.
Have a story to write
Choose exactly one character to provide the point of view (hence the name of the contest)
Write your story in third person limited--do not use a first person or omniscient narrator.
Edit your story so it is no longer than 3000 words but at least 1000 words. Word count excludes title and author byline.
Include your word count at the top of your story.
There are some other technical rules listed below, but that's pretty much it.
Will my entry be disqualified if I don't follow the rules? ▼
Our goal is to accept and review all entries. We have only two exceptions to this goal. First, we will disqualify entries that are substantially over the limit of 3000 words. Second, we will only review entries that have enabled reviews in the item options. If "email comments only" is enabled, your story will not receive a review.
Of course, not all entries are equal. After all, this is a contest. There will be consequences in scoring for not following contest rules.
Third person limited is hard to do. That's why we created this contest. We wanted a place that would showcase the craft involved, as well as a learning space for authors. Some of our winning entries have slipped now and again into omniscient narration. There has even been an occasional "head-hop" where the point of view jumps from one character to another. There are consequences in scoring for this kind of submission, but the submissions are not disqualified.
It's hard to imagine that a submission with a first person narrator would win an award in a contest that's about third person limited point of view. After all, 40% of an entry's score is for effective use of third person limited. Still, our goal includes reading and reviewing these submissions as well.
Similarly, submissions that exceed our limit of 3000 words won't automatically be disqualified. Exceeding the word limit falls under failing to follow the contest rules. That will result in a reduced score in the contest evaluation, but it won't generally result in disqualification.
However, we have a hard and fast rule that submissions longer than 4000 words will not be eligible for an award and probably will not be reviewed, either. Remember, we are volunteers. Reading and critiquing is time-consuming, challenging work. Please respect the time and effort of our judges by complying with our word limits.
What are the prizes? ▼
Everyone who enters will receive 1000 GPS.
The best stories, as determined by the judges, will earn additional awards.
Best Story: 10,000 GPS and choice of awardicon or merit badge.
First Runner Up: 5000 GPS and choice of awardicon or merit badge.
Second Runner Up: choice of awardicon or merit badge
These three entries each will receive an in-depth, public review from one of the judges. :
If we have three or fewer contestants, we will defer the competition and will roll the entries over to the next contest.
Every contestant earns the 1000 GPS for entering whether we run the competition or not, but you don't get a second 1000 GPS if your entry rolls over to the next contest. A story can only earn the 1000 GPS once.
If we have four, five or six contestants, we will award only the "Best Story" and "First Runner Up" prizes.
We reserve the right to reduce the number of prizes if we do not have at least six entries that substantially use third person limited. If, at judging, we discover that no entries make substantial use of third person limited, there will be no prizes. If you are unsure what we mean by "third person limited," please read the essay "Just One Point of View" .
Judges will endeavor to provide every entry with an in-depth review, but these are not guaranteed. Remember, our judges are volunteers with their own busy work and writing schedules. We will only critique entries that have enabled reviews in the item options. If "email comments only" is enabled, your story will not receive a review.
At the discretion of the reviewer, critiques provided to contest entries may be public and posted to the public reviewing page.
All decisions by the judges are final.
Is there a limit to the number of entries in each contest round? ▼
Yes. To be sure that we are able to give each entry a fair reading, we can accept no more than ten entries in each iteration of the contest. We'll post a "Contest closed to entries" message in the forum after the tenth entry. If you're too late for this contest, you may enter the next one! We expect to offer the contest at least every other month.
How often and for how long does the contest run? ▼
We expect to run the contest at least every other month, starting June 1, 2014.
The contest will close to new entries after receipt of ten submissions or on the fourth Monday of the month.
If we have three or fewer submissions by the fourth Monday of the month, we will extend the deadline for submissions to the fourth Monday of the succeeding month.
If we have three or fewer entries by the the fourth Monday of the second month, we will roll contest entries over to the next iteration of the contest.
What is the deadline for entries? ▼
The deadline for entries is when the tenth entry to the contest is posted or
8:00:00 AM Central Daylight time (UTC-5 hours) the fourth Monday of the contest month.whichever happens first.
In Universal Time, that's 1:00:00 PM UCT the fourth Monday of the contest month. To convert the deadline to your local time zone, go to
If we receive more than ten entries, the eleventh and subsequent entries will roll to the next iteration of the contest. The date and time of entry are the date and time posted to the contest board.
If you're interested in why "Coordinated Universal TIme" is abbreviated "UCT" instead of "CUT," see
What are the judging criteria? ▼
[30%] Effective execution of third person limited
[20%] Does the first paragraph establish the point of view and orient the reader?
[15%] Creativity and originality
[15%] Effective showing, not telling
[10%] Plot and pacing
[10%] Technical proficiency. This includes, for example:
complying with contest rules.
I'm really pumped! Can I enter more than one story? ▼
Only one entry per contestant per contest, please. Feel free to enter every round of the contest if you like!
What are the other rules? I've got this awesome, unfinished erotic poem in non-rhyming choriambic foots. Can I enter it? I know you'll love it! ▼
Whoa, there, pardner! Here are some other rules.
Prose only. No poetry.
Finished works only.
Short stories only. Book chapters are acceptable if they are a self-contained story.
We will only critique entries that have enabled reviews in the item options. If "email comments only" is enabled, your story will not be disqualified, but it also will not receive a critique from the judges..
Erotic fiction is acceptable, but it must be properly rated. In addition
no non-consensual sex
no sex involving minors
no scat (a word of to the wise: if you have to look it up, don't)
no bestiality (vampires, werewolves, and sentient aliens excepted)
No gratuitous violence, excessive blood, or gore
Remember, no first person narrators and there are scoring consequences for using an omniscient narrator.
There are scoring consequences if your submission exceeds 3000 words. If your submission exceeds 4000 words, it will be ineligible for an award and will be unlikely to receive a review.
Does this have to be a new story? ▼
No. You can even enter the same story more than once in our contest, but you can only enter one story per month. However, if your story has previously been a finalist in this contest --best story winner, one of the two runners up, or an honorable mention--it is ineligible for re-entry. Finally, a story can earn the 1000 GPS for entering only once.
If you re-write a winning story using a different character for the point of view and place it in a new static item, then it will count as a new story, eligible for all contest awards.
We plan a linked contest, Thrice Told Tales, for contestants who have written the same story three times, each from a different character's point of view. Stay tuned for more information!
What is third person limited, anyway? ▼
In third person limited, the author writes in the third person and chooses one character to provide the point of view.
It's easy to tell if your story uses a third person narrator. If the narrator describes what's happening using "he," "she' or "they," then the author is using a third person narrator. If the narrator describes what's happening using "I" or "we," then the story uses a first person narrator. It's possible to use second person--"you"--but this is rare.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with first person narrators. About 30% of all commercial fiction published today uses first person. But this contest is about third person limited narration. Hence, stories using first person narration are not going to win a prize in this contest.
The "limited" part of "third person limited" means that the author--and hence the reader--is inside the head of one and only one character, the point of view character. The reader can know what that character sees, hears, smells, and otherwise senses. The reader can know what that character knows, thinks, or feels emotionally, as well. But the reader has to infer these things about all the other characters through their words and deeds. The author--and hence the reader--is limited to a single point of view character.
The idea is that the author places the readers into the head of the point-of-view character, and then the readers encounter the fictional world through that character in a holistic manner, the same way they encounter the real world. That will help draw the reader into the fictional world and thus into the story.
Contestants may wish to read the article "Just One Point of View" for a more detailed discussion of third person limited.
May I edit my story after I enter? ▼
Yes. However, each contest round we will post a "Contest closed to entries and editing" message to the forum, usually at noon on the fourth Monday of the contest month. That's so we have a week to read and judge the stories. Once we've posted the message, do not edit your story. Doing so can result in disqualification.
Contest Judges ▼
Carol St. Ann
Each contest will include a guest judge. Often, we will invite the winner of the "best story" award to be a guest judge in the next iteration of the contest. We may have other guest judges from time to time. Guest judges earn a merit badge for their assistance. If you are interested in being a guest judge, please contact Carol St. Ann or Max Griffin .
Max's list of helpful stuff for authors ▼
How do I enter? ▼
It's simple! Just post a message to the board below, with the subject, "MY ENTRY" followed by the title of your story. In the body of the message, include a link to your item in "bitem" format like so:
Please do NOT include the story itself. Include a link as described above.
When you post your message, we'll see a link to the item that looks like this:
If you're still not quite sure what to do, check out "Newbie Hyperlinking 101 - Bitem Format" for a step-by-step tutorial.
Past Winners ▼
First Place: -- Cubby for "Love is Blind"
First Runner Up: -- DollarDays is painting for "A New Life"
Second Runner Up: -- super sleuth for "Simon and Jake"
Honorable Mention -- 9 years whew! for chapter one of "The Tie that Bonds"
First Place: -- FuryStrife for "Strife on the Strait "
First Runner Up: -- Dan The Teacher for "A Weight Worth Bearing"
Second Runner Up: -- ~QPdoll~ for "Psycho Cat"
First Place: -- Corrine Shroud for "Only the Weak"
First Runner Up: -- Mrs. MontyB for "Life After Rewrite"
Second Runner Up: -- Jenny Leigh for "Nightmares"
First Place: -- KS66 for "Monsters"
First Runner Up: -- Soh ~ Less busy now for "Andante Andante (Day 2)"
First Place: -- Choconut ~ Read, Write, Repeat for "Charlie's Story"
First Runner Up: -- Strauss for "The Bench"
Second Runner Up: -- ☮ Grum in peace & friendship for "So The Ant Said To The Elephant"
First Place: -- John Yossarian for "Price Of Doing Business"
First Runner Up: -- DollarDays is painting for "Voter's Rights"
Second Runner Up: -- Writer's Blockhead for "Invalid Item"
First Place: -- DollarDays is painting for "Decisions"
First Runner Up: -- mikema63 for "Mammon"
Second Runner Up: -- Happyfingers for "The Agenda"
Honorable Mention -- Matt for "Remembering the Fallen"
First Place: -- BD Mitchell for "Stronger Than Rage"
First Runner Up: -- Corrine Shroud for "Spit at the Devil"
Second Runner Up: -- Jim Hall (Puma) for "Bittersweet Memories"
First Place: -- Champ for "The Beach Goddess"
First Runner Up: -- amyjo-Keeping it real and fun! for "The Best Laid Plans"
Second Runner Up: -- Dawn Embers for "Three Months and Counting"
First Place: -- r32312 for "bedspread "
First Runner Up: -- Word Warrior published author! for "The Asylum"
Second Runner Up: (TIE) -- Josh T. Alto for "The Sign" and Greg Schuler for "Just One Point of View - July 2015"
First Place: -- keikoalvarez for "Invalid Item"
First Runner Up: -- Tiger Cub 🔱 for "Invalid Entry"
Second Runner Up: -- Ladee Caid for "The Yeti"
First Place: Corrine Shroud for "Love You To Heaven and Back"
First Runner Up: J.K for "Invalid Item"
Second Runner Up: blunderbuss for "Invalid Item"
First Place: Corrine Shroud for "Coat of Many Colors"
First Runner Up: CasualWriter~thanks, Anon! for "Mis-marriage"
Second Runner Up: writingbyjazzy for "Invalid Entry"
First Place: Storm Machine for "Advance Planning"
First Runner Up: Vienna for "Invalid Item"
First Place: relanka for "Invalid Item"
First Runner Up (TIE): Medvekoma for "Invalid Item"
First Runner Up (TIE): LJB for "Invalid Item"
First Place: ameadon for "Invalid Item"
First Runner Up: relanka for "Invalid Item"
Second Runner Up: Medvekoma for "Invalid Item"
First Place: C Fowler for "Maury"
First Runner Up: Soh ~ Less busy now for "The Parting Gift"
Second Runner Up: The Shane-O-Mac Attack for "Digging up the Truth"
First Place: Coelacanth for "Invalid Item"
First Runner Up: Dance-Monkey ~ We've got this for "Optometrist"
Second Runner Up: Cubby for "Remi"
Honorable Mention: Soh ~ Less busy now for "Angel"
Our Generous Contest Sponsors ▼
Not counting marketing, each iteration of this contest costs over 50,000 Gift Points. We are grateful for any donations we receive. Our ability to continue offering this contest depends on the generous contributions of members like you.
K Renée Grotewiel
Just an Ordinary Jyo!
"King Bob's Kingdom!"
ⅅṛ ⚡ J
ß Samantha ß
Schnujo--Quill Awards Nominee
☮ Grum in peace & friendship
Nixie~Power Raid this weekend!
Lornda~Power Reviewers Rock!~
Carol St. Ann
Anyone donating more than 10,000 Gift Points becomes a Benefactor and is listed above.
Anyone donating more than 20,000 Gift Points becomes a Patron and is listed above.
Anyone donating more than 40,000 Gift Points becomes a Champion , is listed above, and receives a Merit Badge.
Donations may be sent to Max Griffin or to the group "Just One Point of View GPS Fund" .
Thank you for whatever assistance you can provide.
What are you waiting for? Start writing!
The January contest is over. Check out our awesome winners above.
Congratulations to all the awardees and thanks to everyone who entered.
Come back in March for the next round of the contest.
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