SharperIron is always looking for good writers, and we’re especially interested right now in good new writers. Accordingly, we’ve launched our first, hopefully semiannual (twice-a-year), writing contest. Here’s how it works. Participants write articles from a conservative, biblical, fundamental point of view and send them to us via firstname.lastname@example.org. The articles should be 1,200 to 1,600 words long (multi-part series are welcome).
They may address any topic, but we’re particularly interested in the following questions.
1. Is the idea that “all truth is God’s truth” true?
2. Why are you a dispensationalist after taking a long hard look at the alternatives?
3. Why do you prefer an alternative after taking a long, hard look at dispensationalism?
4. What are the biggest challenges facing Christian parents today?
5. What social or cultural trend do you believe Christians are especially in need of thinking about biblically?
Contestants may submit multiple articles. Long-time contributors to SharperIron are also welcome to participate.
Two winners will be announced sometime after June 20, and each will receive the prestigious “SharperIron Prize for excellence in fundamentalist writing” and $100 in addition to being published at SI. (The prestige may be imaginary, but the $100 is real!). Runners-up will be published at SI in subsequent months. Some contest articles may be published during the contest period, but judges will not choose the contest winners until after the June 20 deadline.
Writers may be of any age or gender but must be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, agree with SI’s doctrinal statement, and believe in the principle of separation from apostasy.
How to Win
The judges will be looking for several qualities in these articles:
- Clear, concise, grammatically correct, and direct writing. (“Direct” here means free of overly formal circumlocutions and passive sentences. Rather than “It is believed that it is wrong to utilize a pencil,” try “Some believe using a pencil is wrong.”)
- Thoughtful interaction with the history of the topic. (We do not expect an exhaustive survey of the popular and scholarly literature, but some summary interaction and examples of a few of the more important ideas are usually helpful.)
- Interesting and engaging (maybe even creative) presentation
- Application of relevant biblical principles. (Where the principles themselves are at issue, sound exposition of the Scriptures involved is important.)
- Persuasive reasoning. (Make a convincing case for your point of view.)
In addition to these qualities, we recommend spell-checking your work. Please avoid footnotes. Cite sources within parentheses using MLA style. Feel free to include links to Internet resources. Please send articles in .doc or .rtf file format. Bear in mind that though many SI readers are highly educated, most are not scholars. Articles should be thoughtful and meaty but written in highly accessible prose. Readers should need to look up a word or two, but should not need to be fluent in any dead languages.
The contest ends June 20. We will gratefully accept and evaluate articles turned in after that date but not as potential contest winners.
We’re all busy, so why bother to write an article for SharperIron that may never see the light of day? Reasons include the following:
- You might win (quit being such a pessimist!).
- Even if you don’t win, your article may be published at SI and be helpful to our readers.
- You will have sharpened your own thinking through the discipline of writing.
- The writing skills practice may position you to win next time around or to be published elsewhere (and probably be compensated far better for your work).
- You might discover that you are a gifted writer. It would be a pity for you and others to miss out on the use of that gift.
- With a hundred bucks you could probably take your family to McDonald’s a couple of times.
So clear a few hours, fill a coffee mug, and sit down at that keyboard. We’re looking forward to discovering some promising new writers in the days ahead!
|Aaron Blumer, SI’s site publisher, is a native of lower Michigan and a graduate of Bob Jones University (Greenville, SC) and Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). He, his wife, and their two children live in a small town in western Wisconsin, where he has pastored Grace Baptist Church (Boyceville, WI) since 2000. Prior to serving as a pastor, Aaron taught school in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and served in customer service and technical support for Unisys Corporation (Eagan, MN). He enjoys science fiction, music, and dabbling in software development.|