2023 Contest Rules

Submissions accepted January 1 – April 15, 2023.

Official Circle C Writing Contest Rules

Carefully read the rules on this page. These rules help you know not only how to submit your entry, but also gives you hints on how to create an engaging story to give you the best chance of placing. Please do not submit your story until you have read everything and understand how to send your stories. Click the button to print out a PDF file of the official contest rules to keep on hand.

Before asking questions in the comments, please read the FAQs first. The answer to your question might be found there. This saves me from having to repeat myself. Thanks! Contest FAQs >>

  1. No fee is required to enter; no purchase is required. Contest is open to anyone under the age of 18, from any country that distributes the books.
  2. First, second, and third place winners may enter again when they move up to the next age category. Honorable mentions may enter again in their same age category.
  3. DEADLINE: Contest begins January 1, 2023 and ends April 15, 2023. Winners will be announced and notified on or before May 15, 2023.
  4. Entries cannot be returned, so please keep a copy of your story. Your story entry must include (on the story file itself):
    • name (or pen name)
    • age and category
    • email address
    • title of your story
  5. Stories musts be submitted in these ways only to CircleCAdventures@gmail.com
    • Word file attached to your email
    • Story pasted into the body of an email
    • Story shared via Google docs.
    • No PDF files or scanned pages will be accepted.
  6. You may enter up to two (2) original stories. (No recycled Fan Fiction stories, sorry.)
  7. CONTENT: Stories must revolve around the characters and settings from the Circle C or Goldtown books. Any characters from any of the six (6) series may be used in any combination. Fun Fact: You may create new characters and don’t have to stick to the established Circle C universe, so long as the characters from the original series are part of the story in some way.
  8. CATEGORIES AND WORD COUNT: There are 3 age categories (I am flexible between the ages “6-9” and ages “10-13” to allow for reading ability. Parents can judge which category best fits their child.)
    • Ages 6-9 (500 – 1,200 words) (children may narrate story to a parent or older sibling)
    • Ages 10-13 (1,500 – 2,500)
    • Ages 14-17 (2,000 – 3,500 words)
  9. JUDGES: Entries are judged by independent judges well-acquainted with the characters and settings of all six series. See the judges and their bios on the current contest page at https://andicartersblog.com/2023-annual-contest-judges/ Stories are formatted to ensure consistency in appearance for the judges.
  10. CRITERIA: Entries will be judged based on the following two criteria:
    • A. How well the story incorporates the Five Elements of a Fiction Story.
      • Characters: the core characters should stay in “character” with how they are portrayed in the books. Example: Chad runs the ranch. Don’t suddenly make him a shopkeeper in town unless you have a believable reason for his job change and it’s necessary to the plot.
      • Setting (time and place) consistent with the books. Example: characters can travel to other places, but not to the moon. Example: characters can be old or young (Andi can even be a grandmother), but do not pick up the characters and set them in a time period inconsistent with the timeline of their life spans. (No modern settings.)
      • Story Problem: a problem the characters face and need to solve (internal or external).
      • Plot: (interesting events that happen as the characters try to solve the problem)
      • Solution: The story has a realistic ending and doesn’t just end abruptly.
      • Watch a mini-lesson that covers the Five Elements of a Story: AndiCartersBlog.com/lesson-1/
    • B. How entertaining and creative the story is
      • Creativity is more important than spelling and perfect grammar. However, if two stories tie for placement, the story with good spelling and punctuation will be chosen as the winner. So, please edit your story before submitting. Note: Parents may offer editing suggestions, but please allow the child to do his or her own actual writing. Ages 6-9 may narrate their story to their parents or to an older sibling.
  11. PUBLICATION: By participating in this contest, entrants and their parents agree that Susan K. Marlow may publish their stories on KDP/Amazon in paperback and Kindle  formats without any monetary reimbursement to the entrants (except as noted for the prizes). Sales from the contest books are used to cover the costs of this contest and to sponsor future contests.
  12. LIABILITY: By participating in this contest, entrants and their parents agree to release and hold harmless Susan K. Marlow from and against any injuries, losses, damages, claims, actions, or liability of any kind arising from participating in the contest or from accepting prizes.
  13. PRIVACY: Susan K. Marlow will not use the entrant’s name or private information anywhere, except as noted in rule #4, as contact information in the event the story places.
  14. PRIZES: Prizes for first, second, third, and honorable-mention winners from each category.
    (U.S. winners only for physical prizes that require shipping through the USPS.)
    • First-place winners receive:
      • $20 gift card to the Circle C Store
      • one digital audio book of your choice
      • choice of any Circle C or Goldtown journal
      • Circle C “fun” pack
      • Circle C multi-photo tote bag
      • the paperback contest book containing the 12 winning stories
    • Second place winners receive:
      • one digital audio book of your choice
      • Choice of any Circle C or Goldtown journal
      • Circle C “fun” pack
      • Circle C single-picture bag
      • the paperback contest book containing the 12 winning stories
    • Third place winners receive:
      • one digital audio book of your choice
      • Circle C “fun” pack
      • the paperback contest book containing the 12 winning stories
    • Honorable mentions receive:
      • the paperback contest book containing the 12 winning stories
      • Circle C sticker page

Have questions? Please read the FAQs (frequently asked questions) first. If the answer to your question is not there, ask your question in a comment.

39 thoughts on “2023 Contest Rules

  1. Hi would I be able to write a story about a non main character like one of the ranch hands before they came to the circle c and not have mentioned the Carters.
    I hope this makes sense 🙂


    1. No, the 2023 Annual CCA Writing Contest winning stories “Under a Painted Sky” will only be available from Amazon. I have too much going on to sell them on my website, and Amazon is international, so it is the best choice. I have no way of putting any books up on ChristianBook.


  2. Question: Can you take a story from one of the books but change the characters and make it a sequal to the original and make it your own original story?


  3. Completely understand! I did read the rules, but I’m Completely new to this page, and I love to write stories. I still read Andi carter books…I just got some for Christmas. I love them. You are a talented writer! I have all of the andi books now, and plan on getting all the gold town ones as well.


  4. Mrs M, I was going to use an intercept from “Yosemite at Last” as part of what happens in my story. Is that allowed? If so, would that be added to my word count or separate?


    1. You cannot use actual excerpts in your own story. You may say things at the beginning like….
      “This story takes place two days after the story Yosemite at Last ends”

      But no actual parts of already published works.


  5. I have not read the Circle C Milestones yet. What is Andi’s last name when she gets married to Riley? One more question. What is Andi’s daughter’s name? God bless!


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