Calling All Writers!
Make History Come Alive and Get Published Too!
The Maryland State Society Daughters of the American Revolution is calling all writers to submit short works of historical fiction highlighting the life and accomplishments of Maryland Patriots of the American Revolution.
Many Maryland Patriots are well known. Others have received limited recognition and still others were integral to the American Revolutionary War but remain uncelebrated and unacknowledged. The goal of this contest is to bring these individuals to life; to introduce them to a new generation so that their deeds and accomplishments can be appreciated and celebrated.
The medium selected is short stories of historical fiction; defined as “narratives that take place in the past and are characterized chiefly by an imaginative reconstruction of historical events and personages.” Historical accuracy is important so writers should work to use images and language in their entries that help to convey historical details. Stories submitted will be compiled into an anthology which will be published by the Maryland State Society, NSDAR, in electronic and/or print form and shared with a variety of audiences.
All entries must be original unpublished works by nonprofessional (amateur) authors.
Judging will be conducted by a panel of judges, including historians who will check for historical accuracy. Entries selected will be judged on the posted judging criteria.
This contest is open to anyone, student and adult, including members of Maryland State Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
Only one entry per person is permitted in each of the four divisions: Maryland Signers of the Declaration of Independence; Benjamin Banneker and People of Color; Mary Katharine Goddard and Other Women Patriots; and Maryland’s Unsung Patriots — devoted to Patriots who have received little or no attention for their contributions. All entries will be selected based on the quality of the submission, not on any ranking or list of Maryland Patriots.
One winner from each category will be selected and included in the published anthology. Each winner will receive a certificate of recognition and a cash award of $100.
Honorable mention entries will also be selected for inclusion in the anthology and will receive a certificate of recognition.
Entries must meet the contest rules and submission requirements (see Contest Rules).
A submission form is required for each entry and shall accompany the story.
By entering the contest, the author permits the Maryland State Society, NSDAR, to publish her or his entry both online and in print as determined by DAR in any future anthologies of winning entries. Copyright for the entry remains with the writer.
The author further agrees that the winning essays may not be submitted to any other contest or used for any other purpose without the express permission of the Maryland State Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
This story is an example of a story about an Unsung Maryland Patriot. It is told from the perspective of Hannah Forwood, daughter of Samuel Forwood, Patriot ancestor of a Maryland DAR Daughter. In writing a story of an unsung Patriot, is useful to find a “hook,” or perspective from which to tell the story. She found her “hook” in her personal story of joining DAR with her patriotic ancestor, Samuel Forwood. For several years, she did not think she could join the Daughters of the American Revolution using this ancestor. As an early Methodist, he refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance. When she first sought to join, she was told, “Oh, you cannot join using him. He was a non-associator.” Discouraged, she abandoned her plans. Many years later she learned that he was recognized for supplying grain from his mill to the Continental Army, something we now know as “his last act.” She has chosen to tell his American Revolutionary War story from the perspective of that early Methodist movement. You two have a story! Look for your “hook” and tell the story of your Maryland ancestor or any Maryland Patriot.
Click on the link below to read this sample story:
All entries must be original unpublished works by nonprofessional (amateur) authors and must be short works of historical fiction related to one of the four prescribed categories:
Maryland Signers of the Declaration of Independence;
Benjamin Banneker and Other People of Color;
Mary Katharine Goddard and Other Women Patriots;
Maryland’s Unsung Patriots.
The writer's narrative and character development should be as historically accurate as possible, that is, remaining faithful to the details of actual history while bringing the person(s) and events to life through fictional elements.
The deadline for submitting entries is February 1, 2024. No entries will be accepted after that date.
Entries should be 1,000 to 3,500 words. Entries greater than 3,500 words will not be accepted.
Entries must be formatted as follows:
Typed on 8.5″ x 11″ size paper using a word processing program such as Word. 1-inch margins; double-spaced; 12-point type; black font in Arial, Verdana, or Times New Roman.
Numbered pages; entry title (or abbreviated title) should appear on each page of the manuscript as a header in the upper right-hand corner.
The title page should contain the full title of the story and the author’s name.
The author’s name should only appear on the title/cover page.
No graphics, pictures, special covers, or bindings are allowed.
Entries are to be submitted as electronic submissions and in a word processing format with extensions such as .doc, .docx, .txt, or .rtf. We cannot accept PDFs, .odt files or shared Google documents.
Each entry should be submitted digitally via email to the contest chair. The entry must be accompanied by a completed submission form which may be downloaded here. Please save the form to your computer before filling it out or your information will not be saved.
Each entry will be scored based on the following three criteria, which are equally weighted:
Historical Accuracy (30 points)
The story richly describes a realistic historical setting that clearly reflects an authentic sense of place. The setting of a historical story is brought to life by detailed, factual portrayals of the setting's geography, culture, society and customs.
The characters, both imaginary and historical, are authentic. Each character accurately portrays the ideas, opinions, behaviors, values and habits of the story's chosen historical figure and time period.
The writer has imaginatively experienced life from the perspective of a character within the story's setting. The writer has accurately used factual information, so as to not misrepresent the historical period. The plot reflects the issues and concerns of the time period and also may explore specific issues in depth.
Creativity (30 points)
The writer has chosen an engaging voice appropriate to the events and experiences of the story. The writer shows a deep commitment to the topic and wants others to enjoy reading the story.
Words communicate in a very interesting and natural way appropriate to the purpose and audience. The writer uses a rich, broad range of words that are carefully chosen and placed for impact.
The writing has an effective flow and rhythm. Sentences show a high level of craftsmanship. A strong and varied structure makes reading easy and enjoyable.
Execution (30 points)
The writing is very clear, focused, and interesting. It holds the reader’s attention all the way through. Many carefully selected details provide strong support.
The organization is exceptionally strong. It fits the topic and strengthens ideas and details.
The writing shows very strong control of standard writing conventions (for example, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, grammar, and usage).
We are pleased to announce the following winning entries! Click on a link to view.
Winning entries will be posted in early summer.
Are You Ready to Make History Come Alive?
Email your submission form and entry to the contest chair. The submission form may be downloaded here. Please save the form to your computer before filling it out or your information will not be saved. Entries are due by February 1, 2024.
Please direct questions to the email address above.