FAWE Rules


2017 Freddie Award for Writing Excellence

Freddie Logo 2The Freddie Award for Writing Excellence (FAWE), sponsored by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (FMWA), is a competition for Mystery genre and Thriller genre manuscripts. It is open to any UNPUBLISHED, UNCONTRACTED, and UNAGENTED Mystery or Thriller manuscript as long as specified criteria and proper procedures are followed. The entrant need not be a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) to enter; but contest entries are limited to authors in the U.S. and Canada.


The goal of the Freddie Award for Writing Excellence (FAWE), as sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America-Florida Chapter, is two-fold: (1) to recognize superior writing in the Mystery and Thriller genres, and (2) to offer writing guidance to new and struggling authors. This is accomplished by means of a scored competition among unpublished and uncontracted manuscripts submitted by unagented authors. Proceeds from the competition after expenses will become part of the FMWA general fund for outreach to and support of the writing and reading community.


  1. The entry cannot have been traditionally published, self-published, e-published, or under contract to be published prior to entering the competition. If any of these four criteria occur during the period of judging, it is the responsibility of the author to notify the FAWE Contest Chair and FAWE Genre Coordinator that the work is no longer available for consideration. Under such circumstances, the submission will be pulled and the entry fee forfeited.
  2. Entries will be submitted under one of two genres: Mystery or Thriller.
  3. Entry criteria for Traditionally Published Authors: The manuscript entry must not be previously published by any means; additionally, it must be uncontracted and must not be subject to right of first refusal by a publisher. The author must not be represented by an agent or under contract for future works with a publisher.
  4. NOTE: Should a significant number of entries from Traditionally Published Authors be received, the FAWE Contest Chair may, at her discretion, split off those entries into a third category called Professional, meaning that traditionally published writers, both Thriller and Mystery, are competing against each other in a single category.
  5. Entries may be submitted by writing partnerships; however, only one prize will be awarded.
  6. The entry must be the original work of the author(s).
  7. The entry will consist of no more than the first twenty (20) pages, formatted as spelled out below.
  8. All entries must be submitted electronically as an attachment to an email. Subject of the email must be “FAWE [Specific Genre] Entry.”
  9. Author can submit more than one manuscript in each genre—Mystery or Thriller—however, the same manuscript cannot be submitted more than once. Author must pay the full fee for each entry.
  10. Author is responsible for submitting in the correct genre, Mystery or Thriller, as described below.


Mystery: A form of narration in which one or more elements remain unknown or unexplained until the end of the story. The modern mystery story contains elements of the serious novel: a convincing account of a character’s struggle with various physical and psychological obstacles in an effort to achieve his goal, good characterization, and sound motivation. Sub-genres of Mystery include, but are not limited to:

  • Cozy
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Professional Sleuth
  • Police Procedural
  • Legal Suspense
  • Medical Suspense
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Historical
  • Mixed Genre
  • Private Eye
  • Noir
  • Crime
  • Caper

Thriller: A novel intended to arouse feelings of excitement or suspense. Works in this genre are highly sensational, usually focusing on illegal activities, international espionage, sex, and violence. A thriller is often a detective story in which the forces of good are pitted against the forces of evil in a kill-or-be-killed situation. Sub-genres of Thrillers include, but are not limited to:

  • Action Thriller
  • Conspiracy Thriller
  • Crime Thriller
  • Disaster Thriller
  • Eco-Thriller
  • Forensic Thriller
  • Legal Thriller
  • Medical Thriller
  • Mystery Thriller
  • Political Thriller
  • Psychological Thriller
  • Religious Thriller
  • Romantic Thriller
  • Spy Thriller
  • Supernatural Thriller
  • Techno-Thriller


  1. The manuscript must be submitted as an MS Word document, double spaced in Times New Roman or Courier font at 12 point with one-inch margins all around. Paragraphs will be indented with no extra lines between. Contact the FAWE Contest Coordinator at FAWE2017Chair@aol.com if there are questions about formatting. Header will carry the following information on separate lines:
  • Title of Manuscript and Page Number
  • Genre of Manuscript (Mystery or Thriller)

Header will be right aligned.


  1. The submitted entry document must be titled according to the following format: FAWE2017_[GENRE]_[TITLE]. For example: FAWE2017_MYSTERY_ONCE UPON A MYSTERY or FAWE2017_THRILLER_CHASE AROUND THE WORLD.


  1. The entry consists of up to the first twenty (20) pages of an unpublished, unagented, and uncontracted mystery or thriller. Do NOT include a blurb or synopsis as part of the 20-page entry. Do NOT submit a blurb or synopsis.
  2. Author must submit under his/her legal name—no pseudonyms or pen names allowed. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. Please note: Pseudonyms cannot be used on the application form.
  3. A cover sheet must be part of the entry, but not count against the 20 pages. It will include Manuscript Title and Genre, Author’s Legal Name (no pseudonyms or pen names), Postal Address, telephone number, and Email Address. The cover sheet must include the following statement and be signed or e-signed/printed and dated by the entrant: “I hereby confirm that ____________________________________ (title of manuscript) is not and has never been traditionally published, self-published, or e-published, and is not under contract to be published. I also confirm that I am not represented by an agent. If one of these situations occurs during the contest period, I will notify the Genre Coordinator immediately with the understanding that my entry will be dropped from consideration, and my entry fee forfeited. My entering the FAWE competition is my acknowledgment that I understand and will abide by all competition rules.”
  4. Entries longer than 20 pages or not in required format will be disqualified and entry fee forfeited. If time permits prior to the contest entry deadline, the FAWE Contest Chair may allow resubmission.
  5. It is the responsibility of each entrant to select the correct genre in which to enter his/her manuscript. Neither the FAWE Contest Chair, FAWE Genre Coordinators, nor judges will be held responsible if the work is entered in the wrong genre. A wrong genre submission will not be grounds for disqualification; however, scoring points may be lost if the manuscript does not meet the accepted genre requirements.
  6. A completed manuscript is not required for contest entry; however, if the entry is selected as a finalist, proof of a completed manuscript must be immediately submitted to the FAWE Contest Chair. Failure to provide proof of a completed manuscript at that time will result in disqualification from the final round. Preliminary round score sheets will be sent to the entrant.
  7. The decisions of the contest committee and the judges are final.
  8. Under no circumstances should the entrant attempt to contact the judges—before, during, or after the submission of a manuscript. Any attempt to do so will cause the disqualification of the entrant’s manuscript(s). Any questions or concerns should be addressed to the FAWE Contest Chair.


  1. Submissions will be accepted now through October 15, 2017. The deadline for submissions is midnight EST, October 15, 2017. Any entry received after the deadline will not be accepted, and the entry fee returned, less any processing fees.
  2. Entry fees are as follow: $25 for MWA members and $30 for non-MWA members. Payment may be made by PayPal on the FMWA website. Entrant may also pay via check or money order, payable to FMWA Chapter, and sent to the following address: FMWA, 2301 S Ocean Dr., Apt 2005, Hollywood, FL 33019. Include a completed hard copy entry form (download from website) with your check or money order. Payment should be submitted in the same timeframe as the manuscript, but must be received prior to October 15, 2017. If the payment does not clear, the entry will be rejected.
  3. Entries will consist of the entry form, cover sheet, and manuscript. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically. No paper submissions.
  4. Email your Mystery entry (three attachments to your email—entry form, cover sheet, and manuscript) to the Mystery Genre Coordinator, Linda Hengerer at FAWELinda2016@gmail.com.
  5. Email your Thriller entry (three attachments to your email—entry form, cover sheet, and manuscript) to the Thriller Genre Coordinator, Stephanie Levine at FAWESSL2016@gmail.com.
  6. Put “FAWE [name of genre] Entry” in your subject line. Do NOT “zip” your documents. Zip attachments will not be opened, and the entry will be rejected, but are eligible for resubmission if time allows. If you are submitting more than one manuscript, send a separate email for each entry.
  7. Entrants will be notified of receipt of entry and payment via email. Please be sure full legal name, postal address, telephone number, and email address are entered on the entry form.


  1. Preliminary Round: Each manuscript will be judged by three judges, at least two (2) published authors and, optional at the FAWE Contest Chair’s discretion, an industry professional (reviewer, blogger, bookseller). Each judge will complete a score sheet. The resulting three scores will be combined for an overall total score.
  2. Final Round: The top five scoring entries in each genre will advance to the Final Round. (In the event of a tie, a tie-breaking judge will score those tying entries.) The finalists will be ranked—fifth through first places—by an editor/agent, with the first ranked entries in each genre being declared the winners.
  3. Score sheets will be returned to entrants by e-mail after the finalists are announced.


Finalists will be notified by phone or email on or before January 31, 2017. The FAWE contest winners will be announced at SleuthFest 2018. Finalists and winners need not be present at SleuthFest and the awards banquet but are encouraged to attend.


The first ranked entry in each genre (Mystery and Thriller—and, optional, Professional), as determined by the finalist agent/editor will be the FAWE contest winner in that genre. FAWE contest winners will receive an early 2019 three-day SleuthFest registration — a $400 value. The registration is non-transferable and good only for the 2019 SleuthFest.  There are no refunds or rescheduling for any other SleuthFests. In the event SleuthFest is not held during the time frame above, there is no refund or ability to exchange the prize for any other SleuthFest or event. Registration must be completed during the SleuthFest 2019 early registration time period, or else the prize is forfeited. Registration after the SleuthFest 2019 early registration period will be at the winner’s expense. Go Here for dates and registration form.

First place winners will also receive a plaque and listing on the FMWA website and other social media. The remaining finalists (5th thru 2nd places) will receive a certificate and a listing on the FMWA website and other social media. Finalists who do not attend SleuthFest will have their plaque or certificates mailed to them.

Additionally, SleuthFest-attending finalists and winners may have the opportunity to meet with their finalist agent/editor judge during the conference, subject to attendance/availability of the judges and at the judge’s discretion. The SleuthFest Agent/Editor Appointments Chair also will work with interested finalists to secure paid pitch slots with their agent/editor judge.


Questions regarding the competition may be directed to Elaine Viets, FAWE Contest Chair at FAWE2017Chair@aol.com.















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