The Strongest Start Novel Competition 2023

The Strongest Start Novel Competition 2023

Hundreds in cash prizes, feedback, community, and motivation.


August 13, 2023

We're pleased to announce the winners of the Strongest Start 2023. They are:

Grand Prize Winner:
LADY SILVER (contest 2023) by Bobbie.R.Byrd


No Place for a Man by Charlie David Chase
Runaways strongest start bv Nathan B. Childs

Please join me in congratulating these members! I'll be reaching out to them over the next couple of days to discuss their prizes.

July 29, 2023

After a bit of a delay, we're pleased to announce the six finalists for the Strongest Start 2023. They are, in no particular order:

The Gatekeeper's Wife - Strongest Start Contest by Writing_Cheri
LADY SILVER (contest 2023) by Bobbie.R.Byrd
No Place for a Man by Charlie David Chase
Road to the Mansfield - Strongest Start 2023 by Lauren G
Runaways strongest start bv Nathan B. Childs

Congratulations! And as we say every time we run a contest, kudos to everyone who submitted their writing and hopefully improved their manuscript. 

* * * 


After a four year pause, the Strongest Start Novel Competition is back!

We know that writing a compelling start isn't easy. So, for the ninth year, we've put together a motivational competition to help you hone the first three chapters of your book to perfection (if you haven't already).

We're looking for opening chapters that will create a burning need to find out what happens, how the characters turn out, how the novel resolves itself. The kind of start that gets an agent to call back, a publisher to show interest, and a reader to plunk down their hard earned money. Above all, give us three opening chapters that will keep us reading.

The Only Dynamic-Feedback Novel Competition in the World

PLEAD READ THIS BEFORE ENTERING.This isn't just any competition. It's a dynamic, workshop-based writing competition. That means you'll receive feedback on your entries from the talented writers, (many of whom are successful authors) on the site and you'll have to provide feedback on the writing of other members. You'll be able to edit and update your entry up until the contest deadline. As part of this process, you'll also meet and share ideas with other members and get motivated to produce the perfect, compelling opening. But you will be required to spend some time reading and reviewing content on the site to generate the credits you will need to post. As a new member, you will receive 7 free credits which, depending on the length of your first chapter, might allow you to post it without having to read and review. To learn how the site works, please read our How the Site Works page. 

The winner of the Strongest Start Novel Competition will be the writer who is selected by the site editors (not the users) to have the strongest three opening chapters. In addition, two runner-ups will be selected using the same criteria.


Prize Winner receives:

  • $500 cash.
  • One year of free membership on TheNextBigWriter, valued at $69.95.
  • Feedback on their entries

Two runner-ups will receive:

  • $100 in cash.
  • Free extra three months of Premium Membership on TheNextBigWriter valued at $21.95.
  • Feedback on their entries

Everyone receives:

  • Feedback on each submitted chapter.
  • Motivation to craft the best opening.
  • Camaraderie.
  • Fun.

Past Competitions and Winners

TheNextBigWriter has run this competition off and on since 2008. Some of the winners have gone on to publishing success. Others are still noodling their books, using the feedback from the contest to make them better before they decide to publish.

2023 Winner

2018 Winner
Maiden SS2018 by Seabrass

2016 Winner
Founders: Sifter Series Book I by graymartin

2015 Winner
The Laundromat at the Edge of the Universe by Ronald Quark

2012 Winner
The Girl with the Green Hair by Lucy Rice

2011 Winner
Quantrill's Raiders by crazeesharon

2010 Winner
Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson

2009 Winner
Sensing Passion: Travels of a Fifty-Five Year Old Divorcee by Christy Cumberlander Walker

2008 Winner
Static Mayhem by Edward Aubry

2007 Winner
Fallen by Annie Simko

Share on Twitter

Start: December 04, 2022

Deadline: May 04, 2023

Posting Date: Postings that are eligible for this contest must be published on site after June 01, 2017

Prize: Grand prize: $500 cash, Feedback, Visibility

Groups where the Contest runs

Previous Grand Prize Winners

2015 Winner


Publication Date:

2013 Winner

Friending the Devil by Marlene Elliott

2012 Winner

The Girl with Green Hair by Lucy Rice is still being written and has an open request to be read by the Nelson Literary Agency.

2011 Winner

Quantrill's Raiders by crazeesharon is still being edited for publication.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to this competition?

You must be a Writing Member of the site to enter the competition. The cost is as low as $6.66 per month. New members receive a free 7 day trial of Writing Membership. As a Writing Member, you will:

  • Receive Feedback. Post your writing and receive feedback from other workshop members.

  • Discover and Learn from Others. Discover, read, and critique the in-progress writing of other members. Help them and learn from the process. Leaving feedback isn't hard and we'll help you.

  • Connect with Other Writers. Meet and connect with other writers to share information, tips, and make friends. Some have even found love amidst reading and reviewing.

  • Get Motivated. Enter contests and challenges like the Strongest Start Book Competition to keep you motivated to write and edit.

  • Keep Control. Posting on the site keeps your writing within our password environment. You can restrict it further or open it up to the entire Internet for more exposure if you choose.

  • And much more...

Do I have to review other writers to submit my first three chapters?

Yes, TheNextBigWriter is an online workshop. To submit your chapters you'll have to read and provide feedback on other work submitted to the site. Writers tell us they enjoy this process and learn as much from reviewing others as from the reviews they receive. Once again, in this contest everyone wins by meeting other writers and by receiving feedback on what they have written.

Do I need to write in a particular genre to win? Can any genre enter?

The competition is open to any genre that adheres to the site's Terms and Conditions. This includes romance, literary fiction, science fiction, horror, fantasy, action and adventure, young adult, memoir, and more. Our previous winners have included action and adventure, science fiction, romance, young adult, and historical fiction. Finalists have included books in even more genres. We are looking for books that transcend genre so a book that is well-written and absorbing is much more important than the category that it fits into. Just keep us reading.

How much will I have to review and how much time will it take?

As a rule of thumb, you'll have to review 4 similar-length chapters to post one of your own. You accumulate points by reviewing other writers and use these points to post your own chapters. Time-pressed members can purchase points but this is not encouraged. Participants tell us that both receiving and writing reviews is one of the most rewarding experiences of the contest. If you are looking to just dump your entry and run, this contest is not for you.

Reviewing generally takes 15-20 minutes for a typical chapter, depending on your reading speed. You can read and comment on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. So, curl up in bed and see what others are putting together and entering.

If I post more than 3 chapters will it impact the competition?

No, you may submit more than 3 chapters but we will only be judging the first three.

Can I submit a non-fiction book to the competition?

Yes. You may submit non-fiction as long as it is a compelling read. Memoirs have done well in the past.

I'm from a country that isn't eligible to enter the competition. Why are some countries excluded?

This has to do with international competition law. Each country in the world has different regulations regarding competitions and we do not have the resources to research all of them at the moment. For example, the Province of Quebec requires that all competition material be duplicated in French, something we don't have the money or expertise to do. We picked the largest English speaking countries and researched those to ensure we were in compliance. We apologize if your country is not on the list and will do our best to add you in the future. Until then, we hope you will use the rest of the features on

Can I re-enter a submission from last year?


Do I give up any rights to my work by entering this contest?

No, per our member agreement, you retain all rights to everything you post.

Facebook Comments

Welcome New Writers