Gearing Up For Another Run At The Clive Staples Award

CSA1Six years ago a group of Christian speculative writers started talking about creating an award for Christian speculative fiction, and the Clive Staples Award was born. For two years we operated as a readers’ choice award and had modest success. However, for various reasons, the award went dark after 2010. We at Spec Faith would like to see it continue, and even to see it grow.

The “growing” part is still largely in the dream stage–with the goal to acquire corporate sponsors willing to offer a significant monetary prize. We’d also like to add a second round of judging, bringing in professionals to make the final selection of the winner while still retaining the readers choice format to select the finalists. But all that’s down the road.

What’s in front of us today is a second start, this time hosted at Spec Faith. Starting soon we’ll open up nominations, then readers will have a chance to read books they haven’t read yet, and in a month or so, vote for the winner.

There are some requirements, both for the books that are eligible and for the voters who can vote. Here’s what you need to know.

The award is the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction, and the goal is to recognize the best in Christian Speculative Fiction

The books that are eligible must be all of the following:

  • Christian—either overtly or because of a Christian worldview
  • published in English
  • published by a publisher which has no direct affiliation with the author and which pays a royalty (i.e. not self-published, even through any of the services offered by publishing companies)
  • published between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012
  • in the science fiction/fantasy/allegory/futuristic/supernatural/supernatural suspense/horror category

Readers will nominate and will vote on the books they believe to be the best in the category.

Nomination guidelines

  • Authors, agents, and publishers may not nominate books with which they are affiliated.
  • Those wishing to nominate a book must leave a comment including the title, author, and publisher.

Readers’ Choice Voting

Voters will be eligible only if they have read two or more of the books nominated. We want this to be a selection by readers of Christian speculative fiction, not just the fans of particular authors.

Below are standards to consider.

I. Writing Style/Mechanics

    Does the quality of the author’s prose (syntax, tone, voice, pacing etc.) enhance the story?
    Is there a both showing and telling?
    Are there errors in word use, spelling, grammar, paragraphing, and punctuation?

II. Setting

    Is the setting well established and realistic?
    Are the speculative elements believable and necessary to the story?

III. Characterization

    Does the main character have clear internal and external goals?
    Are the characters complex, with both strengths and weaknesses?
    Are the characters believably and realistically motivated?
    Is dialogue natural?
    Does dialogue make each person seem unique?
    Is there logical and appropriate character development?

IV. Plot

    Is the story structured with a clearly recognizable arc of conflict, crisis, and resolution?
    Does the narrative flow, or does it tend toward the disjointed?
    Are the obstacles to be overcome sufficiently challenging to the main character?
    Are the events in the plot unpredictable?
    Is the resolution something new or unexpected?
    Was it credible?
    Did it seem believable?

V. Theme

    Does the story contain a central or dominating idea?
    Does the theme arise from the characters and events of the story?
    Is the theme consistent with a Christian worldview?
    Does the theme overwhelm the story, or is it well integrated into the story?

Watch here and at Spec Faith for more information about the opening of nominations.

This article first appeared in February at Spec Faith.

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Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm  Comments Off on Gearing Up For Another Run At The Clive Staples Award  
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