Contest Categories

The Crowder Quill magazine is a compilation of winning entries in the following literary and art categories.

Various forms of each genre are welcome as publication submissions. The following are common terms and explanations within each category.


Essays, character sketches, and other true-to –life writings should be limited to 1,800 words.

Essays – a short piece of writing that is based on one certain subject in which the author normally states and details their opinion on. There are four types of essays in literature: expository, descriptive, narrative, and persuasive.

Autobiography – when the biography is written by the subject of the story.

Biography – a piece of literature that has been written about someone’s life.

Character Sketch – a short piece of writing that details a certain character.

Memoir – a written work similar to a biography but focuses on a specific time in a person’s life.

Historical Narrative – a narrative that was written for the general purpose of recreating historical events and characters.

Mo bird and flower - tori murray - crowder

Missouri Bird and Flower by Tori Murray

Satire – a piece of writing that ridicules mankind’s downfalls and corruptions.

Political Satire – a piece of literature written for the purpose of mocking the government and its members.

Commentary – writing that is generally used for records. The author, having been a part of a certain experience, details what occurred.

Journal/Diary Entries – a written record of a person’s thoughts, opinions, and activities.



Clear plot development and well-defined characters are expected; also limit of 1,800 words.

Short Stories – a brief story that, while it does come to completion, lacks complexity and in-depth character development.

Plays – a written piece presenting a story that was created with the intention for the piece to be acted out on a stage.

Fables – A short narrative that is used to teach morals and commonly uses animals as characters.

Folklore – a piece of literature that preserves the traditional customs and tales among a certain group of people.

Parody – a piece of literature that closely imitates an author or another piece of literature, most often for comedic purposes.

Fantasy – a literary genre that is comprised of things that cannot occur in the real world, such as magic and mythical creatures.

Science Fiction – a literary genre that has a storyline that is based off different views on what science and technology will be like in the future.



Whether free verse, blank verse, rhymed or metered verse, poetry should make a point, state emotion, or relate an experience.

Musical Lyrics – poetry that is paired with instrumental sound to create a song.

Free Verse – a verse that does not have a steady rhythm.

Blank Verse – a verse that does not rhyme and is most commonly written in iambic pentameter.

Rhymed Verse – a verse in which the words at the end of each line rhyme.

Metered Verse – a syllabic rhythm recurring throughout a verse.

Ballad – a type of poetry that is used in dance songs, they often tell a story with the themes ranging from comedy to romance.

Sonnet – a poem in the fixed verse form pattern of fourteen lines that are generally iambic pentameter rhyming agreeing to a specific design.

Haiku – a type of verse, originating from Japan, that contains three lines with five syllables in the first and last lines, and seven syllables in the second line.


2D Media:

Original two-dimensional art may be black and white or color. Entries may be scanned and uploaded online, hand-delivered, or mailed. Art should be created based on real life (still life, landscape, or live model), memory, or imagination rather than copied from published materials. If a source is references, credits must be given. Model consent required. 


Tarnish and Contrast by John Mills - Community Gold

Tarnish and Contrast by John Mills

Hand-made prints – artwork created by hand.


Monoprint – a single print created by applying ink or paint to glass and then transferring it to paper; may have a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd monoprint, each with a specific process.

Etching – a print produced by etching with acid into a piece of metal, then applying ink and pressing paper to the inked metal.

Screen Paint – silk-screen printing; a process that uses stencils on screens to layer different colors of ink onto a print.

Charcoal Drawing – a drawing using sticks of charred wood.

Oil Painting – a form of painting in which the paint being used is made with oils. The oil paint takes longer to dry and is used in layers.

Colored Pencil – similar in shape to a graphite pencil, each colored pencil has a different shade or color and the lead contains wax.

Pastels – similar to a crayon, a pastel is made out of powdered pigment made into a binder.

Graphite pencil – a pencil whose lead is a mixture of powdered graphite and clay, and is easily erasable.

Marble Texturing/brush – applying a pattern to an object by transferring oil paints floating on water.

Pen & Ink – a drawing or sketch done in pen & ink. Often incorporates the methods of stippling and cross-hatching (as a variety of Mediums do).

  • Stippling – created by drawing or engraving detail or an image in either small strokes or dots.
  • Cross-hatch – creating an image with a series of lines that cross over each other.


3D Art:

Qualifying art must include a relief that protrudes at least 1/8 inch off the surface. Photographs of the art (front and side view required) may be uploaded online instead of bringing the art for judging.

Fallen Leaves by Gabi Abbott - High School Gold

Fallen Leaves by Gabi Abbott

Pottery – objects that are wheelthrown with clay and fired to cone 02-10. They can be altered, added on to, or detailed.

Ceramics – All things made in clay and fired; it is also possible to make from a mold; not just thrown on the wheel.

Sculpture – 3D objects that can be created from a variety of materials, with many different processes, such as carving or welding.

Assemblage – a piece of art that is created with different sections or pieces that are assembled to create a whole piece.

Recycled Materials Art – artwork that is made of recycled materials or trash.

Relief Art – a sculpture that has been made to give the impression that the carved image is above the background plane.

Fused-Glass Jewelry – jewelry created by selecting pieces of glass and arranging them to be fired in a kiln to fuse the pieces together.

Stained-Glass Mosaic – decorative glass pane that is created by cutting and arranging pieces of colored glass connected by strips of lead; color enhancements may be added with stains and paints.


Digital Art

This graphic art category includes computer-generated art or extensively manipulated photographs in order to create special effects. Photography with only minor adjustments should be entered in one of the photography categories. Digital art, photography, and literature entries should be uploaded online. 

Big Sky by Mark Cole - Community Gold

Big Sky by Mark Cole

Common Photoshop Techniques – a few of the most commonly used Photoshop techniques are the ability to manipulate photos, creating textures, alter hand drawn images that are scanned in, add layers to create more dimension, and alter the lighting on an image to make it brighter or darker.

Photoshop Layers – different sections of the same image that can be altered and moved separately to give the image more dimension.

Photoshop Filters – an effect that can be used to imitate photographic filters, correct a photo, or apply special art effects that give the image a unique appearance or appear to have been created using a different medium.

Sumo Paint Software Program – a website with a downloadable program for image design, photo editing, and making digital art.

InspirARTion Software Application – an application that allows you to utilize many different styles, sizes, and colors as well as different symmetry modes to draw or create digital art.

B&W Photography

Simple Life by Jilberto Alejo - High School Gold

Simple Life by Jilberto Alejo

Black and white entries may be reproduced from film or digital files with only minor corrections and adjustments.

Color Photography

We seek film of digital files that emphasize vibrant color. Files should be uploaded online. All photography is judged on originality, contrast, composition, and artistic merit.

Aperture Setting (f-stop) – f-stops are the size of the aperture and corresponds to how much light is allowed in the lens. Larger f-stop numbers result in a darker image. Smaller f-stop numbers result in a brighter image.

ISO (film speed) – measures how sensitive to light the camera sensor is; the lower the number, the less light sensitive and less grain on the photo, and the higher the number, the more light sensitive and more grain on the photo.

Glimpse of Colorado by Alec Fehring Crowder Silver

Glimpse of Colorado by Alec Fehring

Shutter Speed – how long the aperture exposed the sensor to the light, the faster the speed of the shutter, the crisper the picture.

Automatic Setting (Auto) – the automatic setting controls the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for the user.

IPhone Lens Attachment – smartphone attachments that helps the phone and user to produce a higher quality photo.

Film Processing – a series of chemical baths that develop a photograph, requiring control over the environment especially light. With digital printing, images from digital cameras can be printed directly from the computer.

Unless otherwise noted, all definitions were found at Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 2016. .


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