The Dazed Starling: Unbound is an online publication of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at California Baptist University. Its goal is to extend CBU’s Dazed Starling student literary journal’s mission by offering an additional publication opportunity open not only to current CBU students but also to faculty, alumni, and friends of the university. Each edition is thematic, but the editorial staff is open to an expansive interpretation of that theme. The editors will consider submissions in a wide variety of genres—poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, of course, but other writing (creative, critical, devotional, etc.) that might go beyond those categories. You can view last year's edition here:

The theme for this edition of The Dazed Starling: Unbound is “reborn.” We welcome various interpretations of this theme, including, but not limited to, the exploration of the following: 

  • Rebirth
  • Phoenix imagery
  • Renewal of the soul, identity, or roots
  • Faith journeys
  • Overcoming obstacles in life
  • Transformation
  • Another life
  • Second chances
  • Maturity (stages of life)
  • Walking dead
  • Name changing
  • Rising from the ashes
  • Revival
  • Renewal
  • New beginnings/beginnings in general
  • Growth
  • Building family of one’s own. 

The Dazed Starling: Unbound also seeks to extend the creative voice of The Dazed Starling student literary journal with additional emphasis on visual arts. Artistic pieces should be submitted as JPEG or PNG image files. We are particularly looking for works embracing our theme. Still, we are open to various forms—photography, computer-generated images, paintings, drawings, line art, black & white, monotone, full color, everything! (We’ll be honest—we are hoping to see a bird-themed piece or two—but not only that.)

Whether written or visual, all submissions must be previously unpublished with all rights held by the submitter. All submissions should consider the mission and spirit of the university.

Multiple pieces may be submitted in one submission. Authors may submit up to 3 poems and up to 2,500 words of prose (fiction or nonfiction). We welcome flash fiction, non-fiction, etc. Artists may submit up to 5 pieces of visual art.

Current CBU undergraduate and graduate students, including December 2022 graduates, are invited to submit art to The Dazed Starling. One piece will be selected to be featured as the cover of The Dazed Starling 20232 journal.  Additional pieces may be considered for the Dazed Starling online website.
If an art submission is chosen it will be edited to format the cover; if a cover design is chosen, it should include the journal title, "Spring 2022," and "Issue 9". Full front+back design will be approximately 8 1/2 x 11 (Landscape) with a spine inserted. To view previous selection, see Rosemary Welsh in James 254 or email Dr. Travis ( .  Students should only submit original images or those to which they maintain rights.
File should be submitted as JPEG
Full Wrap Specifications (Including Spine):

  • Width: 12.5582" (3767 px)
  • Height: 9.250" (2775 px)

Front Only

  • Width: 6" (1800 px)
  • Height: 9" (2700 px)


1. All entries must be written by an individual student enrolled at California Baptist University during the Spring 2023 semester. The entry may have been written for a class; entries should not have been previously published, including self-published. All entries must be original work and should generally be in English.

2. Winning entries will be awarded and "performed" via a public table read at the Arts & Letters Symposium, which will be held at CBU on the morning of March 18, 2023. Students are encouraged to submit entries that are suitable for public performance at this event. Winners will be expected to participate in the table read and award ceremony. Winners will be notified ahead of time that they need to attend (but will not be told which prize they won).

3. Entries should follow the format of a playscript, such as described in Gary Garrison's Writing and Producing the 10-Minute Play or David Starkey's Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief. Freeware such as Trelby and Celtx playwriting software can help you format your play. At a minimum, your 10-minute play should include a title, a character list (with a brief description of the characters), the setting, and clearly formatted dialogue and stage directions. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON THE PLAY, save for your CBU ID number. List your CBU ID number under the play title on the first page. Carefully proofread and edit your entries before submitting them.

4. A 10-minute play generally is 10 pages long; include page numbers on your 10-minute play script. Gary Garrison suggests this format for the 10-minute play:

  • Pages 1-2: Set up the world we're in, introduce your  central character(s), and make sure we understand what they  need/want/desire in the journey of the story.
  • Pages 2-3: Illuminate the central conflict—a dramatic  question that will be answered by the play's end.
  • Pages 3-8: Complicate the story two or three times.
  • Pages 9-10: Resolve the conflict, even if that creates  an unhappy ending.

  • (Cited in David Starkey, Creative Writing: Four      Genres in Brief [4th ed.], p. 268)

5. Successful entries will generally recognize the strengths and limitations of the genre of the 10-minute play; the submissions will have stripped-down settings, reasonable prop lists, simple lighting needs, small casts, limited costuming and makeup requirements, and other elements that can be feasibly executed within ten minutes.

6. Students may submit up to two 10-minute plays.

7. First place is $100. Second place is $75. At its discretion, CBU may also award up to two Honorable Mention prizes of $50.

8. CBU reserves the right to publish the winning entries; all playwrights submitting entries retain their copyright to their plays.

9. Entries must be received on Submittable by 11:59 pm on March 1, 2023.

California Baptist University