WritersWeekly.com's 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
You can enter the Fall 2014 contest below.
Please note: You must be entered in the contest before the topic is posted in order to submit your story. You cannot write your story first, then enter the contest.
Prohibited in Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Jersey and Tennessee. If you are a resident of one of these states, please do not enter. Some states do not allow contests that have entry fees, even ones that are skills-based. We wish they did but they don't.
Select this to register for the Fall 2014 24-Hour Short
Story Contest. Start time is September 20th, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
(noon) central time. Held quarterly and limited to 500 entrants. Don't
miss out on the ultimate source for creative stress...and tons of fun! More
than 85 prizes! (When you purchase this, you'll download a PDF file of
the guidelines. There is also a link to them in the email receipt.)
20 - Honorable Mentions
Honorable mention winners receive a one-year subscription to The Write Markets Report AND one ebook of their choice.
Winners of grab bag get one ebook of their choice from our list HERE.
(Frequently Asked Questions)
Q. How long do stories need to be?
A. We can't tell you until contest start time how long the entries must be. Past contests have ranged from 500 max. to 2,000 max. You'll just have to wait and see.
Q. Why won't you tell us the contest word count ahead of
A. Because we have found that some write their stories ahead of time and then (crafty they are) creatively incorporate the contest topic into their almost-completed story.
Q. What's the biggest mistake writers make in the contests?
A. Bad endings! Oh, we do so detest bad endings! Predictable endings, poor and weak endings...they can turn a wonderful story into a sour grape. We've read thousands of stories over the past two years and some absolutely wonderful and beautifully written stories end up losing on the last sentence. It's sad, but it's very, very common. Hint: We LOVE surprises!
Q. What do you base your judging criteria on?
A. In the contests, we give the topic and what we find, after reading the first few entries, is that most of the stories are the same story told over and over but in a different way. Those are weeded out because it is obvious that originality did not play a major part in their planning. We also look at good writing (but if the story is not good... it gets tossed as well). Some writers can weave a beautiful thread, but tell a really bad story at the same time. Humor plays a part, too, when appropriate in the story. If we groan, we don't like it. If we laugh out loud, we love it. What we end up with (at the end) is 10-20 stories that stood out above the rest. While good writing is a must, originality plays a huge role in the judging as well.
A past topic was: Life Threatening Situation in A Natural Disaster. Common themes were people trying to survive hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and the like. The winning entry focused more on the psychological madness of the wife than on the hurricane itself. Another winner gave us an avalanche. Not only was the story beautifully written, but it was the only avalanche story we received, and the life threatening situation was not the natural disaster, but the impending suicide of the main character.
Another topic was "It was the most terrifying classifed ad yet and, to top it off, a there was a blizzard brewing!" One writer wrote about a woman and classified ad...and she was drinking a blizzard from Dairy Queen. Now THAT was original!
I hope this gives you some ideas of what we're looking for in winning entries.
Q. What should I avoid?
A. Far too many stories come in with the main character being a writer. Please don't do that. It is far too common. Also, do NOT make the main character of your story named Angela and do not base your story in Bangor, Maine. These tactics are always used by a few in each contest and they don't work. In fact, making us think that favoritism because of a name or location will be used has the opposite effect on our judging. Good writing is what makes a winner...not manipulation of the judges. Oh, and don't make your story about a writer who is participating in a writing contest but who can't come up with an idea on the topic. We always get a couple of those and that idea is pretty old by now. ;)
Q. What is the judging process?
A. Stories are read and broken down into two categories. Finalists versus other. The finalists are read and ranked by all judges. Using the rankings, we pick the top 23. These 23 are then re-read and ranked again by the judges and awarded either first, second, third place, or an honorable mention. All others are eligible for door prizes which are awarded at random.