Are you thinking about participating in the 24-hour short story contest, but don’t know what to expect? Here’s how it works.
On the date of the contest, at start-time, we send out the topic for that specific contest to all registered entrants, while also posting it on WritersWeekly.com. Entrants must be registered before the contest begins and there is a limit of 500 participants per contest. Entrants then have 24 hours to write and submit their stories via email. The stories “must deal with the topic in some way to qualify” and they must not exceed the pre-assigned word count, which is announced with the topic.
After reading the entries for each contest, we can see how difficult it is to come up with a unique plot when working with an assigned topic. But, inevitably, a few writers do manage to successfully break away from the pack!
1st place: $300
2nd place: $250
3rd place: $200
+ 85 other prizes!
Here are some past Fall contest topics, along with links to the winners. Remember, stories must only “deal with the topic in some way to qualify.”
FALL, 2013 TOPIC
She wiped her hands on her apron, peering out the window. Red and orange leaves hurried by as the cold autumn wind battered the small cabin. The girl should have been back from the errand by now. At that moment, she saw the flying, fiery red braids. The devil’s mark on her right cheek, a constant reminder, was clearly visible, even at dusk. The girl, breathless, burst through the wooden door.
“Ma! Come quickly!!”
Winners of the Fall, 2013 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2012 TOPIC
Their small sacks heavy with apples, they huddled on the cobblestone path, not sure if they could make it back in time. Bright orange and yellow leaves rushed across their shoes and they shivered, their cloaks no match for the approaching dusk. Their eyes widened as the town’s striking clock began to issue its warning…
Winners of the Fall, 2012 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2011 TOPIC
She was standing on the porch of a sagging cabin with bright yellow leaves collecting around her feet. As the cold wind billowed her skirt, she shivered and wondered if the owner of the purse really lived here. She knocked timidly and the door quickly opened, revealing a tiny girl holding a hideous, bald doll…
Winners of the Fall, 2011 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2010 TOPIC
He stood on his tiptoes at the small cabin’s rear window, staring out at the deepening dusk, sensing the excitement in the town’s air. The cold wind seeped through an old crack, tickling his chubby cheek, and a whirlwind of red and orange leaves made him laugh. The corn stalks rustled in the brisk breeze, waving to him. He waved back.
Behind him, Mommy was busy in the small kitchen and delicious smells wafted his way, making his tiny tummy grumble with glee. She was making lots of treats to tempt the town’s children. After all, she’d promised him a new brother or sister…
Winners of the Fall, 2010 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2009 TOPIC
Weeks of obsessive tending and gentle turning ensured a blue ribbon for his biggest pumpkin next weekend. His chest puffed with impending pride as he fantasized about the envious stares of the other town folk, especially that pretty, stuck-up woman next door who always looked through him, not at him…
Winners of the Fall, 2009 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2008 TOPIC
The cast iron pot was blackened and warped, but had provided years of delicious concoctions. Movement caught her eye through the cracked window. She turned her head, but saw only red, orange, yellow and brown leaves racing by in the fierce wind. She shivered as cold air leaked through the window’s cracks, and leaned down to stoke the fire.
Squinting at her recipe book, she scratched the mole on her nose. The fourth ingredient was always the hardest to find…
Winners of the Fall, 2008 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2007 TOPIC
The vivid hues of the foliage seemed to bring the painting to life. Intrigued, she leaned closer. Blowing rapidly down the cobblestone road, the artist’s yellow leaves were a dazzling gold, the red leaves burned a deep, unnatural maroon, more beautiful than reality, and the dark orange leaves faded around their edges, as if they couldn’t decide which color they wanted to be. She peered closer still, desperately wishing to be there, in that place so far away, and so long ago. Her senses seemed to respond to her subconscious desires and she blinked back startled tears when she suddenly inhaled the scent of wood smoke, felt a cold wind stirring her hair, and saw a movement in the distance…
Winners of the Fall, 2007 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2006 TOPIC
She turned away from the crisp fall wind, shivering as her long skirt billowed wide and her hair slapped her face. She’d lost her prayer kapp again. Mamm would be real mad. Dry leaves were racing past, heading in the same direction. She’d always wondered where all those leaves ended up, year after year. Some were already brown. That made her sad. The dark orange ones reminded her of Mamm’s pumpkin cookies and she turned toward home. She walked slowly, fingering the package hidden in her apron and thinking about the Bishop’s visit yesterday, when he’d said she was too simple-minded to care for a baby…
Winners of the Fall, 2006 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2005 TOPIC
The pristine snow on the hill was marred only by the bright orange and red leaves that had fallen in the night wind. The early snowstorm had pushed fall into winter, but fall was still fighting for recognition. She couldn’t dwell on the beauty around her, however, because she had only moments to decipher the etchings on the gravestone…
Winners of the Fall, 2005 contest are HERE.
FALL, 2004 TOPIC
The red, orange and yellow leaves traveling the river contrasted sharply against the black water. Distant thunder and a bitter wind promised an early winter storm. She shivered and walked faster, ignoring the muffled diatribe coming from the burlap sack in her arms.
Winners of the Fall, 2004 contest are HERE.
What will the 2014 topic be? You’ll have to wait and see! It will be announced at start-time, which is 12:00 p.m. (noon) central time on September 20, 2014. Sign up today, before the contest fills up! We’re going to have so much fun!!
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
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Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
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See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
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