For the past six weeks, we’ve spent every spare moment judging the hundreds of entries submitted for the WritersWeekly Summer, 2017 24-Hour Short Story Contest. In case you’re not familiar with our quarterly contest, this is 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.
THE SUMMER, 2017 TOPIC
It was supposed to be the summer job of a lifetime, working as a chef at an upscale “summer camp” for adults. But, the air conditioner was broken again. After closing, the stale outdoor air brought little relief. The path to the cabins housing seasonal employees was dark but short. She stopped in her tracks when she came across one of the windows. With her pupils dilating, she couldn’t look away…
Before you continue reading, take a moment to consider where you would take that story…
Congrats to the top three winners!
1st Place – Lost Soul by Jim Driesen (Jim won $300!)
2nd Place – One Shot by Matt Etling (Matt won $250!)
3rd Place – Recruitment by Kara Miles (Kara won $200!)
85 other participants won prizes as well!
The top three winning stories, along with a list of the other winners, are posted RIGHT HERE.
COMMON THEMES SUBMITTED
Here are our notes about common themes that emerged with this topic:
Several participants wrote stories about an argument or other turmoil in the story that resulted in murder.
We couldn’t even count how many chefs were killing and cooking campers and/or animals to feed to the guests.
Several stories told of the chef cooking for someone with a known allergy, such as peanuts, in an attempt to kill them.
Lots of stories were about weight loss camps and, of course, those stories usually included campers cheating on their meal plans, stealing food, etc.
Several stories had bears stuck in the cabins, and that was what the camper saw through the window.
Lots of stories told of the person looking through the window, and catching someone cheating on their significant other.
Of course, several stories told of the camper seeing naked people through the window.
Also, we received numerous stories about survival camps.
As with all contests, some common themes come back again and again, no matter what the topic is.
The story is about a writer and/or it’s a writer participating in a writing contest (groan).
We always receive countless domestic abuse stories.
Vampires, aliens and other scary creatures. We always see LOTS of those.
We find out at the end that the entire story was just a movie/TV scene/play or we find out the first scene of the story (usually the topic itself) is from a movie or TV show/play or even a book or article one of the characters is reading.
The reader finds out at the very end that the main character is actually dead (is a ghost or spirit of some sort).
The reader finds out at the very end that the main character is actually an animal.
The main character dies at the end, and is met by a loved one or an angel of some sort. We also see lots of dead friends/relatives trying to convince the characters it’s their time to die, too, helping them to cross over, etc.
We always receive numerous stories about characters with dementia.
The story is dramatic but you find out at the end the characters are really children playing make-believe. This was particularly prevalent with the Spring topic.
We find out at the end that the main character is actually an unborn child, telling their story from the womb. You only find out it’s a baby at the end.
The main character of the story is a writer or someone in the story (usually the main character) is named Angela (the same name as the publisher of WritersWeekly).
A common fairy tale is the basis of the story and/or a well-known character is featured in the story. (Writers should create their own characters.)
The writer uses well-known fictional characters and real people from the past. Again, writers should create their own characters.
Links to the winning stories of the current contest appear RIGHT HERE.
1st prize: $300
2nd prize: $250
3rd prize: $200
20+ honorable mentions
+ 62 door prizes!
85 prizes total!
You can see the complete list of 85 prizes, and sign up for the next contest, here: http://24hourshortstorycontest.com
The NEXT CONTEST IS THIS WEEKEND! (09/09/17)
Sign up today right Here: http://24hourshortstorycontest.com/
14 Tips To Give Yourself A Leg Up In Writing Contests!
Sign-up form for the next contest!
List of ALL PAST TOPICS and WINNERS of the WritersWeekly Quarterly 24-Hour Short Story Contest!