Ready to put your pen to the test?
Write a story or complete scene that highlights conflict: your character is faced with a problem, adversary, or challenging situation and must work their way out of it. Write with the intent to make us care about the character and situation they face.
This piece must include at least one of the conflicts listed below:
Losing a Vital Item
Telling the Truth but Not Being Believed
Having Unwanted Powers
A Romantic Competitor Entering the Scene
Getting Caught in a Lie
Needing to Sacrifice One for the Good of the Many
PRO TIP: Click on the scenario above for valuable insight into each conflict, which you can source for your story.
All genres are welcome. However, if you choose to explore mature themes, understand that submissions containing gratuitous violence or graphic, explicit, defamatory, and offensive material will not be accepted. In other words, use good judgement, and remember, story is King/Queen!
This contest will be capped at 100 entries.
- One entry per writer.
- Must be a new, unpublished piece.
- It must be a complete scene or story – no cliffhangers.
- The work you submit must be your own.
- You must be 18 years or older to enter. No purchase is necessary.
- Subject to our contest and notification policy here.
- Title your story and remove personalization (author name, email, etc.) from your document before submitting it as an attachment. This allows for blind judging. (Your identifying details will be collected in your submission form.)
- Please submit using manuscript format (a title, double-spaced, 12-point font). Don’t forget to proof your work. You don’t want a typo or missing punctuation to pull judges out of the story.
- Your submission must be 750 – 2000 words in length.
- Deadline to submit is midnight, September 16th, 2022 (EST). Winners will be announced mid-October.
(Entries that don’t follow our submission guidelines will be disqualified, and this will make us sad. So please make sure to double-check everything before you hit send.)
Who is judging this contest?
Judges will be a mix of Angela & Becca’s Street Team, officers of Writers Helping Writers, and Resident Writing Coaches.
How will judging work?
Submissions will be paired in groups of three, judged based on a story rubric, and the best submissions move on to the next level. The final winners will be determined by Angela, Becca, and Mindy.
Where’s the line with violence, sex, etc.?
A bloodbath torture scene or play-by-play events that happen behind closed doors at an S & M club aren’t what we’re looking for.
Remember, for the conflict to matter, the characters must matter. If you spend most of your word count describing an epic seafaring battle, will judges have had enough time to get to know your characters and understand what’s at stake, so they’ll care about the outcome?
Can I submit children’s fiction?
Absolutely! But understand, our judges are all volunteers and may or may not be familiar with the nuances of children’s fiction. Whenever possible, we will try to group children’s fiction together to be judged.
Do you have any tips for me to keep in mind?
Conflict should create tension, and it will if readers feel connected to the character and understand what’s at stake. So, put the important stuff on the page and don’t forget the internal side of a character. Their emotions, voice, and inner struggles will help judges connect to them on a human level and care what they are going through. And remember, when it counts most, show, don’t tell.
What should I title my Word document?
Your story title and genre would be perfect. Please make sure your name isn’t in the document title (or anywhere on the manuscript you enter).
Oops, I made a mistake! Can I send another entry or edit the one I submitted?
We’re sorry, but you can only submit one entry and it can’t be edited. Please review your entry several times (and possibly have another person or two look it over) before submitting.
What are the amazing prizes?
This contest is in celebration of the newly-released SILVER Edition of The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles, so head over to our Release Day post to find the LIST OF PRIZES. (And enter our launch giveaway while you’re there to win some great writing resource books!)
I have a question that isn’t answered here.
Please browse the comments below. If you don’t see your question, please leave it in a comment, and we’ll answer it as soon as we can.
Good luck! We can’t wait to see your stories! 🙂