The 24-hour short story contest is a blast. Each season I enjoy stepping away from the grind of what I am currently working on to completely shift my mindset for a day. It is a fun and super challenging way to open the head space for a breath of fresh air. This spring contest was especially uplifting because of the current heavy energy the Coronavirus has dumped on all of us. I had received a dump truck delivery of 20 yards of mulch so I was out playing in the open air, hauling mulch to the garden beds while brainstorming the topic that I received in the morning. While I worked around the emerging plants, new ideas sprouted in my head. I stopped the gardening when my back said it was quitting time, then hit the writing desk where I unloaded what was brewing in my head. I went to bed smiling about the productive day, and woke up at sunrise to clean up the story before I hit send. The other cool thing about the contest is when the winning stories are shared so we can all admire what other writers created from the shared topic. There are so many talented writers out there.
I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the contest each season! Thank you for hosting it.
– Julie Sampson
As a writer, I often find myself frozen, unable to open that laptop, make those edits, or read and re-read and edit and re-read and then read it again. This contest sparked a flame that I needed sparked! It was a much needed event that worked; I’m back at it with very little hesitation. Thank you to Angela for hosting this amazing writing experience. Stressful? Oh yeah. Daunting? You know it. But, when you hit send after having gotten a random topic only 24 hours (or less!) before, it makes that laptop seem like a friend again, and the ideas began to flow instantly.
Hey there! Thought you might like to know that this story, which would not have been written were it not for the Winter 2020 contest, was published yesterday. I’m sure piles of writers have had similar experiences. Thanks again for the work you and your team do. You really cannot measure how many ripples continue moving on from your contests, long after the 24-hour window closes. I always look at those weekends as a productive time of writing first and a competition second. Good things result. Be safe and blessed!
Love this contest…time becomes the teacher/mentor as you are forced to dig deep real quick. Having 24 hours gives you 22 hours to mull over your crappy first draft, about an hour to hone a second draft, and then 50 minutes (more or less) to get that piece ready for prime time. And, at a $5 entry fee you aren’t hitting us over the head for the chance to compete against time and ourselves.
Thanks for the opportunity.
– Donna Marazzo
I’m new to the contest and truly enjoyed the Saturday challenge! The story flowed freely since it’s based on an actual event.
This is the first time I’ve written anything in many, many years and the only time I’ve submitted to a contest. Amazing what a pandemic – and thoughts of mortality – will do. Regardless of the results I feel so blessed and rewarded already. I want to continue on this new path, one which I have been longing to walk for a long, long time.
– J.P. Fox
I enjoyed the contest because it made me step out of my comfort zone. Writing a story to match the topic line was different. Telling a whole story in 875 was difficult. It made every word important.
– Mary Faust Smith
I’m someone who writes pretty much every day, even if it’s just in my journal. These last several months, due to the crappy stuff that happens to most, if not all of us at one time or another, I haven’t written a word. When I got the reminder email about the contest this time, I went ahead and paid my nominal fee to enter but didn’t commit to writing something. I just wanted the option open for me.
When I got the email with the opening lines, the words sparked a million ideas at once and I was hooked. I wrote and rewrote for several wonderful, glorious hours and, the whole time, I didn’t think once about what was going on outside of my story.
I appreciate the time and effort you expend to run your contest four times a year!
– Sharon Gerger
I love the contests and I love the low cost. Today, I wrote my story quickly, which worked out well because it forced me to narrow my thoughts, and get right to work.
– Tammy Mackey
Thank you for the FUN! FUN! FUN! writing contests you have provided for us throughout the years. There is nothing that brings me more delight than participating in this unique creative process.
This is the first time I entered an impromptu story writing contest. I find it exciting and I look forward to the results. Yes, you can publish my first name.
This was my first 24-Hour contest and it was so much fun, and surprising that I could actually complete a story in that much time. I really appreciate the specific guidelines and suggestions, I found them to be very helpful. Thank you for this opportunity.
– Laurel Profit
The whole idea of writing a story in 24 hours is intriguing–always playing these kind of competitive games with myself!
I had so much fun writing this! I was crying when I was reading it! My husband loved it. He said you had my every word. This is my first contest I just started my training at AWAI and ITWPA around 4 to 5 months and love the direction that this was taking.
I enjoyed writing my story. I was actually glad that the word count was on the shorter side, as my first draft was around 100 words over. So my inner editor came out and deleted some extraneous verbiage. I was surprised at how quickly the characters and their environment took shape. The story just seemed to write itself. This was my first time ever of entering this contest so I’m hoping it resonates with the judges.
Thanks for taking the time to read all these entries. Looking forward to the outcome.
– Carolynn Van Namen
I love this contest, win or lose. It makes me write something I wouldn’t have been likely to write otherwise. One of my rejected stories that didn’t even merit a notice was sold in another contest.
I had a great time writing, and having a deadline for me is always great. That comes from having been a print and radio copywriter, and magazine writer for a number of years.
I especially liked how organized everything was, with very clear instructions as to what to write, and what NOT to write. I had no problems following the suggested story line and was able to use an example from my own life in this. Yes, I “stole” flowers from a neighbor’s garden a few months after we arrived in Canada. I didn’t know you couldn’t go onto someone’s property even if there wasn’t a fence, or hedge or gate.
Great contest. I look forward to the next one, and will definitely send something again at that time.
YES, you may certainly use my name in your if you decide to use these comments.
Thank you again for a fun contest. I’m sure you will receive hundreds of superb submissions.
– Monika Forberger
I enjoyed writing the short story even though it didn’t win anything. I think I won by just writing!!! Read the first place winner and thought, yes, this deserves first place. Excellent idea and excellent suspense throughout.
Thank you for holding these contests. I’ve already signed up for the spring onslaught and am sharpening my pencils.
THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!
My first writing contest other than NaNoWriMo!
Just delicious. I might be hooked.
I love these contests. It really takes me out of my comfort zone!
I love it. As a new writer, I find it a great way to improve my craft. I appreciate the limited time because it forces me to think creatively and to dig deeper for plot and characters without constant rethinking. It’s fun. Can’t think of anything that needs tinkering with!
It’s somewhat challenging, but I like that. I take breaks to figure out what’s going to happen next. This is a lot of fun and I’m glad I stumbled across your website a few months ago.
Once again, I loved every second of the challenge. Thanks for making it happen.
I hope you are doing very well. I wanted to take a minute to give feedback on the 24 Hour Short Story contest. Though there are many contests out there and hopefully most are legit, there is one thing that stands out about Writer’s Weekly contest. That one thing being consistency. Other than the topic and the word count, which obviously must change, the rules are simple and straight forward. Additionally, writers are awarded prizes timely and reasonably. Not all contests are so, and this is why I look forward to each challenge.
That’s my two cents worth,
Have a great week.
Thank you for running the contest. It is always a challenge, always fun and somehow always satisfying to finally hit send.
A publishing contract (as first prize + $300 cash)? OH BOY!
Chaleen Duggan, 1st place winner of the Spring, 2019 contest!
Even when I don’t win anything I love this contest. It’s such a challenge and such fun. Keep it going.
I didn’t place this time, but I was a finalist in your summer contest, and the story I wrote for the summer contest (“Las Traidoras”) just got published in The Sirens Call! 🙂 Just wanted to let you know!
I LOVE this contest; it’s helpful in my growth to become a better writer. Now I can breath…and wait for the results. 🙂 Betsy O.
Who says writing can’t give a person a rush?
Thank you for putting on this contest! I had a lot of fun, and the 24 hours, along with the word count, was just the right amount of pressure. Keep doing what you guys are doing!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be in your contest. It’s the first writing contest I have ever joined. I have loved reading your blog and getting so much free and valuable advice, but because of time constraints I have allowed myself to read instead of write. I feel that a weight has been lifted (off of my heart? my soul?) so that I now know I can write SOMETHING in 24 hours. How liberating! How joyful!
Peace and Blessings,
Thank you so much, Angela.
These weekends are four on my favorites on the year! When you enter a submission for the 24 Hour Contest, one of two things will happen:
a) Your idea and execution rises up out of the pile, and you place somewhere among the winners—obviously a very cool thing.
b) You end up with a new story, that you drafted in a day or less, and one you never would have written otherwise. What you do with that idea from there is wide open. Maybe you expand it way beyond the initial word cap. Maybe a new character is born worth developing further.
If even a seed survives from that initial draft, then the experiment was absolutely worth your time. And even if that doesn’t happen, you still have given yourself a scenario in which you had to brainstorm from a given prompt, list and abandon the most obvious ideas, draft, polish, make decisions based on economy of words, and then fire off your best shot for professional review. All that for five bucks.
In short: There is no way for a writer to lose in this process. A
gain, thank you and I’ll see you in April.
Editor’s note: Contestants retain ALL rights to their contest entries and, of course, the characters they create. 🙂