Thanks for another fun writing challenge. Prompt day is always exciting around this house. We’re always excited to see what the writing prompt will be, and I always check my email a few minutes early just in case…
Then there’s the challenge of coming up with a compelling story. Sometimes I can, and sometimes I can’t, but it’s always instructive to rise to the challenge.
Next comes the submission. Did I include a title? Do I have my word count? How many typos did I miss before sending it off?
Finally, there’s the joy of discovering the story I SHOULD have written, right after hitting “Send!”
Best wishes and thanks for the adventure.
I’ve needed these weekends of creativity throughout covid like I can’t even begin to express.
Lots of love,
I will continue to enter these for as long as you keep doing them. THEY ARE JUST SO MUCH FUN, plus it does help me with my writing skills.
Thank you again for the challenge:)
Hi Angela –
Another contest – my second – and just as much fun as the first. I love the process. The topic provides a good balance between a focus on specific actions and characters and enough leeway to go outside the box a bit. It makes you think creatively and provides another step in becoming a better writer. Thanks so much for the opportunity.
Just have to say:
That was a fun topic!
I like topics that can go many ways! Who knows, maybe I’m just seeing more ways…
Can’t wait to read what others did with it.
Kudos! This was a wonderful and thrilling experience.
Writing off the cuff is not as easy as it sounds! I had intense fun doing so.
Thank you Angela,
Enjoyed the time challenge even as I realized I feel better about my work after I’m able to polish it for weeks..okay months.
I do find word prompts an excellent writing practice and it does create storylines for the future.
Good Morning Angela,
It’s the first I’ve participated in any contest and was nervous about it, not sure I could actually follow through with something of substance in such a short time. I’m one of those that has to edit and re-edit until I finally make myself walk away and just go with it.
I was really surprised at myself. As soon as I read the caption of what I needed to expand upon – I sat right down and started writing. Before I knew it I already had 470 words of the 875 max written.
I think this is an amazing opportunity for writers; a break from their own stories and a chance to expand the mind elsewhere, even if it is for just a short period of time and even if we don’t place in a winners’ spot. We’re still winners.
Thanks for making some fun time for authors, Angela! Feel free to use my feedback, if you’d like.
I just wanted to send you a quick note to say that I really enjoyed writing this story today. It was a great prompt. I’m catching an international flight tomorrow and I had a million things to do, but I wanted to write it as I had entered the contest a long time ago!
What I really liked was the list you provided of things not to do. To be completely honest with you, many of them are on my list of my own personal bete noires. I hate it when people win writing contests using one of those strategies! There’s been a spate of people killing off mothers with cancer in their short stories. No more! The dream thing? That is so bad that I haven’t even seen that recently. There’s one you didn’t mention that’s also on my list where the protagonist is writing in first person, and dies in the end – just tell me how does that happen? Oh and then stories without a plot where nothing actually happens. Those are the worst.
Okay, I’m on a roll now but I’ll stop. I hope you like my story and I hope the ending is satisfying. I definitely tried to create a little suspense there and a little oh my God what’s going to happen now. Hope it worked.
Thanks for running this contest!
A lot of people in my writing group participate in your challenges throughout the year. As a collective, we anticipate what you’ll send us for a prompt and have fun in the week leading up to the 24 hours with reminiscing about old prompts we loved or loved to hate. You’ve created an international community of excited writers and I think that’s a pretty cool nail to hang your hat on at the end of the day.
As for suggestions, I like that you’re open to suggestions from your community. I, however, can think of none.
I had so much fun entering this competition! I’ve never done a 24-hour contest before, so this was wild, and now it’s over I feel exhilarated. I had so many ideas, and actually wrote two very different stories in the 24 hours, but the first one was too long and I didn’t see how I could cut it down, so I wrote a second one. Then I panicked to cut that one down in the time, and as the deadline approached, I started cutting with wild abandon, and got my entry in 10 minutes early, or so I thought. Actually, I was so panicked and intent on not missing the deadline that I sent it one hour and 10 minutes early. Oh well, you live and learn! Better early than late, but I could have used some of that extra hour to edit in a calmer fashion!
It was a really good topic, which fired my imagination, so thank you. I had a fun day! And I feel very chuffed to have written my first flash fiction story; a feat I thought I’d never be able to achieve.
Thanks very much, I’m looking forward to the next contest. 🙂
I love this contest! I think I’ve been entering since the very first year, and it never fails to challenge and entertain. What a great way to spend a day!
This prompt was particularly difficult, given your advice about current events, but I love the hard puzzles most. Once I finally figured out what to put in that little box, though, my story wrote itself. Within your prompts, for me, there’s usually some little key that opens a door of insight and LO! the writing pours forth.
Hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing!
Thank you so much! What a fun contest. I loved the theme, and I think I followed the rules fairly well. Sure had a blast writing it. I wrote about 1200 words, then trimmed down to just below the max. Wow, if I could write that amount every day, I could crank out a lot more work. Perhaps that’ll get the creative juices flowing. This was a fun contest, and I look forward to participating if future ones. 😊
Many thanks, and best wishes,
I almost missed it this time thanks to COVID! But I made it…for the sixth (?) time. Enjoyed it right down to the breathless last-minute-read before SEND. Thanks for doing this, especially for those of us who are just wannabe writers!
I loved doing the 24 Hour Short Story Contest! I’m an author of several books and it was great to hone my skills in being creative and concise. It was such a thrill to get the topic and have 24 hours to produce a unique and fun story. My kids, family and friends were cheering me on as I started and completed the story. I recommend this contest to new and veteran writers. I already signed-up for the next one.
Michele M. Reynolds, Author
I have enjoyed this contest ever since it began and will keep doing it. It strengthens my writing muscles and gives me practice.
This is my second contest, and though I didn’t win a single prize last time, who cares? I learned so much and had a wild day of fun. I’m signing up for the next contest. One of these days I’ll be on the prize list….wait and see!
What a challenge!!!! Your imagination can takes off in the matter of seconds and end up with an article that you never thought you had in your mind. It was fun and I hope you enjoy reading it. Information is excellent and easy to follow. If you want to share this with others, please do. This is the best exercise we need at this time. I can’t wait for the next one. Thank you for your invitation into your “24 Hour Contest.”
Thank you for the confirmation on receiving my short story submission. The contest was enjoyable from start to finish. The guidelines were thorough. I particularly enjoyed coming up with the story idea. Thank you for the opportunity.
Dorothy M. Hunter
The Fantasy Gardens of my mind came alive with ideas. You took me out of my comfort zone, writing about angels. I was even inspired to invent a new piece of safety equipment. Who knew! Thank you to Writer’s Weekly for a great topic and contest. And thank you for all your invaluable information to us writers week after week and through your generous offering of knowledge and books.
Love you guys
Stay safe and healthy!
Well, this is a first for me, and I have to say that not only did I have fun, I was challenged and feel that your process for this is just spot on. I’ll be back. The price is awesome, and your undertaking to make this contest so is a testament to your willingness to share…and also to the business acumen. Kudos!
All my best…and thanks for this.
Thanks so much for accepting my entry for the 24 Hour Short Story Contest.
I’d never heard about the contest before and only learned about it from my wife, who forwarded the information to me. The instructions were very clear, and straightforward. The writing prompt was detailed, loose enough to allow a person to flex their creative muscles, yet sufficiently challenging to require no small amount of skull sweat in order to produce something engaging and unexpected.
I’m already looking forward to the Spring challenge.
Best wishes and many thanks,
John R. Pickens
So enjoyed this flash fiction event. Even found some weaknesses to work on. I’ve been writing poetry the last few years, so this was a bit out of the box for me. Really look forward to reading the winners’ & honourable mentions’ stories.
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. 🙂