About the $1000 for 1000 Words Writing Contest

Welcome aspiring young authors, and thank you for your interest in the $1000 for 1000 Words Creative Writing Contest! We’re looking for an outstanding piece of short fiction that consists of exactly 1000 words. While there are no specific guidelines beyond that, we encourage you to tell a story that matters. Write something you believe in. Tell a story that only you can tell. Our judges have no specific criteria in mind other than to look for excellence. In other words, write something that moves you, that dazzles you, that says precisely what you want to say in precisely the way you want to say it. As long as you do so in precisely 1000 words!

We welcome all entries that meet our criteria. We regularly receive more than 1000 entries, from as many as 47 states and 46 different countries.

Please read the Contest Rules and FAQs carefully.

We reserve the right to reject submissions solely on the basis of conformity to these guidelines.

Contest Rules

The $1000 for 1000 Words fiction writing contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 6-12. Each entrant may submit a fiction piece consisting of exactly 1,000 words (not including title or author’s name). The fiction piece can be on any topic, as long as it is not vulgar or offensive, does not use inappropriate profanity, and is the original work of the entrant not previously published. At the discretion of the Foundation, all submissions may be published in the Bluefire journal or on the Foundation website. Entrants retain copyright on his/her own individual work. All entrants must include a completed Entry Form, and must agree to the terms of the Contributor Agreement. Only one entry per person per year will be accepted. Previous grand prize winners are not eligible to submit in the same grade category (6-8, or 9-12) in which they have won.

Entries must be submitted using the entry form on the website. You can copy and paste from a file created with your favorite word processing program or text editor. Please note that non-standard formatting, fonts, and characters may not transfer properly into our submission form, so it is best not to elaborate beyond standard fonts and formatting.

Entries must be *exactly* 1000 words. The entry form will not allow you to submit stories that are more or fewer than 1000 words. You need to copy and paste the body text only (i.e., not the title or your name) into the box provided. The title of your story, as well as your name and other required information, go into separate boxes on the form as required fields. If the form tells you that your story is not exactly 1000 words, please edit your piece to add or remove the necessary words. The word count may be slightly different between the form and your word processor or editor. Our form is how we determine word count irrespective of what your word processor or editor say. Do not include your name or title in the body of the story or you will be disqualified.

The contest opens December 1st.  The deadline for the $1000 for 1000 Words contest is February 1st.

Entries received after February 1st  will not be considered.

Join our mailing list or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get reminders and writing tips.

Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, and length. Entries over or under 1,000 words will not be considered, and stories will only be accepted through our website submission form. All entries are blinded before judging. The identities of the winning authors are known only after the judging is completed and the winners selected.

Two $1,000 cash grand prizes will be awarded, one for grades 6-8 and one for grades 9-12. Seven $100 cash prizes will also be awarded for winning entries, one per grade level. Stories selected for publication into Bluefire, but not selected as a grade-level or scholarship winner, will receive a $50 cash prize. In a given year and grade, if no entry is deemed to merit an award, no award will be given.

The panel of judges consists of members of the board of The Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation and invited judges. All decisions made by the judges are final.

The author retains all copyrights to the submitted work. At the discretion of the Foundation, winning pieces may be published online on the Foundation’s website and in a forthcoming edition of our journal, Bluefire. By entering the contest, you consent to the publication of your work if it is selected, and you grant permission for the Foundation to print the work in future journals and publicity pieces, and other formats or contexts determined by, and at the discretion of, the Foundation. Please note that other publications may not accept as “unpublished” work that has been previously published in Bluefire. If you do subsequently publish your work in another publication, proper attribution must be given to Bluefire and/or the Foundation website. As a condition of submission, you will be required to agree to the terms of the Contributor Agreement specifying your rights and obligations under the contest terms.

Winners will be announced in April and will be notified by phone or email. Names of the winners will appear on the website and in other publicity pieces, including, but not limited to electronic announcements, press releases, and news articles. Young authors selected for publication in our journal will be invited to participate in our award celebration held in May.

The Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation collects personal information for the purpose of notifying contest winners. All information submitted is kept in confidence, used solely for notification purposes, and shall not be made public by the Foundation. The Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation does not lease, sell, or share personal information collected. Minor children must have parental permission to enter the contest.

For purposes of privacy, if you are selected for publication, you will only be identified by your first and last name, grade, and state/country. For example, you would appear in Bluefire as Leyla Beban, Senior, California, USA. If you need to provide confirmation of publication to, for example, school admissions offices, write us at [email protected] and we can prepare a letter for you.