Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, we only accept stories that are exactly 1000 words. Sometimes word-count applications vary in how they define what constitutes a word. Contractions and hyphenated words are especially problematic.

Our rules require your story to be exactly 1000 words. If you are under 1000, try looking for contractions that you can expand. That is usually the easiest way to add a word. (For example, make “I’m” into “I am”.)

No.  You can write your story in your favorite word processing program or text editor and copy/paste it in to the box on the submission form.

Different programs count words slightly differently.  The submission form has the final say – if it tells you your story is 999 words, you’ll need to edit it to add a word.  The word count on our form is very close to Microsoft Word, so if you use Word you will be OK most of the time.

The title and author’s name are entered in separate fields on the submission form. They should not be included in the box for the body text. If you submit a story with the title and author included in the body text, the judges will disqualify it.

We cannot guarantee that non-standard formatting, fonts or characters will be maintained in the submission process. We care about the content of the story – character, dialog, setting, etc. Focus on the substance of your story for the best chance at winning a prize and getting published. Creative use of language is strongly encouraged!

Our program removes the paragraph spacing that is set by Microsoft Word. It doesn’t matter for the contest, but if it bothers you, all you need to do is press the Return key twice after each paragraph, and the space will remain. Similarly, if you want to have extra spacing between paragraphs to convey, for example, the passage of time, press the Return key an extra time; the more times you do it, the more space you will create on the submission form.

The program does remove those kinds of characters when you paste it in to the form. The only way to do this is to add extra space using the Return key – the more time you press Return before starting to type the new paragraph, the more space you will have.

No. Those will be counted as a character against the word count in the submission form, but they do not count toward the judging. In other words, judges will disqualify you if they see a story with keyboard characters used in any way except in words for the story.

Try transferring your story through TextEdit to preserve your formatting.

No, we only accept fiction stories at this time. Poetry and non-fiction essays are not eligible.

Sorry, but the contest is only open to students in grades 6 – 12.

Of course!  So long as you are in the equivalent of grades 6 – 12 you are eligible.

The contest will close February 1st at 11:59:59 PM Pacific Standard Time.

We will begin accepting submissions on December 1st at 12:00:00 AM Pacific Standard Time.

Only one story per student per year is accepted.

Yes. We are open to any student in the equivalent of grades 6 – 12, from anywhere in the world.