8th Annual Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest

INTERNATIONAL WRITING CONTEST

Up to Age 21 | All Countries | Free to Enter

Contest Closed

Link to results page

Contest Entrants: General contest updates will be sent to the contest mailing list.

IMPORTANT 2015 DATES
Deadline JUNE 30
Finalists Announced AUGUST 7
Winners Announced SEPTEMBER 10

AGE CATEGORIES

Please note that we have added more age categories for 2015 and the prizes for each category are different. Be sure to refer to the proper age category. Your category is determined by the age you are on June 30, 2015.

Category 1 Ages 19 – 21
Top 6 writers will each receive a certificate of achievement and be acknowledged on this website.
Prizes:
1st place = Publication on this website + signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published OR The Naked Storyteller (winner’s choice) + a 30-minute private coaching session with Laura OR an LTC Insider Plus+ Membership (winner’s choice)
Second place = $30 CAD Coupon* for the LTC store
Third place = $25 CAD Coupon
Fourth place = $20 CAD Coupon
Fifth place = $15 CAD Coupon
Sixth place = $10 CAD Coupon
*Coupons are not redeemable for cash.
Finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below. All entires which do not follow the rules will be disqualified. You can be no more than 21 years old on June 30, 2015.

Category 2 Ages 17 – 18
Top 6 writers will each receive a certificate of achievement and be acknowledged on this website.
Prizes:
1st place = Publication on this website + signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published OR The Naked Storyteller (winner’s choice) + a 30-minute private coaching session with Laura OR an LTC Insider Plus+ Membership (winner’s choice)
Second place = $30 CAD Coupon* for the LTC store
Third place = $25 CAD Coupon
Fourth place = $20 CAD Coupon
Fifth place = $15 CAD Coupon
Sixth place = $10 CAD Coupon
*Coupons are not redeemable for cash.
Finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below. All entires which do not follow the rules will be disqualified.

Polly Wants to Be a Writer

“Not just an instruction manual, and not just a fantasy novel, this book combines two completely different genres into one wholly enjoyable read that I highly recommend for any person pursuing a writing career.”

Category 3 Ages 15 – 16
Top 6 writers will each receive a certificate of achievement and be acknowledged on this website.
Prizes:
1st place = Publication on this website + signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published OR The Naked Storyteller (winner’s choice) + a 30-minute private coaching session with Laura OR an LTC Insider Plus+ Membership (winner’s choice)
Second place = $30 CAD Coupon* for the LTC store
Third place = $25 CAD Coupon
Fourth place = $20 CAD Coupon
Fifth place = $15 CAD Coupon
Sixth place = $10 CAD Coupon
*Coupons are not redeemable for cash.
Finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below. All entires which do not follow the rules will be disqualified.

Category 4 Ages 13 – 14
Top 6 writers will each receive a certificate of achievement and be acknowledged on this website.
Prizes:
1st place = Publication on this website + signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published + a 30-minute private coaching session with Laura OR an LTC Insider Plus+ Membership (winner’s choice)
Second place = $30 CAD Coupon* for the LTC store
Third place = $25 CAD Coupon
Fourth place = $20 CAD Coupon
Fifth place = $15 CAD Coupon
Sixth place = $10 CAD Coupon
*Coupons are not redeemable for cash.
Finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below. All entires which do not follow the rules will be disqualified.

Category 5 Ages 11 – 12
Top 6 writers will each receive a certificate of achievement and be acknowledged on this website.
Prizes:
1st place = Publication on this website + signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published + a 30-minute private coaching session with Laura OR an LTC Insider Plus+ Membership (winner’s choice)
Second place = $30 CAD Coupon* for the LTC store
Third place = $25 CAD Coupon
Fourth place = $20 CAD Coupon
Fifth place = $15 CAD Coupon
Sixth place = $10 CAD Coupon
*Coupons are not redeemable for cash.
Finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below. All entires which do not follow the rules will be disqualified. You must be a minimum of 11 years old on June 30, 2015.

Category 6 Ages 10 & Under (NON-COMPETITIVE / DEVELOPMENT CATEGORY)
ENTRY FORM NOTE: On the entry form header it says this contest is for ages 9 – 21, but younger writers are allowed to enter this year. 
Every writer who enters in this category will receive a participation gift. In this category only, all submissions will be accepted even if the rules are not followed perfectly. This is a development category intended to prepare our youngest junior authors for a life-long passion for the written word. By removing the pressure, this becomes a fun opportunity to show Laura your stuff. She will personally read every entry and provide some general feedback to the group in a jaBlog! post.  And think about this: once you turn 11 you will have 10 years to compete in this contest, assuming Laura can keep it going that long!

 

“I struggle to find words to show my gratitude for this contest. It’s not necessarily that I have entered because I think I could win, but rather because it meant I was motivated to write more. I thank you deeply and wish the best of luck to my fellow contestants. Yours thankfully, Peter” (2012 Contestant)

2015 International Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest Rules

Please read the rules and follow them carefully or your story will not be judged.

Contest closes at midnight on June 30, 2015 (Pacific Time). Late entries not accepted.

  1. FREE to enter  
  2. One story per person.
  3. Story must be in English.
  4. Contest is open to anyone who is no more than 21 years old as of June 30, 2015. Proof of age may be required. Writers who are 22 on June 30, 2015 are not eligible to enter.
  5. Entries from every country are welcome.
  6. Your story can be about anything you like. Be creative, be bold and have fun. We don’t judge the subject of your story, just how well you write it. But remember that it will be judged according to the criteria for a short story. This is not a contest for scripts, poems, essays or other types of writing. Please send your best work. Revise. Edit. No first drafts please.
  7. Maximum length is 1,000 words. Stories longer than 1,000 words will not be judged, no exceptions. Your title and contact information do not count toward the 1,000 words. Edit your story down to 1,000 words. Cut all empty or extra words that do not add to setting, plot, or characterization.
  8. Formatting. No images, illustrations or fancy fonts. Keep it easy to read. Not sure which font to use? Try Times New Roman 12 point. Please view a sample of the recommended way to format your manuscript. Watch this video by Laura to see common manuscript formatting mistakes.
  9. Include the following information at the top of the first page of your story. Stories that do not have this information at the top of the first page will not be judged, no exceptions.
      • Word count
      • Name
      • Age on June 30, 2015
      • Email address
      • Mailing address
      • Phone number
      • Title
      • A Note About Your Privacy: Your contact information is only used for communicating contest information to you. After the winners are announced, your contact information will be deleted from our records. If you wish to stay in touch year-round, or find out about writing opportunities or submission calls, please sign up for our mailing list.
  10. You MUST use the online entry form to submit your short story. Complete the online entry form and upload your story in one of these file formats: doc, docx or pdf. If you try to upload your story in a different format, we will not be able to access the file and your story will not be entered in the contest.

CONTEST CLOSED – ONLINE ENTRY FORM LINK IS NOT AVAILABLE

 

Copyright, Judging and Tips

You can purchase a participation certificate for this contest in the LTC store.

You can purchase a participation certificate for this contest in the LTC store.

Copyright. If your story wins, you will keep the rights to it. We will ask you for permission to publish your story on this website for others to enjoy and learn from. However, the story remains your property and you are free to submit it elsewhere.

Judging. Each story is judged on its literary merit as a short story including: story structure (plot, characters, setting, point of view), description, style, grammar, and unity. We look at the title of your short story and how well it fits your theme and tone to get your unity score.

Tips. If you have read Polly Wants to Be a Writer, then you know that you should not be submitting a first draft. Revise. Proofread. Format properly. Then follow the rules and submit. No lumps of clay please. You can also read the stories that have won in the past or browse the jaBlog! archives. We have a lot of articles in there dealing with writing short stories and with judges’ comments from past short story contests.

Manuscript Formatting. Not sure how to best format your story? You can watch this You Tube video on formatting that I created shortly after I judged the 2013 Junior Authors Short Story Contest.

 

Write a short story in six easy steps.

Write a short story in six easy steps.

SOMETHING TO ASPIRE TO… By definition a short story has four basic elements: plot, character, setting, and theme. It deals with one situation or single episode which concentrates on one critical moment or emotional crisis, and is limited to one time and place. All the elements are directed towards a single effect which produces a unity of impression.

“For me, this contest is more than writing a short story, it is an outlet to allow me to pursue my passion. It can be hard and challenging, wanting to make it as a writer. When you tell people this, they look at you and scoff a little. Those people don’t matter, because for every ten of them there is one person like you and people like your judges who encourage us to follow our hearts and minds and spirits. Knowing that somewhere my voice, and the voices of hundreds of other young writers, are being heard gives me hope. So, thank you, to you and the judges for, not only a contest but hopes for our dreams and for fanning the flame in our bellies to pursue our passion.”
- Participant in the 2013 Junior Authors Short Story Contest (Read more testimonials)

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2,190 comments on “8th Annual Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest

  1. Laura,
    My name is Trusha and I’m a 13 year old girl from Goa, India. I love, love, LOVE writing [among my numerous other passions] and have -not one, not two, but- three blogs [!!]. My main genre is comedy although I have scripted a mystery MS [although that was way back when I was eleven, so the “thrilling” bits may be a bit -ahem- not-so-thrilling].

    I won a national-level “author hunt” back in 2013. My story was published in a novel and I flew all the way to the capital for the book launch. I can honestly say it was one of the loveliest experiences I have ever had.

    Which is why I’m kicking myself for not having discovered this post before today. I would LOVE to participate in your short story writing contest. Is there any way you could somehow squeeze my application in?? I would be ever so grateful [not to mention your slave for life].

    Thank you for taking the time to read this;
    T <3

    • Hi Trusha. I’m glad you found LTC, but I never allow entries after the deadline has passed. That would not be fair to everyone who did make the deadline. There will be a 9th annual short story contest next year. In the meantime, why not join the mailing list and get involved. Example: submit something to jaBlog!

  2. jayasree sr

    Hi laura!
    Could you please check whether you got my short story, “Idiosyncrasy”? I didn’t receive any confirmation mail.
    Thanks

    • Hi Jayasree. There are no personal confirmation emails. If you are not getting the contest updates, check your spam folder. Or please email me and I will follow up.

      • jayasree sr

        Thank you Laura!

  3. Elsie

    Ms. Thomas, lately I’ve been working on a new personal narrative, and I’m wondering if it can be counted as a short story or not. What exactly is the difference between a short story and a personal narrative? And as the lead judge of an international writing contest judge, where would you draw the line between the two? Thanks!

    http://classroom.synonym.com/short-story-vs-personal-narrative-1840.html
    I researched about the differencse, and this was the most legitimate website I found. This webpage says that the main differences can be found within reality/fiction, perspective, structure, and theme. It’s not all that simple, though.
    The thing is, I don’t think my readers would be able to recognise the differences, because my personal narrative can be viewed as a fictitious short story, written in 1st person POV, with action, setting, characters, and plot.

    • Hi Elsie. A realistic short story (versus escape literature) can be told in the first person point of view, but needs to have the other elements of a short story to be classified as such. As soon as you commit to using the first person point of view in a piece of realistic fiction, you run the risk of confusing your reader as to whether or not the story is fiction or non-fiction. In some ways, FP POV makes your job harder if you are writing fiction, which includes short stories.

      • Elsie

        Thank you for the speedy reply. What are absolute, must-have elements that make up a short story? Thanks again, in advance.

  4. Miguel

    How do we know if we were one of the people who were cut? So we won’t be hoping all the way to August?

    • Hi Miguel. There will not be any announcements until August 7th as I have many stories to read and will not be done before then. I’m sorry to say that waiting for contest results (or a response from a publisher, for example) is part of the writing business. It’s best to move on to your next project in the meantime. It makes the waiting easier.

  5. Sydney Haulenbeek

    I received the email about the precipitants being posted on the contest webpage, but i received it on my mobile and cannot use the link to get to the contest page with it. I also have my email registered to the computer, but it isn’t showing up in my new mail or spam folder, and i would really like to be able to view it (the latest email) . Could you resend it?

  6. PM

    Dear Laura,
    I’ve also included the ‘ A Note About Your Privacy’ in the top info column in my story…does that matter much? Actually the privacy note was bulleted along the other info things, so I thought it had to be included….. :(
    Thank you

    • Hi PM. That’s fine. Next year, you don’t have to include that, just the author info.

  7. Brooke Hemingway

    Oh! I can’t wait until July 7! So excited to find out the finalist list!

    • Hi Brooke. That’s AUGUST 7th when the finalists will be announced. It’s not possible for me to read 700+ entries in 7 days! I need a month. ;-)

  8. Abhirami Nair

    Dear Laura,
    I wonder if you’ve received the copy of the story ‘Something’s off about that teacher’. I haven’t received the confirmation e-mail yet.
    Regards,
    Abhirami

    • I have your entry. You should have received a contest update email yesterday. If not, then you have put an incorrect email address on your entry form and need to email me directly to fix that. You should also check your spam folder.

      • Abhirami Nair

        Dear Laura,
        I’m terribly sorry to aware you that I haven’t received any e-mail regarding the contest updates. Would you please sent me you e-mail ID so that I can sent you my e-mail.
        Regards,
        Abhirami

        • Hi Abhirami. I received your entry back in April and you are on the contest mailing list. If you have not been receiving any contest updates, you need to check your spam folder and allow emails from me to come through.

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