8th Annual Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest

INTERNATIONAL WRITING CONTEST

Up to Age 21 | All Countries | Free to Enter

Deadline June 30th

 

8th Junior Authors Short Story Contest 2015IMPORTANT 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
      • Privacy Note: 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.

ONLINE ENTRY FORM

 

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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1,898 comments on “8th Annual Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest

  1. William Crane

    Hello Laura,
    I have one quick question to ask:
    Can we write the short story based off a myth? For example the story of Medusa, can we writer what happened but in our own words and maybe change the events but with the same outcome?

  2. Elizabeth Cruz

    I have three questions

    1)Can it be about famous celebrities or do we have to make up the characters?
    2)Is it okay if we double space the story?
    3)Is it okay if the story is about the same sex?

    • Hi Elizabeth. Yes to all of your questions. You are free to write about anything you like. And double spacing is the standard way to format a manuscript.

  3. Cammie

    Hi Ms. Laura!
    Quick question for you:
    When you say that ‘the way we write’ is what’s going to be judged, I understand that it means the grammar, plot structure, etc.
    But will we also be evaluated on elements like character development and figurative language? Do those fall under ‘the way we write’? Does creativity count?

    Thank you so much! :)

    • Hi Cammie. Character development as it connects to the plot will be judged. Figurative language falls under the mark for style and grammar, and under the description mark when applicable.

  4. Banana

    Dear Laura,
    Can I write a crossover fanfic between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter? Or does that count as copying Rick Riordan and JK Rowling?

    • Hi Banana. If the story is entirely in your own words, it’s not copying; it’s fanfic. This is not really a fanfic contest. I don’t judge subject matter, but I would really encourage you to come up with your own story world.

  5. Hannah Davies

    Hi Laura,
    I have written a story and it rhymes Dr Seuss style. I was wondering if the rhyming style classifies as a short story (rather than a poem) and if it still qualifies. I believe I have included all the other elements to make it a short story.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Hannah. A narrative poem is not a short story. They have similarities but they are not the same genre. A narrative poem would be disqualified from this contest. You could hang on to that poem, however, and submit it to our 2016 poetry contest. All types of poems are welcome and as long as it’s not longer than 50 lines, it would qualify. Updated info about the 2016 poetry contest will be published in the coming months.

  6. Catie Valentino

    Hi Laura!I am new to entering writing contest,up until now I have only written for my own enjoyment(and school).I am in love with writing and numerous teachers,parents etc. have told me I have a talent,I just don’t know how to show others I have a talent and getting more people to see my writing.I do have a few questions though.

    1.)At night I’ll sorta stare at my ceiling and think of ideas for my writing,but I wanted to know how did YOU come up with ideas?Sometimes I hit a rock and don’t know what to do…

    2.)How do you draw a reader’s attention from the start?

    3.)I love writing the meat of the book,but how do you have the perfect ending and beginning?Is there a secret behind the writer’s world I should know about?

    It would mean a ton to me if you answer!I would LOVE to get your feedback!

    -Catie

    • Hi Catie. You questions are very general, and while I have answered them in point form below, I suggest you browse the jaBlog! archives for articles on these topics and others. You can also browse the tips page. If after browsing and reading articles, you still have questions, please choose the one that you want answered the most and email it to me. The more specific your question, the more specific my answer will be.

      Answers to your questions:
      1) My life is the source of my ideas. Any idea can become a great story.
      2) One option is to start mid-scene. Drop the reader into the action.
      3) a) I suggest doing some reading on what the function of the intro and ending are in fiction writing. b) Read Polly Wants to Be a Writer.

  7. Jenna Wilson

    Hi Laura! I had a some questions:
    1. Do we HAVE to include dialogue in the short story?
    2. Do we have to indent when dialogue occurs and a new character speaks?
    3. Will you judge us more on the content or on our writing?
    Thanks if you answer

    • Hi Jenna.
      1. It’s a good idea to let your characters speak in a short story. This is not an essay contest.
      2. If you are indenting to show a paragraph break, then…yes.
      3. You are judged on how well you tell the story according to the elements of short story writing: plot, plot structure, description, style, grammar and unity. What I don’t judge is your subject. You can write about any topic you like.

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