7th Annual Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest

FREE INTERNATIONAL WRITING CONTEST

Ages 9 to 21 | All Countries

 

Now Open

 

What’s new this year?
1) The budget has been adjusted so that we can have eight prize winners in each age category instead of six.
2) There are two important changes to the rules: stories over 1,000 words will not be judged; and stories that do not have contact information at the top of the first page will not be judged.
3) All finalists will be receiving a certificate of achievement this year, not just the prize winners.
4) The feedback option is now $15 and includes a free copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer Workbook #1: Write a Short Story. See details below (under the rules) or click to view feedback option in the LTC store.

2014 Junior Authors Short Story Contest
IMPORTANT DATES
Deadline June 30, 2014
Finalists Announced September 19, 2014
Winners Announced Live October 18, 2014 at the Junior Authors Writers Conference in Vancouver, Canada

AGE CATEGORIES

Category 1 Ages 18 – 21*
Top 8 writers will each receive a $25 (Canadian dollar) Amazon e-gift card and a certificate of achievement. First place writer will be published on this website and receive a signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published by Laura Michelle Thomas. All finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below. *You can be no more than 21 years old on June 30, 2014.

Category 2 Ages 15 – 17
Top 8 writers will each receive a $25 (Canadian dollar) Amazon e-gift card and a certificate of achievement. First place writer will be published on this website and receive a signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published by Laura Michelle Thomas. All finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below.

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 12 – 14
Top 8 writers will each receive a $25 (Canadian dollar) Amazon e-gift card and a certificate of achievement. First place writer will be published on this website and receive a signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published by Laura Michelle Thomas. All finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below.

Category 4 Ages 9 – 11
Top 8 writers will each receive a $25 (Canadian dollar) Amazon e-gift card and a certificate of achievement. First place writer will be published on this website and receive a signed paperback copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published by Laura Michelle Thomas. All finalists will receive a certificate of achievement. See rules below.

NEW for 2014 All finalists will receive a Certificate of Achievement because it is a huge achievement to make the finals in this competition.

“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)

2014 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, 2014 (Pacific Standard Time UTC -7)

  1. FREE to enter (A big thanks to all our volunteers!). If you wish to have feedback on your story and find out your score, you need to purchase the feedback option. Details are below the rules.
  2. One story per person.
  3. Story must be in English.
  4. Contest is open to anyone between 9 and 21 years old as of June 30, 2014. Proof of age may be required.
  5. It does not matter where you call home. 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 on the subject of your story, just on 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. No images, illustrations or fancy fonts. Keep it easy to read. Not sure which font to use? Try Times New Roman 12 pt.
  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, 2014
      • 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 the Insider Mailing List (there is a sign up form at the top of this page on the right hand side).
      • Please view a sample of the recommended way to format your manuscript.
  10. Please 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. Once you upload your story, you will receive a welcome email from laura@laurathomascommunications.com within approximately one hour.

Jr Authors Short Story Contest Entry Form

Feedback Option

If you would like detailed feedback from Laura on your story, and to know your score (broken down into its component marks), please purchase the $15 CAD feedback option in the LTC Store. As a bonus you will receive a free copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer Workbook #1: Write a Short Story. You are allowed to purchase the feedback option and use the workbook before you submit your story. NOTE: If you do not purchase the feedback option you will not find out your score or receive any feedback from Laura. Not even the winners or finalists find out their score or get feedback unless they have purchased the feedback option.

Copyright, Judging and Tips

Not Available in Stores

Click to View

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. The 2013 judging team included three authors, an editor, a librarian, a book store manager, and two past winners of this contest. Laura is lead judge.

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 view several samples of short stories with Laura’s feedback on jaBlog! or view Laura’s vlog, What is a short story? You can also read the stories that have won in the past. Read the Winners from 2013.

 

ReviewYourBook

We are looking for books by Junior Authors to review on jaBlog! Click for submission guidelines.

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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1,371 comments on “7th Annual Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest

  1. India

    Hello! What do you recommend doing in the situation of not being able to think of the next few sentences in your story? I have already written some sentences, but I just can’t write the next sentence. Thank you for your help.

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi India. Are you trying to write a perfect first draft? Or are you giving yourself the opportunity to write a terrible first draft? My advice is to write down what you see in your imagination without judgement. Keep writing this way until you have your first draft finished. Expect that your first draft will not be good, but it will be good enough to get you started. :-)

      • India

        Thank you! I will try that. This happens to me a lot. :)

        • Laura Thomas

          Fifteen-year-old Polly, the main character in my novel, Polly Wants to Be a Writer, has this exact problem. Through the story, her writing mentor, Ms. Whitford, shows her how to overcome it so that she can finish writing a short story.

          • India

            I haven’t read your book yet, but I’m planning on it. It sounds really helpful. I just need to get through my head that this is the vomit draft and it doesn’t have to be perfect.

          • Laura Thomas

            Hi India. LOL, vomit draft. Love it. What my book will do is show you how the writing process works for professionals. Once you understand the process, what step you are on and what expectations to have at each step, it becomes much easier to go from idea to proofreading.

  2. Andrea

    Hi again!
    Can I write the short story at the first person??

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Andrea. Sure. The POV is up to you. Tip: choose the POV that best fits your theme and story problem.

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