100-word comp

I’m THE Writers’ Forum Magazine’s Competitive Edge columnist. If you’ve judged / entered competitions, click here.

** Please check your word count. Your stories have to be EXACTLY 100 words (EXcluding the title), submission via the form at the end of this page,
and PLEASE stick to the month’s theme… which for December is ‘the end’. **

01 - 100 in veg 669778As I’ve been involved in others in the past (entering, organising and judging – I was the 2015 H.E. Bates Short Story Competition Head Judge!), I launched my own competition in September 2015. As a fan of micro-fiction, I invite you to send your 100-word stories (excluding title) – a ‘drabble’ – with the chance to win some of my online creative writing courses (details and entry form below). The prizes are a choice of three courses (or 2,000-word free edit) to the winner, two courses (or 1,500 words) to the second placed, and one course (or 1,000 words) to the third placed choice, plus up to three highly commendeds (depending on quantity / merit of entries) per month winning free entry coupon code to my entering writing competitions course or a free 1,000-word edit.

  • Deadline: the deadline for the current competition is midnight (UK time) Monday 31st December. Do send three stories rather than one as I pick my favourite to go through to judging.
  • Submissions: via the form at the end of this page (one submission per story), not via email. You can send three stories and I pick my favourite to go through to judging.
  • Theme: the current theme (which changes each month, the next few are listed below) is ‘the end’… however the theme strikes you. You can send three stories and I pick my favourite to go through to judging.
    Please do stick to the theme or your story will be disqualified (at least one has been each month). Please don’t submit other months’ themes at any other time than the month they are due or they will be disqualified and won’t be held back for the correct theme and you won’t be able to resubmit them during the correct month. You’ll have to write new stories, but of course you can send them elsewhere.
  • Fee: there is no fee for entering this competition. I enjoy reading flash fiction… and giving away prizes! You can send three stories and I pick my favourite to go through to judging.
  • Prizes: as mentioned above, you could win one or more of my online creative writing courses, or free editing and critique of your writing up to 2,000 words (worth up to £14 (€20 / US$22 / CA$ & AS$28)).There’s no time limit for you to use this critique so you could save them up for your novel!
  • You can send three stories (in separate forms please) and I pick my favourite to go through to judging!
  • Word count: You must stick to the 100-word count, no less, no more, or you will be disqualified (again, at least one has been each month!). Bullet points do not count as words, neither do ellipses (e.g. ‘and… we’ counts as two words), and hyphenated words (e.g. well-known) count as one not two, and dashes on their own aren’t words (Word does count a hyphen on its own as a word so be careful of that – it should be a dash rather than a hyphen). (See ‘rules’ below.) To check you can use the likes of https://wordcounter.net. Be careful though that it (rightly) doesn’t include a hyphen, dash, or other punctuation, as a word. So do ensure you don’t include solitary dashes (long hyphens) in your word count. You can send three stories and I pick my favourite to go through to judging.
  • Entries: Did I mention that you can enter up to three stories per month? 🙂 It’s worth it as I’ll pick my favourite of the three to go into the competition. Regardless of whether that is successful or not, the two I don’t select won’t be published so you can use them elsewhere thereafter*, as you can with anything you send over the months that doesn’t come first, second or third. *Please don’t submit your story / stories (or a variation of them) elsewhere until the results are announced. I score them as they come in so I don’t want to then be told that you need to withdraw the story because someone else wants it. It wastes time I can’t really spare. The most you’d have to wait is six weeks (the competition month plus two weeks max. to the results being announced around the middle of the following month).  Thank you.
  • Entrants: This competition is open to anyone of any age or geographical location, as long as the story is in English.
  • Results: The results will be announced around the middle of the month following the relevant deadlines (see ‘Themes’ below for full details).
  • Previous competitions: The winning stories of previous competitions can be found via the links below (again, see ‘Themes’ below).
  • And finally… the Judge’s (Morgen’s) decision is final. Good luck!

So, getting the red tape out the way first, here are the…

Rules

  1. Your story must stick to the theme, which varies each month and can be used in any way you like. The word / words don’t have to be included in the story but it must be clear that they are alluded to.
  2. Your story must be no longer or no shorter than 100 words. This excludes the title which can be as long or as short as you like. Any stories of less than or greater than 100 words will be disqualified so please check before submitting. Hyphenated words (e.g. well-known) count as one word so 99-word stories because of a hyphenated word will be disqualified. This may sound harsh but it’s then fair on everyone. Also bullet points do not count as words so do not include them in your word count. Neither do ellipses (e.g. ‘and… we’ counts as two words), ages, e.g. ‘a two-year-old child’ also counts as one word (according to Word, which is what I use). To check you can use the likes of https://wordcounter.net. Be careful though that it doesn’t include a dash (or other punctuation) as a word. Thank you, Sue B, for suggesting that.
  3. Stories submitted via the contact form below only. Just the text, no pictures, website addresses etc. other than where requested. Please do not email them to Morgen directly or they will not be considered. Please do not type them into the comments box below or they will be deleted.
  4. Your story must be written to, or suit, the theme for the relevant month (list below) within the relevant month. Any stories not fitting the theme (or less / more than 100 words excluding the title) will be disqualified. They will not be kept back for a month where the theme will fit.
  5. If you have submitted a story or stories for a different month (regardless whether early or late) in error then, unfortunately, you won’t be able to submit in the correct month because I’ll have seen them already. It does mean, of course, that you can submit them somewhere else and I have a list of places on Submissions – flash fiction & short stories.
  6. Your story / stories can be submitted at any time during the appropriate month (see below for a list of the upcoming themes) but not before the first or last day (midnight UK time) of that month.
  7. Please keep a copy of your story as only the top three placed will be published on this blog.
  8. By entering this competition (clicking on the ‘submit’ button), you confirm that you have read the rules and that you give your permission for your story to be published on this blog (usually on the second Friday of the month) should it be successful.
  9. The winners will be announced on this blog (via a new blog post) around the middle of the month following each deadline. The successful entrants will be contacted by email the same day with the details of their prizes. There is no time limit to claiming the prize(s) with the ability to ‘bank’ editing word counts or deadline to complete the online course(s) if that option is taken.
  10. Your story does not have to be exclusive to this site, i.e. you can have had it published elsewhere (including your own website) and / or send it elsewhere thereafter but if it is one of the top three winners, you will need to tell a subsequent site / publication that it has been published on this site, and yes, publication online means published so if you are a winner (top three) and have had nothing published before, you go from being a writer to an author! NB. Most competitions and paying markets require exclusivity so check before submitting to them or to this competiion.
  11. No simultaneous submissions, i.e. don’t sent it somewhere else until after the results have been announced. I won’t appreciate it if you have to withdraw it from mine while it’s ‘live’ as I may have already spent time reading it. Again, publishing to your own website is fine.
    To clarify: you’re welcome to do / have done whatever you like with your story before or after submitting to the competition. There are however other outlets that state they are to be the only source of publication of the piece. All I ask is that you don’t submit to them for the duration of the particular theme until the results are announced. If you are successful here, i.e. the top three and are published on this site then this will impact on sources that don’t allow you to be published elsewhere. Being published here means you have received a prize so the relevant stories will not be removed from this site.
  12. There is no fee to enter this competition but you may only enter a maximum of three stories per month. The first three will be accepted (one story per entry form), any sent thereafter will be discounted.
  13. The first version of a story will be accepted. Subsequent versions of the same story (e.g. amendments made to correct errors) will be discounted so do ensure that it is the best it can be before you submit.
  14. Please spell-check your entries before you click on ‘submit’. Morgen recommends you read your work aloud as it is easier to pick out errors that way. Careless errors will lose points (brownie or otherwise). Allowances will be made if English is not your first language.
  15. The closing date for each competition is the last day of each month (midnight UK time). Entries received after this date / time will not be included but may still be charged (only kidding!).
  16. The judge’s decision (Morgen’s) is final.
  17. Anyone can enter regardless of age or location and whether you know Morgen personally or not. She is a professional, she will not let a name (or any amount of banoffee pie!) sway her decision either way. The winning three stories will do so upon their merit only.
  18. There will be one winner, one second placed and one third placed – i.e. three authors. Should there be two successful stories from one author, Morgen will choose her favourite of the two which will be placed according to the merit of the other two successful authors’ stories.
  19. Should you win or be a runner-up, this does not disqualify you from entering in subsequent months. You can enter the competitions as many times as you like (max three stories per month) and should a winner have received all the courses available, they can give the subsequent coupon code/s to a friend. The relevant coupon codes will apply to that prize only.
  20. And finally… your story must stick to the theme (which varies each month). I’ve disqualified a few stories because it has nothing to do with the theme. Please ensure it’s not yours.

Prizes

  • The winner of the competition will win free access to three of Morgen’s online courses (currently worth up to £60 / $60*) or a free edit and critique of up to 2,000 words (worth up to £14 (€20 / US$22 / CA$ & AS$28)), together with publication of the story on this blog. Alternatively you can choose three of my eBooks.
  • The second-placed author will win free access to two of Morgen’s online courses (current value up to £40 / $40*) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,500 words (worth up to £11 (€15 / US$17 / CA$ & AS$21), together with publication of the story on this blog. Alternatively you can choose two of my eBooks.
  • The third-placed author competition will win free access to one of Morgen’s online courses (current value up to £20 / $20*) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,000 words (worth up to £7 (€10 / US$11 / CA$ & AS$14)), together with publication of the story on this blog. Alternatively you can choose one of my eBooks.
  • Depending upon the merit of the other entries, up to three other authors will receive highly commended and free entry to my Entering Writing Competitions course (worth £20 / $20). Anyone being placed Highly Commented a second (or third) time can donate their duplicated coupon code/s to their friend/s.
  • As mentioned above, if you are successful (i.e. in the top three) and your story is the first thing you have ever had published you will then be a published author rather than just a writer! 🙂
  • *There are currently six courses available to win, listed below, but this range will expand over the next few weeks / months so you could be successful in this competition more than once, and gain new courses.

Courses

Themes:
NB. Please do not submit stories early or they will be disqualified. Only submit themed stories during the relevant month. Thank you.

  1. September 2015: white (winning stories published Friday 9th October)
  2. October 2015: unlucky Halloween (winning stories published Friday 13th November)
  3. November 2015: fireworks (winning stories published Friday 11th December)
  4. December 2015: Christmas (winning stories published Friday 8th January)
  5. January 2016: a fresh start (winning stories published Friday 12th February)
  6. February 2016: leap year (winning stories published Friday 11th March)
  7. March 2016: Easter (winning stories published Friday 8th April)
  8. April 2016: a phone call (winning stories published Saturday 14th May)
  9. May 2016: headache (winning stories published Friday 10th June)
  10. June 2016: close, meaning shut and/or nearby (winning stories published Friday 8th July)
  11. July 2016: holiday (winning stories published Friday 12th August)
  12. August 2016: an unwanted birthday (winning stories published Friday 9th September)
  13. September 2016: cool (winning stories published Friday 14th October)
  14. October 2016: a crime story (winning stories published Friday 11th November)
  15. November 2016: America (winning stories published Friday 9th December)
  16. December 2016: just what I never wanted (winning stories published Friday 13th January 2017)
  17. January 2017: title: The Monthly Checker (winning stories published Friday 10th February)
  18. February 2017: classical music (winning stories published Friday 10th March)
  19. March 2017: Norman’s bunny (winning stories published Friday 14th April)
  20. April 2017: fool (winning stories published Sunday 14th May)
  21. May 2017: comic (winning stories published Friday 9th June)
  22. June 2017: German (winning stories published Sunday 2nd July)
  23. July 2017: strangers on a train (winning stories published Wednesday 16th August)
  24. August 2017: ticking (winning stories published Friday 8th September)
  25. September 2017: afraid, very afraid (winning stories published Friday 13th October)
  26. October 2017: a ghost story (winning stories published Thursday 9th November)
  27. November 2017: winter warmth (winning stories published Thursday 7th December)
  28. December 2017: a sign of hope (winning stories published Thursday 18th January 2018)
  29. January 2018: sweater (winning stories published Saturday 17th February)
  30. February 2018: the outskirts (winning stories published Saturday 17th March)
  31. March 2018: superstitious (winning stories published Sunday 15th April)
  32. April 2018: a children’s story – a story for or about children (winning stories published Tuesday 15th May)
  33. May 2018: the kite (winning stories published Saturday 16th June)
  34. June 2018: the wheel (winning stories published 16th July)
  35. July 2018: a horror story (winning stories published 7th August)
  36. August 2018: leftovers (winning stories published 15th September)
  37. September 2018: complex (winning stories published 15th October)
  38. October 2018: departure (winning stories to be published 20th November)
  39. November 2018: owing a debt (winning stories to be published mid-December)
  40. December 2018: the end (winning stories to be published mid-January 2019)
  41. January 2019: their own business (winning stories to be published mid-February)
  42. February 2019: hard times (winning stories to be published mid-March)
  43. March 2019: turn down (winning stories to be published mid-April)
  44. April 2019: making a claim (winning stories to be published mid-May)
  45. May 2019: irresponsible (winning stories to be published mid-June)
  46. June 2019: the wrong card (winning stories to be published mid-July)
  47. July 2019: given the chance (winning stories to be published mid-August)
  48. August 2019: escalator (winning stories to be published mid-September)
  49. September 2019: conservatory (winning stories to be published mid-October)
  50. October 2019: praise (winning stories to be published mid-November)
  51. November 2019: not her / his fault (winning stories to be published mid-December)
  52. December 2019: a winter job (winning stories to be published mid-January 2020)
  53. …further dates t.b.a.

If you have any queries, feel free to email me or leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch. No correspondence will be entered into about your stories.

PLEASE check your word count before you submit as I’ve had to disqualified some great stories because they’re one word short (often due to a hyphenated word), one too many, or even several words too short / long! The rules are listed above so please ensure you’ve read them before you click on ‘submit’. Thank you. And, remember, you can enter up to three stories per month (via separate forms please) so it’s worth sending more than one, especially if it ends up being disqualified! And do only send for the current theme, not a forthcoming theme early. Thank you.

 

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85 thoughts on “100-word comp

  1. Aerden says:

    I enjoy writing for this competition every month. I find that writing stories in this short form first helps me to write longer versions later.

    Like

    • morgenbailey says:

      Hi Andy. Sorry but you’re too early for the April competition and to be fair to everyone else (as someone else got the right theme but for the wrong month a while back), I have to disqualify it. It does state in the rules that the current month’s theme only (I’ll check to see if I need to make that clearer). You can still send another two though as you can send up to three per month.

      Like

      • Andy Morfett says:

        Hi Morgen,

        It is not clear that entries for the next competition cannot be submitted ‘early’.

        That’s a good entry gone to waste, which is slightly annoying…

        Like

      • Andy Morfett says:

        Hi ,Morgen

        I’ve looked at several of the sites in the list… and at least three of them CHARGE a submission fee through something (or someone) called ‘Submittable’.

        Just thought I’d put that out there. Not of these opportunities to get one’s work noticed are free, unfortunately.

        I have, however, submitted an alternative story for the April compo. 🙂

        Like

  2. Lestie says:

    I love 100-word stories – it is amazing how powerful they can be … that and thought provoking too. Thanks for the opportunity MorgEn, Cheers

    Like

    • morgenbailey says:

      You’re very welcome, Lestie. I’ve received your entries and look forward to reading them. April’s results will be posted next Friday, May’s on Friday 10th June. Good luck!

      Like

  3. Jeremy Chotzen says:

    I was delighted to come second place last months (April) after my fourth attempt. To my fellow writers, if you are still aspiring to win (top three), persist. You will find the real prize is not winning but the helpful advice contained in the courses. Thank you Morgen.

    Like

  4. Andy Morfett says:

    Hi Morgen,

    Can you please clarify the theme for June? Is it close as in ‘nearby’ or close as in ‘shut’?

    Many thanks.

    Like

    • morgenbailey says:

      Hi Andy. I did reply so not sure what happened to that. As per the ‘rules’ at the top of the page: “‘close’, used in any means you like (e.g. shut and / or nearby)”.

      Like

  5. Andy Morfett says:

    Finally came up with two ideas for June’s theme… I have an idea for a third, but I think it’s going to work better as a poem 🙂

    Like

  6. Jason Phillips says:

    Hey, I was an honorable mention last month, and I was wondering if you still had my story by any chance? Word quit unexpectedly and deleted a bunch of my work, including most of my microfiction. I was planning to develop it into a full-length story, but I totally forgot what I wrote!

    –Jase

    Like

  7. Andy Morfett says:

    Delighted to have gained a third place after my third month of contributing…

    I urge all of you reading this to have a go at a 100-word story yourself. It’s good fun and you never know, you might even get placed in the top three 🙂

    Like

  8. Dilbar Haydarova says:

    Thank you for opportunity! I’m from Uzbekistan and I’ve been searching for such contests for a very long time. I would love to participate in this contest)

    Like

  9. S P Mount says:

    Agh, after spending ages ensuring 100 words exactly, physically counting and recounting and getting eyestrain because Word seems to think I wrote ten more than I actually did, I made a last minute change but forgot to make the subsequent adjustment that would reduce it back to 100 from the 101 that I ended up submitting despite all that. It’s exactly the same story, but a more efficient use of two words into one was what I intended. Can you delete it for me to resubmit before you review it? Idiot! (Me, of course).🙂

    Like

      • morgenbailey says:

        Hello. Your comment didn’t come through in its entirety. Can you try again please and I will double-check the rules as to where they be might be confusing or contradictory. Thank you.

        Like

      • S P Mount says:

        Hi Morgen,

        No, there was nothing confusing or contradictory. That’s why I asked permission to resubmit. What I was attempting to do–perhaps scraping the barrel a bit, admittedly–given it was minutes after I submitted I realized the error, as well the UK would just be getting up, I thought you may not have seen it yet and could simply delete it (Going by where you say you wouldn’t accept an amended manuscript for the reason you would already have seen the first one). That would be a bit after the fact now, though, I would think. Below was the message in its entirety, just to save you wondering.

        I understand, and am normally super careful about following the rules for any writing competition as I know they tend to be stringent, and I know many don’t adhere to them, which must be annoying. I made sure I counted and recounted until that very last second change, which involved moving three words, but to make sense in their new position, I had to add a fourth, so had to compensate elsewhere. I fully intended to change the words ‘fifty years’ into ‘50yrs’, also. A silly mistake. I really should learn not to edit after midnight!

        > Yes, thank you I did see the rules, but as I believe, they also state the reason would be because you would have already seen the submission, is why I asked if you could delete it without reviewing (given it was sent minutes before my message to you, and the chances were you might not have seen the submission yet). FYI, The omission was simply ‘fifty years’ to ‘50yrs.’ Never mind, it was fun to spend some time writing one of these short pieces again. Thank you for getting back to me.

        >

        Like

      • morgenbailey says:

        Hello again, S P. Thank you for your explanation. To be fair to all entrants I have to stick to the rules and accept the first version submitted, dismissing any subsequent duplications. You are welcome to submit up to three stories per month and the new theme for this month (September) is ‘cool’, to be used in any way you wish.

        Like

  10. BAM says:

    My browser refreshed before I clicked submitted and chrome did this auto input field thing. So the info I sent for my email and website were wrong. I’ll still receive any email. It’s just my personal one rather than my writer one. Sorry for the trouble. Great competition.

    Like

  11. Paul says:

    Hi Morgen,

    I forgot all about the 100- word challenge this month…Until I woke up this morning (your afternoon)
    I wrote one, checked Word 2016 and it said exactly 100 words. I hope it was right, because that’s how many I counted. I’m going to try to come up with at least one more if I get time later.
    Enjoy the rest of your “vacation” with Mom and Mittens.

    Like

  12. Andy Morfett says:

    Hi Morgen,

    Can you please clarify exactly what this month’s theme actually is?? ‘Monthly Checker’ doesn’t really say anything to me or nudge my creative juices meter towards a story…

    Thanks!

    Like

  13. Arion Andron says:

    Hi, sorry Im kind of new to this competetion but Im wondering if a picture will be needed along with the submission of a story because all of the previous winners have pictures. Just wondering and thanks for making such a cool contest!

    Like

      • Arion Andron says:

        Oh, thanks for clearing that up. Sorry to bother you again, but Im a little confused about ‘Normans Bunny’ Ive tried searching it on the internet and no such luck. So am I allowed to just write about anything as long as it has someone named Norman and a bunny in it?

        Like

  14. Andy says:

    Two entries sent for this month’s theme… A little ‘darker’ in content than my usual stuff. Good fun to write nevertheless 🙂

    Like

  15. sueborgersen says:

    I think I have just submitted one for this month – not sure if it went through – and I suspect my website defaulted to an erroneous one – probably not important but just thought I’d let you know.

    Like

    • morgenbailey says:

      Hello Arion. As per the top of this page (there’s also a more comprehensive breakdown below the rules)…

      “The prizes are a choice of three courses or to the winner, two courses to the second placed and one course of the third placed choice, plus up to three highly commended (depending on quantity / merit of entries) per month winning free entry coupon code to my entering writing competitions course.”

      There are lots of rules (to help the entrants not hinder!) listed on this page but the most important is to ensure that the word count is spot on 100 (true hyphenated words count as one) and I would strongly encourage everyone to submit three stories because if they submit only one and it is disqualified for whatever reason (usually due to incorrect word count or not being to the theme) then you miss out for that month.

      Like

    • morgenbailey says:

      And I look forward to reading it / them. NB. Everyone can submit up to three per month (keeping to the 100 words NOT including the title) and I’d recommend everyone do so as I’ve had some disqualifications of solo entries, which is such a shame… and it means I get to read more stories. 🙂

      Like

  16. M W Brown says:

    Love these competitions Morgen! I find some months prompts harder than others but I like the challenge. Next month’s ‘a comic story’ is drawing blanks at the moment but hopefully something will pop into my head soon. Please keep them coming, my writing group really enjoys them!

    Like

  17. Katy says:

    I just submitted Notime…now to think up two more Ticking stories. Hmmm…may have the second… Thanks for your inspiring prompts! I know I have submitted before, but plan to up my submissions to every month.

    Like

  18. Linda J Atamian says:

    It’s almost five in the morning here in Florida. I just wrote about cherry pie and I’d love a slice. But I ate my Tasty Cake Cherry Pie yesterday. Ah, well, it was a challenge to do exactly 100 words. Tomorrow, I’ll go to Publix and get another 450 calorie Tasty Cake Cherry Pie. Is Tasty Cake Pie a cake or a pie? I call the shot on that one–uhm, yum!

    Like

  19. Rae Stanton says:

    Hello! I can’t seem to see the link for the current winners (being published on the 12th?). Is it just me or is there just a delay in publishing?

    Looking forward to reading and submitting more soon!😊

    Like

  20. tintins says:

    Hi Morgen, apologies if this question has been answered previously. I’m not sure I understand your rules below:
    10.Your story does not have to be exclusive to this site, i.e. you can have had it published elsewhere and / or send it elsewhere thereafter but if it is one of the top three winners, you will need to tell a subsequent site / publication that it has been published on this site, and yes, publication online means published so if you are a winner (top three) and have had nothing published before, you go from being a writer to an author!
    11.No simultaneous submissions, i.e. don’t sent it somewhere else until after the results have been announced. I won’t appreciate it if you have to withdraw it from mine while it’s ‘live’ as I may have already spent time reading it

    – I published my submitted story for February to my blog (as per rule 10) that the story didn’t need to be exclusive to your site.
    Is that allowed? I haven’t sent it anywhere else (as per rule 11) but I think the ambiguity is around whether me publishing it to my own blog counts as publication or whether it being my own blog means that’s ok? Sorry if I’m confusing matters. Feedback welcome.

    Like

    • morgenbailey says:

      Hi tintins. That’s no problem. All I ask is that it’s not sent anywhere else for the duration of the competition (from submission to publication of the results) where they require exclusivity and therefore if they accept it I am then contacted to withdraw the story submitted. Most competitions and paying markets, for example, require exclusivity. I’ll clarify the rules to include this.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. tintins says:

    Hi Guys apologies looking for some advise here; how would you write a sound? For example, I’m trying to give the reader the impression of a loud crashing noise without writing ‘crash’ can you suggest a way to write a sound. Struggling with this. Got the majority of my story written for March. Just need some help with this.

    Like

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