** 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 sentence start: ‘Before the shot was fired…’ **
As 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) Sunday 31st January.
- Theme: the current theme (which changes each month, the next few are listed below) is the sentence start: ‘Before the shot was fired…’… however the theme strikes you and used anywhere in the story. Do send three stories rather than one as I pick my favourite to go through to the final 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.
- Submissions: via the form at the end of this page (one submission per story), not via email. NB. You won’t receive a confirmation but if you are in any doubt that your submission has been successful, you can email me. I recommend you send three stories as I pick my favourite of the three to go through to judging so you have more of a chance than just sending one (unless it’s the best thing ever written!). 🙂
- 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…
- 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.
- 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, although Microsoft Word does think they are, bullet points (as with any other symbols) don’t count as words so don’t 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Please keep a copy of your story as only the top three placed will be published on this blog.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!).
- The judge’s decision (Morgen’s) is final.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- writer’s block workbook – volume 1: five weeks’ worth of beginning prompts to help create over 100 new pieces with tips to help your writing ongoing – see the courses page for the course description.
- writer’s block workbook – volume 2: five weeks’ worth of keyword prompts to help create over 100 new pieces with tips to help your writing ongoing – see the courses page for the course description.
- writing tips – part 1: 30 tips and 90+ exercises to spark your creativity – see the courses page for the course description.
- writing tips – part 2: 30 tips and 90+ exercises to enhance your writing – see the courses page for the course description.
- entering writing competitions: writing competitions from an entrant’s and judge’s viewpoint – see the courses page for the full description.
- make your book pitch-ready: take your novel, non-fiction book or story / poetry collection from draft to submission and beyond – see the courses page for the course description.
- plot scenarios – month 1: 31 scenarios each with three exercises per day (62+ plots given) to provide you with a better understanding of the components of stories and how many variations can be taken for one idea – see the courses page for the full description.
NB. Please do not submit stories early or they will be disqualified. Only submit themed stories during the relevant month. Thank you.
September 2015: white(winning stories published Friday 9th October) October 2015: unlucky Halloween(winning stories published Friday 13th November) November 2015: fireworks(winning stories published Friday 11th December) December 2015: Christmas(winning stories published Friday 8th January) January 2016: a fresh start(winning stories published Friday 12th February) February 2016: leap year(winning stories published Friday 11th March) March 2016: Easter(winning stories published Friday 8th April) April 2016: a phone call(winning stories published Saturday 14th May) May 2016: headache(winning stories published Friday 10th June) June 2016: close, meaning shut and/or nearby(winning stories published Friday 8th July) July 2016: holiday(winning stories published Friday 12th August) August 2016: an unwanted birthday(winning stories published Friday 9th September) September 2016: cool(winning stories published Friday 14th October) October 2016: a crime story(winning stories published Friday 11th November) November 2016: America(winning stories published Friday 9th December) December 2016: just what I never wanted(winning stories published Friday 13th January 2017) January 2017: title: The Monthly Checker(winning stories published Friday 10th February) February 2017: classical music(winning stories published Friday 10th March) March 2017: Norman’s bunny(winning stories published Friday 14th April) April 2017: fool(winning stories published Sunday 14th May) May 2017: comic(winning stories published Friday 9th June) June 2017: German(winning stories published Sunday 2nd July) July 2017: strangers on a train(winning stories published Wednesday 16th August) August 2017: ticking(winning stories published Friday 8th September) September 2017: afraid, very afraid(winning stories published Friday 13th October) October 2017: a ghost story(winning stories published Thursday 9th November) November 2017: winter warmth(winning stories published Thursday 7th December) December 2017: a sign of hope(winning stories published Thursday 18th January 2018) January 2018: sweater(winning stories published Saturday 17th February) February 2018: the outskirts(winning stories published Saturday 17th March) March 2018: superstitious(winning stories published Sunday 15th April) April 2018: a children’s story – a story for or about children(winning stories published Tuesday 15th May) May 2018: the kite(winning stories published Saturday 16th June) June 2018: the wheel(winning stories published 16th July) July 2018: a horror story(winning stories published 7th August) August 2018: leftovers(winning stories published 15th September) September 2018: complex(winning stories published 15th October) October 2018: departure(winning stories published 20th November) November 2018: owing a debt(winning stories published 17th December) December 2018: the end(winning stories published 15th January 2019) January 2019: their own business(winning stories published 17th February) February 2019: hard times(winning stories published 5th March) March 2019: turn down(winning stories published 22nd April) April 2019: making a claim(winning stories published 20th May) May 2019: irresponsible(winning stories published 14th June) June 2019: the wrong card(winning stories published 14th July) July 2019: given the chance(winning stories published 16th August) August 2019: escalator(winning stories published 16th September) September 2019: conservatory(winning stories published 14th October) October 2019: praise(winning stories published 1st November) November 2019: not her / his fault(winning stories published 17th December) December 2019: a winter job(winning stories published 11th January 2020) January 2020: a second-person point of view story(winning stories published 17th February) February 2020: include the following words: single, cover, appear, close, case(winning stories published 13th March) March 2020: since sliced bread(winning stories published 18th April) April 2020: 20:20 vision(winning stories published 18th May) May 2020: may or may not(winning stories published 29th June) June 2020: a Twitter conversation – click HERE for an example(winning stories published 15th July) July 2020: a mature student(winning stories published 17th August) August 2020: ‘update’ but, for a challenge this month, the story must not have any sentences beginning with a pronoun: the characters’ names, I, You, He or She, A/The 🙂(winning stories published 27th September) September 2020: the swimming pool(winning stories published 11th October) October 2020: creep(winning stories published 1st November) November 2020: silence isn’t quite golden(winning stories published 13th December) December 2020: the winter summer holiday(winning stories to be published mid-January 2021)
- January 2021: sentence start: ‘Before the shot was fired…’ – used anywhere in the story (winning stories to be published mid-February)
- February 2021: a tall tale (winning stories to be published mid-March)
- March 2021: going to camp (winning stories to be published mid-April)
- April 2021: learning something new (winning stories to be published mid-May)
- May 2021: going round in circles (winning stories to be published mid-June)
- June 2021: the tourist trap (winning stories to be published mid-July)
- July 2021: an unusual healing (winning stories to be published mid-Aug)
- August 2021: an odd pairing (winning stories to be published mid-Sept)
- September 2021: Harold goes shopping (winning stories to be published mid-Oct)
- October 2021: a sticky end (winning stories to be published mid-Nov)
- November 2021: a not so happy celebration (winning stories to be published mid-Dec)
- December 2021: away for the winter (winning stories to be published mid-Jan)
- January 2022: opening something (winning stories to be published mid-Feb)
- February 2022: mid-month blues (winning stories to be published mid-March)
- …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 disqualify 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.