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Creative Writing Institute Short Story Contest


Tuesday, September 15, 2015



*First place: your choice of a FREE writing course with a personal tutor, comparable to $900 USD course at Gotham Writers Workshop and other writing schools. Start your course any time within a year, and you have a year to finish from the day you begin.

*Second place: $50 Amazon gift card OR a $150 USD credit toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $900 USD at other writing schools.

*Third place: $25 Amazon gift card OR a $100 USD credit toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $900 USD at other writing schools.

*Plus: first, second and third place winners, two honorable mentions and TEN additional Judge's Choice stories will receive publication in our anthology and Ebook, which will be available in December



1. This is a themed contest and this exact sentence must appear in the story. (You may change the ending punctuation.)

I got more than I bargained for!

2. No swearing, profanity, explicit sexual scenes, graphic violence, etc. (Swearing includes but is not limited to the following: hell, damn, bitch, etc., and using God’s name in vain. If you have a question, write to the head judge: [email protected].)

3. Entries must be 1,000 to 2,000 words. Place the word count at the top of page 1.

4. One entry per person, please.

5. By entering this contest, you are stating that the story is your own copyright, that it has not been previously published by a professional or semi-professional publication and you grant minor editing rights for publication. If chosen for publication, Creative Writing Institute has first, non-exclusive, electronic rights and First North American Print Rights to publish your story in our 2015 eBook and anthology. If you do not agree to publication, you cannot be a winner. All rights return to you upon publication.

6. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, style and technique.

7. We will deduct points for poorly structured sentences, spelling and grammatical errors.

8. If you choose to single space, double space between paragraphs and do not indent. If you double space, do not indent paragraphs.

9. Submit entry at

Do not submit your entry by email or to a judge. Winners will be notified on or before October 30, 2015.


Write NEW material specifically for this contest, centered around the theme sentence. Everything should build up to the statement – I got more than I bargained for! That should be the turning point in your story.

Hook the judge with your very first sentence by opening in the middle of an action scene. You can build the backstory (background) in as you go along.

Stay away from internal dialogue (showing a character’s thoughts). Far better to have your characters speak aloud, even if they’re only speaking to themselves or to a pet. Internal dialogue should be in italics and don’t use quote marks. When you use quotes, be sure to proofread closely to be sure they are closed.

A twist ending is always fun!

When finished, ask a writing friend to edit your entry. (Please do not ask a CWI staff member.) LISTEN to their advice!

Before you post your entry, go over ALL the rules again and be sure you followed them. We want our anthologies to be family oriented — and for you to learn how to follow instructions.

Contact Information

Address questions to head judge: [email protected]



Post an update for this contest