Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

The Writer’s “Crime Pays”


Friday, July 31, 2015



Entry Fees

The entry fee is $25 (including processing fees).
You may submit additional entries on the same transaction for an additional $15 per submission (up to 5 per transaction).


1st place: $1,000 and publication in the November issue of The Writer.

2nd place: $500 and publication on The Writer’s website

3rd place: $250 and publication on The Writer’s website


“Crime fiction deals with the mysteries we all face: What’s going to happen? How will it end? Will good triumph over evil? Can we find order in the chaos? It does not limit a good writer but makes every aspect of the human experience available to the writer and to the reader.” –David C. Taylor, author of Night Life

Create a short story between 1,000 and 2,000 words that allows you to explore the human experience through a criminal action and a strong central character. Author David C. Taylor will choose the winning entry and comment on its effectiveness as crime fiction. That means your story will be read by an expert in the field! We’ll publish the winning entry in the November issue, and we’ll post the second and third place stories on The Writer website.


Consider these questions: 

What is the central crime? Is it a crime of passion? Of revenge?

Who commits it? A damaged child? A spurned lover? A resentful sibling?

Why does he or she commit the crime? And how?

Who is affected by the pernicious act?

And of course: Then what happens?

Do you want the crime to be in the opening scene, or if you want it to happen “offstage”?

Is your main character the criminal or the wronged party? Is your story humorous or scandalous?

What concrete details can you provide to create a believable setting and theme?

Need inspiration? Check out these detective/crime short stories:

“The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allan Poe

“Suspicion” by Dorothy Sayers

“Bombardier” by Walter Mosley

“Since You Went Away” by Frankie Y. Bailey

“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor

Think criminally – and get writing!


  • The submission deadline is midnight eastern time on July 31, 2015.
  • The entry fee is $25 (including processing fees).
  • We encourage you to submit more than one story at once – for a discounted entry fee of $15. All entries must be submitted on the same transaction in order to get the discounted rate. The first submission will be $25 and each additional submission (up to 5 per transaction) will be $15.
  • $1,000 and publication in the November 2015 issue will be awarded to the winner. The runner-up will receive $500 and publication on Third place winner will receive $250 and publication on
  • A blind reading of all entries will be conducted by a staff editor of The Writer, who will narrow down the pool of finalists. Those entries will then be read by David C. Taylor, who will select a winner.
  • Close friends and colleagues (current & former) of the The Writer staff and Madavor Media are not eligible to compete.
  • All submissions must be submitted via our online submission form manager. We will not accept mail or email submissions. We do not accept previously published entries.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished.
  • You may enter simultaneously submitted work.
  • Winners will be announced in the November 2015 issue of The Writer.
  • Please remove your name, bio and any contact info from the file that you submit.
  • Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter.

Contact Information

[email protected]


Post an update for this contest