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DIRECTORY

Best Fiction Writing Contests in 2024

Showing 169 contests that match your search.

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Every Friday, Reedsy sends out five writing prompts. Enter your response within a week for a chance at $250. Winners may also be included in a future issue of Reedsy’s literary magazine, Prompted.

Top Prize:

$250

Additional prizes:

$25 credit toward Reedsy editorial services

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: December 31, 2024

Goldilocks Zone

Sunspot Literary Journal

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Script Writing, and Short Story

Sunspot Lit is looking for the perfect combination of craft and appeal in stories, CNF, novel or novella excerpts, artwork, graphic novels, poems, scripts/screenplays. Literary and genre accepted. Enter through Submittable or Duotrope.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024

Novel Fair 2025

Irish Writers Centre

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Now in its 13th year, the Novel Fair is an annual competition initiated by the Irish Writers Centre. Described by The Irish Times as ‘A Dragons’ Den for writers’, each year the Fair introduces twelve up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of industry professionals.

Top Prize:

Present your novel to leading publishers and agents at the Irish Writers Centre

💰 Entry fee: $59

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

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Military Anthology: Partnerships, the Untold Story

Armed Services Arts Partnership

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

Partners are an integral aspect of military life, at home and afar, during deployment and after homecoming. Partnerships drive military action and extend beyond being a battle buddy, wingman, or crew member. Some are planned while others arise entirely unexpectedly. Spouses, family, old or new friends, community, faith leaders, and medical specialists all support the military community. Despite their importance, the stories of these partnerships often go untold. This anthology aims to correct that: We will highlight the nuances, surprises, joy, sorrow, heroism, tears, healing power, and ache of partnerships. We invite you to submit the story about partnerships from your journey, so we can help tell it.

Top Prize:

$500 Editors' Choice award

Additional prizes:

$250 for each genre category (prose, poetry, visual art)

📅 Deadline: March 01, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

Enter our 91st Annual Writing Competition for the chance to have your work be seen by editors and agents! Almost 500 winners will be chosen. The top winning entries of this writing contest will also be on display in the Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection. [$20 for a poetry entry, $30 for a manuscript entry]

Top Prize:

$5,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: $500 | 3rd: $100

💰 Entry fee: $30

📅 Deadline: May 06, 2024

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

What truth do you want to convey through your stories? This month, write a short story of up to 1000 words and invite readers into a contained universe. With only a small word limit to work with, you must choose carefully. Remember, as Neil Gaiman once said: “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams.”

Top Prize:

$100

Additional prizes:

Runner up: $50 | Best peer review: $50

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: November 27, 2023 (Expired)

Maggie Award for Prepublished Writers

Georgia Romance Writers

Genres: Fiction, Novel, and Romance

The purpose of the Prepublished Maggie Award for Excellence is to encourage, recognize, and reward the mastery of romance writing by Prepublished authors of romantic fiction. The Maggie Award is a symbol of achievement given by the Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) to bring special attention to these writers. The Maggie Award, a silver medallion commissioned by GRW, receives national attention.

Top Prize:

Trophy

💰 Entry fee: $40

📅 Deadline: April 21, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Flash Fiction

The editors of Third Wednesday wish to honor the memory of George Dila, friend of Third Wednesday and the editor who originally brought fiction to 3W. To this end, we proudly announce the opening of The George Dila Memorial Flash Fiction Contest. We accept entries of previously unpublished stories of under 1000 words in length (including title).

Top Prize:

100 x3 Winning Stories

Additional prizes:

Publication in Third Wednesday magazine

💰 Entry fee: $6

📅 Deadline: August 15, 2024

Passionate Plume

Passionate Ink

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Novella, Romance, and Short Story

The 2024 Passionate Plume celebrates the best in erotic fiction, both long and short, and features a special category for emerging authors.

Top Prize:

Engraved award

Additional prizes:

Publication in the Passionate Ink Charity Anthology

💰 Entry fee: $40

📅 Deadline: March 21, 2024 (Expired)

The Rubery Prize

Rubery Book Awards

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult, and Romance

The Rubery Prize is a prestigious international book award seeking the best books by indie writers, self published authors and books published by independent presses, judged by reputable judges. Through our reputation of finding quality and outstanding books we aim to bring recognition to the works that win and heighten an author's profile.

Top Prize:

£2000

Additional prizes:

£200, a write-up

💰 Entry fee: $60

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, and Short Story

Enter themed storytelling contests to put your creativity to the test and be in with a chance of winning cash prizes and more. To submit, you'll need to sign up for a monthly fee of $9.99, or $4.99/month for 3 months.

Top Prize:

$1,000 — $5,000

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: March 07, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Novella

Established in 2001, The Clay Reynolds Novella Prize highlights one book a year that excels in the novella format. Since 2019 the Prize comes with $500, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

A Standard Royalty contract, 20 copies of the novella published

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Register now for our next 7-day story writing challenge. A secret theme, a randomly assigned genre, and just 7 days to write a story of no more than 2,000 words. Our 7-day story writing challenges take place throughout the year. The challenges are free and you can even get feedback on your story. Take part in one challenge or take part in all of them!

Top Prize:

£500

Additional prizes:

Publication on website

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: April 22, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, and Short Story

For this short story challenge, all participants will be randomly assigned a horror sub-genre and will receive a list of 20 primal fears. All participants will receive the same 20 primal fears. As soon as you receive your randomly assigned sub-genre and the list of primal fears, you'll have until the closing time to write and submit a short story of any length up to 5,000 words. Your story should fit the sub-genre you were assigned and should be underpinned by one of the primal fears from the list. You get to choose the primal fear that will underpin your story. The available horror sub-genres are: body horror, folk horror, eco horror, psychological horror, and fantasy horror. Early entry tickets are £2.50, general entry tickets are £5, and late entry tickets are £9.

Top Prize:

£1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication on website

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: February 19, 2024 (Expired)

The Book of the Year Awards

The Independent Author Network

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult, Crime, and Short Story

The Independent Author Network presents the 10th Annual IAN Book of the Year Awards, an international contest open to all authors with 55 fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners are eligible to receive a share of cash prizes of $6,000 USD. Open to all English language print and eBooks available for sale, including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors.

Top Prize:

$2,500

Additional prizes:

$6,000.00 USD in total cash prizes

💰 Entry fee: $49

📅 Deadline: August 16, 2024

Writers of the Future

Writer's of the Future

Genres: Fiction, Short Story, Fantasy, and Science Fiction

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the masters in the field and discovered by a wide audience. Prizes of $1000, $750 and $500 are awarded every three months. From the four 1st Place winners each year, one story is selected as the grand prize winner and the author receives an additional $5000 cash prize.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

$750 for 2nd place, $500 for 3rd, £5000 annual grand prize

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2022 (Expired)

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Script Writing, and Short Story

Literary or genre works accepted. Winner receives $500 plus publication, while runners-up and finalists are offered publication. No restrictions on theme or category. Closes: February 29. Entry fee: $12.50. Enter as many times as you like through Submittable or Duotrope

Top Prize:

$500 + publication

Additional prizes:

Runners-up and finalists are offered publication

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Short Story, and Thriller

Inspiring Fiction’s special edition short story contest is on the theme ‘Freedom’. We are looking for crime, speculative, and fantasy short stories. The winner and shortlisted entries will be published in a bumper crossover issue of Tangled Web Magazine and Mirk Fantasy Magazine.

Top Prize:

£100

Additional prizes:

Publication and published review by the editor

💰 Entry fee: $6

📅 Deadline: July 31, 2024

Genres: Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Letter Review Prize for Books is open to writers from anywhere in the world. Seeking most unpublished (we accept some self/indie published) novels, novellas, story collections, nonfiction, poetry etc. 20 entries are longlisted.

Top Prize:

$1000 USD shared by 3 winners

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: October 31, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Short Story, and Thriller

We’re interested in flash fiction pieces of between 250 and 1,000 words. We’re seeking the finest work we can find that incorporates an uncanny element. Ghost stories are welcome, of course—but your submission may involve any paranormal or supernatural theme, as well as magic realism. What we’re looking for is superb writing, fresh perspectives, and maybe a few surprises.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

print and online publication

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Short Story, Crime, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Our annual flagship competition, the Stringybark Stories Open Short Story Award 2023, is now bigger than ever! Thanks to Graeme Simpson and Anne Buist, a record prize pool of over $1300 is on offer. The theme is open, the only constraint is that there must be a reference to Australia somewhere in the story. It doesn't matter how small a link there is (it could be a jar of vegemite on the counter), there just needs to be one!

Top Prize:

$560

Additional prizes:

2nd: $360 | 3rd: $210 | 4th: $110

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: February 25, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Every year, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. While we cannot guarantee that winners and finalists of this award will receive publication, dozens of winners & runners-up of the Claymore award have gone on to find great success in their careers and many of them attribute that success to this award.

Top Prize:

Publishing contract

Additional prizes:

Discounted admission to Killer Nashville, introductions to agents/editors

💰 Entry fee: $40

📅 Deadline: April 01, 2024 (Expired)

South Warwickshire Literary Festival Writing Competition

South Warwickshire Literary Festival

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction 800 words, Poetry 40 lines, any genre any style. Over 16s only

Top Prize:

£50

Additional prizes:

Read entry at literary festival, September 2024 UK

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: March 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Horror, Mystery, Romance, and Thriller

Are you seeking lots of feedback? Ever wondered what it’s like to step into the shoes of a jury? Pull a genre, pick a prompt, and let your creativity soar. Submit your piece, then review other entries and develop an eye for what makes a story stand out. Receive detailed feedback, evolve as a writer and you might even walk away with the prize money!

Top Prize:

$1000

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: April 14, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Our quarterly short story competition is open for entries all year round. The competition is open to any theme or genre, but your story must be a maximum of 1,500 words (not including the title). You can enter up to three stories in each quarterly competition.

Top Prize:

£150

Additional prizes:

£75 for 2nd, £30 for 3rd

💰 Entry fee: $7

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Short Story, and Thriller

Can’t decide between the headstrong alpha or the hunky omega? Us either. We’re seeking stories featuring steamy werewolf romance, perfect for reading under a full moon. Whether you’re Team Jacob Black or Team Alcide Herveaux…we’re all Team Awoooo. Works up to 3,000 words will be considered.

Top Prize:

$600

Additional prizes:

2nd place: $300; 3rd place: $100

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2022 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, and Poetry

HFR will accept contest submissions in poetry and fiction between Feb 1-29, 2024. This year’s poetry judge is Diana Khoi Nguyen, author of Ghost Of and Root Fractures. This year’s fiction judge is Venita Blackburn, author of How to Wrestle a Girl and Dead in Long Beach, California. There will be two prizes of $1,500 each and publication in Hayden’s Ferry Review (online in summer 2024 and in the fall/winter 2024 print issue) for a poem or a group of poems and a work of fiction. A runner-up in each category will receive $250 and publication. All entries are considered for publication.

Top Prize:

$1,500

Additional prizes:

Runners-up: $250

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Science Writing, and Young Adult

We're looking for original ideas, a fresh voice, a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love! To enter, you must have written a full-length novel suitable for children/young adults aged between 7 and 18 years. We suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and ask that manuscripts do not exceed 80,000 words. The IET 150 Award will be awarded to a manuscript that celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Top Prize:

A worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House & royalty advance of £10,000

Additional prizes:

An offer of representation from a top literary agent

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: June 01, 2024

Anthology Flash Fiction Award

Anthology Magazine

Genres: Fiction, Short Story, and Flash Fiction

The Anthology Flash Fiction Competition is open to original and previously unpublished flash fiction on any theme in the English language by writers of any nationality. We are looking for writing that is clever and unique, inspires us, and crafts a compelling story. Max 250 words.

Top Prize:

€300

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

The 2024 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize, the fifteenth edition of the prestigious prize, is open from 1 February to 1 July 2024. Exceptionally international in scope, the prize supports writers who have not yet published a book-length work, with no limits on age, gender, nationality, or background. The winners of each category will receive a £1,000 cash prize and publication in Wasafiri magazine.

Top Prize:

£1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: June 30, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

The Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers honor the work of writers at the beginning of their careers. $500 prizes will be awarded in both the fiction and poetry categories, and the winning manuscripts will appear in the spring issue of Nimrod. Winners will have the chance to work with the Nimrod board of editors to refine and edit their manuscripts before publication.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: July 15, 2024

Narrative Prize

Narrative Magazine

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

The Narrative Prize is awarded annually for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative. The submission system is open all year.

Top Prize:

$4,000

💰 Entry fee: $27

📅 Deadline: June 15, 2024

The Raven Short Story Contest

Pulp Literature Press

Genres: Fiction

This contest is for previously unpublished short fiction between 250 and 2500 words in length. Multiple entries welcome. Total entries limited to 300. Show us your most scintillating treasures in the form of short fiction up to 2500 words in length and you could be the one bringing home $300 CAD to line your nest!

Top Prize:

$230

Additional prizes:

Publication in Pulp Literature

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: October 15, 2024

4th Annual Wine Country Writers' Festival Writing Contest

Wine Country Writers' Festival Society

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry

Welcome to the 4th Annual Wine Country Writers' Festival (WCWF) writing contest. Three Categories and Over $1800 total value in cash and prizes to be awarded. Opens April 01/24 and Closes June 02/24 (1159pm PST--Vancouver/Seattle time). Enter your short fiction or nonfiction (2000 words max) or up to 48 lines of poetry. Or purchase the 2 for $25 and enter a poem and a short story or two stories... You decide. Judged blindly by professional writers. Profiles on the website. Winning entries will be published in the 4th Annual WCWF Anthology. Winners will receive a copy. No previously published or winning works. No AI.

Top Prize:

$200 CAD per category

Additional prizes:

Free registration package to the Wine Country Writers' Festival

💰 Entry fee: $11

📅 Deadline: June 02, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Short Story, and Flash Fiction

Biopage is hosting a writing contest to remind people the benefits of writing. Each story (or once chapter of your stories) is limited to 5,000 characters or roughly 1,000 words. You can write about good life experience, or bad, embarrassing, frightening ones. You can win $300, and five runners-up can win $100 each.

Top Prize:

$300

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Discover the finest writing contests of 2024 for fiction and non-fiction authors — including short story competitions, essay writing competitions, poetry contests, and many more. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by Reedsy to weed out the scammers and time-wasters. If you’re looking to stick to free writing contests, simply use our filters as you browse.

Why you should submit to writing contests

Submitting to poetry competitions and free writing contests in 2024 is absolutely worth your while as an aspiring author: just as your qualifications matter when you apply for a new job, a writing portfolio that boasts published works and award-winning pieces is a great way to give your writing career a boost. And not to mention the bonus of cash prizes!

That being said, we understand that taking part in writing contests can be tough for emerging writers. First, there’s the same affliction all writers face: lack of time or inspiration. Entering writing contests is a time commitment, and many people decide to forego this endeavor in order to work on their larger projects instead — like a full-length book. Second, for many writers, the chance of rejection is enough to steer them clear of writing contests. 

But we’re here to tell you that two of the great benefits of entering writing contests happen to be the same as those two reasons to avoid them.

When it comes to the time commitment: yes, you will need to expend time and effort in order to submit a quality piece of writing to competitions. That being said, having a hard deadline to meet is a great motivator for developing a solid writing routine.

Think of entering contests as a training session to become a writer who will need to meet deadlines in order to have a successful career. If there’s a contest you have your eye on, and the deadline is in one month, sit down and realistically plan how many words you’ll need to write per day in order to meet that due date — and don’t forget to also factor in the time you’ll need to edit your story!

For tips on setting up a realistic writing plan, check out this free, ten-day course: How to Build a Rock-Solid Writing Routine.

In regards to the fear of rejection, the truth is that any writer aspiring to become a published author needs to develop relatively thick skin. If one of your goals is to have a book traditionally published, you will absolutely need to learn how to deal with rejection, as traditional book deals are notoriously hard to score. If you’re an indie author, you will need to adopt the hardy determination required to slowly build up a readership.

The good news is that there’s a fairly simple trick for learning to deal with rejection: use it as a chance to explore how you might be able to improve your writing.

In an ideal world, each rejection from a publisher or contest would come with a detailed letter, offering construction feedback and pointing out specific tips for improvement. And while this is sometimes the case, it’s the exception and not the rule.

Still, you can use the writing contests you don’t win as a chance to provide yourself with this feedback. Take a look at the winning and shortlisted stories and highlight their strong suits: do they have fully realized characters, a knack for showing instead of telling, a well-developed but subtly conveyed theme, a particularly satisfying denouement?

The idea isn’t to replicate what makes those stories tick in your own writing. But most examples of excellent writing share a number of basic craft principles. Try and see if there are ways for you to translate those stories’ strong points into your own unique writing.

Finally, there are the more obvious benefits of entering writing contests: prize and publication. Not to mention the potential to build up your readership, connect with editors, and gain exposure.

Resources to help you win writing competitions in 2024

Every writing contest has its own set of submission rules. Whether those rules are dense or sparing, ensure that you follow them to a T. Disregarding the guidelines will not sway the judges’ opinion in your favor — and might disqualify you from the contest altogether. 

Aside from ensuring you follow the rules, here are a few resources that will help you perfect your submissions.

Free online courses

On Writing:

On Editing:

Blog posts

Bonus resources

After you submit to a writing competition in 2024

It’s exciting to send a piece of writing off to a contest. However, once the initial excitement wears off, you may be left waiting for a while. Some writing contests will contact all entrants after the judging period — whether or not they’ve won. Other writing competitions will only contact the winners. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind after you submit:

  • Many writing competitions don’t have time to respond to each entrant with feedback on their story. However, it never hurts to ask! Feel free to politely reach out requesting feedback — but wait until after the selection period is over.

  • If you’ve submitted the same work to more than one writing competition or literary magazine, remember to withdraw your submission if it ends up winning elsewhere.

  • After you send a submission, don’t follow it up with a rewritten or revised version. Instead, ensure that your first version is thoroughly proofread and edited. If not, wait until the next edition of the contest or submit the revised version to other writing contests.

Prompts | Prompts Sans Serif | 2024-03

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