First 1000 Words Writing Contest

The first 1000 words of your novel and short story are the most important of your manuscript. In those few words you must hook the reader, introduce the protagonist and the problem that character must solve, and establish the story’s setting. Is your tale the best at doing all of that? Find out by entering Storytelling 101’s “First 1000 Words Writing Contest.”

Entry fee
$10 per entry

Entry deadline
August 31, 2023

The author of the best story will receive $50, winner’s certificate, and a complimentary proofreading and edit of their full 1000-word submission.

Authors must be age 18 or older. All submissions must be original and previously unpublished. Multiple entries welcomed. The entry may be a short story or the opening chapter of a novel. Nonfiction essays and poetry will not be accepted.

Submission Guidelines
Cover page with: story title, author’s name, email address
Typed, double-spaced manuscript
12-point serif typeface (Times New Roman, Garamond, etc.)
1” margins
1,000 word maximum
Do not include your name on the manuscript pages.

Electronic Submissions Only
The electronic submission (i.e. sent by email) must include cover page and manuscript in a single Microsoft Word file. Print and flash drive submissions are not accepted.

Submissions and Fees
Email your story at the “Submit Online Here” link below. Then make the fee payment via PayPal to:

If you do not have PayPal, state so in your email; you will be emailed an invoice from PayPal at which you can make an online payment via credit card or bank transfer, even if you do not have a PayPal account. Once both the submission is made and the fee paid, usually within 24 hours you will receive an email stating that your story has been accepted for entry in the contest.

Each entry should be sent in a unique mail. Each entry requires a separate fee (Example: two entries = 2 x $10 or $20 total), though the total fee may be made in one payment.

Contest Judging
Contest winners will be announced in September 2023. All submissions are judged blindly. As with any fiction, special attention will be paid to good writing craftsmanship, an exciting plot, interesting character, and an evocative setting with excellent worldbuilding. A text free of typos and grammar errors is expected.

Following announcement of the winner, all entries will be returned with a comment or two about a way the writing might be improved. Any comments are not the reason why the entry did or did not win but are provided as a courtesy to writers for their time and effort.

The judge for the writing contest is Rob Bignell, an award-winning editor of 30+ years and the author of more than 40 published books.

Submit Entry Here