Sunday, May 15, 2011

Short Story Month

Did you know that this is Short Story month?

Every year as part of my high school curriculum I teach a short story unit where we read and analyze several different stories from a variety of authors. One of the things I always point out is the key elements of an excellent short:

1. A limited number of characters
2. A single issue
3. The main character is dynamic and round
4. Strong theme
5. Twist or surprise ending

As a celebration of Short Story month I'm offering a contest.

Here are the rules:

1. Maximum word count 1000
2. Must be emailed by midnight on May 31, 2011
3. Put "Short Story Contest" in the subject line
4. No attachments-put the story in the body of the text.
5. Add your name, email and snail-mail addresses, and phone number at the end of the story
6. Your story should be geared for Young Adults. No lewd, suggestive, profane or gratuitous violence
7. Send your Short Story entry to:

Only one entry per email address
The stories will not be judged by me personally, but by a team of highly trained high school students. (Trained by me, of course).

"So, what's in it for me," you ask.

The winner will receive a copy of my novel Identity (soon to be released).

Good Luck, and may the best short story win!

I forgot to add that the first, second and third place winners will get their stories published on my blog. All rights to your story stay with you once the contest is over.


  1. You mentioned you're a teacher--me too. What do you teach?

  2. Well, I had the perfect story. There's nothing lewd, profane, or violent about it. There's even a great twist. But it won't work.

  3. Canda, I teach English/theater until May and then I am officially unemployed.

    RaShelle, I thought so too!

    Marsha, why won't it work? Not for YA?

    Donna, stretch yourself, challenge yourself. You can do it!

  4. I forgot to mention that the first, second and third place winners will be published on my blog.

  5. That sound like a great contest Betsy. Best luck to all the contestants. :)

  6. Congrats on your upcoming book! I love, love writing short stories, but I don't write them quite that short. I'll have to see if I can come up with something.

  7. Angie, I'd love it if you'd give it a shot!

  8. I love to write short stuff. Maybe I'll see what I can come up with.

  9. I am so not a short story writer! But I love your contest! I tweeted it!

    Good luck to everyone!

  10. Ali, you should give it a shot! You'd be amazed at what the exercise alone can do for your writing.

  11. I love your idea! I bet your students will get a kick out of judging the stories. You sound like such a fun teacher! I'll try to get a short story written -busy, busy - but I'd love to give it a shot. Hey, thanks for being a follower on my blog and for your great comment!

  12. I only saw this tonight. Let me see if I can come up with something that will be appropriate.


  13. I've tried to write short stories, but they always end up being the first chapter to a full length novel.

  14. Betsy,

    This contest sounds interesting. Trying to write a short story that incorporates all five elements you mention n only 1,000 words will be quite the challenge. I will take a stab at it and see if it bleeds ;-)

  15. So happy to have you "give it stab", James. I agree...all 5 in 1000 words? Good luck. It's fun to take on challenges. Anne and MK, good luck. I entered a short story contest once and while it didn't win, it went on to become a fun fantasy novel series! Three books out of a mere 1000 words. How cool is that?

  16. I know it's the last day of your contest, but I'm giving you a shout out tomorrow on my blog - hopefully it will bring in a few last minute short stories. :)

  17. Thanks Michelle. That's really awesome of you to think of me! Did you enter a story? I hope so! :D

  18. Hey, Betsy! I decided to enter the contest last minute. One question: does the title count towards the word count total?

  19. I emailed you! Good luck Rebecca. Make sure you send it to the email address indicated in the blog! Good luck!

  20. Ok. The dagger has been thrust. When will you announce the winners? What grade do you teach? I wish my high school English teachers had done something this cool when I was younger . . .

  21. The winners will be announced after June 20th.

    I taught 9-11th (this servers several purposes-I get to stay in touch with my students, I get to advertise my book, and I get to read some really fun stories--I am not the one judging though. I'm leaving it entirely up to the kids. They will get your stories without your names attached so there is no chance for bias)

    Good luck all! As of 10:02PM there have been 13 entries!

  22. I woke up at about 5 this morning and thought, "Oh no! I forgot to enter my story!" I knew I should have entered it the day I emailed you with my question. Apparently one of the author skills I need to work on is reading a calendar . . .