Archive for September 9th, 2008

100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest

9 September 2008

Short stories challenge any writer. Hugely challenging is a fictional 100 word story, with scarce room for elaboration, plot development, or character development. Yet such stories have dazzled us, tickled us, moved us to tears, given us wisdom, and taken our breaths away. We challenge you to create short fiction that will make us shiver. Look at #10 in the Contest Guidelines for decisive factors.

We welcome whimsy, allegory, mystery, romance, fable, humor, love, fantasy, even horror. And it doesn’t matter whether the story is in past or present tense, in first person, third person, or even second person.

Three writers will receive cash prizes:
First Prize $500, Second Prize $200, Third Prize $100

The three authors and their stories will be presented on the website, accompanied by explanations regarding these choices. Twenty authors will receive Honorable Mention designations. All entrants will receive free checkmark evaluations of their submitted stories.


Prizes will be awarded to three stories as selected by Dr. Linda Clifton. Prizes are $500 to number one, $200 to number two, and $100 to number three. Each of the three winning stories will be posted on our website with one time publication rights. The three authors will retain all successive rights to their original stories. To be clear, we are not offering a publishing deal or contract.

Each of the three winning stories will be accompanied by an explanation, by Dr. Clifton, as to why it was chosen.

Honorable Mention will be awarded to 20 entrants, by author, name, and title of entry.


Dr. Linda Clifton has been an instructor in literature and writing for over 34 years. In the 1980s, she founded the literary magazine Crab Creek Review, publishing, among others, work by Raymond Carver, William Stafford and Rebecca Wells.

Dr. Clifton received her Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Washington. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in a number of little magazines including Calyx, It’s About Time, Drash, and in Shadowmarks from award-winning Blue Begonia Press. She has served as a guest editor for Hedgebrook Journal. Some of her work appears on the Clifton Consulting website at She currently works as a freelance editor and offers workshops on the teaching of writing. We are honored to have Dr. Clifton serve as final judge for this contest.


The contest is open to any individual not associated with employees or staff of this company.

Please read the following guidelines carefully. It would be a shame to be disqualified on technical grounds.
1. What is the format for entries?

Enter your story inside the text of an email message. Attachments will not be considered. Present your name, mailing address, repeated email address, and your story’s word count at the top of your entry. We require good grammar and spelling. Use a plain 12 point font. We suggest Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, or Courier.

Each entry must be accompanied by a $15.00 payment through Paypal, as explained under SUBMISSIONS on the next page.
2. What are the locations of entrants?

Entrants may be located anywhere in the world.
3. Must the entries be original?

Your entry must be original, in English, unpublished and not accepted by any other publisher or producer at the time of submission. 100 words or Fewer Writing Contest retains one-time publication rights to the First, Second, and Third winning entries, to be published once on the 100 words or Fewer Writing Contest web site.
4. Is there a given topic?

The topic is entirely up to you. However, anything lewd or libelous will be discarded immediately. The payment will not be returned.
5. Is the word count limitation firm?

Yes! Entries exceeding the word limit will not be considered. Type the exact word count (counting every single word, except the title and contact information) at the top of your entry.
6. Will the payment be secure?

Yes. Please use Paypal, as explained below.
7. What is the deadline?

The deadline is Nov. 16, 2008. Any manuscript received after the deadline will not be considered. Entries may be sent immediately.
8. How will I know if I have won?

Winners will be determined by Dec. 10, 2008 and will be notified by mail before Dec. 15, 2008. Prizes will be issued by registered mail within 8 days of the Final Judge’s decisions.
9. May I send more than one entry?

Certainly. We welcome each entry. We must, though, charge $15.00 for each.
10. What is the basis for your decisions regarding each entry?

Judges will look for the following:

* immediate pull of the story’s fictional world,
* intensity and drive of focus,
* power of images,
* sentence flow,
* overall structural integrity,
* telling details that may include beauty of language,
* suspense, plot twist and humor,
* power of ending, and
* overall emotional impact.

Judges will first segregate stories into higher and lower groups. Stories with higher rankings will be read again and narrowed down for further segregation. This process will be repeated until our final judge determines first, second, and third places. At each point, judges’ decisions are final.