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You are here: HomeResourcesWrite On! Adult Short Story Writing Contest

Submission Requirements  FAQs
Writing Apps Websites for Writing  In the Library’s Collection  2013 Winners

Thank you to all who participated in the Write On! Short Story Contest and special thanks to author Carla Buckley for presenting the awards!

To download a PDF copy of the Winners' and Honorable Mentions' collected short stories, click here.

Congratulations to the contest Winners and Honorable Mentions listed below:

Author Carla Buckley signs a copy of her book, The Deepest Secret, for Carlie & Matt Madsen who won third place for their short story contest entry, Survival Beauty.
Author Carla Buckley signs a copy of her book, The Deepest Secret, for Carlie & Matt Madsen who won third place for their short story contest entry, Survival Beauty.


First Place: Dust by Evan Guilford-Blake
Second Place:  The Plot Device by Edward Palumbo
Third Place: Survival Beauty by Carlie and Matt Madsen

Honorable Mentions:

Little Drifting One by Taryn Bromser-Kloeden
In Arcadia by T. Knight
Queen of the Duds, circa 1972 by Evelyn Krieger
Lost & Found by Gargi Mehra
The Derelict by Rolli
Pest Control by Ramona Scarborough
Tippy by Julie Sprinkle
Masters of the Tinkerverse by Timothy C. Tozer
Redemption by Brenda Watterson
Satan Meets His Match
by Carl Zetie

Submission Requirements:

Please follow directions carefully.  Incorrect submissions may be disqualified.
Formatting Requirements:

  • Microsoft Word-readable document 
  • Length: no longer than 2500 words
  • Spacing: double
  • Margins: one inch
  • Font style: Arial
  • Font size: 12 point
  • Document Name: the story title

For example: The End of the Road.doc  
DO NOT include your name in the file name.

  • Title Page = First page of document
    • Include title of story
    • For example:
      The End of the Road
  • Each page must include a header with story title and page number.
    • For example: The End of the Road 1
  • Last Page = Contact Information
    • Title
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone Number(s)
    • Email
    • For example:
      The End of the Road
      121 W Bird Terr. Apt 15
      Ashling, VA 20185
      222-222-2222 (home)
      333-333-3333 (cell)

One entry per person.
Submissions can be new works or self-published.

Submit: Email your story as an attachment to WriteOn@library.loudoun.gov


What should I write about? Is there a theme?
We don’t have a theme! This is your chance to get creative! Stories can be inspired by real life, fantasies, mysteries, adventures, or even horror.

Why do you have a word limit?
We receive a lot of submissions.  We want to make sure everyone gets a fair chance.  We don’t want external factors such as font size to influence our judgment.  We also want to make sure there is enough time for us to read all submissions.  This is why we impose a word limit.

Wait. You have word limits?
Yes. Please follow our submission guidelines.

Do I have to be a Loudoun County resident, or hold a Loudoun County Library card to take part in the contest?
No. As long as you are over 18 years old, and follow our submission guidelines, you are welcome to participate.

Can I submit works that have been previously published?
We can accept new works and works that have been self-published.  Due to copyright restrictions, we cannot accept works that have been professionally published.

Who judges the submissions?
Adult services librarians read all the submissions.  They select their top choices.  These choices are sent to a panel of 3 published authors who rate the top stories.

Who funds the contest?

We are very grateful to the H.W. Wilson Foundation, who make it possible for us to offer the great prizes for Write On!

First place - $200, Second place: - $100, Third place: - $50

Where and when is the Award Ceremony?
The award party will be held at the Rust Library on Sunday, September 14th at 2:00 PM.

Is Carla Buckley really hosting the Award Ceremony?
Yes!!! We’re very excited that ­­­­­­­­­Carla Buckley, author of Author of The Deepest Secret will be hosting our award ceremony.

Who can come to the award ceremony?
Everyone! Contest participants, friends and family,
­­­­­­­­­Carla Buckley fans, come one and all!

How long have you been doing this?
This is the second year we are hosting a short story writing contest for adults.  LCPL has hosted a Teen Writing Contest for four years.

Writing apps

Be a Writer (Droid)—Get writing tips, writing advice, find writers in your community, and more!

DraftPad (iOS)—Need a simple place for your thoughts?  This app is like a single sheet of paper for drafting your ideas.

Easy Writer Lite (iOS) – This app is a user-friendly as a simple text editor for your iPad.

Free Writing (iOS) – This app does one thing: lets you write.

NoteBook+ Free (iOS)—Write, text, take notes, or doodle on this flexible app.

Power Writer (Droid)—A solid, simple word processing app that lets you work on multiple files.

Quarno (iOS)—An elegant, minimalist app.

Wattpad (iOS and Droid)—This app is also a website.  Writers can post one chapter at a time to get feedback from readers.

Write (Droid)—Do you prefer to write by hand to typing?  This app is perfect for you with a unique set of tools for editing and navigating handwritten documents!

Write 2 (iOS)—This is an excellent note taking, writing and markdown editing app with full text search and you can send your work as a PDF attachment.

Writer (Droid)—For Android users who want an app without the fuss and distractions of traditional word processing apps.

Writing Prompts (Droid)—Hundreds of free prompts to inspire you to write.

Websites for writing/Writing Tips

figment.com is a website for writers, and regularly adds new writing prompts and posts informational articles on writing as a career.

poewar.com has in each new blog entry includes the name of an audiobook worth listening to, links to other blogs to follow, and provides specific creative-writing prompts.

grammar.about.com offers advice on style, grammar, proofreading, and more.

Here are 18 elements of fiction writing everyone should know to write truly compelling fiction.   http://www.write-better-fiction.com/elements_of_fiction.html

From Tutor.com a simple presentation explaining “All the Elements Required for Writing Fiction” http://0-www.tutor.com.nrhcat.library.nrhtx.com/Resources/resourceframe.aspx?id=268

Inspired by Elmore Lenoard’s “10 Rules of Writing” The Guardian asked authors for their personal dos and don’ts for writing fiction.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

In this video, see how Kurt Vonnegut follows his own advice to envisioning the shape of a story.http://www.openculture.com/2011/04/the_shape_of_a_story_writing_tips_from_kurt_vonnegut.html

Like lists?  Here are five famous authors who share their lists of advice for writers.  Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and George Orwell. http://www.openculture.com/2012/01/writing_rules.html

In this four minute video, watch Ray Bradbury as he offers 12 essential writing tips, oh and explain why literature saves civilization.  http://www.openculture.com/2012/06/ray_bradbury_on_how_to_write_and_why_literature_saves_civilization.html

When John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature, he offered six tips for aspiring writers.  Here you can watch him give his speech and hear those six tips. http://www.openculture.com/2012/02/john_steinbecks_nobel_prize_speech_and_his_six_tips_for_the_aspiring_writer.html

In this rare (and short) audio recording, hear O. Henry explain his secrets of writing short stories.http://www.openculture.com/2012/09/o_henry_on_the_secrets_of_writing_short_stories_rare_audio_recording.html

Toni Morrison dispenses writing wisdom in a 1993 interview with the Paris Review.  Some of it is personal and may not be of much use to budding writers, but it is nonetheless an entertaining interview. http://www.openculture.com/2012/12/toni_morrison_dispenses_writing_wisdom_in_1993_iparis_reviewi_interview.html

William Faulkner offered seven tips on how to write fiction while he was the writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia in 1958.  Included in each of his tips is a link to the audio recordings accompanied by word-for-word transcripts. http://www.openculture.com/2013/03/seven_tips_from_william_faulkner_on_how_to_write_fiction.html

Collected here are seven favorite quotations from Larry W. Phillips’s book Ernest Hemingway on Writinghttp://www.openculture.com/2013/02/seven_tips_from_ernest_hemingway_on_how_to_write_fiction.html

Collected here are seven favorite quotations from Larry W. Phillips’s book F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writinghttp://www.openculture.com/2013/02/seven_tips_from_f_scott_fitzgerald_on_how_to_write_fiction.html

For the past 14 years, Writer’s Digest magazine compiles the101 best websites for writers.  Here are their picks for 2012.  http://www.writersdigest.com/wp-content/uploads/101Sites_2012.pdf

First Place:  The Dependent by Jeanne Dallman

Second Place:  Spearmint Miracle by Bobbi Carducci

Third Place:  Death of a Dog by Laura Atkocius

Click here for the Write On! eBook in a pdf format that includes all the winning stories and 10 honorable mentions. A printed copy of this book from Symington Press is available at the Rust library for $5.

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