Frequently asked questions
What should I write about? Is there a theme?
We don’t have a theme! This is your chance to get creative. In the past we’ve received stories that were inspired by real life, fantasy, mystery, adventure, even horror. We only require that the story be original (no fanfiction, nonfiction or poetry).
Do you have a word limit? Why?
Stories must be 2,500 words or less. We receive a lot of submissions and 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.
Can I submit a story with multiple authors?
Yes, you may co-author your short story as long as all authors qualify to enter the competition. Include a final page for each individual author’s information. If a story with multiple authors wins, prize money will be split evenly among the authors.
Do I have to be a Loudoun County resident or hold a Loudoun County Library card to take part in the contest?
You do not need to have a Loudoun County Public Library card to enter. You must live in Loudoun or in one of our reciprocal jurisdictions:
- Cities of Falls Church, Alexandria, Winchester or the District of Columbia
- Virginia: Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Prince William, Clarke and Frederick Counties
- West Virginia: Jefferson County
- Maryland: Montgomery, Washington, Prince George's, Frederick and Charles Counties
Who judges the submissions?
Teen Services librarians read all of the submissions and select their top five choices for middle school and high school.