You must write something original. (You may not take a popular song, change a few (or a lot of) words and submit it as your own.)
You may not turn in last year's Encounters research paper.
Categories - click for examples
Highly-focused stories characterized by brevity.
Please note word length for Flash Fiction compared to Short Story. Stories in which humor or science fiction/fantasy are key elements should be submitted in those respective categories.
Maximum 1,000 words
Writing that uses comedic forms such as jokes, satire, farce, irony, parody, absurdity, comedic anecdote, etc.
All work in which humor is the key element should be submitted in this category.
500 - 3,000 words
Personal Essay & Memoir
A non-fiction work based on opinion, experience, and/or emotion that explores a topic or event of importance to the author.
Essays in which humor is the key element should be submitted to the humor category.
Writing in verse. May include but is not limited to prose poetry, free verse, formal poetry, song lyrics, and spoken word.
Each submission may consist of 1–5 poems, which will be judged as a collection. Students may submit more than one collection, but must register each separately.
20–200 lines (total for the entire collection).
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Writing that uses supernatural, magical, futuristic, scientific, and technological themes as a key element of the narrative.
All work in which science fiction/fantasy is the key element should be submitted in this category. Do not base characters or plots on already published works (books, movies, comics, etc.). Works that are novel-length should be submitted to the Novel category.
A fictional narrative written in prose.
Short Stories in which humor or science fiction/fantasy are key elements should be submitted in those respective categories.
Writing intended to inform or convince a reader about a specific idea or topic, such as art or media reviews, persuasive essays, opinion essays, etc.
Sources must be cited. Footnotes/works cited are not considered part of the word count.
Work that uses dialogue, action and stage direction to tell a story, including scripts for television, film, or stage.
Excerpts can be submitted, but should be clearly labeled as excerpts.
500–3,000 words. If the script exceeds 3000 words, provide a 250-word summary and attach full script PDF.
Writing that informs and educates about newsworthy topics or current events, characterized by a presentation of facts or description of events.
Examples (including but not limited to)
Writing intended for publication in newspapers, magazines or online media and characterized by a presentation of facts or description of events.
Works cited are not considered part of the word count.
An excerpt from a long-form prose narrative. Please submit an excerpt no longer than 3,000 words as well as the text of the completed novel in a PDF. Novel submissions must also include a brief summary of the entire novel. Please follow the instructions below:
Novels submissions must be excerpted from completed manuscripts. Your submission must include a PDF of the full novel.
Novel submissions must include brief summary (250 words or less) of the entire novel. The summary is meant to provide readers with an understanding of the full scope, themes, arc, and plot of your novel. The summary does not count toward the maximum word limit.
Submissions must be uploaded to your student account at registration page.
Mail the form and fee to the address on the upper right hand corner of your submission from.
You do NOT have to mail manuscripts with the form and fee.
The student’s name and school must NOT appear on the submission.
Adaptations of or sequels to existing published series are not accepted.
An excerpt up to 3,000 words, a 250-word summary of the entire novel, and the full manuscript in PDF form.
Understanding Flash Fiction
What is Flash Fiction or Micro Story Writing?
● Also known as a micro story, napkin story or postcard fiction, the focus of the story is not necessarily on the character or plot, though it has both. The emphasis of the story is the movement each line peels back a layer that did not exist before.
Flash fiction: Max 1000 words.
Sudden fiction: Max 750 words.
Micro Fiction: Max 200 words.
Twitterature: Max 280 characters
Mini Saga: Max 50 words.
Six word story: Any story with a single digit word count is a category unto itself.
● Short, short stories have been around for centuries. Aesop’s Fables and Grimm’s Fairy Tales are examples of (very) short stories.
What components are included in a Flash Fiction story?
● A micro story, as short as it is, still needs to be a story.
● The main parts of a micro story is the HOOK and the CONFLICT
● A micro story demands TENSION . This is why starting at the FLASHPOINT or the conflict is key to creating an intriguing story.
● Intense language, a shining narrative , and a powerful image are essential.
● The ending is not overly dramatic You want to make your reader think in the end.
Here is an example of a MICRO STORY:
“Careful, honey, it’s loaded,” John said, reentering the kitchen.
His girlfriend leaned against the refrigerator.
“Is this for your wife?” she asked curiously.
“No. Too risky. I’m hiring a professional,” he answered.
“How about me?”
“Cute, but who's dumb enough to hire a lady hit man?” he said sarcastically.
She wet her lips, sighting along the barrel.
Here is an example of a 6 Word Story:
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. - Ernest Hemingway
Here's an Example of Sudden Fiction:
“Waiting for Daddy”
By Kim Crouch
“Do you see him, Mama? Do you?” Juliette asked, standing near the gravestone. “Here he comes!” Juliette pointed.
A tall man, his broad hat shadowing his eyes, emerged.
“I see him...I see him,” the mother waved to the man.
“Daddy! Come here! Daddy!” Juliette, jumped and twirled.
The mother knelt down to her daughter’s level, looking into her eyes. “Juliette, you have to lower your voice. People are visiting their loved ones here. This is a quiet place.”
The man walked gingerly toward them. “Girls, I’m sorry I‘m so late,” the man said, wiping his brow. “It just took me awhile to get here. I should have come sooner.”
“Don’t be sorry, Daddy!” Juliette answered.
“Do you forgive me?” the man asked gently.
“There is nothing to forgive,” the mother replied softly.
The man let out a deep sigh, knelt down at the gravestone, and placed his hand over the stone. A single tear fell onto the stone. From inside his jacket, the man pulled out two roses, one for his wife and one for his daughter, placed them on the gravestone, then walked away into the quiet cemetery.