The Short Story Challenge 2016 dates will be announced soon.  Our next creative writing competition, The Flash Fiction Challenge 2015, kicks off on July 31, 2015.  Learn more, read previous winning stories, and register here.



In the 3rd and Final Round of the Short Story Challenge 2015, the 40 finalists were given the following assignment:


Genre: Open

Subject: A dying wish

Character: A janitor


They had just 24 hours to create an original short story no longer than 1,500 words.  Through 3 rounds of competition and from an original field of over 1,400 writers, we finally have our winners.  Congratulations to the writers below and to everyone that participated this year for submitting so many amazing stories!


#1 'Mourning Dove' by Terri McCormick SYNOPSIS - A troubled middle-aged woman finds out her lost love died a seemingly lonely janitor. Her wish? feel him inside her again.

#2 'Last Wish and Testament' by Jo Eberhardt SYNOPSIS - Chancellor Barnabas Sumner, head of the world’s most prestigious magical university, is dying. The only question is, what will he do with his last wish?

#3 'The Letter and the Handkerchief' by Rebecca Lane Beittel SYNOPSIS - In 1910 West Virginia, two young girls meet at a train station and develop an unlikely friendship that goes deeper than skin.

#4 'Hummingbird' by Olivia Rizzo SYNOPSIS - The enigmatic Setsuko discovers how love can ensnare even the most powerful, and what forces she will wield to keep her love alive.

#5 'Elephant' by R.C. Meehan SYNOPSIS - A returned soldier, damaged in more ways than one, tries to patch things up with his strong-willed sister, to satisfy his mother’s dying wish. It doesn’t go as planned.

#6 'One Night under the Big Top' by Kerry Vail SYNOPSIS - To the calliope: play on!

#7 'The Surface of Truth' by Meagan Noel Hart SYNOPSIS - Day in and day out, the humans at the core of the earth do everything they can to keep the planet from dying. All David does is clean up behind them, but in the end, maybe he understands more than he thinks he does.

#8 'Hope Walks' by Lindsey Quakenbush SYNOPSIS - Lacey struggles to overcome the fears and dark thoughts that her parents have shunted onto her throughout a childhood of mental abuse and emotional abandonment.

#9 'Star Sailor' by Rhian Lewis SYNOPSIS - In high orbit far above Earth, a janitor is left alone to guard the interstellar vessel he loves

#10 'Sycamore' by Steven Fussell SYNOPSIS - When a new cancer patient arrives in a new ward, she is intrigued by an unlikely man.

#Honorable Mention 'Room 758' by Stefanie Willis SYNOPSIS - Betci was assembled and programmed for the sole purpose of providing custodial services to St. Mary's Hospital and its patients. After nearly 70 years with the facility, she is called to the deathbed of the hospital's last patient, a man who may be the only living human being left in existence.

#Honorable Mention 'The Other End of Everything' by Susannah Carlson SYNOPSIS - If one mistake can ruin your life, can one good deed redeem it?

#Honorable Mention 'The Smallest Mall in the World' by Margaret Wieringa SYNOPSIS - The florist working in the smallest mall in the world is forced to face the limitations of life

#Honorable Mention 'The World Without Man' by Jacob Mendelsohn SYNOPSIS - A dying robot on a ten-thousand-year journey comes to a robot-only planet. There he encounters a doctor who takes a special interest in the old metal creature.

#Honorable Mention 'To Be Remembered' by Leslie Rapparlie SYNOPSIS - Tommy Stein, an accomplished CEO, learns he has terminal colon cancer and, unable to stand the thought of being remembered as weak, his dying wish is for his family and business to see him for all he’s accomplished—and not the shell of a man with a disease. After a connection with the long-time janitor at his office, Tommy is faced with the ultimate choice: what is it that truly makes life worth living?


View the 2nd Round Assignments!

View the 1st Round Results



The 9th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world.  There are 3 rounds of competition.  In the 1st Round (January 16-24, 2015), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment.  Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words.  The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 2nd Round (March 12-15, 2015) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story.  Judges choose finalists from the 2nd Round to advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (April 24-25, 2015).  A panel of judges review the final round stories and overall winners are selected.  Sound like fun?  Join the competition below...



We have reached our maximum number of participants this year, so unfortunately registration is now closed.  We will have plenty more exciting competitions in 2015, so make sure to join our mailing list and follow us on facebook and twitter to be the first to know when our next challenge is announced.  All registered writers will be e-mailed their assignments at 11:59PM EST on Friday, January 16th and they will also be posted here on  Best of luck to all the participants this year!


Official Rules and Participation Agreement.



  1st Round: January 16-24, 2015

2nd Round:

March 12-15, 2015

3rd Round:

April 24-25, 2015



Not only does every writer receive feedback from the judges for every story submitted, but a special review forum is available for the participants to submit their stories for review from fellow writers throughout the competition.  During the Short Story Challenge 2014, there were over 3,300 comments made on the 200+ stories submitted on the forum.  Click here to visit the forums.









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