From an original field of over 6,100 writers around the world and after four intense rounds of competition, we finally have a winner!  Congratulations to Taylor Rae (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA) for winning the competition with her final round story, "The Hour of Hush and Wonder". Taylor and 47 other finalists were challenged to create a story no longer than 1,250 words based on a genre (Open), subject (a honeymoon), and character (a poacher).  The full list of winners is below:


Top Stories from the Final Round

#1 - ''The Hour of Hush and Wonder'' by Taylor Rae  SYNOPSIS - Nine-year-old Daisy May lost her mother and her childhood faith in magic, all in one lonely summer. But with her big brother’s help, she might find the courage to believe again.

#2 - ''A Gift of Sweetness and Spice'' by Myna Chang  SYNOPSIS - Many happy years ago, Chen and Lihua received a precious honeymoon gift from her revered grandfather. Now it's Chen's turn to present a wondrous gift for his own granddaughter's honeymoon.

#3 - ''All's Fair in Warring Love'' by Jennifer Gunner  SYNOPSIS - Eros, the god of love, and his twin Himeros, the god of unrequited desire, take out their feud on a newlywed mortal couple. Can Brooke and Ryan survive the slings and arrows of vengeful gods and everyday life?

#4 - ''Clearing a Dream'' by Stafford Morgan  SYNOPSIS - A woman approaches a man sitting alone in a restaurant. Despite the ring on his finger, she is undeterred, and an interesting conversation unfolds.

#5 - ''One Hundred Daughters'' by Lara Pasternak Robicheaux  SYNOPSIS - A young man learns the sorrow of love and loss.

#6 - ''Drink Salep Every Morning'' by Aida Yared  SYNOPSIS - An elderly single father poaches orchids in the village forest and hopes that his daughter knows how loved she is.

#7 - ''Free Range'' by Faye Upton  SYNOPSIS - Taking the Mrs on a long-promised second honeymoon is a pricey business when you’re wanted for poaching, trafficking and tax evasion across half the galaxy. And when most of civilisation is vegan, an illegal meat trader’s only customers are the uncivilised...

#8 - ''A Moon of Honey'' by Edith Lockwood  SYNOPSIS - Two elephants discuss the nature of the moon and mankind.

#9 - ''Big Game'' by Mara Rose Jennings  SYNOPSIS - A down-on-his-luck bounty hunter from Proxima Centauri decides to revive his reputation by capturing the first-ever specimen known to galactic science of an Earthling creature. When he arrives on Earth, he quickly discovers that he has much bigger problems than he bargained for.

#10 - ''Earth to Earth'' by Amy Marie Hypnarowski  SYNOPSIS - A Civil War widow memorializes her lost husband with a heartbreaking honeymoon.

#HM - ''The Way It Cracks'' by Regan Puckett  SYNOPSIS - Seven years after her wedding (and immediate divorce), a woman returns to her honeymoon destination alone, in search of forgiveness, a new future, and the perfect poached eggs.

#HM - ''The Things You Cannot Kill'' by K.R. Segriff  SYNOPSIS - Doug wades through the wilderness in hopes of reaching Marianne, but the most dangerous animals he encounters are those of his own species.

#HM - ''You Are Entering the Land of Love'' by Niroshini Dahanayake  SYNOPSIS - In the mid-century honeymoon capital of the world, a newlywed couple reach a turning point in their relationship. A five-times divorcée contemplates her next move.

#HM - ''Truth or Dare'' by Wesley B  SYNOPSIS - It was an innocuous enough idea—a road trip for Amaia, her husband and their unborn baby. Then they discovered that some questions are better left unasked.

#HM - ''Know Your Worth'' by Elizabeth Hakken Candido  SYNOPSIS - Under pressure to marry a scoundrel, a young woman negotiates for the future she wants.



Important Links

1st Round: Kickoff Email / Assignments / Results

2nd Round: Kickoff Email / Assignments / Results

3rd Round: Kickoff Email / Assignments / Results

Rules: Official Rules & Participation Agreement

Thank you to the participants for helping to donate over $12,000 to global charities currently dealing with some of the most critical issues affecting our world.  Click here to learn more.


The 15th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world.  There are 4 rounds of competition.  In the 1st Round (January 22-30, 2021), writers are placed randomly in groups 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 group to advance to the 2nd Round (April 8-11, 2021) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story.  The judges again choose a top 5 in each group to advance to the 3rd Round (May 21-23, 2021) where writers receive new assignments and have 2 days to write a 1,500 word (maximum) short story.  Judges select finalists and the remaining writers are challenged to write a 1,250 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (June 25-26, 2021) in the fourth and final round of the competition.  Feedback from the judges is provided for every submission and there are thousands in cash and prizes for the winners.  Sound like fun?  Join the competition below and get ready for January 22nd!


Registration is now closed.  We'll be announcing more challenges soon for 2021, so make sure to join our mailing list or follow us on facebook, twitter, or instagram to be the first to know.  Thank you and stay safe! 



While we send e-mails at the beginning of each round to all registered writers, many times e-mails go to junk mail folders, spam, or are blocked by servers for unknown reasons.  We recommend that everyone marks their calendars with the start dates of each round, especially the first challenge at 11:59PM EST on January 22, 2021 so that you know when to expect an e-mail.  Use the "Add to Calendar" buttons below to add to your calendar!


  1st Round: January 22-30, 2021 Add to Calendar

2nd Round:

April 8-11, 2021

Add to Calendar

3rd Round:

May 21-23, 2021

Add to Calendar
  4th Round: June 25-26, 2021 Add to Calendar



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 2020, there were over 7,800 comments made on the 800+ stories submitted on the forum.  Click here to visit the forums.



Carrie S.
San Francisco, CA, USA
“Done! So excited....this is such an exhilarating exercise. :)”
Kim B.
Hixson, TN, USA
“And with less than 50 minutes to deadline, I have done this thing I thought I could never do and submitted a short story in a major contest/challenge. Whew, now to rest and wake up tomorrow beset with anxiety and fear while I wait.”
Dave M.
Katy, TX, USA
“That was exciting! Nothing like a tight deadline to get the creative juices flowing.”
Miguel R.

New Jersey, USA
“Done. It made my wife cry, I'm taking that as a good sign. Although it was comedy, so maybe not.”
Kai Love
Hazel Crest, IL, USA
“Submitted and feeling a great deal of relief. This was such a great learning experience for me. Good Luck to all!!!”
Janet P.
Newberg, OR, USA
“Wahooooooo.Done.Crazy fun.”
Rachel C.
Jumbunna, Australia
“Mine is in. Not a genre I was comfortable with but proud of what I submitted. Good luck to all!”
Cheryl B.
Greenville, SC, USA
“All done! Phew! That was down to the wire. I can't wait to what everyone else came up with on the forums!”
Dawn F.
Indianapolis, IN, USA
“First stab at political satire is saved, stored, backed up and submitted! So much fun!”
Ileana J.
Happy, TX, USA
“This was immense fun! Luck to all!”










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