Our Foreign Setting Short Story Contest is complete. View the winners here!
Submit a literary short story between 2000 to 8000 words that is set in a foreign location. The story must be original, previously unpublished, and follow these 2 rules:
(1) The primary setting of the story must not be your home continent where you currently live. Yes, we said continent. For example, if you live in North America, then the story can be set in any of the other six continents or on a remote island or out at sea, up in the air, in outer space, or in any imaginary, surreal or fantastical world that does not resemble wherever you live. The setting can be somewhere you have traveled to or lived in before (including your home country which is technically not “foreign” to you, but that’s okay), outside of where you currently reside at. It’s acceptable for re-imagined places to bear the same name as real world locations within the continent where you live, assuming the imaginary setting has little or no resemblance to the actual place.
(2) The setting must be integral to the story, whether by shaping the cultural identities and mannerisms of its characters, taking on the aspects of a character (itself), creating conflict, or portraying a crucial image, etc. While setting needs to be a remarkable feature of the story, it doesn’t necessarily have to call attention to itself constantly. We’ll leave it up to you. A quick way to tell if you’re on the right track is to ask yourself whether the story changes or falls apart if the setting was substituted by some other place.
Be creative. Foreign doesn’t necessarily have to mean unusual or bizarre; a period piece can be as equally valid as science-fiction. (Note, however, that if you are writing historical fiction, it must be still be set in a locale outside of the continent where you currently live.)
Additionally, feel free to refer to the any place on the continent where you live in direct or indirect ways. For example, suppose you live in the U.S. and your protagonist lives in Asia but travels to New York every so often – it’s not against to rules to mention that in the story. In fact, it’s even fine to have a brief scene with the character in New York, as long as 90% of the story takes place in Asia. This applies, also, for stories that are retrospective or relies predominantly on backstory – present action does not have to be restricted to the foreign setting.
All stories will be judged by our editorial staff. In addition to checking whether the story meets the above 2 Rules, we’ll be trying to answer the following questions:
- How unique is the setting and story? (By unique, we don’t mean the setting necessarily needs to be remote or magical, but every setting can be presented in a unique or magical way through specific details).
- How relevant is the setting to the story in terms of plot, conflict, imagery, etc.?
- What are the aesthetics of this setting? For realist stories, is the setting well-researched (this is important!) and accurately portrayed? (Aesthetics includes things like physical details, depictions of landscape, sense of culture and history, social climate, etc.)
- Are the other elements of the story – plot, character, conflict – equally compelling. Is the story engaging? How are we left feeling at the end?
The winning story will be awarded $150+ (currently $250), plus publication on our website.
The runner-up story will be awarded $50+ (currently $150), plus publication.
All honorary mentions will be given the opportunity to be published on our site at our regular rate ($10).
We will add $2.50 each to the prizes for the winner and runner-up for every new initial submission we receive after the first 20 submissions. Current number of entries received: 60.
Payments will be made through PayPal or by mail once the winners are announced.
Entry Fee & Re-entries
Entry fee is $10 for your first submission. You may only have one active submission with us at any time. No multiple or simultaneous submissions. However, we are implementing a rolling rejection system (inspired by Bartleby Snopes’ Dialogue Only Contest). We will let you know within two-three weeks of your submission if your story falls out of the running. If you don’t hear from us, you’re doing well 🙂 If your story gets rejected before the deadline, you may submit a new story for the contest without any additional fee. There is no limit to the total number of stories you can submit to us.
Entry fees go towards the prize money and contest advertisements, and all surplus will go towards paying our contributors and the upkeep of the website.
We only accept payment through PayPal. Payment is due with your submission, and can be made below.
See our Submission Guidelines for information on the rights we ask for.
The contest will run from May 31st to August 28th, 2016. All contest submissions must be received by midnight of August 28th.
Winner will be announced by September 30th.
Please refer to our Submission Guidelines on how to submit to us. You can email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include the word “Contest” in the subject or body of your email, or the in the title of your manuscript, so we can flag it properly.
To pay the submission fee through PayPal, click on the button below. By paying and submitting, you are agreeing to the following:
- All decisions made by the judges regarding the winners are final.
- No contest entry fees will be returned.
- Contest rules are subject to change.
If you have any question or concerns, please let us know through our Contact Page. We’ll be happy to address any issues.
Best of luck, we look forward to reading all of your stories!