In March, we hosted the Spring Writing Contest in partnership with Story Grid and Short Fiction Break literary magazine. Entering this writing contest was a huge accomplishment for all our writers, and we want to celebrate the winners here on The Write Practice.

2018 Spring Writing Contest

We received over 300 entries to this contest from so many talented writers. The judges thoroughly enjoyed reading all your stories, and with such an amazing selection, you made their job of choosing just a handful of winners very difficult.

You should be proud. We’re very proud of you.

We love writing contests. Will you join us for the next one? You can find our upcoming contests here.

The Difficult Part of Contests

The thing about writing contests is, when you select one—or even several—winners, you create a lot of not-winners. (That’s different from being a loser, I think.) I’ve been there many times. Rejection is simply a part of writing.

I believe that if you’re measuring your success as a writer by how many times you’ve been published, you’re using the wrong metric. Instead, count how many times you’ve been rejected. That’s a much more accurate indicator of your effort, discipline, and seriousness as a writer.

Rather than trying to get everyone to like your stories, get as much feedback about how to improve as you can. Rather than trying to justify how good you are, work to get better.

If you do this for long enough, you won’t need anyone to tell you you’re a success. You’ll be a success all on your own.

The Judges

Before I announce the winners, I want to say an enormous THANK YOU to the terrific judges who have worked tirelessly over the past month to read and consider our hundreds of entries. Without their immeasurable effort, this contest would not have been possible.

All our judges for this contest are Story Grid Certified Editors. If you’re looking for a professional editor to help you take your writing to the next level, we can’t recommend them highly enough. Take a look at their websites and see if they might be a good fit for your stories.

And now, a huge thank you to these incredible editors:

Julie Blair is a Story Grid editor who works with aspiring and established writers to produce their best art through effective plot and character development. She loves talking about how Story Grid and other structural methods can be used to make a good story better. Visit her at

Jarie Bolander is an engineering by training and an entrepreneur by nature. He is a certified Story Grid editor, blogs at and has published four books — The Entrepreneur Ethos, Frustration Free Technical Management, #ENDURANCE tweet, and Business Basics for Entrepreneurs. He loves good stories and even better whisky.

Valerie Francis is a Certified Story Grid Editor and best-selling author of both women’s and children’s fiction. Until she discovered Story Grid in 2015, she struggled with manuscripts that didn’t work. Now she helps fellow authors, in all genres, apply these editing principles so they can become better storytellers. You can find her at

Savannah Gilbo is a writer and certified Story Grid editor based in Southern California. Her mission is to help writers sharpen their skills, strengthen their craft and write better stories. To learn more about Savannah, visit her website,

Kim Kessler is a Certified Story Grid Editor and creator of Trench Coach, an all-in developmental editing service for the whole person. TEDx speaker and member of the Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast, Kim weaves expertise with infectious enthusiasm — to help you write, and live, your best story.

Lori Puma is a Story Grid Certified editor. She helps writers finish their novels and gain the storytelling skills they need for a fiction career. If you’re stuck on your novel, talk to Lori free, check out her free guide on page-turning fiction, or visit her at

Shelley Sperry runs a writing, editing, and research shop called Sperry Editorial. She edits historical fiction and narrative and “big idea” nonfiction and scribbles her own short stories in the margins of the day. Want to chat about your story? Contact her here or say hello on Twitter.

Alice Sudlow is a Story Grid certified editor who works on our team here at The Write Practice and edits Short Fiction Break literary magazine. She has a deep love for young adult novels and a talent for scouring dirty countertops and comma-spliced prose. You can find her at

Leslie Watts is a certified Story Grid editor who helps writers unearth the treasure in their manuscripts and share their unique message with the world. You can find her at the helm of Writership, where she hosts the Writership Podcast and Story Grid Editor Roundtable.

The Sponsors

We were supported in this contest by some pretty amazing sponsors who have provided incredible prizes. They’re definitely worth checking out:

Story Grid: Story Grid Editors is the editing service arm of Story Grid. If you need an editor who fully understands your story and where it needs to go to be successful, working with a Story Grid Certified Editor is your best option. You can learn more and get matched with your editor here.

Becoming Writer is the premier workshopping community from The Write Practice. Come share your writing, get feedback, and join a community of writers excited to help you grow and achieve your writing goals. You can join the community here.


Just to recap: The grand prize winning story has been featured on the front page of Short Fiction Break. The winner was invited to become a monthly contributor to the literary magazine. They’ve received one year of free membership to Becoming Writer, normally $180, as well as a cash prize of $300.

Two runners-up have had their stories featured on the front page of Short Fiction Break. They’ve also received one year of free membership to Becoming Writer, normally $180, and a $100 cash prize each.

Ready to hear the winners?

Here we go.

Shortlisted Stories

The judges were faced with a slew of excellent stories to choose from. I’m not exaggerating when I say your great writing made their job very difficult.

You can find a shortlist of the judges’ favorites on Short Fiction Break. They are all well worth a read, so head over to Short Fiction Break and check them out.

Honorable Mentions

All these excellent stories, listed alphabetically by author, were featured on the front page of Short Fiction Break:

Forgive Me by Jessica Deen
A Visit From Death by Christopher Hikari
White Blanket by Sevan Ivory
A Thousand Fires by Samran Ramzan
To Keep the Beast Away by Sam Roche


One Final Leap by Jennifer Chance. The judges kept thinking about this poignant and harrowing story long after they finished reading it. Werner’s dear friends seek freedom, and he’s promised to help. But as time runs out, will he be willing to pay the price to save them?

I Am Not A Crook by Joslyn Chase. The judges loved this tense tale of a heist gone wrong. Ted didn’t want to get involved in the first place — and when Pluto shoots the store owner’s wife, the situation goes from bad to worse.

Grand Prize

The winner of our Spring Writing Contest and recipient of the Grand Prize is . . .

Happy and You Know It by James Whittaker. This powerful tale of a tiny choice with seismic results garnered universal praise from the judges. Evan feels stifled by his fiancée’s circle of friends. Will he keep the peace?

Congratulations to James, and to everyone who entered this writing contest! This was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to reading the stories from the next one.

Will you join us for our next contest? We run several contests each year, and we’d love to read your story! You can find out about our next contest here.

Share your congratulations in the comments!

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. You can follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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