In July, we hosted the Summer Writing Contest in partnership with 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.

Summer 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.

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

David Chase has been a member of The Write Practice for almost two years and has judged several contests. Due to the strong community and excellent feedback, he continues to grow as a writer. You can read his most recent works here.

Joslyn Chase‘s most recent book, Double Eclipse, packs twice the suspense, with one mystery and one thriller intertwined beneath a total eclipse of the sun. What Leads A Man To Murder, her collection of short suspense, is available for free at joslynchase.com. Joslyn loves traveling, teaching, and playing the piano.

David Emery was found on the back porch in a puddle of green slime (according to his sisters). He has two published short stories, has won a Writers of the Future Honorable Mention, and has acted as a writing contest judge. You can find more information and stories at his website.

Sarah Gribble physically resides somewhere in Ohio, but where her mind resides depends on the day. Her writing has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, the most recent being the bestselling Infinite Darkness anthology. You can find her on her website and on Facebook.

Lesley Howard‘s fiction has appeared in Western Humanities Review and the Lascaux Prize Anthology 2015; her poetry was included in an installation at the Moss Arts Center. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and coaches aspiring writers. She blogs occasionally at afiercelykindword.com, and tweets @LHowardwrites very occasionally.

Angela Largent decided at the age of twelve that she wanted to be a writer, but then Adult Life had its way with her. She currently lives in Wichita, Kansas, with a squirrelly cat, a cranky cat, and a happy dog.

Cathy Ryan enjoys writing, gardening, and playing piano. She lives on a small farm in Virginia with her husband and a cat. The cat supervises both writing and gardening and leaves the house during piano practice. Cathy (not the cat) has short stories published and is revising her first novel. Visit her brand new website: cathyryanwrites.com.

Edmund Stone is an Occupational Therapist by day and writer by night, spinning tales of strange worlds and horrifying encounters with the unknown. He lives in a quaint town on the Ohio River with his wife, a son, three dogs and two mischievous cats. You can contact him at edmundstoneauthor.com or Facebook @edmundstone.

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 alicesudlow.com.

The Sponsors

Our sponsor for this contest was Becoming Writer, 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.

Prizes

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:

A Tricky Thing by Kristine Donahue
Scallops for a Crowd by Katie Hanson
The Year Without a Summer by Sarah Ivie
The Diary by Susan Liddle
The Hungry Wolf by Iseult Murphy

Runners-Up

The Puppet Beast by Rowan Rook. The judges loved this story of a vicious beast, its cruel mistress, and the warrior determined to take them down. The beast exists to serve the Princess’s will. But will she ever make an order the beast must refuse?

The Last Game by Gina Screen. The judges raved about the expert world building in this tight, tense story. Melvin Thompson is watching the world crumble around him, powerless to stop it. One woman hasn’t given up, though — and Thompson’s standing in her way.

Grand Prize

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

His Final Execution by Ichabod Ebenezer. This tale of an executioner tasked with a gruesome and unjust assignment garnered huge praise from the judges. The executioner has performed his job without twinges of conscience for years. But with this judgement, has the king taken things too far?

Congratulations to Ichabod, 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 a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).