By Michelle Reynolds, Staff Writer


Got a couple story ideas jotted down and want to share them? As William Faulkner once said, “If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” No matter what genre or how long the story is, there are various contests available to help students get their stories out there. Here are five writing contests to help students get published.

1) 2017 Questions Writing Prize. For talented writers ages 18 to 30, the 2017 Questions Writing Prize is looking for you! They are looking for either fiction or non-fiction of any topic between 1,500 to 2,000 words. The winner will have their work published in a book and a forthcoming issue of Questions and $2,000. Sweet deal right? If interested, send all submissions electronically in a Microsoft Word document to by May 1, 2017.

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2) Springtime Short Story. Little Acorn Publishing is looking for short stories of any genre, with a word count ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 words. They are looking for a story with emotion, whether happy, sad, dreamy, or anything in between. The winner will be published in the Spring 2017 edition of their anthology in both electronic and print format. If interested, please email the story to with the subject line as ‘Springtime Short Story.’ The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2016.

More info:


3) St. Martin’s Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. This contest is looking for a story with murder or another serious crime or crimes at the heart of the plot. Stories must be no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words. Eligibility is restricted to authors who have never published a novel in any genre and are not under contract with a publisher for publication of a novel (self-published authors are acceptable).

All manuscripts must be double-spaced, with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end. Manuscripts must also be saved as “Manuscript Title_Entrant Name” and be submitted as Microsoft Word documents or PDFs.

To enter, complete an online entry form and upload an electronic file of your manuscript. Only one manuscript entry per person is permitted and only electronic submissions are accepted. Manuscripts must be uploaded through the online entry form. All submissions must be received by December 12, 2016.

The winner will be offered a publication deal for the submitted manuscript, and after agreement will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. The winner will also be recognized at the Edgar Awards Banquet in New York City in April 2017.


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4) Room Magazine. currently has two contests going: Cover Art Contest and the Short Forms Contest.

Cover Art Contest: Have any visual art? Send in it before November 30, 2016 for a chance to win $500 and publication on the cover. Second place wins $50 and publication in the issue.

The Short Forms Contest: Submit any genre for prose poems, flash fiction, or flash creative non-fiction, as long as they are under 500 words. Two prizes of $500 will be awarded and winners will be published in the December 2017 issue. So get writing and make sure to submit by January 15, 2017.


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5) Since The Current is UMSL’s newspaper, it only makes sense that the last contest to be mentioned would be Litmag. Litmag is a student-run literary magazine published annually each spring through the English Department here at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. With a campus full of ever-present literary talent, Litmag wants to help promote the creative work coming from UMSL. All UMSL students, faculty, and alumni are welcome to submit up to three works of fiction or non-fiction no longer than 4,000 words or five poems. Litmag is also accepting unlimited submissions of art, including photography, drawing, painting, comics, etc.

If interested, please attach a copy of your stories and include a detachable cover page with your name, email address, and phone number. Then attach both the story and cover page into an email and send to or place a print copy in the green Litmag box in front of the English Department office. Litmag is accepting submissions from October to February.

Everybody can write, but while some are confident about writing, others are shy. So after reading this article and deciding whether or not to enter, here is some advice: do it. As Anne Lamott once said, “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” So why not here? Good luck!