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Sunday, October 27, 2019

On the Premises Mini-Contest

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In case you don’t read our newsletter, GOOD worldbuilding is the insertion of explanatory information into a story that helps readers understand something they might not already be familiar with. When done well, the worldbuilding implies this information via context without slowing the story down. When done at a mediocre level, the story quickly explains something, then continues. When done badly, worldbuilding interrupts the story and manages to completely waste the reader’s time by giving information the reader already knows or has no reason to care about.


For this mini-contest, we want you to give us an excerpt from some fake longer story that you’ll never actually write. The excerpt needs to be at least 30 words long, but no more than 75 words long. The excerpt needs to give us an example of bad “worldbuilding”. In other words, the excerpt needs to explain something to readers that readers already know or can easily guess. You’ll get bonus points if the bad worldbuilding goes completely against the tone and pacing of the rest of the excerpt.

Also, we’re giving you more space than usual this time–up to 75 words–but be careful not to use ALL that space for the bad worldbuilding. Remember to put in something for the bad worldbuilding to interrupt and ruin.

Deadline: 11:59 PM Eastern US time, Friday, November 1, 2019.

Length: Minimum of 30 words, maximum of 75 words.

Hyphenated Words: If the hyphenated word is generally considered a single word, it counts as one word. (Example: “twenty-five” or “jack-o-lantern.”) Otherwise each word that is hyphenated counts separately. (Example: “It was a don’t-get-in-my-way day.”)

Prizes: $25 for first place, $15 for second, $10 for third. Honorable mentions get published but make no money.

One entry per author. There is no fee for entering this contest.

To submit an entry, click the button below and follow the instructions. If you don’t already have a (free) Submittable account, you’ll be prompted to make one.

Submit Your Entry Here

By the way, please don’t give your mini-contest entry a title. We never publish titles for mini-contest entries, just the entries themselves.

If you have questions, ask us at

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