Short Story Contest

Announcing the ConDFW Short Story Contest for 2015!

This contest is open to amateur writers only, defined as any writer who has not sold a story of any length for money before January 1, 2014.

Deadline: Entries must be received in a readable format by 11:59 P.M. Central time, Saturday December 20th, 2014. Entries submitted later than this will be rejected.

Winners of the contest will be announced during ConDFW XIV opening ceremonies on February 13, 2015. Winners will be notified beforehand by email and do not have to attend the ceremonies to claim prizes.

First prize: $50 gift certificate from
Second prize: $25 gift certificate from
Third prize: $10 gift certificate from

Additionally, all winners will receive a certificate and free T-shirt. If space permits, one or all of the winners may be printed in the ConDFW 2014 program book.

Questions or concerns about the Short Story Contest? Email [email protected] and we’ll respond as quickly as we can.

Short Story Contest Rules


  • Theme: Beyond the Infinite. Feel free to interpret this broadly.
  • Stories should be speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, supernatural horror, etc. Genre crossovers and mashups are fine.
  • Stories must be no more than 3,000 words. There is no minimum length.
  • PG-13 or lower; nothing overtly graphic, no erotica.
  • Original stories, characters, and settings only; no fanfiction. Do not submit a story that has previously been submitted to the contest.
  • Each entrant may submit up to three stories. Co-writing is permitted, but each story you co-author counts as one of your three stories.
  • No person may win more than one prize, no matter the number of entries. If a story with multiple authors wins, we will award one prize to the person who emailed the submission. It is up to the story’s authors to decide how to split it and who gets custody of the T-shirt.

Worldwide copyright on each entry remains with its author. By entering the contest you grant permission, if your story is one of the top three, for ConDFW to publish it in the 2015 ConDFW Program Book (space permitting). This means that if you win, you grant first print publication rights to ConDFW. If we do not print your story, first print publication rights revert to you.
ConDFW may, at its own discretion, keep archival copies of manuscripts for its records, but all other copies will be destroyed. Authors should keep a copy of the manuscript for their own protection.

All decisions by the judges are final.

Entrance fee: If you are attending ConDFW, there is no entrance fee for this contest. If you are unable to attend the convention but want to enter the contest, there is a non-refundable $5 entrance fee, which will cover one to three stories. Pay this to the convention via our PayPal account: [email protected]. This fee helps fund the prizes. If you do not wish to use PayPal you can mail a check, made out to 'ConDFW,' to the address on the Contact Us page.

Formatting/presentation: Save submissions in a format that Google Drive can handle (in practice, this means PDF, Word, Apple Pages, or plain text). If your story includes atypical formatting (poetry, extra tabs to indicate telepathic speech, etc.), please use PDF to ensure that your formatting is preserved. If you cannot submit in any of these formats, please contact us at [email protected] before the deadline, and we can arrange for it to be converted.

Anonymizing: To help us judge the stories anonymously, do not include your name, pen name, or any identifying information on the title page, any other page, on the page number headers (if you have them), or in the filename. Use the title of the story on the the title page and the file name. For each story you submit, attach a separate cover sheet to the email with the story that contains your name or pen name, the story title, the word count, and your email address. We will use these to associate the authors with the stories after judging.

Submitting: Submissions must be made electronically by attaching the files to an email, not by pasting into the body of the email, to preserve anonymity. Attach your story(-ies) and cover sheet(s) to the email, and send it to [email protected].

Good luck, write well, and we look forward to reading your stories!