Story House

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Rules for the 2021 contests for previously unpublished writers

For purposes of these contests, unpublished writers are defined as those whose job pay is not now or was not earlier based on their writing abilities or their freelance writing never produced revenues of over $500.00 in any single year.  

The Preservation Foundation has sole authority to rule on any writer's eligibility, the appropriateness of stories for entry, contest rules, and all other matters relating to the contest.

Drawing of a pyramid with a treasure inside.

Regular Story Submissions--No Limit

  Just to be clear--while there is a limit of two entries in each of the contests, there is no limit for stories not meant for the contests, whether nonfiction or fiction. So send in as many as you wish.  Our purpose is to publish your works and you don't have to enter any contests for us to do that.  

Rules For the 2021 Contests

    This year we will have five contest closing dates and prizes for five categories of nonfiction: Winners Circle nonfiction,  Animal Nonfiction, General Nonfiction, Biographical Nonfiction, and Travel Nonfiction.  See details below if you need clarification about any of these categories.

    Stories must be between 1000--10,000 words in length.   

    There are no international limitations.  Stories from any country are fine, although they must be written in English.  

    Language in the stories should be free of words or scenes not suitable for children, since many children read the stories and some actually post their stories.

     Be sure your stories are ready for publication.  We do not provide copy editing services.  If they aren't ready to go up on the site don't send them until they are.

    You can include a short author's introduction for the beginning if you wish and a brief biography of the author at the end. This helps us determine if you are truly a "unpublished writer."  Send these along in the body of your E-mail or as attachments.

    Just to be clear, we claim no rights to your stories. They are published with your name as copyright holder.  However, since our object is to preserve these stories for future generations, not to put them up one year and take them down the next, contest runners-up and winners are expected to remain on the site for as long as the Preservation Foundation exists.  We will, however, have no objection to the stories being published elsewhere. If you anticipate submitting your posted story to a publisher that would object to previous publication on our site you could use a pen name with us and/or a different title.  We will take a story down if absolutely necessary but will no longer accept stories from you after that. Contact us if you need further clarification.

    Stories should be submitted as electronic text files.  No paper manuscripts can be considered. 

    If you submit copyright material as text or as illustration it is your responsibility to obtain permission to use it.  See How to submit a story

    No story may be entered in more than one contest. The author should state which contest he/she is entering when making the submission.

    Stories entered in any of our previous contests will not be eligible for current year contests.

    A writer may enter one or two stories in each contest.  There are no entry fees.

    First prize in each category will be $200.  Runners-up will receive $100. Winners, runners-up, and finalists in each category will receive certificates of recognition suitable for framing.

    First prize winners in previous contests automatically move up to the Winners Circle.  They are no longer eligible for prizes in the regular contests.  However, there is a separate Winners Circle contest for them (See below).  We hope this will encourage newer writers and increase their chances of winning the regular contests.

Contest for entries between
February 29, 2020, and February 28, 2021

Winners Circle Contest
    First prize winners of previous contests, while ineligible for prizes in regular contests, can compete in this one.  Most rules for regular contests apply.

   However, there will be only one category--any nonfiction subject. There is a limit of four contest submissions.  
There will be one prize of $200 for the winner and $100 for the runner-up.

   There is no limit for submissions not meant for the contest.   

   For a list of previous first prize contest winners click here.

Contest for entries between
February 29, 2020, and April 30, 2021

Nonfiction Animal Stories

    Stories should be factual and true accounts of an encounter or encounters by the author with a wild animal or animals. These include, but are not limited to, birds, fish, butterflies, snails, lions, bears, turtles, wombats, etc., as long as it is not a pet.

Contests for entries between
April 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021

General  Nonfiction Contest

    Any appropriate nonfiction topic is eligible.  Stories must be true, not semi-fictional accounts.  So-called "creative nonfiction" will not be considered.

Contests for entries between
June 30, 2020 and August 31, 2021

Biographical Nonfiction Contest

    A biographical entry must be a true story of an individual(s) known to the author personally--not a fictional or historical character.  Or, it could be autobiographical, a true story about the author's life, the whole or an episode.

Contests for entries between
 August 31, 2020 and October 31, 2021

Travel Nonfiction Contest    

    Stories should be factual and true accounts of a trip taken by the author or a person or persons known by the author.


    Judging will be as we have done it for the last several years.  Click here to find out how.


    We will continue to accept new fictional stories of all types for posting on the site.  However, we haven't had a fiction contest since the year 2000. This decision is based on our belief that many internet sites now offer programs for writers of fiction, while very few encourage nonfiction. We believe too that writers of fiction are also capable of writing about real events in their own lives and the lives of those they know.  So get busy and prove us right!

    We love to read and post your noncontest stories, both fiction and nonfiction.  So send them in.  After all, our primary purpose is to preserve those stories for your children and grandchildren and maybe even for your grandchildren's children.


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