Fourth Accentuate Writers Short Story Anthology Contest Accounced!

Accentuate Writers is pleased to announce its FOURTH short story contest!

First prize – $300
Second prize – $150
Third prize – $75

Honorable mentions too!

With not only cash prizes, but also a publishing contract for the Accentuate Writers Anthology – to be published in February of 2009.

Each of the top three writers from the contests between now and December of this year will be included in the anthology if they so choose.

In order to be considered for the contest, you must follow these rules 100%… the judging will be done in three rounds, and if you have not followed these rules to the letter, the first round judges will not move your entry on to the second round of judging!

There will be ZERO exceptions to adherence to the submission guidelines for this contest. We’ve been through three, everyone can read through the old threads in the Accentuate Writers Anthology forum to see common mistakes made during submission. Get it right or get disqualified! (I hate to be mean, but hey, it’s important as we grow that we all grow together!)

1.) All entries must be written in MS Word as a .doc or .RTF format if you do not have Word. (I can accept .docx files from Word 2007, but prefer .doc files – this won’t affect your chances of winning. However, Word 2007 does have the option to allow you to save the file as an older version of Word. 2003 is the preferred format.)

2.) Please use the following standards to submit your entry:

A. 12 pt. font

B. Times New Roman (Absolutely no fancy fonts – all winners will have the proper font changed before publication.)

C. 1″ margins, all sides

D. Double Spacing, set as double spaced, no line breaks

E. Auto-indent, using the auto-indent feature, not tabs – the use of tabs will automatically disqualify you and make Michy fume about people who can’t read the submission guidelines and she might post about you on her blog! Auto-indent at .3.

(This video will show you how to set auto-indents:, or you can read this blog post:…)

F. Left Justified (Left, Right, Center, Full – choose Left)

G. Do NOT double enter after paragraphs. That’s why you indent. (had an entry last time do this!)

H. Use a centered * * * between scene breaks, if necessary, not a double enter. (Be sure to remove the indent on any centered lines but ONLY on centered lines, otherwise, they won’t be centered.)

I. Do NOT tell us ‘THE END’ – when the words run out, we generally stop reading and assume the story is over, though sometimes, understandably, that might be hard to tell. If it’s hard to tell, you might want to consider a revision.

3.) All entries must be UPLOADED to this thread:

If you are not a member of the forum, you will have to sign up for a free membership to be able to participate! No entries will be accepted this time from anyone NOT a member of this forum!

The password to get into the thread is: password

I put it in the password protected thread so that your stories are not indexed in search engines and can only be viewed by registered members and even though they win or are entered in a contest, they won’t eliminate you from selling the story to someone else!

Yes, you will retain all rights to your story, although I am asking for first publication rights, North American, print – if you win.

4.) You have until the last day of October, at 11:59pm Central Time, to pay your fee and upload your entry. It’s recommended you pay your at least one day prior to contest close, because contrary to popular belief, I do not sit on the computer all the time and if I don’t send your entry number by the contest close, you might not make the deadline!

Plus, the deadline for entry this time is Halloween. I might be turning into a witch or a frog or a vampire or something that night. Who knows?

5.) Entry fee? Yeah… You see, there is no limit on the number of short stories you can enter, but to ensure writers do not just throw anything they write up and actually put a little bit of themselves into the contest, we are charging a small entry fee to ensure your sincerity in entering and to help offset some of the cost of the prizes and publishing the book!

The fee is only $5.00 per story – you can enter as many stories as you’d like, but it’s $5 each! You can send it one story at a time or you can add it all up and send it together, BUT you must pay the fee first BEFORE you post your entry.

You can send it to PayPal:

If you do not have a PayPal account, we also take credit cards, debit cards or bank account transfers through PayPal without you having to sign up for an account. Just go to the bottom of the post here and pick a button!

6.) After your entry fee payment is received, you will be emailed an ENTRY NUMBER. This entry number is what you will use in the title of your post in the entry thread where you upload your document and at the top of your document and as the document name too.

This will help us keep the entries separate, and will be used by the judges to ensure judging is blind.


1.) (again) MS Word or RTF file, double spaced, left justified, 1″ margins all around, using the auto-indent feature at .3″. DO NOT use tabs or spaces for indenting new paragraphs. PLEASE use the auto-indent feature – if unsure how to do this, read above and visit the video and the blog that explains in detail how to do this.

2.) DO NOT put your name on your entry. Instead, wait until you receive your entry number and put only your entry number on the top of the document you upload as well as in the title of the thread you post and as the document name. The Word document name should be JUST the entry number.

3.) Entries must be between 1500 – 7000 words, give or take a few hundred either wa
as long the entry tells a full story with an intriguing storyline – if your entry is outside of these limits, you’d better have a darned good story to tell and email me first before you submit it.

4.) Use proper grammar, spelling and style when writing the story that complements the story – sometimes, grammar does take a backseat to the story, but you’d better know why it does if you’re gonna break the rules! (yes, the gonna was intentional) The most common mistakes are: not checking spelling (can you imagine not using spell check at the very least?), dialogue tags and proper punctuation of dialogue, using all caps or multiple punctuation marks at the end of sentences!!!!

THEME: 5.) All entries must use the theme: FIRE & ICE

I’m not telling you what that means or how to use it, so don’t ask. Part of what your entry is going to be judged upon is the adherence to and creative use of the theme. The more creative it is, the better chance you have of winning.

The theme doesn’t have to be ‘in-your-face’. In fact, it’s probably better if it’s not. It can be subtle, but be sure that it’s not so subtle that the judges can’t clearly see you used the theme.

6.) DO NOT use headers of footers, and DO NOT number your pages.

7.) Oh, did I mention to: Give us your best work!

Keep in mind, one of Michy’s goals with this forum is to help aspiring writers – if you think our guidelines are strict with the contest here, it’s nothing compared to what a publisher is going to require – so consider this practice with publication!

At the same time, there are some professional and published writers entering this contest too – so while you might be practicing, they might be polished – so I repeat, give us your best.


YOU will retain ALL copyrights to your short story, but if you choose to accept the publishing contract and include your winning short story in the Accentuate Writers anthology, we do ask for non-exclusive, first print publication rights.

After the story publishes in the print anthology trade paperback book and winners have received their free copies they won in the contest, all winners will be allowed to buy additional booka at a 50% discount off the retail price. ALL registered forum members can buy the books at 10% off the retail price and any contest entries who did not win can buy the book at 20% off retail price!

THERE IS NO PURCHASE REQUIRED, PERIOD, EVER! We simply make the book available at a discount to those who want to give it as a gift or make it available for sale on their own website and make a little money from selling it. We will never require you to purchase a single copy of the book – but we will be giving away copies as prizes for free!

YOU WILL NOT BE ASKED TO PAY FOR EDITING OR CRITIQUE SERVICES. Editing is part of publishing, so all stories that win the contest will be fully edited for free. Last month, we had a special $5 critique offer, but that was completely optional and had no bearing on the contest results, since the judges didn’t have a clue who did and did not pay the crit fee.

THERE IS NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. While the $5 entry fee is required per entry, there is no additional cost whatsoever to enter, no required purchase, nada, nothing, zero, zip, zilch.

Some Notes:

This will be the last short story contest of 2008. It will end in October, with judging in November, and prizes will all be paid either in late November, or early December, guaranteed no later than December 15th.

Accentuate will announce a poetry contest in the next week and that contest will run between now and December 15th, with the prizes being paid out on December 17th. Up to FIVE poems will be chosen for inclusion as filler between theme breaks in the anthology. More on that to come.

That will close out all contests for 2008, and then we will finalize contracts, finish editing and proof/galley copies, and send the first ever Accentuate Writers Anthology to print, with an anticipated public release date of February 25th, 2009.

Contests will be held approximately every month between now and December, when all winning entries that have returned the release forms back to us will be compiled for preparing for print.

New contests will begin January 5th, 2009 and will run either monthly or semi-monthly, depending on the number of entries as the contests progress. Current plans are to run the first series of contests from January through July, with a second anthology published and released in October, and then run the third anthology series from August through December, with the third anthology published in February again.

However, if entries increase to the point that there are enough quality stories to fill more books, Accentuate reserves the right to make the contests monthly, and close quarterly for four print anthologies per year. We will never increase that number, since running these contests and preparing the anthologies is time consuming and expensive, and we also want to keep the competitive nature where being published in one of our anthologies is a true competitive honor, limited only to the best of the best of each contest.


No single author will have more than six stories in one book, so after the sixth story, they will be ineligible for future contests until the next anthology compilation begins. Should any single author reach this level for one anthology compilation period, we will make them an honorary judge of the next contest until they are eligible to enter again!

Only first place winners will have their names listed on the cover of the anthology. All authors will be listed on the interior title page, the LOC page, and will have author bios included in the back of the book, with photo and contact information if they so choose. All author’s pen names will be listed in the description field on and other online book retailers.

Winners will get author copies for the prizes they win, even if they win more than one. That is, if a person wins first place in June’s contest and then wins second place in July’s contest, then that person will get 5 free books for June and 3 free books for July, for a total of 8 books.

You must be an ACTIVE member of the forum in order to participate in the contest. This simply means you must register for a free membership on the forum and post your introduction. While we would prefer you continue to stay and chat with us all, this is all that is required for the contest.

Any contest discussion should be held in this thread:

All entries should be uploaded to this thread:


: password

For prize information: