In the 3rd and Final Round of the Short Story Challenge 2015, the 40
finalists were given the following assignment:
Subject: A dying wish
Character: A janitor
They had just 24 hours to create an original short story no longer
than 1,500 words. Through 3 rounds of competition and from an
original field of over 1,400 writers, we finally have our winners.
Congratulations to the writers below and to everyone that
participated this year for submitting so many amazing stories!
#1 'Mourning Dove' by Terri McCormick SYNOPSIS - A troubled
middle-aged woman finds out her lost love died a seemingly lonely
janitor. Her wish?..to feel him inside her again.
#2 'Last Wish and Testament' by Jo Eberhardt SYNOPSIS -
Chancellor Barnabas Sumner, head of the world’s most prestigious
magical university, is dying. The only question is, what will he do
with his last wish?
#3 'The Letter and the Handkerchief' by Rebecca Lane Beittel
SYNOPSIS - In 1910 West Virginia, two young girls meet at a train
station and develop an unlikely friendship that goes deeper than
#4 'Hummingbird' by Olivia Rizzo SYNOPSIS - The enigmatic
Setsuko discovers how love can ensnare even the most powerful, and
what forces she will wield to keep her love alive.
#5 'Elephant' by R.C. Meehan SYNOPSIS - A returned
soldier, damaged in more ways than one, tries to patch things up
with his strong-willed sister, to satisfy his mother’s dying wish.
It doesn’t go as planned.
#6 'One Night under the Big Top' by Kerry Vail SYNOPSIS - To the
calliope: play on!
#7 'The Surface of Truth' by Meagan Noel Hart SYNOPSIS - Day in
and day out, the humans at the core of the earth do everything they
can to keep the planet from dying. All David does is clean up behind
them, but in the end, maybe he understands more than he thinks he
#8 'Hope Walks' by Lindsey Quakenbush SYNOPSIS - Lacey struggles
to overcome the fears and dark thoughts that her parents have
shunted onto her throughout a childhood of mental abuse and
#9 'Star Sailor' by Rhian Lewis SYNOPSIS - In high orbit far
above Earth, a janitor is left alone to guard the interstellar
vessel he loves
#10 'Sycamore' by Steven Fussell SYNOPSIS - When a new cancer
patient arrives in a new ward, she is intrigued by an unlikely man.
#Honorable Mention 'Room 758' by Stefanie Willis SYNOPSIS -
Betci was assembled and programmed for the sole purpose of providing
custodial services to St. Mary's Hospital and its patients. After
nearly 70 years with the facility, she is called to the deathbed of
the hospital's last patient, a man who may be the only living human
being left in existence.
#Honorable Mention 'The Other End of Everything' by Susannah
Carlson SYNOPSIS - If one mistake can ruin your life, can one good
deed redeem it?
#Honorable Mention 'The Smallest Mall in the World' by Margaret
Wieringa SYNOPSIS - The florist working in the smallest mall in the
world is forced to face the limitations of life
#Honorable Mention 'The World Without Man' by Jacob
Mendelsohn SYNOPSIS - A dying robot on a ten-thousand-year journey
comes to a robot-only planet. There he encounters a doctor who takes
a special interest in the old metal creature.
#Honorable Mention 'To Be Remembered' by Leslie Rapparlie
SYNOPSIS - Tommy Stein, an accomplished CEO, learns he has terminal
colon cancer and, unable to stand the thought of being remembered as
weak, his dying wish is for his family and business to see him for
all he’s accomplished—and not the shell of a man with a disease.
After a connection with the long-time janitor at his office, Tommy
is faced with the ultimate choice: what is it that truly makes life
View the 2nd Round Assignments!
the 1st Round Results
Annual Short Story Challenge is
a creative writing competition open to writers around the world.
There are 3 rounds of competition. In the 1st
Round (January 16-24, 2015),
writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre,
subject, and character assignment. Writers have 8 days to
write an original story no longer than 2,500
The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 2nd
Round (March 12-15, 2015) where
writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3
days to write a 2,000 word (maximum)
short story. Judges choose finalists from the 2nd Round to
advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers
are challenged to write a 1,500 word
(maximum) story in just 24
hours (April 24-25, 2015).
A panel of judges review the final round stories and overall winners
are selected. Sound like fun? Join the competition
We have reached our maximum number of participants this year, so
unfortunately registration is now closed. We will have plenty
more exciting competitions in 2015, so make sure to
join our mailing list and follow us on
twitter to be the first to know when our next challenge is
announced. All registered writers will be e-mailed their
assignments at 11:59PM EST on Friday, January 16th and they will
also be posted here on nycmidnight.com. Best of luck to all
the participants this year!
Official Rules and Participation Agreement.
||January 16-24, 2015
March 12-15, 2015
April 24-25, 2015
Not only does every writer receive
feedback from the
judges for every story submitted, but a
special review forum is available for the participants to submit
their stories for review from fellow writers throughout the
competition. During the Short Story Challenge 2014, there were
over 3,300 comments made on the 200+ stories submitted on the forum.
Click here to visit the