SparkNotes Blog

Announcing The MindHut Halloween Fiction Contest! Enter For a Chance to WIN MONEY and GET PUBLISHED!

If you’re sick and tired of being spooked, frightened or freaked out by all those haunted houses every October, maybe it’s time you made your own! And by “make your own haunted house,” what we mean is this: WRITE YOUR OWN HAUNTED HOUSE STORY. And when you’ve written it, send it to us. That’s right, it’s another short fiction contest. Beware all that enter here!

In celebration of that upcoming holiday at the end of October—you know the one with the ghosts and the candy—we’re asking readers of The Mindhut and SparkLife from ages 13-18 to send us super-short, super-scary stories. The theme for this Halloween fiction contest will be: haunted houses. For a little bit of context by way of example; a haunted house story could mean anything from the classic story “In a Dark, Dark Room,” by  Alvin Scwhartz, to “The Judge’s House” by Bram Stoker, to an haunted spaceship creeper like Kelly Link’s “Two Houses.”  What this means, essentially, is that we want you to write about some kind of house (which could be a house in the past, present, future, in outer space, in a castle, or microscopic and on the back of a bee) and we want that house to be haunted, which means we want it to contain a ghost, a witch, a goblin, a trickster, or really just something that goes bump in the night (or day)!

WE WILL START ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS on September 28th, 2015 at 8 am (ET) through 11:59 pm on October 19th, 2015. We will publish announce the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners (along with publishing them on our site) on October 30th, 2015.

DID WE MENTION THERE WILL BE PRIZES!? The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will receive $150, $75, and $50 respectively (in the form of Visa gift cards). Here are the basic guidelines:

  1. Stories need to be original. You wrote them. You dreamed them up.
  2. No fan fiction. We love it, but we can’t publish it.
  3. Stories need to be 500-1000 words long.
  4. Stories are written by ONE writer. Sorry, no collaborations.
  5. Despite being scary and haunted, these stories are not excessively violent, nor do they contain anything inappropriate. We respect you enough to know what this means.
  6. Stories should scare us! And be fun!

The deadline is a little ways off but we want you to start writing RIGHT NOW. Peridocially, between now and the deadline, we’ll nudge you along, plus give you some inspiration articles all about stories and books to get you stirring your scary story cauldrons. For now, get those cobwebs out of your head and into the attics of a new haunted house! Detailed rules for the contest to come.

Happy haunted writing! We’ll see you soon!