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WillyCon Short Story/Poetry Contest

Submission Guidelines

The Wayne State College Science Fiction and Fantasy Club holds a short story and poetry contest in conjunction with WillyCon. No entry fee is required, and all rights in the story remain the property of the author. All entries must be original works, in English. The Contest is open only to those who have not had professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories/poems, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment and at least 5,000 copies or 5,000 hits. All types of science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy, or horror with fantastic elements are welcome. The story or poem winning first place in each category will be published on the WillyCon E-Zine. We appreciate your willingness to be a part of this contest!

There are four levels of short story competition with prize money (to be announced, and subject to that year's budget) for the winner in each category. First Place winning entries will be published online, but all winning entries (first through fourth place) will receive certificates...

IMPORTANT: Entries for current year's WillyCon event must be submitted from: January 1 - to approximately 2 weeks before the event (so we have time to read them all)

If you are in an English class in middle/high school and you are being asked to submit to the contest by your teacher as an assignment and/or class project, please have your teacher contact us first. We are being flooded with entries, and some do not meet the guidelines and are being disqualified. We would prefer that you hold your own contest first, then with your teachers guidance, submit the best ones and make sure the entries meet the guidelines.


Short Story Categories

These categories refer to YOUR grade/age, NOT the level of the audience you are writing to...

- Adult/College
- High School (9-12)
- Middle School (7-8)
- Elementary (K-6)


You may submit a maximum of two poems, of no more than 50 lines in length. It doubles your chances - if we don't like one, the other may be more appealing!

Overall Guidelines

Stories/poems should be done on a word processor, with Times New Roman 12 point (or similar) font. Do not use any text boxes with special formatting, script, "Dracula," or other fonts that are really cool - while they may look great to you, it makes the manuscript difficult to read. The default font on your word processing software should be adequate. The story/poem should be submitted with no identifying information beyond the story/poem title - identifying information will be submitted in the body of your e-mail (see below). Please identify subsequent pages with a few words from the title and page numbers in case pages become separated (DO NOT use manual returns and type this information at the top of a page - use the built-in header function in Word so it does not affect the formatting of the story!). Follow this link for a sample of the short story format. For poetry you should have no problems following the same format...

Please do not submit stories/poems to the contest with:

  • Plagiarized work

  • Superfluously gory horror

  • Stories/poetry containing excessive, inappropriate, or explicit sexual content

  • Stories/poetry containing excessive profanity

  • Stories/poetry taking place in any trademarked universe, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, or any other type of fan fiction

  • Superhero fiction (e.g. Spider-Man, Superman, etc.) - that's what comic books are for...

NOTE:All entries must be submitted via e-mail attachment - hard copies are not accepted and will not be judged in the competition! If the story is illustrated, RTF (rich text format) or MS Word (see below) formats should be used to ensure the proper formatting of the story when we receive it...

*Electronic entries in the body of an e-mail do not always arrive as you intended them to look - all entries should be submitted as attachments. Please attach your story to your e-mail in Microsoft® Office Word format (preferred), RTF, or ASCII (text) format . We use PCs, so please save your files accordingly. In the body of your e-mail, please give your name and contact information, and tell us which category you are submitting under (Adult, High School, etc.). We have been accepting submissions of all kinds as long as we could open them and salvage the submission. We can no longer do this... we believe the guidelines are clear and the format is easy to follow - stories/poems submitted that do not meet the guidelines or formatting styles will be disqualified. If you are not familiar with your program, find someone to assist you in formatting your submission correctly...

Story length: There is no specific length on the stories...when you are done writing, send it in. That being said, we would prefer a short story - not something as long as a novel or novelette. A short story is somewhere around 1,000 - 7,500 words. A novelette is approximately 7,500 - 20,000 words. A novella is approximately 20,000 - 50,000 words. A novel is approximately 50,000 - 110,000 words. Please keep your submissions as close as possible to the short story length - if it goes too far into the novellette/novella/novel lengths, we will not be able to accept it...

Poetry length: No more than fifty lines per poem (think quality, not length!)

Send all entries to:

Electronic submissions via e-mail must be sent as an attachment to - ScFanta1@wsc.edu - with "(indicate category: Adult, High School, Middle School or Elementary School) Short Story Entry" or "Poetry Entry" in the subject line. Please be mindful that no virus is included! If you are multi-talented and are submitting a story and a poem, please submit them separately and not in the same e-mail as multiple attachments. Please name your attachments with the title of your story or poem. The guidelines are not that hard to follow - any submission not meeting the guidelines will be disqualified and deleted - if there is time, you will be encouraged to try again.

Your e-mail should only consist of:

Subject Line: WillyCon Short Story (or Poetry) Entry. Your category (Adult, high school, middle school, or elementary school), your name, and a few words from the title of your written work.

EXAMPLE: WillyCon Poetry - Adult - Sam Jones - Zombie Love

Body of the e-mail: Please provide complete contact information so we can contact you by postal-mail if your entry wins. This helps by letting us go through the e-mails and get the information necessary to contact the winners without having to e-mail or call you for the information. If this is not provided, we will not contact you. Information to include in the body of the e-mail...

Your Name
Your Street and/or PO Box Address
Your City, State, and Zip Code

Your E-mail Address
Your Phone Number

Category you are entering (short story or poetry, and Adult, High School, Middle School, or Elementary School)

Grade Level (if applicable)

Attachment(s): ONE story or ONE poem. Please do not attach a story and a poem in the same e-mail as they are processed separately.

Nothing else is required, necessary, or wanted... let your writing speak for itself! This contest is being judged by membrs of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Club, a Wayne State College student organization. Winners will be notified as soon as possible after the convention is completed.