The Sage’s Halloween Short Story Contest

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Scare us:

This October, The Sage invites you to scare us. Write the terrors that haunt your nights, and you might just get published on The Sage and people asking, “How messed up are you to write that?”

Now, not everybody enjoys horror stories, so we’ll compromise. You can write romance, fantasy, sci-fi, but whatever you write must include horror in some fashion. Vampires don’t have to hunt the protagonists, nobody needs to move into a haunted house (although you’re welcome to include both); the horror can be as simple as a student misplacing their English essay or as devastating as the loss of a parent.

Stories are meant to be creative. Get creative with your horror.

Well, as creative as the rules allow…

As with any fun and exciting activity, this contest contains fun and exciting rules. Read them thoroughly:

  • Submit your story (one entry per student) on the submission section of The Sage website
    • On the home page, at the top right, click on Submit Your Story Ideas
    • Enter your name, list “Short Story Contest” as the event, provide a school or personal email, and paste your story
    • Here’s a helpful link
    • However, this submission form will delete italics, bolding, underlining, or any other fancy text configurations. If your story contains these elements, please write “I will email my story from [your email]” in the story ideas box and email your story to [email protected].
      • Remember to complete the Submit Your Story Ideas form along with emailing your story if you choose to email
  • Only students may submit and each entry must be individual (no collaborations)
  • Deadline to submit is October 25, BEFORE school starts (before 7:30 a.m.)
  • Stories must be school-appropriate
  • Stories must be fiction
    • No writing about your friends or teachers even if the scenarios are fiction
    • No fan fiction either
  • Stories must be horror-themed
    • Decipher the “Scare us” section of this article as best you can for guidelines on what constitutes as horror
    • If you’re wary your story isn’t terrifying enough, you should be; us judges will decide at our discretion, and we’ll probably disqualify you

On that note…

If you have questions feel free to email our Editor-in-Chief Tristin Hoffman at [email protected]. And, for anybody who submits, know that if you enjoy storytelling and characters and fantastical worlds and horrendous creatures—know that just taking the time to complete a story (even if it’s only a few paragraphs) will do you well. Losing this competition does not mean you’re a poor writer with no hope of crafting beautiful worlds or enticing narratives. Losing this competition means you tried. It takes years (maybe decades) to become a decent storyteller. For now, do nothing more than put your heart into it. (Oh, and edit, edit a lot.)

I and my fellow judges can’t wait to read what you offer up.

Good luck.

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