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Short Story Contest for Students 18+ | One Year Adventure Novel


Deadline: 11:59 p.m. CDT, April 20, 2020

This contest is for you, busy writers college-age and beyond! We designed this short story contest to give you a chance to submit and receive recognition for your writing even after you have aged out of the Student Novel Contest. We are also keen to offer you the experience of crafting a short story and sending it off for professional consideration.

If you are 18 or older, and a licensed student with One Year Adventure Novel, we encourage you to enter! We hope that this short story contest may spur some of you who aren’t able to do a lot of writing right now to enjoy a short-term creative project!



April 20, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. CDT

Who May Enter

• You must be a student of The One Year Adventure Novel with a valid curriculum license number.
• You must be at least 18 years old by April 20, 2020.


• Double-spaced
Times New Roman or Courier New font, 12 pt
• Follow the manuscript format outlined in chapter 77 of the OYAN textbook
• No cover sheet required
• On the first page, in the upper left-hand corner, include your name and address. Put the title 1/3 of the way down the page, skip a line, and begin the story.
• Each following page should include a header in the upper right-hand corner with your last name and the page number.


All content must center around original characters in an original setting. We cannot accept stories with inappropriate content or fan fiction of any kind. Submissions must be in prose form, not poetry.


Short stories may not be longer than 4,000 words. There is no minimum word-count.

One Author

We can only accept entries by a single author. No collaborative works may be submitted.


We require that you submit a title for your short story.


1st Place – $50   Amazon Gift Card

2nd Place – $25   Amazon Gift Card

3rd Place – $25   Amazon Gift Card

The Judging Process

Once the submission deadline has passed, all submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges composed of OYAN staff members. They will select a small group of finalists and pass these on to Mr. S. He will then read each story carefully and choose the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.

Winners will be announced via e-newsletter, and then posted on the OYAN+ forum and the OYAN Facebook page. We will also compile a PDF of all winners and finalists, to be featured on this contest webpage. This PDF will be posted on the OYAN+ forum and the OYAN Facebook page as well.

There are no specific criteria for the winning story, but all judges will be looking for a compelling story, believable characters, and clear prose that fits the tone of the story (whether sparse, poetic, or somewhere in between).

Submitting Your Short Story

Follow this link to the submission form.

As you will see in the entry form, your submission must include:

  1. Your name, address, and date of birth
  2. Your valid curriculum license number
  3. Your electronic signature, verifying that the work is entirely your own and that you agree to respect the decision of the judges
  4. Your short story attached as a .pdf file

You retain all rights to your work. A notice of your copyright will appear after your entry, if it is chosen for the PDF of finalists and winners.

2019 Contest Results

1st“The Weight of Living” by Mary Rudd

I was nine when it became clear that Grandma’s feet could no longer touch the ground.
“Couldn’t we just get her those weighted shoes, like on TV?” Jared asked, tossing a football in the air and catching it, over and over. He was at that perfect age where he was light enough to run and play sports, but not so light that he drifted every time he leapt. I wished I was a teenager. Everyone my age was heavy, but sometimes it seemed as if gravity pulled especially hard on me, like I had lead inside my bones.

2nd“Church Mouse,” by Erin Besse

You have no idea how to kneel. That’s what people do, isn’t it? How do they even fit? The rows of benches are so close together you can’t stand perpendicular to them; does everyone really shuffle sideways when they need to reach a seat? The place is empty, of course. You wouldn’t have come within fifty feet of this place if there were actual people in it.

3rd“The Practice Room,” by Aidan Bender

At the end of the hall on the right is practice room L37. The L stands for how many rooms back it is. Room A, for instance, is the first room on the left and room B is the first room on the right. Etc. The 37 stands for how many times the room has been demolished, cleansed, and rebuilt. All of the other practice rooms have much lower numbers: room A is only A4 and even room G is only G10. You see, room L is the most popular practice room on campus.


“Comfortable Lives,” by Lydia DeGisi

Bates was going to talk about New York again. Sanders could hear it in his sigh and could see it in his slacked work pace. Sanders nailed him with a searing glare as the two of them continued to shuck the peylep pods. The last thing either of them should’ve been thinking about was New York.

“The Pale,” by Laurel Elizabeth

Underneath the water, I heard all sorts of voices. I thought it would be silent there, deafened; and in a sense, maybe it was, blocking out everything above me. But the river held onto everything it heard, and it wanted me to hear it, too.

“Petunias in Space,” by Miguel Flores

I have heard them say that the universe is constantly expanding, that one day the constellations will have pulled so far apart from one another that they might as well not exist. It’s like stretching an old rubber band until it snaps. Or spreading a trail of powder one fleck at a time until the whole thing disappears. On the far side of this thinning fabric of space exists a tiny planet. Or what used to be a planet.

“The Letters I’ll Burn,” by Catherine Haws

Dear Viney,
(You will never read this, for I intend to burn it as soon as I finish.)
I swore to hate you forever the day I found out you would be born. You’d laugh if you knew that, but then you’d ask me why. That’s why I’m burning this letter.

2018 Contest Results

1st“Reading for Comprehension,” by Lydia DeGisi

2nd“World on a String,” by Catherine Haws

3rd“I Am Not a Robot,” by Meredith Lundell


“The Bird,” by Aidan Bender

“The Four Lives of Marjorie F. Scott,” by Sam Cooper

“Starstruck,” by Marissa Norris

2017 Contest Results

1st“Oh Andrew,” by P. J. Manley

2nd“Bookends,” by Jacqueline Oka

3rd“The Surveyors,” by Jared Schmitz


“There Is No Fountain in Fountain, Pennsylvania,” by Catsi Dee Quincy

“The Girl and the Star Keeper,” by Hannah McManus

“Dead Girl Walking,” by Chelsea Beason

2016 Contest Results

1st“The Graveyard Burns,” by Collin Suttle

2nd“Dust to Dust,” by Meredith Lundell

3rd“The Health Benefits of Having Friends,” by Jacqueline Oka


“Three Men on Three Horses,” by J. Tobias Buller

“Steeple Chase,” by Sam Cooper

“The Strains of Music,” by Harpley Summers

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