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


2021 Contest Open!

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!



May  31, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Central Time

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 May  31, 2021.


• 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.

2020 Contest Results

1st“And Indeed There Will Be Time; or, The Priestess of Celery” by Collin Suttle

Everyone forgot that time worked differently for the Gods when the Gods started fighting.

It didn’t last very long, the forgetting. The village pandemonium lasted about a week before everyone got bored of waiting for the giant fist of Karak the Wave Maker to collide with the even more gigantic face of Uhar the Battle-Hunger. Another week later, after the non-tavern establishments had opened again and the taverns had begun to pick up after themselves, the face and face finally met. A shepherd in the square discovered a fresh talent for hysterics, but all that reached the snow-muffled village from so far away was a distant thoom, almost apologetic in its smallness.

“It’s not Uhar’s best look,” the alewife said speculatively, after she’d given the shepherd a drink to stop his throat. Foam-lipped, the shepherd hazarded a look at the nearby priest of Uhar, but the priest had no way of denying the alewoman’s statement. Uhar’s was no longer, after all, a face they could put on a new batch of icons.

2nd“Guinevere” by Annika Lee

If I was to survive as a beautiful woman in the world, I would have to know many things, become many things. I would have to know how to sing and dance, converse and gossip, turn every expression into a tool in my arsenal. I would study languages, history, politics, science. I would forge myself into a many-edged knife. And for seven years I had done just that, but at nineteen I was growing restless and looking for a way out of my father’s house.

“What a way to live, Guin,” you would say. With that compassionate, amused, pitying look you got when I shared something incriminating about myself.

There are so many incriminating things.

3rd“Feather or Bone” by K. J. Haakenson

“Sometimes… sometimes I wonder how I would live if I knew I only had few years left. Growing up with this choice ahead of me, I’ve always known what the beginning of the end would look like. What it would feel to finally be in that wide blue sky, flying forever into the horizon, no longer shackled to this stupid leg. I’ve always known I would choose the feather. But what if—”

“What if you chose the bone,” I finish quietly for her.


“Self-Portrait of an Artist II” by Emily Schaeffer

“You see,” the professor said, comfortable triumph in his voice. “This is art. This is what we would like to display. If he has anything like that—”

“How can you expect him to have anything like that?” she asked, her hand snapping out in exasperation. He turned, unmoved, back to the table, and began shuffling the canvasses and sketches into a stack. She turned back, her throat tight, and began, “How can you? That’s…”

“That is excellent work. We accept nothing less. You may take these…new submissions back.”

“A Circle Has No Beginning and No End” by Lydia DeGisi

The mall was dead. Because it was 1pm on a Tuesday, but also because it was a mall, in 2019. At least, Pete Grayson thought it was 2019, based on the latest phone models on sale at the Sprint store.

He wandered through the hollow building for several minutes. He passed only a handful of other people, and none of them were who he was looking for. He stopped at a bone-dry fountain and sighed. It was time to enlist some help.

“Buckets Unkicked” by Rosey Mucklestone

Greenhaven looked like the perfect place for someone in the business of death. It was a dusty town filled with frail old ladies sitting on their porches in blustery weather and children playing tag in crumbling old buildings. Dry prairie stretched out endlessly in all directions. There wasn’t a doctor within at least a hundred miles. And there certainly was no funeral home.

Jake Villin was confident he’d found the perfect place to set up shop.

2019 Contest Results

1st“The Weight of Living” by Mary Rudd

2nd“Church Mouse” by Erin Besse

3rd“The Practice Room” by Aidan Bender


“Comfortable Lives” by Lydia DeGisi

“The Pale” by Laurel Elizabeth

“Petunias in Space” by Miguel Flores

“The Letters I’ll Burn” by Catherine Haws

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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