2013 Summer Writing Challenge Winner And Question

We have our winner: Austin Gunderson. Congratulations. But now, I have to ask. How many of you writers would be interested in participating in a short story contest if you were required to pay a $5.00 entry fee?

Bullet_trainAnyone who’s checked the Spec Faith Summer Writing Challenge final poll results already knows we have our winner: Austin Gunderson.

      Entry by Austin Gunderson

      Afraid? Bri couldn’t say she was exactly afraid. What a funny question. The supersonic freight train wouldn’t crush them for another seventeen seconds. Her new contact must be a paranoid sort; judging by the proportion of time he’d spent glancing over his shoulder, his head might’ve been screwed on backward. Bri rolled her eyes, tossed back her hair, and extended a hand. “Don’t worry about the mop-up crew. They might not be aiming for us, but they can’t miss. Just upload the package.”

      The man faced her and, with a nervous shrug, yanked off his right glove. Bri had expected to grasp a sweaty, trembling palm, but the fingers which engulfed her own were pleasantly dry and firm. That was the first red flag — one too many. Bri tried to snatch her hand back, but the man simply kicked her in the shins and was suddenly the only thing holding her upright.

      Seven seconds left.

      The man slid a fingertip down his narrow implant from elbow to wrist, and Bri shuddered as the upload commenced. Then she screamed. All she could see was blue. The package was a Trojan. Her scream choked off as motor functions abruptly stalled.

      By the time the train passed, Bri had lost the ability to sense its sonic boom. She knew she’d been hauled clear of its path only because she was still alive.

      This could not have gone any worse.

– – – – –

Congratulations, Austin! (Contact me at rluellam at yahoo dot com to arrange your gift card prize!)

What a close contest this turned out to be. We had a great selection even before we boiled the challenge down to the three finalists. That less than four percentage points separated first and third place is a testimony to how hard it was for readers to choose a winner. Congratulations to all the finalists. I wish we had prizes for everyone.

But now, I have to ask. How many of you writers (not just those who entered this contest) would be interested in participating in a short story contest if you were required to pay a $5.00 entry fee?

I’m thinking perhaps we could offer prizes to more than the first place winner. There’s also the possibility that the winning entry might be published online as part of the prize. But before we can go much further, we need to know if there’s sufficient interest in and willingness to participate in a contest with a minimal entry fee.

So I’d appreciate your vote in yet another poll, and please share this liberally with other speculative writers. Thanks in advance.

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.
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  1. notleia says:

    It’s lots less than other entry fees I’ve seen, but I’m cheap. And poor. So my response is a solid maybe.

    • I’m cheap and poor too, Notleia, but I admit I bit on a contest that had a $5 entry fee, so I thought, hmmmm, maybe that’s the rate that will make the contest accessible to enough people it will bring in some prize money for more than just the first place winner. We’ll see.


  2. Well that was a squeaker and no mistake! It’s been an honor to compete with the excellent entries of Shannon, haywireproductions, and everyone else who submitted such diverse and engaging work. Keep writing, SpecFaithers!

  3. Oh my gosh — I just noticed that my entry’s been illustrated! Nice touch, Becky.

  4. Literaturelady says:

    Congratulations, Austin!!

    And I love the idea of a short story contents! Would it be here on SpecFaith, or were you thinking of holding it somewhere else on the Internet? And would there be a word limit?


    • LitLady, I haven’t gotten as far as working out logistics. First I need to know if we have enough interest to justify a contest. My initial reaction is, I’d like to hold it here at SpecFaith, but different from the challenges. It would probably be judged by outside people, not readers. But first things first. Let’s find out if there’s enough interest to pursue the idea.


  5. There’s already a huge obstacle between me and submitting to short story contests: lack of time.

    So any other obstacle, no matter how small, would likely be just another reason to say “no.”

    That said…. IF there was a contest that I wanted to be in because the exposure was really worth it to me, then $5.00 is a small price to pay.

    Also, IF I already had a short story (or short story idea) on hand that I could use for the contest, then $5.00 would not stop me if I felt it was a good contest to be in.

  6. Henrietta Frankensee says:

    If I could hand you the $5 bill in my wallet you’d already have it. But trying to get it to you electronically is daunting. If I could enter as many times as I wanted for $5 that would sweeten the deal. Did I already mention that I want to see a contest where one line is expanded into multiple speculative genres by the same author (not necessarily in one plot but hey, that would be even more fun. Elves and aliens, spaceships with vampire crew.)?
    What are we writing for (entering for)? The money? The exposure? The fun? Me, it was all fun and a venue for an overactive imagination.

    • Henrietta, if we decide to do this, we’ll have to open a PayPal account–that would also make it easier to give prizes from that account. I don’t see multiple entries for $5 though. The money would be primarily for prizes, so we can give a 2nd and a 3rd place, maybe even more. Maybe we can offer more for 1st than we do for the Challenge. I mean, these would not be short beginnings; they’d be a short story, though I do think we’d make them short, short. Depending on how many people enter, we could put some of the proceeds toward the Clive Staples Award prize too.

      But writers would also get recognition, especially if we can arrange for the winning entry to be published online. It would give something credible for a writing resume.


  7. Sounds a great idea, but I won’t be joining in.

  8. Zac Totah says:

    I think a contest is a great idea, and I’d probably pay the $5 to enter. The chance to gain some recognition is the biggest perk I see.

  9. Lauren says:

    Congratulations, Austin!

    I’d be willing to pay an entry fee . . . Even though I’m in the ranks of the cheap and poor, too 🙂 It would be awesome to have the chance to get a little recognition, and just to show a little support for spec faith writers and the Clive Staples award!

  10. D.M. Dutcher says:

    I think it’s a good idea, but I’m not sure how a contest would work on the site. Trying to read ten to twenty 1-2k short stories in a single post with additional semi-threaded comments would be rough. However you do it though, I think it would be great because there’s really little venue for short CSF on the web.

  11. Heather says:

    I’m late coming to this and don’t get here often enough.
    Has a final decision been made on the contest?

    • Heather, no decision yet. I needed to see how many people might participate.

      I’m thinking this would require entrants to send their stories by email, and we’d likely have judges, so it would not be run the same way the last two challenges have been.

      I appreciate all those who gave their views. It’s helpful.


What do you think?