2018 Teen Fiction Writing Contest

Teen Writing

The Challenge
Write an original fiction story of up to 2,500 words that begins with the sentence “The letter could not have come at a worse time.” This year’s first sentence was chosen by New York Times best-selling author, Sandhya Menon. What happens after that is up to you!


  • The entry must begin with the line “The letter could not have come at a worse time.”
  • Must be ages 12 to 18.
  • Must be an El Paso County resident
  • Word count must not exceed 2,500 words. Word count will be established by using Microsoft Word 2010. Points will be automatically deducted from the total score of the piece if the word count exceeds 2,500 words.
  • Pieces must include title page with title and author’s name. The author’s name should not appear anywhere else on the document.
  • Pieces must be double-spaced and in 12 point Times New Roman or Calibri font with the title and page number in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Failure to follow the guidelines will result in disqualification.
  • You must fill out the online entry form and submit your piece here by Mon., June 25, 2018 at 11:59 pm. The file format should be compatible with Microsoft Word 2010. If you need to convert a file, please visit a library location.


  • When will I know if I have won? We will notify participants by mid-July if they have won an award. All participants and their friends and family are invited to the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, July 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room at the East Library, regardless of if they won an award.
  • Are you publishing the anthology again? Yes! We will be publishing the top five in both middle school and high school (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and two honorable mentions).
  • Will I get feedback for my work? Yes! You will receive a copy of your story with comments via email after the awards ceremony.
  • Do I have to turn in my story online? Yes. To better facilitate the process, we are requiring all stories be turned in digitally. You can stop by any PPLD location to use one of our computers for this purpose.



Yes, there will be first, second, and third place prizes in both the middle school and high school categories.

Thank you for your interest in the Teen Fiction Writing Contest!

Is it mandatory for the award winners to attend the Awards Ceremony? Say one of the winners is unable to attend. Would they simply not receive their earned reward?

Attending the awards ceremony is not mandatory and you would still win an award, but you would need to visit East Library in order to pick up your prize.

Thank you for your interest in the Teen Writing Contest!

No, the title does not county toward the overall word count of your story.

Thank you for your interest in the Teen Fiction Writing Contest!

So just checking, fanfiction where the characters and settings are already set isn’t allowed since it isn’t completely “original”, right?
Thank you!

Correct, fanfiction is not eligible to win the the contest.


I'll be here to write the story, but in the middle of it I'll be moving to a different state. Am I still able to enter?

Yes, you can still enter, but make sure the email address and phone number on your entry form is up to date.

Yes, please keep the fonts consistent with the rest of your story.

What should the rating guidelines for the written piece be? That is, what would the limitations on profanities of content be?

Hello! Please keep the use of profanity to the absolute minimum. While you will not be disqualified for including profanity, ask yourself, "is using this word really necessary to tell my story?"

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