Charlotte County Florida Weekly

12th annual fiction contest is off to a strong start




Disintegrating bathing trunks and a prank gone wrong.

A wolf biologist from Minnesota encountering a “cougar” of the Florida variety.

A wedding reception that devolved into a pie fight.

A deadly betrayal among the lowest of lowlifes on South Beach.

A dreaded chore turned magical.

An award-winning short story written with — or without? — the assistance of a promising new app.

These scenarios were among the 61 we received for Round 1 of the 12th annual Florida Weekly Writing Challenge. This week starts Round 2, and we can hardly wait to read what comes next in the contest that challenges readers to craft short stories based on photo prompts selected by our editors. Here’s how it works:

For Round 2, you have until 5 p.m. Sunday, June 26, to send us your original story using one of the three photographs shown here as your jumping-off point. That’s right: You must choose one of the three and submit only one story. This is different from how the challenge has worked in previous years.



Keep your entry to a maximum of 750 words, please; there is no minimum word count. And no poetry, thank you.

Run your story through spellcheck.

Put your first and last name, email address, phone number, and city/state of residence at the top. Then give a brief description of the photo that inspired your story (for example, “bookshelves,” “boardwalk,” or “stage” are good for Round 2’s offerings).

After the above information, center a title at the top of your masterpiece.

Then email it, either attached as a Word document or simply pasted into the message area, to Do not send a PDF, a text file, Pages file or anything in any format other than Word; if you do not work in Word, just copy/paste your story into the body of your email. Do not embed any images in your entry.

This is important: Put the words WRITING CHALLENGE in the subject line of your email. You will receive acknowledgment of receipt within a day or two.



Snail mail offerings won’t be considered

Questions? Email We’ll get back to you.

Round 2 and beyond

We’ll print three new photo prompts for Round 3 on June 29-30, and you’ll have until 5 p.m. Sunday, July 10, to send us another story — just one. And so on, with new prompts every two weeks, for a total of nine rounds this year. The deadline for entering Round 9 will be Sunday, Oct. 2. Enter as many rounds as your creativity, time and discipline allow, but only one story per round.

The 2022 Writing Challenge winner and three honorable mentions will be notified by Oct. 10, with the first-place winner having the choice of tuition to the in-person Sanibel Island Writers Conference (set for Nov. 3-6) or to an online Gotham Writers Workshop. Honorable mentions will receive Amazon gift cards.

We’ll publish the top four stories in our Oct. 27 edition (winning writers will interviewed for an article to accompany publication of their stories). Our fifth-through 10th-place picks will be published as space permits in the weeks following.

So read the rules again, pick a prompt, and then tap into your creative juices. Just remember: The deadline for this round is 5 p.m. Sunday, June 26. We look forward to hearing from you. ¦

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