Fantasy Book Review Fantasy Short Story Competition 2011


The winning short-stories will be announced on November 1, 2011 with the stories being published both here and on the Swift Publishers website the following week.

UPDATE – A longlist of 22 has just been announced. The shortlist of 9  will be published as soon as we have read each and every submission.

This year, Fantasy Book Review, in association with Swift Publishers, is delighted to be able to run a short story competition. The writer of the winning fantasy short story will receive an Apple iPad (we are working on also having the winning entry published), the two runner-ups will receive Amazon Kindle. The best news of all is that each applicable entry will receive a free copy of Frank P Ryan’s fantasy ebook THE SNOWMELT RIVER (read our review here). Everybody wins!

The winner of the Fantasy Book Review Fantasy Short Story Competition will receive an Apple iPad

Full rules and conditions can be found below but in brief it is imperative that all submitted work be the author’s original work, between 2,000 and 5,000 English words with a fantasy theme woven throughout. Entries can be submitted from today (April 10, 2011) up until September 10, 2011, with the winners being announced on November 1, 2011 and published on the site exactly one week later.

Fantasy author Frank P Ryan has very kindly supplied a guide to how to write a fantasy short story especially for the Fantasy Book Review Short Story Competition 2011. Full of sound advice and tips it is an essential guide for anyone sitting down to write a fantasy short story.  You can view and download the PDF by either clicking here or on the screenshot below.

How to write a fantasy short story by Frank P Ryan

So, what are you waiting for? Why not start writing today and when you are happy with your mini-masterpiece, simply email with your entry as an attachment (please read terms and conditions below for full submission details). If your entry meets the qualification guidelines in the terms and conditions you will receive a copy of THE SNOWMELT RIVER ebook to the email address associated to your submission.

As well as attaching the short story in Word document, please answer the following questions within the body of the email:

Your full name (first name and surname):
Country of residence:

All that is left to say is good luck and happy writing and that if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Fantasy Book Review

Rules and Conditions of Entry

The 2 runner-ups will receive an Amazon Kindle.Please read the following points carefully before emailing your submission:

  1. All rights to the submitted story will remain with the author. However, by entering the competition you are agreeing – in the event of said story being a winning entry – to the publication of the submitted story on Fantasy Book Review;
  2. The submitted story must be the author’s own original work without copying in whole or in part from any other source. Plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification;
  3. The story must be written in readable English;
  4. The story must not have been published previously in any journal, compendium, book, or formal digital publication;
  5. Entrants may submit only one short story;
  6. Submissions from two or more groups of individuals will not be accepted;
  7. The story will consist of a minimum of 2,000 words and a maximum of 5,000 words;
  8. Entries must be typed in English and submitted as a Word document (.doc or .docx) attachment on an email (we cannot accept handwritten or printed entries);
  9. No updated or revised entries will be accepted after initial entry;
  10. Entries must be received on or before September 10, 2011;
  11. The winner and two runners-up will be announced on the websites and on November 1, 2011;
  12. The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into;
  13. An iPad will be awarded to the overall winner, Amazon Kindles to two runners-up;
  14. Entries cannot be returned;
  15. The winning entry and the runners-up will be published Fantasy Book Review and Swift Publishers ( on November 8, 2011;
  16. Swift Publishers will undertake to provide an e-book copy of the fantasy novel, THE SNOWMELT RIVER, by Frank P Ryan, to all entrants once their entries are formally accepted by Fantasy Book Review. These ebooks will be sent as e-mail attachments to the e-mail address provided by the entrant. The entrant will be contacted by e-mail and asked to nominate their choice of e-formats from pdf, e-Pub and Mobi Pocket. Only a single copy will be sent to each entrant. For these purposes, the onus to provide a functioning and reliable e-mail address will be on the entrant;
  17. The organisers reserve the right to disqualify entries deemed unsuitable;
  18. All care will be taken but no responsibility will be accepted for misplaced work. Fantasy Book Review cannot accept responsibility for lost, damaged or delayed entries. Proof of posting or digital transmission is not proof of receipt;
  19. Employees, contractors or persons directly or professionally associated with Fantasy Book Review or Swift Publishers may not enter this competition;
  20. Short-listed entrants may be asked to confirm the originality and/or authenticity of their entry;
  21. All entrants agree to be bound by the rules of the competition. Failure on the part of any entrant to adhere to any or all of these rules will render the entry in question invalid;
  22. Prize-winners may be required to participate in publicity (photographs, interview, quotations, etc.);
  23. The promoters reserve the right to change prize specifications subject to availability at the conclusion of this competition. No cash or alternative in whole or in part of the prizes will be offered;
  24. Canvassing of adjudicators will result in automatic disqualification;
  25. Notwithstanding that the winners may have been declared, if the organizers discover before the distribution of prizes that for any reason under these rules a winner should have been ineligible to enter the competition or if the entry should have been declared invalid, the organizers reserve the right to determine that a winning entrant is disqualified;
  26. The promoter does not commit to notifying unsuccessful entrants of the competition or to returning unsuccessful entries;
  27. Postage and all other associated costs are the responsibility of the entrant;
  28. The promoter reserves the right to amend any part of these terms and conditions and/or the rules of the competition as might be required without notice;
  29. The promoter reserves the right to change any aspect of this competition for any reason whatsoever without notice.

173 Replies to “Fantasy Book Review Fantasy Short Story Competition 2011”

  1. Great idea Lee. I for one am very pleased to find myself counted among such a diverse batch of stories. They all sound like great tales, and now begins the real nailbiting! Keep up the good work! I am pretty sure everyone who entered this competition appreciates your (and the other judges) hard work!

  2. Hello everyone, just a quick announcement. I thought it would be a good idea to publish a longlist prior to the shortlist. This will allow everyone to see a list of the very best submissions we received. The longlist can be found here – – and I hope you are pleased if you are on there and not too disappointed if you are not.

    All the best,

  3. Hello there Lee,

    I was wondering if there is anyway we can get any feed back on our entries? Even if it is just a one-liner comment?

    Thanks <3
    Char Marie Adles

  4. Hi Caz, Harry and Lisa – you are all on the list!

    Eleanor, don’t worry, you are not wasting my time at all. One of the judges has just sent through her marks on her final 25 stories, there is a good chance that yours is in there – I will post confirmation here as soon as I possibly can.

    Narcissus, I remember your submission, I read it myself and it was a very strong entry! But there is some very, very stiff competition…

    I know that there are quite a few waiting for the short-list to be published and I must apologise for the fact that it has taken so long – the surge of entries at the deadline date caught us by surprise! I’m hoping that it will now be only a matter of days.

  5. Why is everyone asking to be on the shortlist? And thank you Lee for running this contest! It’s the first short story contest I’ve ever entered. I hope my story Skyline and Kate Com ends up as a winner! 🙂

  6. Dear Lee,
    Sorry to waste your time, but this was a school project and I still have no conformation that it’s been read, it’s called ‘The Golden Fairy.’ Thanks for your time, again.
    Yours faithfully
    Eleanor Burridge

  7. Hi,
    any feedback at all would be most welcome! please add me to the list – my story is The Water Dragon

  8. Oh and my story’s called ‘The Egg-shaped ball’, if you needed that information for the feedback list. Ta

  9. Lee,

    I agree with Michael and pretty much everyone else that you have done a great job, and it is most definitely appreciated. Also, having only now learned of the feedback list, I would like to be on it too please. Thanks again.


  10. Hey Lee,

    I feel for the amount of extra work you’ll have to do, but since everyone else is asking I’d also like to be put on the feedback list. Any feedback, no matter how brief, is fantastic. Hope it isn’t too much trouble!

    Also, I’d like to comment on how fantastic you’ve been replying to all the posts on top of everything else. As Michael said, we appreciate all of your hard work!


  11. Hi Ian, you have been added to the list! Again, I must repeat that the feedback will not be in any great depth but in the form of notes taken whilst reading the short story – and this can vary from a good sized paragraph to just a couple of lines.

    Michael, thank you so much for your kind words! It has been a big job but ultimately rewarding and the short-list of 9 will contain 9 brilliant short-stories. I would like to think that the list will be displayed a week today. I will send out an email to each and every entrant, with a link, the second the short-list is published.

    All the best,

  12. Lee,

    Thank you so much for your time and efforts! Combing through the submissions has to be a monumental task – we appreciate all of your hard work.



  13. I would love to be added to the feedback list as well if that is okay.

    My piece was Nightwhisper.

    Thank you ever so much.

  14. Hi Ryan,

    We are looking at the 15/16th October as a possible date to publish the short-list. If everything goes smoothly…

    Lizzie, Clerissa and Sonya: I have added you all to the list. I just want to mention that the feedback will not go into a great deal of depth and will often only be a paragraph. It was the ratings that were important and the notes were initially only there to remind us what the story was about. Still, I think it will still be useful. Hope so anyway.

    All the best,

  15. Dear Lee,
    If you have the time I would be grateful if you could add me to the feedback list too please.

  16. Hi,

    Can I be added to the feeback list as well please? My short story was The Phoenix Ring



  17. Feedback would be *shudders* much appreciated. I keep finding errors I know were fixed (file syncing over multiple machines is NOT a good idea when working under deadline!) but the overall content and flow–and the reception of my methods–concern me, because they are not so easily caught as a misspelled, repeated, or missing word.
    So if you wouldn’t mind adding me to that feedback list, and if your time allows, I would be grateful.
    Thank you,

    Will winners have the option of publishing under a pen-name? And will there be an editing period post-win?

  18. Hello everyone, thank you for your recent posts regarding feedback. I have added all to the list and will email back as soon as is possible. It will probably still be a while though.

    Narcissus, the stories that were submitted remain the property of the author so please feel free to re-publish following the end of the competition. But I must mention one thing, once the winners have been decided we will search the internet for any signs of the entry having been copied so it may be best to wait until after the 1st of November.

    All the best,

  19. Hi Lee,
    If possible, could you please add me to facebook list aswell. I would really like to know about any improvements that I can make to my story (The Amethyst).


  20. Hi,

    If possible, could I have some feeback too please? Mine was the Kaldor Sin one (and I think my first pointer would be a shorter title 🙂



  21. Hi Lee,

    I’m jumping on the feedback wagon, I hope that’s okay 🙂
    Looking forward to seeing what was thought of my story (The Voice).
    Thanks again.


  22. Hi Lee,
    Would you be able to add me to the feedback list too, if its not too much trouble please?

  23. Hello again Lee,
    I am very sorry to bother you but could I maybe be added to the feedback list too? I am a young writer and might need some tips on getting started and how to improve. My story was The Endless Train.


  24. Lee

    Could you add me to the feedback list as well. I’d love to hear your (or the judge’s) thoughts on my story.

    Mine was ‘Memories in Red’.


  25. Oh, oh, oh… add me the feedback list please!!!!! I would love to hear what you thought!
    Thank you

  26. Hi Lee… Would you mind adding me to the feedback list? It’s just that I don’t usually show my work to my friends or family, so I haven’t really had much feedback on my writing thus far. Would that be okay? (My story is Truth, Vamoose)

  27. Hi Michael,

    I’m afraid that there are no plans to publish rankings and ratings on the site. A few people have asked if it would be possible to receive any feedback on their submissions and I have noted down names and email addresses. If, once the competition has finished, I can get a few spare hours I will attempt to send some information across. Would you like me to add you to that list?

    All the best,

  28. Lee –

    Will we ever know the rankings/ratings our entry received? Did not know if that info would be published on the site or not.

    Thanks for your help!



  29. Hello everybody,

    First, can I just say thank you to you all for sending so many high-quality short stories through. I have just emailed every single person so that, hopefully, everybody now has confirmation that their submission has been received.

    I had hoped to have the short list of 9 published on the site by now but due to a massive surge in entries on and around deadline day I am afraid that this will now have to wait at least a couple of weeks. As things currently stand we have 75 short-stories still to read and review.

    And now it is time to answer you most recent questions…

    J, I think the above answers much of your question, the total number of entrants to the competition will be around the 250 mark.

    Michael Winegar, your submission, Cross Words, has been received safe and sound – thank you so much.

    Aaron, your submission, Frost in the Blood, has also been received safe and sound and will be read and reviewed very soon.

    Lizzie, Damsel came through without any problems on the 10th – thank you kindly.

    Amy, can you please email me using I just need a little more information from you so that I can check your submission came in OK.

    Angelique, hopefully the information above helps you in regards to the short list and yes, your short-story, entitled Magical, has been received and has been forwarded through to one of our judges. Thank you.

    If anybody has any other questions, please feel free to post them on this page.

    All the best,

  30. Dear Lee,

    I noticed you said you would release the top 9 stories on the 12th September, where about on the site? I can’t seem to find the list.


  31. Dear Lee,

    I have also searched my whole e-mail for weeks in hope of confirmation on whether my story has reached you via e-mail. My word document was sent at 1:10pm (South African time) on the 10th of September 2011, titled “Magical”.


  32. Ok, I’ve let paranoia get the better of me. I told myself I was just gonna wait for the confirmation email that my story was received, but can I check? I sent it on 8th September, Sarenzia’s Fall.

  33. Hi Lee,

    After telling myself that of course you would have received my entry I, too, am worried that it may not have reached you! It’s called ‘Damsel’ and I emailed it on Sept 10th. Please could you tell me if you received it or not?

    Thank you,

  34. Hi, I sent my submission, Frost in the Blood on the 9 Sept, but haven’t received a confirmation. I accidentally sent it first from my wifes email account and resent it from my own.

  35. Dear Lee,

    I also have searched my email (and SPAM folder) but have not received confirmation of my story’s receipt. The title is “Cross Words,” submitted Sept. 9, at 1:51pm (EST, USA) Confirmation would be very appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Michael Winegar

  36. First: any predicted date for the shortlist’s coming out? (Something to mark on my calendar?)
    Second: how many entries did y’all get overall? (I can console myself with the knowledge later. Like, ‘J, girl, there were A LOT of entries so it’s okay that you didn’t even make the top 200’.)


  37. Hi Wendy,

    Your submission, The Sapphire Disc, came through safe and sound. I hope to have it read and reviewed it within the week. Thank you for sending it in.

    Hi Nerissa,

    Your submission, The Endless Train, was received safe and sound and I think you may well be the youngest author to have entered. I am greatly looking forward to reading your story.

    All the best,

  38. Hello Lee,
    After reading these posts I am a bit worried that my story may not have reached you because I have not had an email yet to say it has. It is called ‘The Endless Train’ and I sent it on Saturday the 10th! I hope you can tell me that you received it.

    Thank You

  39. Hi,

    I did not receive any confirmation that my story has been received.
    I sent it on the 09th Sept.
    Please would you confirm that you did receive it?


  40. Wow, that was exciting trying to write something that didn’t contain bullet points for the first time since English GCSEs a good few years ago!

    Thanks for the opportunity, and apologies for the half a dozen typos I noticed when reading it through in my coffee break this morning. Grr. That’s just typical isn’t it?

  41. Sent. I just triple checked the thing, so I *know* it’s the right one. It had better be the right one. I’m sure it is. Thank you again for being so understanding. I really, really appreciate it.

  42. Phew, that was a busy last twenty four hours!

    K. Sumthin, your short story came through safe and sound yesterday – thank you so much.

    C. McAlinden, your story The Escape came in on the 9th just fine – hope you enjoyed writing it.

    Pika876, A Day in the Life has arrived OK and shares a title with my favourite Beatles song (“I read the news today oh boy. About a lucky man who made the grade.”). Thank you.

    Caz, your submission made it just in time! Hope your blood pressure is now on the fall. Thank you.

    Harry, no problems with your word count, information such as bibliography, biography, address etc. are not counted. Hope you had fun writing the story.

    Sonya, if you want to send through a copy that you are happier with then I will happily delete the first one and use the newer version. (The only time I can’t do this is when the story has already been read and reviewed.)

    Over the next 7 days I will be emailing each and every entrant just to say thank you and confirm that the submission has been received. If, in the meantime, anybody else would like confirmation that their short story has been received then please post here and I will check for you.

    All the best,

  43. Or, actually, never mind. It appears things are not so bad as they seemed. Why are computers evil? Terribly sorry.

  44. What do we do if we accidentally sent the wrong version of the story and just now realized it. My machines didn’t sync the changes as I had thought they did. My head is now going to explode.

  45. Hi Lee, You informed me that you received an .odt file, was it entitled The Egg-shaped Ball by any chance? If so, I hope that my word count was alright since I added a bibliography to it and this made it more than 5000.

  46. Hi Lee!

    Wow. That was stressful. I’ve just finished and I sent my submission at exactly 00:00 GMT, perhaps a few seconds after. I was so frantic in order to get it sent on time that I have not read the submission rules correctly (name on sheet, etc) but I included as much information as I could fit in (with seconds to spare!) the email.
    Please let me know if I made it in time and if I can send through any needed information. The story is called Numénor’s Net.


  47. Hey,
    Can I just check if ‘A Day in the Life’ got through? I sent it at 11:58 so it was a pretty close call.

    Fingers crossed…

  48. I sent in my story ‘The Escape’ last night and I was just wondering if it got there alright.
    Sorry, I’m a bit paranoid about these things.


  49. Hi Kit. Hi Declan.

    I’m pleased to say that The Splitting of the Realm and Treespeech have both come through just fine.

    If anybody else would like confirmation then please just post a comment here.

    All the best,

  50. Hi Lee,
    I’m also just making sure that my entry has been received, it’s called “The Splitting of the Realm”

  51. Hi – Sorry, I’m being neurotic. XD I wrote ‘Treespeech’ and emailed it last night. Did it arrive safe and sound?

  52. Hi Lee
    I just wonder if my entry has been received. The story is titled “Journey to the Green Heaven”
    Thank you very much!

  53. Hi Lee

    I’m also just seeking confirmation that mine was sent. It was e mailed about a week ago with the story title “The Egg”.


  54. Hi Harry,

    Good news. Another submission came in an .odt file and I am able to open and read them just fine. So please feel free to send it through as is.

    All the best,

  55. Lee!
    I’m about to send my story but noticed that it should be written in Word as a .doc or .docx file. My story is written in OpenOffice and when I attached it, it said that it’s an .odt file. Would you be able to read it or will it just come up as jumbled information?
    Sorry for this ultra-late question.

  56. Hi C. Mc Alinden,

    It is not compulsory to add your home address and age onto the email – some entrants have, some haven’t. The email address is the most important thing and it would be great if you could also add your full name and the country you live in.

    The reason I ask for the country is so that once the competition has ended I can say that we have had x number of stories from the UK, x number from the US, x number from India and so on… It goes without saying that the country makes absolutely no difference at all to how the story is rated.

    Stories are flying in at the moment, keep ’em coming!

  57. Hi! I was wondering if we had to put our home address, age ect on the email when we are sending the short stories?


  58. Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone who has entered so far, the overall quality has been incredibly high. I also look forward to reading all the stories that are coming in thick and fast as the deadline approaches.

    Within a few days of the competition’s close date I will email all entrants to say thank you again and to put at an ease those who are wondering if their submission got through OK.

    I will mention on this page when the email has been sent so anyone who has sent in a story that did not receive the email – please get in touch and we will work things out.

    All the best,

  59. Hi Edd,
    I’m very pleased to say that your submission has come through safe and sound, thank you so much for entering and I hope you enjoyed writing it.

    Hi Harry,
    Read a chapter of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and you’ll see that sometime less is more! Best of luck with getting it down to 5,000 words and I look forward to receiving your submission.

    All the best,

  60. I’m sitting with the same problem Grant! Got a rugby game tomorrow so I gotta finish it tonight. And Lee, it is way harder than I thought to write a story that needs to be contained within less than 5000 words! Much hacking and slashing of words abound!

  61. Hi Lee, I sent my short story last night to the e mail provided ‘The Four Moons.’ I haven’t received confirmation of my entry yet. Are you able to tell me the status of my entry? Apologies for the lateness in my submission.

  62. Hi,

    Pheew! You answered the question I was about to ask. I have 34 hours to write and submit my story. Eek.

    Oh, or 33 if your mail client is set on GMT 😮 Double eek!

    Now, where’s that Red Bull..?


  63. Hi Kedje,

    That is an excellent question. Submissions will be accepted if the date the email was received displays as the 10th of September (or dates previous to this) in my email client. Any submissions after this will not be accepted. Being a UK site will mean that the exact closing date and time is September 10, 2011 at 11.59 GMT.

    I hope this makes things clear for everyone.

    All the best,

  64. Sorry to post my question so close to deadline, but when you say midnight on the 10th, do you mean the midnight where the 9th becomes the 10th, or midnight where the 10th becomes the 11th. Also, how are you figuring in time zones. I’m in the US and it will be midnight on the 10th many hours earlier in the UK than it will be here on the west side of the States.
    Just a silly little neurotic question. I tend to run through edits up untill the last moment 0_0

  65. Hi Beth,

    Your story has been received safe and sound and is currently being read by a judge. You should receive an email from Swift Publishers in the very near future to arrange delivery of your free book.

    Thank you so much for entering the competition,

  66. Hey, sorry this is kind of late. I sent my story (‘The Voice’) in on the fourth, and I wanted to check you got it. I was trying to send you an email to check so I wouldn’t clog up space here, but I think email space is even more clogged, or something. Every one of them was sent back pretty quick. So, here I am. Did it arrive safely, or should I attempt to resend at some point? Thank you so much for your help.

    Beth M

  67. Hi Amy, I fully understand what you mean and can see why some writing competitions do it that way. But I am confident that no story that has been read and reviewed has been done so by a judge who knew the stories author – I am happy that we have been completely impartial.

    So please don’t worry about separating personal details from the story itself.

    All the best,

  68. Hi Lee,
    Last minute question before submission – I can’t find it anywhere in the Ts and Cs but some writing competitions require that the author’s name does not appear on their submitted document, only on the accompanying email, in the interests of annonymity and impartial judging. Is that a rule here? As my document currently features my name on the footer of every page…

  69. Chapter one really explains the characters and helps start the story with background information of the main characters that I hope would make people want to read on. So in some light you may consider it a prologue. I would of used another short story I have written however that was more of a fanfiction for GCSE task. Hope the file I have sent is okay.

  70. Hi Nathan,

    Is your story Garrid’s Fall? If it is then you are in luck! It was the next story due to be reviewed but I will leave it for now and await your submission.

    All the best,

  71. Hey, I noticed a few typos in my story. Is it okay if I send in the revised version, or is it too late? Sorry if I’m a bother here.

  72. Hi Nathan, the chances of an author being asked to prove that they are the originator are slim. But if this scenario should arise then, yes, earlier drafts of the story would be an excellent start.

    Hi Alice, your entry has been received safe and sound, thank you so much for submitting it. It will be read and reviewed very soon.

    If any other authors want to check that their short story has been received than please feel free to email and I will check for you.

    All the best,

  73. Hello!
    I was just wondering, I’ve written my short story; Truth, Vamoose! and sent it to the email adress. Is there any way I’d know if it’s been recieved or not? I’d hate the thought of it going missing!
    Thank you.

  74. Hi! I’m about to email my short story, and I was wondering…

    In the rules it mentions that shortlisted entries may have to prove that they are the original writers. What would that consist of? Would earlier drafts of the work suffice there?

  75. Hi Anais, I’m afraid we are pretty strict on the word restrictions, particularly as so many entries are coming in as the competition nears its end and we need to have everything read and reviewed. In regards to chapters, feel free to put them in if you feel they give a better structure. Of course if the final word count is 5,003 then we will happily accept it but if it is 3,500+ (for example) I am afraid we would not be able to enter it into the competition.

    Katy, there are no age restrictions at all. I think the youngest we have had an entry from was 12 and it was a fantastic short story. If I have any problem opening the attachment when it comes through I will email you back and we will find another way but I am sure it will be fine.

    All the best,

  76. Hi Lee,

    I’ve just turned 15, and I was wondering if there was any age restriction?
    Also, I used Microsoft Works Word Processor, is that okay or do I need to switch it to something else?

    Katy 🙂

  77. Hello! I was just wondering how strict the word restrictions are. The idea I have written down on paper would take up a bit more than 5000 words. Should I try cut it down, or would this be OK? Thanks 🙂

  78. Hi Rory, it is no bother at all.

    Yes, I am pleased to say that your short story Rite of Royalty has been received safe and sound and has been assigned to a judge. The review should be in very shortly and Swift Publishers will be in contact regarding your free book.

    Best wishes,

  79. Hi Lee,

    I wrote a while back and have since then finished my story and entered it into the competition. I know you’ve mentioned the waiting list already so mine is probably still amongst that pile however I go back to boarding school fairly soon and won’t be able to access my personal e-mails. As the closing date for the competition is creeping ever closer, could you let me known that mine has been received, just for peace of mind?

    Many thanks, sorry for being a bother


  80. Hi Zoe, if the author is 8 years old then the story will of course be treated slightly differently than a submission from a 30-year-old. Other than an exceptional case though the author’s age will make no difference at all and the story will be judged on its merits alone.

    Kelsey, a mystery element will be absolutely fine and please feel to describe your characters in a way that feels right to you – either way will be just fine.

    All the best,

  81. I was wonder if it is okay to have like a mystery element to my short story? Also, do I need to describe my character’s by how they look or can I go by just personality alone?

  82. Tarli,

    I’ve just sent you an email to fully explain the situation with your story. Do not worry, it has been received and has just been entered into the competition. Swift Publishers will be in touch very soon.

    Great story by the way.

    If anyone else is concerned that their story has not be received then please leave a comment on this page or email and I will get right back in touch with you. There are 18 short-stories waiting to be reviewed, so if I you have submitted recently then it is more than likely that yours is on our pending list, which we hope to have cleared in the next 7 days.

  83. Privid, do not worry if there isn’t any actual magic in the story, as long as there is a fantasy element contained within it will be fine. If you have any other concerns please let me know.


  84. Hi. I submitted (with this email and under this name or close) a story called ‘Pulse’. Since I haven’t got an ebook I was wondering if the email might have got lost!

  85. Is actual magic, as implied in the supplied fantasy writing guide, a must? I’m a fan of writers such as George R.R. Martin where magic is almost nonexistent or very subliminal, because I think it makes for a more compelling and less hack’n’slash stories.

  86. Hi Ron, we really try to be as flexible as possible whenever we possibly can but the word limits were set between 2,000 and 5,000 words before the competition began and every single entry has had to adhere to them. I think it would be unfair on those who have already submitted entries to suddenly change the criteria. I am so sorry, I honestly wish I could have been more helpful here.

    SuziB, there will be no problem with your story at all, it sounds like it will fall into the contemporary/urban fantasy genre. Please feel free to send it through.

    All the best,

  87. I have a story which starts with a fantasy arc but set in the times we live in. Would this be accepted as enough fantasy for the competition?



  88. Hi.

    I would dearly love to enter a particular story of mine but it falls short of the minimum number of words by some distance. I do not want to add needless words to it as they would not improve the story in any way. My story is just over 1200 words and is self contained. How strict are your rules on word count?

  89. Hi Beth, no problem, send your short-story back through and I will make sure that we read the newer entry.

    All the best,

  90. Hello, I am wondering if I can re send my story? After reading it again I have found a couple of spelling mistakes which I have corrected. It is only two, hope that is ok?

  91. Beth, a story between 2,000 and 5,000 words will be perfect. If it is just over 2,000, so not worry that it might be too short, after all, it is the quality not the quantity that matters.

    Natasha, there are 15 short stories still awaiting reading, rating and adding to the database. Your entry, Salty Blue Song, is one pending. Just as soon as it is entered into the competition you will receive an email from Swift Publishers.

    All the best,

  92. I’ve not got an e-mail from Swift Publishers yet but thank you for answering! My e-mail seems to have gotten through okay and all, so yeah. S’all good!

  93. Hello, I am thinking of entering your short story competition. I have already written something over 2,000 words, is this long enough or should it be a bit longer? And also when you say that I should leave my name and country of residence when I email my story, should I leave my address as well or do you ask for that at a later date if I should win? Please let me know thanks!

  94. Hi Natasha, the biggest oversight I have made whilst running this competition is not setting up an automated email response email to thank people for submitting a short-story into the competition. I have managed to email a good number of entrants, thanking them but unfortunately not all. Luckily, each entrant receives a free copy of Frank P Ryan’s Snowmelt River and this means that Swift Publishers have emailed everyone to organise delivery – thereby guaranteeing that all know that there submissions have been received.

    HansAnderson, your submission will be fine without a header thank you. All we need initially will be your email address which will naturally come through with your entry. This will then allow us to get back in touch with you to arrange delivery of your free copy of Snowmelt River.

    Hope these answers help,

    Good luck!

  95. Do you send confirmations if you’ve recieved our entries? 🙂
    (I’ve submitted mine. It’s the one involving maneating mermaids, haha.)
    Sorry I keep badgering you, Lee!

  96. Hi everyone, apologies for this reply having taken a few days, it has been a strange week in the UK.

    Narcissus Cartwright, I’m glad that the competition has caught your fancy! I don’t see why a entry cannot be in the form of a poem, just so long as it tells a story and has good characterisation. Please feel free to submit an entry in that form.

    TheOrangutan, yes, I am afraid that we do consider the posting of stories on sites such as wattpad or quizilla as formal digital publication. But I want to be 100% sure about this so I will do some further investigation in case I am in error.

    Nur, is the story that you are writing freely available for people to download and read? Or is it for your eyes only? If you could let me know then I should be able to give you an accurate answer.

    Kirie-lea, the main problem that I can see with you submitting chapter one of your book is that it will fail badly in the plot department as it will be most likely contain a beginning without a middle and an end. It wouldn’t bee a short-story as such. Unless of course it is a prologue that is in itself a self-contained story, if this was the case then it would be fine.

    Hope these answers help, please post again with anything else that has you wondering,

  97. Hi, I am currently writing a story on an e-book website just for fun, is it possible to use parts of my e-book story for the story I want to write for this competition? The story I am writing on the e-book website is not published.

  98. Do you consider posting of stories on sites such as wattpad or quizilla as formal digital publication? If you could let me know it’d be much appreciated.

  99. Hello everyone, I hope you do not mind but I am going to answer the last batch of questions all in one go.

    We’ll start with Dwight Labilles, who asked how the prize is going to be sent. Well, if the winner is UK-based then it will be sent by homing pigeon; US and Canadian winners will receive theirs on a sledge drawn by Alaskan huskies. We will probably use dragons to deliver to places a bitter farther afield although I am toying with using a troup of winged monkeys. Seriously though, we will most likely use the good old postal service and air-mail. We will get in contact with the winners as soon as the decisions have been made and I’m sure we will be able to work out a delivery method that is OK with all.

    Natalia and Natasha, the country of residence doesn’t have any bearing on how the story is marked, it is just that I find it interesting to see entries come in from all around the world. So far we have had entries from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, China, Spain, India, Slovenia and Estonia. As I mentioned above, we will be in contact with the winners before the prizes are sent out so do not worry if the delivery address is different to that which came in with your submission.

    Philela Tantsi, there will be no problem at all if you include romance and romantic fantasy is one of the most popular sub-genres.

    And that also applies to ghosts Nat, I would class that story as supernatural fantasy, another extremely popular sub-genre.

    I hope that answers all your questions, please post again if you need to ask anything else.

  100. Hey Lee! So, that ‘country of residence’ part – do you want to know the name of the country where we actually live or the one in which we can be reached? Because those are two different countries, for me. xx

  101. Hi Lee! Would you consider ghosts to fall under the fantasy genre? Frank P Ryan mentions them in his guide, so I’m thinking they’re okay but I just wanted to make sure (crossing my fingers for a yes, haha).

  102. I am a 15 year old boy from South Africa and am planning to submit a fantasy short story to you. Is it ok to include romance to my story?

  103. Hi Lee!
    I have a question regarding the ‘country of residence’ part that you mentioned. Are you wanting to know where you’d have to send the prize if I won, or is it there for some other reason? Because I live in one country (KSA) but if I won, I’d have to give you some relatives’ address in another country (Pakistan), seeing as I don’t have a PO box number in KSA and that’s the only way you can recieve mail/etc here.

    I hope that makes sense xx

  104. Alright thank you Lee. This is a fantasy story written from the point of view of 21 year old German who learned very fluent English replete with internet slang, so the slang term is quite appropriate, haha. 🙂

  105. Hi Anisha,

    The problem might be related to what email system you are using. I had a yahoo account, and it wouldn’t let me send an email either, but then I made a Gmail account and it went through. I think…

    Hope this helps.

  106. Hi Anisha, I have just sent an email to you, hopefully we will be able to find a way of getting your story to us. If anyone else is having difficulty sending in a story then please leave a comment here and I we will work things out.


  107. Hi Bo, it will not be a problem if the short story has not already been read. I’m pretty sure that yours has not been read yet (I have just checked the database) so please feel free to send through another version and I will make sure that this is the one that is read.


  108. Hi again.

    I’m sorry to ask this question: is there someway to send a revised version of a story if you have already sent a copy? I think I remember reading that I can’t, but are there any sort of exceptions?

  109. Ok Lee, thanks a lot for the reply. I understand what you mean. I’ve got something i can work with, with a little editing i hope it can impress you. I look forward to entering it!

  110. Hi Tarli, no problem with adult language, if one of the winners does contain strong language or scenes (surely not the correct word for a book but I can’t think of the correct one at the moment) of a sexual nature then a warning will be visible when it is published, something like the “Warning: Contains explicit material” sticker that was on the front of the Guns N’ Roses album, Appetite for Destruction when I bought it many moons ago! On a personal note, I do not like slang (like “ass”) in my fantasy books unless it is contemporary/urban. It really seems to stick out like a sore thumb when used in high/heroic/historical fantasy books – but that is only a personal opinion. If you use phrases like “damn your eyes”, “gadzooks” and “bother and blast” you will get marked up by me. Only joking… or am I?

  111. Hi Edd, this is a difficult question but I will try and give a helpful answer. Part of the judging criteria is the plot itself; so if your story starts well but features no middle and no end then it is going to be marked quite low for this. The secret to a good short story is in managing to fit so much into a limited amount of words. The other criteria are originality, characterisation and overall quality so while you should be fine here not having a full story may count against you. However, if the five thousand words you choose is a self-contained story in itself then that should be fine. As I said, a very difficult question that I am not sure I have answered very well… Please feel free to ask some more questions.


  112. Hello Lee!Because this is my first foreign competition,could you please tell me how to make an entrance?

  113. Hello Lee. Just before I get to the editing stage ready to get it perfect for ya, I have a question. Would you accept swearing? My story isn’t exactly a cluster-F-bomb but the main character does drop a couple of doozies, however these can be edited out if you’d prefer to keep it kid-friendly. Also if cursing is not allowed, I’d like to know if it’s 0 tolerance id est, damn, ass, etc. are those acceptable cuss-words for this competition. Regards, Schem.

  114. Hi there, I’m really keen to enter this. My question is this, the novel i am currently writing stands at around 15k words. Now obviously i can’t enter it all but am i allowed to submit a chapter of around 3 to 4 thousand words which in my opinion is a strong chapter? Or does it have to strictly be a short story with a beginning and end? I understand fully if i cannot.

    Thank you.

  115. Hi Lee,
    Thanks for your answer, it’s interesting to hear about the mechanics behind the judging process. Guess I ought to knuckle down to editing to try and produce something worth shortlisting…
    Thanks again for all your help answering questions, mine and others’ – the prompt replies are really appreciated.

  116. Hi Lee,

    Thanks for your reply. Have written another segment today and found I must have overestimated my word count! That’s the problem with handwriting a first draft I suppose… Anyway, I’m fairly confident that I’ll finish within the 5,000 word limit. If not, it should only be over by about 100 words max. Thanks for putting up with my stupidity 🙂

  117. Hi Amy,

    There are three judges and all the entries will be split evenly. Each judge will award a mark out of ten in four categories. These categories are: Originality, characterisation, plot and quality. The three judges will then forward their three highest rated stories to Frank P Ryan, who will choose the winner and two runner-ups from the shortlist of nine. So, in answer to the final part of your question, myself and the two other judges will play a large part in forming the short-list but it will be Frank P Ryan who will make the final decision, based on our shortlist, of who wins.

    Hope that helps,

  118. Me again with a practical question, as I couldn’t find the answer in the competition description – how are the stories judged? The competition is in association with Swift Publishers so will there be judges from both Fantasy Book Review and Swift Publishers or is it your sole decision?

  119. Hi Rory,

    I think it is important to show a little flexibility whenever possible. Although we do wish to stick strongly to the 5,000 word limit we will, on special occasion, allow a few more words. How far over the limit do you think your story would be?

    Warm regards,

  120. Hi! I’m delighted I found this website as I’ve enjoyed writing fantasy fiction from an early age. However, I have started putting my ideas down onto paper and have discovered it may be longer than I anticipated. Is the 5,000 words an absolute upper limit? If so, I will try to chop my story or, alternatively, could I possibly submit an xtract of my completed story?


  121. OOH! I’m totally going to start writing tonight!! Can’t wait! I’m so glad I’ve found this website 🙂
    It’s awesome to actually talk to the other competitors of a competition! Good luck to everyone!!

  122. Hello again Amy,

    We have received dozens of entries already so don’t worry about it being too early. You have until midnight on September 10, 2011 to submit so there is still plenty of time, and if you are going to spend some of that time editing and re-editing then it will be time very, very well spent. The difference between a good and a great story oftens lies in the editing – it makes the book/story easy to read and avoid the typos, bad grammar and sentence structure that all combine to pull the reader out from the world that has been created.

    Look forward to your short-story!

  123. Me again,
    I was just wondering how soon is too soon to send in an entry, or is it any time before the deadline? I’m nearly finished and then will pass it through my dedicated team of proof-readers (read as long-suffering friends).

  124. This is a reply to The Darklord’s comments just above my latest reply. Yes Darklord, a prequel to your fantasy series will be absolutely fine, send it through when you are ready.

    Warm regards,

  125. Hi Lee, I just want to ask: I am writing a short self-contained prequel story for a fantasy series. Can I send this as my entry?

  126. Hi Bo, so sorry, never saw your email come in, not sure what happened there, we have been having some server issues, maybe that is a possible cause? Anyway, I can happily answer your question now.

    Every single story will be read, reviewed and rated. Once the competition has closed the three judges will send their 3 highest-rated entries onto Frank P Ryan, who will select the winner and the 2 runner-ups from the short-list of 9. I hadn’t thought of doing so previously but I think it would be a good thing to publish the short-list of 9 as it will let 6 authors know that, while they unfortunately did not win a prize, they were considered the very best out of hundreds of submitted entries.

    Thanks for getting in touch, I will publish that short-list on this page on the 12th of September this year.

    Kind regards,

  127. Hi Lee.
    Sorry if asking here is a nuisance – I did send an email to contact a week ago, but they must be busy 🙂
    I was wondering, if our entries are chosen to be runners in the competition, will we be informed of that after the deadline, or sooner?
    Thank you.

  128. Hi Lee,
    Thanks for the response, seeing as I’ve still got plenty of time til the deadline I’ll see if I can actually pin down and write the fantasy idea I’ve got floating in my head, and save the sci fi for another time. Thanks!

  129. Hi Amy, a few of the entries already submitted have been more science fiction than fantasy but they have been treated exactly the same manner as the purely fantasy-themed entries: Read and rated. So a science-fiction short story will be accepted but it would be great is you could incorporate some fantasy elements into it. I’ve always thought that Star Wars has a foot in both camps and you could perhaps classify it as science fantasy. Hope this helps,

  130. Hi,
    Is the competition strictly for high fantasy or will sci-fi make the grade too?

  131. I haven’t displayed my writings before. This may be fun.

    How strict is the word limit? Would a document consisting of 1600 words be substantial enough?

    In advance: thank you for your time.

  132. Hi Uros. We will be using Kindle’s to read and review the short story submissions and I believe that all documents will be re-formatted when they transfer across. So basically you need not worry about document settings, our Kindle’s do all the work for us. In regards to language and theme, feel free to use adult/mature content as all three judges are adults themselves and not (that) easily shock-able. Looking forward to your entry.

  133. Sorry to take your time but I got a couple of questions. Is there any standard for doc page settings that we need to follow (spacing, page size, font style and size…)? And also how mature can language and story theme get? Should we stay away from adult stories and bad language or is every thing fine?

  134. Hi S.Sanyang. No, there are no age restrictions. feel free to write and send your story in whenever you are ready. I look forward to receiving and reading it.

  135. Is there an age range e.g. I’m 15, can I enter it?… I’ll be sixteen in August 😀

  136. My first adult high fantasy novel, ALAT, is out through, and I’ve written the sequel. I have a short story based on the sequel that is of the required length. Is it okay to submit this to the short story contest? Also, do you require single or double spacing, MSWord.doc or rtf? I am just now learning about blogs and yours is one of the first I’ve visited. The quality of the writing is much better here than in any of the others so far. Thanks for your time! I love this site, and also do book reviews on mine, but usually not of famous books.

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