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About Fiction Fantastic

  • An annual short story competition for students in grades K-12 in public, private, and home schools across Lane County
  • Encourages students to hone their creativity, storytelling skills, and develop a love for writing
  • No cost for students to enter
  • Organized by Wordcrafters in Eugene, a nonprofit literary arts organization dedicated to inspiring writers and readers of all levels.

Fiction Fantastic by the numbers

  • Years running: 11
  • Average number of annual entries: 130
  • Total number of story submissions: more than 1,000
  • Number of words submitted in 2023: 203,447
  • Total number of published stories (in 8 anthologies, since 2016): 108
  • Number of schools student writers have submitted from: 95

Annual anthologies

  • A compilation of the winning stories from each category— K-2 Spotlight stories (not judged), Elementary, Middle, and High school
  • Creatively themed each year:
    • 2024: Realm of Forgotten Dreams
    • 2023: Enter the Imaginarium
    • 2022: Tales From the Deep Beyond
    • 2021: A New Story Rises
    • 2020: Fueled by Fire
    • 2019: Portals
    • 2018: Secret Keepers
    • 2017: Becoming
    • 2016: Transit
  • A testament to the hard work, creativity, and storytelling prowess of our young writers
  • Professionally edited, published, and available for sale.
  • Provide a platform for our students’ voices to be heard, their creativity to be celebrated, and their skills to be recognized

Prizes

Prizes are awarded for first, second, and third place in each grade level category.

  • First place: $100
  • Second place: $50
  • Third place: $25

Interested in being a sponsor of Fiction Fantastic?

Learn more about the sponsorship benefits you’ll receive and the folks we regularly talk to in this info sheet. (pdf)

For more information on business and corporate sponsorships, email Jeaux Bartlett at jo@wordcrafters.org or email us at bewriting@wordcrafters.org.

The judging process

Each year we get an amazing group of VIP judges together that include authors, teachers, and other arts-oriented community members to read the contest submissions. Last year we had over 21 judges!

  • Judging is blind.
  • Submissions go through several rounds of judging depending on the number of submissions.
  • Submissions are ranked by total scores based on grade level criteria (see below).
  • The top-scoring stories of each grade level are judged by a celebrity author for placement in first, second, third, and honorable mention.

Interested in being a judge for Fiction Fantastic? Check out our volunteer form.

Judging criterion

The following gives a breakdown of what judges are looking at for each grade level.

Elementary (Grades 3-5) criteria

  • Story is original, creative, and engages the reader.
  • Story has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Story has clear conflict and resolution.
  • Story uses age-appropriate sentence structure and vocabulary.

Middle (Grades 6-8) criteria

  • Story is original, creative, and engages the reader.
  • Story has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Story has clear conflict and resolution.
  • Story uses age-appropriate sentence structure and vocabulary.
  • Story has a balanced narrative arc.
  • Story makes artful use of dialogue.

High (Grades 9-12) criteria

  • Story is original, creative, and engages the reader.
  • Story has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Story has clear conflict and resolution.
  • Story uses age-appropriate sentence structure and vocabulary.
  • Story has a balanced narrative arc.
  • Story makes artful use of dialogue.
  • Story successfully uses scene and summary.
  • Story’s characters have dimension.

Remember, every story matters.

Let’s keep writing the story of Fiction Fantastic together.