It’s summertime! Here in Pittsburgh the days are hot, humid, and oppressive but the evenings are lovely. Fireflies wink playfully around the lawn. The air cools. People all around the neighborhood light up their grills and fire-pits, filling the air with the smell of smoke and freshly cut grass.

But our minds are elsewhere, on Halloween, our favorite holiday.

So, to start the spooky season off right, we’re proud to announce our very first flash fiction writing contest. The theme: GHOST STORIES.

That right!

Time to flex those horror writing muscles and try to scare the daylights out of us. (Or make us laugh. Or cry. Just make sure there’s some spooky, ghastly, haunted element in there!)

Let’s get into the nitty gritty details.

What We Want

In short, we want ghost stories. Tales of haunted places. People trapped between. Exciting adventures into the underworld and the dark corners of our minds. What’s lurking under the stairs? What’s that figure at the foot of your bed?

You get the gist.

As long as your story has some haunting element to it, we want to read it!

  • All stories must be 1,000 words or fewer. All stories over the word limit will be automatically rejected.
  • Only original stories will be considered. No previously published stories or fan-fiction, please.
  • No porn, no hate speech, no excess gore. These are no brainers but apparently need said anyway.
  • Multiple submissions are ok! There’s no cap to the amount of submissions you can turn in for the contest. However, keep in mind this isn’t a lottery. More isn’t necessarily better. One great story is going to trump five okay stories. That being said, if this is your jam and you have a stack of great ghost stories, have at it!
  • Stories must address the prompt in some way. A word of advice: Get creative. This prompt is meant as a theme to keep you on track but not as a bible to be followed prescriptively. Write your ghost story. This can mean hauntings, exorcisms, seances, demons, graveyards, broken mirrors, black cats, teenage girls, and anything else that haunts your nightmares.
  • Because of the volume of submissions we anticipate, there will be no rejection letters. When you submit, you’ll be given a receipt of the transaction and winners will be contacted by October 1st. If you have a problem, feel free to reach out by email, but we won’t be giving status updates like we normally would.

How Much Does This Thing Cost to Enter?

We’ve decided to go with the simple fee structure listed below:

  • Early Entry (July 27— August 25): $5 (Closed)
  • Standard Entry (August 26 — September 16): $7 (Closed)
  • Last Minute Entry (September 17 — September 28): $10 (Closed)

The entry window is about two months. This is designed for you to spend enough time to make a nice, polished story but still keep a sense of urgency.

  • All entry fees are non-refundable.

You can enter by CLICKING HERE. Or, this box here:

A Call For Ghost Stories!
The Arcanist is looking for ghost stories! Make sure you read all of the submission guidelines here . DATES Early Entry…

Besides bragging rights what’s up for grabs??

Yes, the good stuff.

Besides praise from all of your friends and family, the top four stories will receive CASH prizes and will be published in The Arcanist throughout the month of October — otherwise known as the spookiest month of the year — as well as in our eBooks. AND, we will be releasing a special anthology to celebrate the winners and the runner-ups.

Here are the prizes:

  • First place prize is $200 USD
  • Second place prize is $100 USD
  • Third and Fourth place prizes: $75 USD

All payments processed through PayPal.

All winners will also receive special Halloween t-shirts designed by our editors and a copy of The Arcanist: Ghost Stories, a booklet featuring the winning stories as well as notable mentions.

Shirts and Ghost Stories will also be available for purchase so don’t panic if you aren’t a winner. You can still snatch some spooky swag.

Get to writing and see you then!

Wait, How Do I Enter?

To enter, head on over to our bookstore and use this checkout form to submit your story. You can submit two ways on the form: by linking us your story in a Google Doc or Medium draft OR by copy and pasting your story into the form. WE’D REALLY APPRECIATE YOU LINKING US. LEARN MORE ABOUT GOOGLE DRIVE BELOW.

If you’d like to submit more than one story, do so in separate orders.


Note: If you mess up permissions on your Google Doc, we’ll send you a note to resolve them. Here, for reference, here is a guide to help you get started with Google Docs if you’ve never used them before.

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