On The Premises holds mini-contests with very small prizes (and no entry fees) between our short story contests. These are advertised in our newsletter. If you wish to subscribe to our (free, short, monthly) newsletter, click that link and enter your e-mail address into the web form that appears.
You can read the winning mini-contest entries via the links below, or by using the navigation bar to the left.
Mini-Contest #32 results. Premise: This mini-contest asked contestants to use no more than 40 words to show, tell, or evoke a complete story that used the word “propinquity” exactly once.
Mini-Contest #31 results. Premise: For this mini-contest, we defined an anagram as a word that is formed by changing the order of the letters of another word. For instance, the letters in “listen” can be rearranged to make the word “silent.” Contestants had to write a story in no more than 50 words that contained at least one pair of anagrams that were at least six letters long.
Mini-Contest #30 results. Premise: In up to 50 words, begin a short story with the kind of plot twist that a lesser story would save for the end–and that most modern readers would have guessed long before the end.
Mini-Contest #29 results. Premise: In up to 75 words, tell, show, or evoke a complete story in which music plays some kind of important role.
Mini-Contest #28 results. Premise: Tell, show, or evoke a complete story in no more than 50 words. Exactly ONE of the words must be “xylophone.”
Mini-Contest #27 results. Premise: In up to 75 words, write a compelling and creative beginning to a story that is based on the old cliché of one or more characters having amnesia.
Mini-Contest #26 results. Premise: Write a story that is up to 50 words long, and exactly two sentences long. The first sentence must be set before some specific event occurs, and the second sentence must be set after that event occurs.
Mini-Contest #25 results. Premise: Write a story that is 20 to 40 words long. Use the same (non-trivial) word at least twice, and each time you use it, that word must have a different definition.
Mini-Contest #24 results. Premise: Write a story that is 20 to 40 words long in which exactly ONE of the words is “refrigerator.”
Mini-Contest #23 results. Premise: Write a terrible piece of prose between 10 and 25 words long, then rewrite it to make it great (while still keeping it between 10 and 25 words long).
Mini-Contest #22 results. Premise: Tell, show, evoke, or imply a complete story in only three lines, each of which has to be exactly seven syllables long.
Mini-Contest #21 results. Premise: Write a 20- to 40-word story in which the first word is the same as the last. In addition, that word cannot be used anywhere else in the story.
Mini-Contest #20 results. Premise: Write no more than 25 words that describes someone, some place, or something that seems normal enough until one unsettling detail is revealed.
Mini-Contest #19 results. Premise: Write a plain sentence with a boring adjective or adverb, then write a version of that sentence that replaces the adjective or adverb with more evocative language.
Mini-Contest #18 results. Premise: Write a story no longer than 50 words that describes color in an innovative way. (No “black as night” clichés; etc.)
Mini-Contest #17 results. Premise: Write a piece of doggerel. (Doggerel is entertaining rhyming narrative poetry with no redeeming literary or technical value.)
Mini-Contest #16 results. Premise: Write a story no longer than 30 words, using as much alliteration as possible. (Alliteration means words must start with the same sound, not necessarily with the same letter.)
Mini-Contest #15 results. Premise: Write a story between 25 and 50 words about any subject, but without using the letter “e” even once.
Mini-Contest #14 results. Premise: Write a story using exactly five sentences, each of which is exactly five words long.
Mini-Contest #13 results. Premise: Write the worst ending to any short story ever.
Mini-Contest #12 results. Premise: Write a story from 10 to 30 words long, using only two-word sentences. Two words? Mean that? Yes, indeed. Not one. Not three. Just two. Got it? Okay then! Let’s go!
Mini-Contest #11 results. Premise: Fix ambiguous writing. Give us a maddeningly unclear sentence, then two rewrites of that sentence, each of which clarifies the ambiguity in a different way.
Mini-Contest #10 results. Premise: Imply/evoke an entire story just by showing us a short “sticky note” written from one character to another.
Mini-Contest #9 results. Premise: Describe a strategy for adding tension to a story about a competition in which an overwhelming favorite easily defeats an inferior opponent. Also provide a short excerpt that captures the flavor of the story you’d write.
Mini-Contest #8 results. Premise: Write a bland, generic sentence. Then revise it by adding key details that help establish the story’s setting and (if relevant) character. (We called this the “worldbuilding” exercise.)
Mini-Contest #7 results. Premise: In 25 to 75 words, write a complete story in which the most important and prevalent sensory information relates to sound, but use dialogue sparingly if at all.
Mini-Contest #6 results. Premise: Write a complete story in 25 to 75 words in which 100% of the story is dialogue. No narration!
Mini-Contest #5 results. Premise: In 50 to 100 words, describe a “single moment in time just after something happened” that, by itself, implies a story.
Mini-Contest #4 results. Premise: Write two sentences: a bad one featuring a horrible writing cliché, and a good one that replaces the cliché with strong, evocative writing.
Mini-Contest #3 results. Premise: In 25 to 50 words, write the beginning of a story. Make the beginning so good that the judges beg you to write the rest of the story.
Mini-Contest #2 results. Premise: In 50 to 100 words, write a complete story that shows the results of one or more characters’ bad decision(s).
Mini-Contest #1 results. Premise: Write a complete story in 10 to 20 words.