FenCon VIII - September 23-25, 2011 - Dallas, Texas


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FenCon VIII/DSC 49


A Fan-Operated Science Fiction and Fantasy Literary and Filk Convention in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area

FenCon Short Story Contest

2011 short story contest winners announced!

FenCon and the Dallas Future Society are proud to announce the return of the FenCon Short Story Contest for a seventh year. We're once again looking for a science fiction or fantasy story on any topic. The only limits are your imagination, a maximum 5000 word count, and the short list of rules below.

The winners of our 2011 contest were announced at FenCon VIII, here on the FenCon website, and in the FenCon VIII Program Book.

2011 Short Story Contest Winners

  • First Place: "Rufus and Me" by Rick Helmich of Alexander, Arkansas
  • Second Place: "The Dark Goddess Rises" by Seth Skorkowsky of Denton, Texas
  • Third Place: "The Price of Progress" by Michael Simon of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

The first entry is free for members of FenCon and the Dallas Future Society and just $10 for non-members. Final judging is being conducted by top industry professionals and the winner will be published in the FenCon VIII Program Book!

Contest Rules and Regulations

Entry Submission Guidelines

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All submissons must follow these official rules and include a completed entry form. The extended contest entry deadline was August 6, 2011.


  • The first place winner will be awarded $50, a certificate, a FenCon 2012 membership, and their winning short story will be printed in the FenCon VIII program book.
  • The first two runners-up will each be awarded $25, a certificate, a FenCon 2012 membership, and their stories may be printed (space permitting) in the FenCon VIII program book.
  • The other runners-up may receive acknowledgment in the program book, space permitting.
  • No person may win more than one prize in this contest.

Rules and Regulations:

  • Entries must be either science fiction or fantasy, less than 5,000 words long, and the original work of the person submitting them.
  • Entries must conform to the Contest Submission Guidelines and General Manuscript Submission Guidelines detailed below.
  • Any entry that does not conform to these rules may not be entered into the contest, may not be returned, and may not be acknowledged.
  • Members of FenCon or the Dallas Future Society may submit one story at no charge. The entry fee for non-members is $10 per submission. Additional stories may be submitted for an additional $10 per submission.
  • The maximum number of stories any one person may submit is three.
  • This contest is open to all amateur writers, defined as anyone who has not sold a story of any length (from short-short to novel) to a professional publication before July 10, 2011.

    Sale of poetry or non-fiction does not count. "Sold to a professional publication" means being paid at least 3 cents per word. Electronic publications meeting these criteria count. However, some electronic publication involves no promise to pay any definite amount by any definite time; this does not count as a professional sale for the purposes of this contest.
  • No person may win more than one prize in this contest, regardless of the number of entries.
  • Persons who have won first prize in any previous year of this contest are ineligible. Persons who have won other prizes but whose stories have not been published in our souvenir program book remain eligible. Once you've been published in our book, it's time to move on to paying markets then fame, glory, debauchery, and rehab.
  • All submissions must be sent to:
          FenCon Short Story Contest
          PO Box 701448
          Dallas, TX 75370-1448
  • Entries must be received no later than August 6, 2011.
  • FenCon may, at its own discretion, keep archival copies of contest manuscripts, but all other copies may be destroyed. For your own protection, keep a copy of your manuscript. No manuscripts will be returned. All rights will remain with the authors.
  • The results of the contest will be announced during FenCon VIII to be held in or around Dallas, Texas, on September 23-25, 2011.
  • Complete contest results will be available during the convention.
  • In all cases, the decisions of the judges are final.

Contest Submission Guidelines:

  • Each story must be submitted with its own completed official Entry Form.

    The official Entry Form (available here) serves as a cover sheet for your story. It must contain your STORY TITLE, NAME, and CONTACT INFORMATION (including phone number, e-mail address, and mailing address). You can't win if we don't know who you are.
  • On each page of your story, include only the PAGE NUMBER and your STORY TITLE, not your name or other contact information, as described in the guidelines below.
  • These special contest procedures allow the contest administrators to anonymously circulate your story without the cover page to the judges, to avoid any appearance of bias (in case your name is known to them). Only the contest administrator will have the entry forms with your name and contact information until judging is completed.
  • Submissions not meeting proper manuscript format as described below may not be included in the contest.
  • In addition to the required entry form, you must include an electronic copy of your contest submission on CD or diskette in RTF (Rich Text Format). All major word processors will allow you to save a document as an RTF file.
  • You must not submit the same work of fiction to both the short story contest and to the writer's workshop. Any such entries may be disqualified.
  • No "fanfic" or shared-worlds fiction. All work submitted must be the original work of the submitting author.
  • E-mail any questions or comments to storycontest@fencon.org. Absolutely no contest submissions will be accepted at this address. All contest entries must be submitted only to the Post Office box listed in these rules.

General Manuscript Submission Guidelines:

This is a typical proper manuscript format that you, as a writer, should use to submit your work to a publisher and must follow to submit to this contest:

  • Use plain white paper. (Copy paper is fine, linen/bond is not required.)
  • Print on only one side of the paper.
  • Typewritten or computer-printed submissions only. No handwritten entries will be accepted, no matter how nice your penmanship.
  • Begin your submission, and all subsequent chapters, approximately 1/3 down the page.
  • In the top left corner of every page, put only the title of your story. (In a normal professional submission, you would include your title and last name, as in "VOR GAME/Bujold", but for the purposes of this contest, you must use only your story title.)
  • Put the page number in the top right hand corner of every page.
  • Double space your text. Indent paragraphs by .5".
  • Margins should be at least 1" all around.
  • You can italicize and/or bold text, when applicable, or underline it. Both styles of indicating emphasis are acceptable.
  • Use plain fonts. Preferred are Courier and Times (or Times New Roman).
  • Use 10 point type for Courier, 12 point type for Times.
  • Plain black text. No colored inks.
  • Illustrations are not permitted. Text only, please.

These general standards may vary a bit from publisher to publisher and editor to editor but remain substantially the same. They have evolved over many years, and there's a good reason for them. Editors need room to make comments and proofreading marks (hence, the double-spacing). Editors also need to retain use of their eyes (hence, the prohibition of funny-colored papers, difficult-to-read fonts, small type, and double-sided printing). Use proper manuscript format for all of your professional submissions (and, of course, this contest). Good luck!

PDF documents require the Acrobat reader available from Adobe. Click here to download this free utility.

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The extended contest entry deadline was August 6, 2011.

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail storycontest@fencon.org. Absolutely no contest submissions will be accepted at this address. All contest entries must be submitted only to the Post Office box listed in these official rules. Submissions sent via e-mail will be discarded unread and the submitter may be disqualified from the contest.

Last updated 27 September 2011


Text and images Copyright 2003-2011 by Dallas Future Society, Dallas, Texas.
FenCon is a production of the Dallas Future Society, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the advancement of science, literature, and music for the future of all mankind. This material is published by the Dallas Future Society in furtherance of its literary and educational purposes. The opinions expressed are those of the editors and contributors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dallas Future Society, its Officers, or Directors.
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