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Write Michigan FAQ

Questions about entering

My story is longer than 3,000 words. Will it be disqualified?
No, but our reviewers could mark you down for going over the limit. Keep editing!

Does the title count as part of the 3,000-word limit?
No.

What are stories judged on?
They are judged on criteria that includes characterization, plot, theme, setting and atmosphere, mechanics, writing quality, and passion.

Can I resubmit my story from last year?
Yes.

Can entries be nonfiction? Or vignettes?
Yes. But be aware that stories are judged on elements such as character, setting and plot.

Can entries be poems?
Yes. But be aware that entries are judged on traditional short story elements such as character, setting and plot. Also, if you're in Grades 6-12 and live in Kent County, consider our annual teen poetry contest, which takes place in the spring.

I am an adult who writes children's stories. Can I submit a children's story in the adult category?
Yes. We have had entries in the past for the adult category that were material written for children. While this is acceptable, it does get reviewed against other fiction pieces that may be stronger in some elements such as character, plot or setting.

Can my story contain chapters?
Yes, as long as you stay below the total 3,000-word limit

How much violence can a story have?
We are librarians and do not censor content for the stories.

Do you accept entries with drawings?
While the story criteria for short stories does not include illustrations, we have had submissions that include illustrations in the past. If your story depends on the photos to tell the story, then it will be hard for the reviewers and judges to rate the story based on based on elements such as character, plot and setting.

Do contracted words count as one or two words?
Contractions count as one word.

The submission form asks for an alternative email address. Is an alternative email address required?
An alternative email address is not required. We ask for an alternative address primarily because students typically use their school email address and school spam filters often will prevent our emails from getting through to the students.

Does the subject matter need to be in some way connected to Michigan?
No.

Could my class work together to write a short story where they are all the collective author?
It is possible to submit an entry with multiple authors. In the past, we had one person enter the story and sign off on the copyright information. Then if they were a finalist, we went back and had the other authors sign the copyright acknowledgement, too.

We ask that teachers not submit for students because you would not have legal authority over their copyright rights as authors. So one student (ideally with a parent) would sign off.

The only thing that could jeopardize things is if we got to the multiple people signing their copyright acknowledgement and we had a parent who did not want their child to do so. That would put the entire story at risk of not moving forward. However that hasn't happened in the seven years we have had the contest.

Are the winning stories edited when they're published in the Write Michigan anthology?
No.

Questions about voting

Are out-of-state votes allowed?
Yes.

If I submitted a story to Write Michigan, can I vote?
Yes.