Teens Can Write, Too!

Changing the world's opinion… as soon as we finish this math homework

Announcing CritFest!

***THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! Thanks so much to all who participated, and be sure to follow this blog for more contests!***


It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally time to announce CritFest, the super huge contest I’ve been hinting at! *muppetflail* I am beyond excited for this, as you can clearly tell, and I know it’s going to be a great opportunity for all of you guys. But before I announce the details, I’d like to introduce the force behind this contest, the amazing Sharon Johnston!


Sharon has helped me through all stages of the creation/planning of it, and not only is she extremely knowledgeable, but she’s also a fantastic person in general. Go follow her twitter and blog if you haven’t already.

Now, are you guys ready to hear more about CritFest?

Let me repeat:


(I am.)

Drumroll please…

CritFest is a short story critique contest for writers who are of the ages 13-20. We have ten industry professionals participating who are all extremely talented and know what they’re doing. We will announce these participants next week, but for now, I’ll say that they range from editors to literary agents to authors, and they are some of the top of their class. Hint hint. (a.k.a. They are fantastic, and they are skilled, and they sure know how to critique.)

What’s Happening:

We’ll be accepting your short stories for CritFest over the course of the next month and a half. The top ten finalists, chosen by Sharon and I, will win full critiques of their short stories (done privately) from a selected industry professional! So, basically, the critiques should improve your writing by leaps and bounds and knowing those critiquing, I can assure you that the critiques will rock. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity for critiques by professionals, especially not these amazing professionals.

But that’s not the extent of the awesome! Even if you don’t make the top ten, the ten runner-ups that Sharon and I choose will move on to a separate voting stage. Each of these entries will be posted on the blog for you guys to vote for your favorites and possibly make critiques of the entries. The top three will win fantastic prizes, which will be something along the lines of ARCs, perhaps some sort of critique from Sharon or I, and/or other things. One random commenter will also win a prize. Note: If you don’t want to enter for this part of the contest—only the first one, where your work is not posted—please say so in your entry.


– To participate, you must be of the ages 13-20. No exceptions.

–  You don’t need a finished manuscript or anything special. All you need is to write and polish a 3,000 -5,000 word short story and submit it to us during the submission.

– For your entry to be counted, you must tell us in the entry whether or not you’d like to participate in the voting stage, in case you end up to be one of the ten runners up.

– The story must not have been previously published on your blog or anywhere else.

– Only one entry per person.

– Please only enter if you’re genuinely interested in a critique from these industry pros. The critiques will be nice but honest, so if you’re looking for a cheerleader, this contest is not for you.

Submission Info & Dates:

– The short stories should be 3,000 – 5,000 words in length and should be some form of Young Adult, although genres within the Young Adult category work too. Other than that, anything goes. There’s no set prompt; just a short story.

– You can start submitting your short story as soon as October 26th, but it may be best to hold off for a few weeks because we’ll be running short story writing advice posts and I’ll have an opening paragraph critique going on throughout November, which should hopefully help make your short stories even better.

–  The deadline for entries is December 10th.

– We’ll announce the top ten finalists as well as who will critique their stories on January 10th, and we’ll post the ten runners up for the voting round the next day.

–  There’s plenty of time to get your short stories polished, but those of you doing NaNoWriMo might want to start writing them now and then go back and edit them in December before the entry window closes. I know how busy November is with NaNoWriMo, so I made sure there’s still time for you guys. Don’t worry!

– I’ll post an email for you to send your short stories submissions to, as well as how to format your entries, etc. on October 26th

Please check back on the 26th when we announce the participants and how to submit your entry! Thank you!

Questions? Comments? Confusion? What do you guys think? Is anyone out there planning to enter?


About Michael Waters

I'm Michael, I'm eighteen, and I blog about YA books for Barnes & Noble.

23 comments on “Announcing CritFest!

  1. Miriam Joy
    October 19, 2012

    Oooh, exciting times! And I have half a short story lying around somewhere… though I’m not really sure how long it was going to end up. Hmm. (It’s kind of a variation on a myth but with steampunk elements. That okay?)
    Not a big short story writer but hey, I can give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?
    *makes note on hand to actually do something about this*

    • John Hansen
      October 21, 2012

      That sounds okay! And yeah, it can’t hurt to try.

      • Miriam Joy
        October 25, 2012

        Hmm… might not be able to do it after all. I think it’s going to be a bit longer than 5k. Erm. Maybe more like 10k. Maybe I should write something else.

      • John Hansen
        October 26, 2012

        Yeah, I’m going to be pretty strict about being in the wordcount range for this one, because 5k is the max wordcount the critiquers commited to and the max Sharon and I commited to reading per short story (which, assuming we get a good number of entries, will be A LOT to read). You have plenty of time, though, to write a shorter one. And if you decide not to participate, that’s fine too!

      • Miriam Joy
        October 27, 2012

        If I have any ideas, I’ll write you a shorter one. If not, I won’t participate 😀 (This one always had the potential to turn out as a novella, anyway. If that happens, I shall pursue other options with it.)

  2. Ana
    October 19, 2012

    Can we submit chapters of a novel if they are a story in of themselves?

  3. dreamsinsong
    October 19, 2012

    YES! This is AWESOME! 😀 I’m so exciiiiiitedddddddd!

    And now I have to decide what I’m going to write about.

    Question: Can it be a story we wrote for a school assignment? (Re-vamped, of course?)

    • John Hansen
      October 21, 2012

      Yes, it can!

      And I’m glad you’re excited. So am I!! 🙂

  4. cait
    October 19, 2012

    I’m no short story writer. Which is a pity, because this is an awesome and huge contest! Thanks for hosting it! But, between now and the deadline, well…anything could happen! 😉

    • John Hansen
      October 21, 2012

      You might as well try! It can’t hurt to get critiques from professionals. 😉

  5. tomte
    October 19, 2012

    *thinks about hugging John and Sharon so hard they could possibly barf their entire inside up but decides against it as it would be gross and weird* Needless to say, I love this contest. A)It’s just plain awesome 😀 B)I thought of another hook! 😀 C) I loooove writing short stories! *leaves to dance around excitedly* 😀 😀 😀

    • John Hansen
      October 21, 2012

      YAY! I’m so excited, too!!

      • tomte
        October 22, 2012

        *continues to squeal happily with glee* 😀 😀 😀

  6. Emily
    October 20, 2012

    Ooooh, this is exciting! I’m still planning my NaNo novel, but maybe I can take a bit of a break and start work on a short story. Sounds like fun 🙂

  7. Pingback: Interview with Teen Writer John Hansen « Whimsically Yours

  8. Cindy
    October 22, 2012

    I would if I was a few days older. Technically, I’m still 12, but turn 13 just a few days after the deadline.
    Oh well. 🙂

    • John Hansen
      October 22, 2012

      Eh, you’re close enough. I’ll allow you to enter if you want to. 😉

  9. hithere298
    October 26, 2012

    Does it matter if the short story had been on my blog a few months ago, but I had deleted it and revised it a bunch of times? It doesn’t really matter, since I have another story planned out.

  10. Pingback: CritFest: Submission Window & Participants Announced! « Teens Can Write, Too!

  11. Pingback: December 1st | Of a Writerly Sort

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

October 2012
« Sep   Nov »
%d bloggers like this: