In 2016 a small group of writers was presented with an informal short story challenge  -- given an opening and closing paragraph, craft an original short story connecting the two.  

The challenge ultimately resulted in one of the short stories growing into the novel Dog Logic, which went on to win a Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Silver Award for Science Fiction, win a Bronze Award for Literary Fiction from Readers’ Favorites, and selected as a Contemporary Novel Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards.

The success of the first challenge motivated the launch of the 2018 Owl Canyon Press short story Hackathon #1 which recently announced its winners and was such a smashing success that we’re doing it again with bigger prizes.

To enter, the Owl Canyon Hackathon #2  click the link below for the official entry form, contest guidelines, and rules.

Writers are invited to create and submit a short story consisting of 50 paragraphs. The contest provides the 1st and 25th paragraphs, and the short story writer crafts the rest.   First prize is $3000, 2nd prize is $2000, and 3rd prize is $1000 with the winning short stories published in a short story anthology, as well as an invitation to give a public reading at Inkberry Books in Niwot, CO. The twenty-four (24) Finalists will also have their short stories included in this anthology.

Owl Canyon Press provides paragraph #1 and two alternative paragraph #25's. The writer gets to choose which paragraph #25 to use and then writes the other 48 paragraphs (i.e., paragraphs 2-24 and 26-50) to complete the story.


  • There’s no cost to enter
  • Anyone can submit, including outside the USA, but the stories must be in English
  • 50 Paragraphs total – including the 1st and 25th provided in the submission form
  • No maximum word count, but each paragraph needs to be at least 40 words – this isn’t flash fiction so feel free to use as many words as you need to tell the story
  • Dialog is fine as long as it’s in a paragraph of at least 40 words
  • Authors retain all rights to their short stories
  • Winning authors agree to permit Owl Canyon Press to publish their stories in an Anthology
  • Winners receive up to $3000 in cash awards, publication in a short story anthology, and an invitation to give a public reading at Inkberry Books in Niwot, CO
  • Winners will be notified in February 2019
  • Failure to comply with any contest guidelines may result in disqualification

For additional information check the Owl Canyon Press Hackathon FAQ 

Owl Canyon Press