Texas Authors Insitute of History, Inc.

Texas Authors Short Story Contest - Students

3rd Short Story Contest


Beginning on August 1st, the Texas Authors Institute of History will kick off its third annual short story writing contest for students in grades 6-12. As the only museum in the nation dedicated to preserving the literary legacy of Texas authors past and present, fostering the development of future Texas authors is at the heart of our mission.

Students from all backgrounds, whether attending public, private, or homeschool, are invited to participate. To access the official rules and entry form, students can simply click here.

A variety of prizes will be awarded to winners, making this contest an exciting opportunity for young writers to showcase their talent.

"We wholeheartedly celebrate the creative minds of the younger generation," remarked B. Alan Bourgeois, founder and director of the Texas Authors Institute. "We recognize them as the future authors who will shape the landscape of literature, and we are honored to partner with schools to inspire students to evolve into exceptional writers, recognized and celebrated worldwide."

While the Texas Authors Institute has three primary sponsors, they eagerly welcome other businesses to join them in promoting literacy and education on both local and statewide levels. Interested sponsors can reach out to the Institute via email at [email protected] to explore collaboration opportunities.


How to Enter:

Texas Students are welcome to enter in any genre.  Entry fee is FREE

We have kept our entry process as simple as possible.

Please email us your short story to [email protected].  Once we receive your entry, we will then send you an email confirmation.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Judging Guidelines

The following are the guidelines that the librarian judges will use to score your short story entry.

1. Characterization: Does the author create believable, memorable characters with the uniqueness, complexity, and individuality of real people? Do you respond to the characters either positively or negatively? Does the main character respond to and influence events? Does the dialogue contribute to rich, vivid, unique characterization?

2. Plot: Has the author constructed a clear, convincing and compelling storyline with a recognizable arc of conflict, crisis, and resolution? Are obstacles to be overcome sufficiently challenging to the protagonists? Do you feel the tension mounting in the story? Is the resolution innovative, credible, and authentic?

3. Theme: Does the story contain a central or dominating theme? Does the author make this idea concrete through the characters and their actions? How well is the message integrated into the story? Is the story an agenda-driven platform?

4. Setting and Atmosphere: Are historical and geographic details sufficiently and accurately developed to give the story a realistic or appropriate atmosphere and setting? Can you visualize the places being described? Does the story contain anachronisms?

5. Mechanics: Are there errors present in spelling, grammar, paragraphing, and punctuation? Are words used incorrectly? Do typographical errors mar your enjoyment of the story?

6. Writing Quality: Does the quality of the author’s prose and deftness in handling point-of-view enhance the story? Do specific details appeal to your senses and hold your attention? Does the author use precise, active verbs? Does the rhythm of the prose enhance the meaning? Are metaphors and similes skillfully employed?

7. Passion: Does this story engage your emotions? Have you come to care deeply about the characters and what happens to them? Is your mind and spirit stimulated and enlightened by the experience of reading this story?

Below is the suggested concept of the scoring of points from 1 to 10

1 – this should have never been written
5 – it’s ok, but…
10 – this is fantastic

Official Rules

Please read these rules before entering the Short Stories by Texas Students Contest (the “Contest”). You agree that, by submitting an entry, you will be bound by these Official Rules and you acknowledge that you satisfy all sweepstakes eligibility requirements.

Eligibility. If you are an individual legal resident of the State of Texas and that you are in one of the grades from 6 – 12 (homeschool, public or private school grade levels) or the legal guardian of a minor wishing to enter into this contest, you are eligible to enter the Contest.

Contest Period. The Contest begins at 12:00:01 a.m. (CDT) on August 15 of each year and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. (CDT) on January 15 of each year (the “Contest Period”). How to Enter. To enter, during the Contest Period you must enter a non-published fictional short story written by the author consisting of no less than 1,500 words and no more than 3,000 words. The contestant may enter for free as often as they would like during the contest period. All entries must be submitted online by clicking here.

Mailing List. By entering the Sweepstakes, you consent to be placed on a mailing list for promotional and other materials from the sponsors of this contest. You may update or change your “E-mail Preferences & Notifications” by submitting an email to the Contest organizers at [email protected]

Prizes are subject to change without notice.

1st Place Top Winners

Top winners from each category will receive $100 cash award. **
Top winners will receive 3 print books
First Place Prizes est. value ($136.00 Each Winner)
2nd Place Winners

Top winners from each category will receive $75 cash award.
Second place winners will receive 2 print books
Second Place Prizes est. value ($99 Each Winner)
3rd Place Winners

Top winners from each category will receive $50 cash award.
Third place winners will receive1 print book
Third Place Prizes est. value ($62.00 Each Winner)

Rules and guidelines are subject to change without notice.
*Prize Value based on there being sufficient entries so that categories are not combined. A minimum of 3 entries per grade level by different authors must be received to avoid combination with other grade levels.

**If less than three entries for a genre are received, the entries will be combined into a 'general' category for competition.

***All prizes will be awarded within 6 months from notification of winning, and only after each winner has met the requirements. It is the sole responsibility of the student to keep up to date with email notifications received by the Contest organizers. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.

The total retail value of all prizes varies based on the number of winners. Winners must have or will need to create an account on the sponsor’s website issuing the prize in order to redeem the prize. The GCs may only be used for purchases of eligible goods or services on the sponsor’s website or certain of its affiliated websites. Redemption of a GC will be subject to the sponsor’s standard terms, conditions, and restrictions applicable to the sponsor’s Gift Cards in effect on the day of issuance of the GC. A GC cannot be redeemed for the purchase of gift cards. Except as required by law, a GC cannot be reloaded, resold, transferred for value, redeemed for cash, or applied to any other account. The sponsors are not responsible if any GC is lost, stolen, destroyed or used without permission. If a GC is lost or stolen, it will not be replaced.

Winners will be: (a) responsible for paying all costs and expenses related to the prize that are not specifically mentioned, including, but not limited to, taxes, and any other expenses that might reasonably be incurred by winner in receiving or using the prize; and (b) will be required to submit his/her social security number or taxpayer ID number to Sponsor or its prize provider agency in order to claim the prize.

Selecting Contest Winners: A panel of judges determined by Contest organizers will review each story submitted and graded in the following categories: Characterization, Plot, Theme, Setting/Atmosphere, Mechanics, Writing Quality and Passion. The score for each category will be given by each judge and then totaled. The author with the highest scoring story will be selected as the winner for each category/subcategory.

Scores are based on a point system with the values ranging from 1 the lowest value to 10 the highest value. You may click here to review the judging guidelines.

The judge’s scores are finale. If there is a tie on total points, another judge may be selected to review and score each of the tying stories and issue a final ruling for the wining story.

Additional Terms. We may, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law and in our sole discretion, change these rules or cancel the Sweepstakes at any time; or modify, terminate, or suspend the Contest should viruses, worms, bugs, unauthorized human intervention or other causes beyond our control corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness of the Contest or submission of entries. We are not responsible for: (a) lost, misdirected, late, postage-due, incomplete, or unintelligible entries whether caused by you or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest, or by any technical or human error that may occur in the processing of entries; (b) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Contest; (c) any error in the operation or transmission, theft, destruction, unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries for technical, network, telephone, computer, hardware or software, malfunctions of any kind, or inaccurate transmission of, or failure to receive any entry information on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website; or (d) injury or damage to you or any other computer resulting from downloading any materials in connection with the Contest. We may, in our sole discretion, disqualify any individual found to be: (x) tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or website; (y) acting in violation of these rules; or (z) acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. If your entry is incomplete or if you use robotic, automatic, programmed or similar entry methods, your entry will be void. The authorized subscriber of the e-mail account used to enter the Contest at the actual time of entry will be deemed to be the participant and must comply with these rules in the event of a dispute as to entries submitted by multiple users having the same e-mail account. The authorized account subscriber is the natural person who is assigned an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domains associated with the submitted e-mail addresses. No greater than the nine (21) prizes stated in these Official Rules will be awarded.

Miscellaneous. The Contest is governed by the laws of the United States. The Contest and all accompanying materials are © 2017-2020 by Texas Authors Institute of History, Inc., its sponsors, and its affiliates. All rights reserved. If you win the prize, you may not transfer, assign, or redeem the prize for cash. We may substitute a prize with a prize of equal or greater value. Each winner agrees (for himself or herself and his or her heirs) that, by accepting the prize, we, along with each of our respective affiliates and agents (collectively, the “Released Parties”), will have no liability, and will be held harmless by the winner for any liability, loss, injury or damage to property or person, including death, and attorney’s fees and court costs, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by reason of the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of the prize or participation in the Contest, even if caused or contributed to by the negligence of any of the Released Parties. You agree that our decisions related to the Contest and the random drawing are final. Winner agrees that, by participating in the Contest, we may use the winner’s name, image or likeness in any manner and in any medium for our promotional purposes without additional compensation, except where prohibited by law, and we may be required to disclose the winner’s address to state regulatory authorities.

Winner’s List. After we confirm the winners, we will post the names of the winners on the website after June 1st each year.

Sponsors. Indie Lector, LLC, and any additional sponsors that may be added during the time of the contest. All sponsors are legal businesses within the State of Texas. Each sponsor is responsible for awarding their prize to the winner of the Contest and cannot and will not be held liable for the failure of lost, stolen, un-awarded prizes by other sponsors of the Contest.

Privacy Notice: All information submitted in connection with this Sweepstakes will be treated in accordance with these Official Rules and Texas Authors Institute of History, Inc., Privacy Notice.

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