I'm responsible for these now and I'll try not to make it a horror story. The contests will re-open on 1 October; details of the first contest to follow in another thread. Taking on board the feedback from the recent... well, let's call it a "feedback" thread... we've made some changes. I've covered the major ones below, but please ask if you have any questions, either in this thread or by PM. 1. Frequency Short story contests are now monthly. Entries will be posted from the 1st to the 14th of each calendar month. Voting will take place from the 15th to the last day of each calendar month. A day begins at 00:00 GMT and ends at 23:59 GMT because I'm British and yearn for the days when we told you colonies what time it was. I jest... but not about the times. Contests are now on GMT. 2. Prompts / Themes These will no longer be chosen by the previous winner. We're going to have a mixture of: completely open (unthemed) contests; picture prompts; word prompts; scenarios; and whatever else the combined brains of this creative forum come up with. To suggest a theme/prompt, please PM me or post here: http://www.writingforums.org/threads/add-your-prompt-theme-suggestions.148303/ The prompts/themes will be announced at least three months in advance. This is to accommodate people who need/like longer than a month to write an entry. 3. Word Count The word count will now be a minimum of 1,200 and a maximum of 5,000. Those who prefer to write shorter stories will be welcomed with open arms for the flash fiction contests, which will also be resuming soon. 4. Reward Winners get: a shiny medal under their avatar; a chance to win our Annual Short Story Hall of Fame Contest, in which all 11 winners of the year compete for a spot in the Hall of Fame (the 12th month being reserved for this contest); featured in an annual WF anthology / e-zine, the format and details of which are being ironed out. 5. Voter Participation There was much discussion about this in the feedback thread. The long and short of it is we can't force people to vote, and we don't want to anyway. I'm going to do my best by posting regular reminders and trying to choose themes / prompts that will inspire, but what I really want to focus on is quality over quantity. I'll be trying to get discussion and critique going on the entries. Other Rules: Anybody can enter. You don't need a certain number of posts or to have been a member for a certain length of time. All welcome. Stories should be original and written specifically for the contest. You can vote for yourself because we can't stop you, but at least read the stories first and be honest with yourself--if another entry is better, please vote for it. Entries will be anonymised by the forum software. Please don't tell anybody which entry is yours until the voting is over. I'm sure you all want people to vote for your story on its merit, not because they like you. I'm encouraging feedback, which will naturally include what could be improved on, but rudeness towards another poster OR their writing will not be tolerated. Acceptable: "It didn't feel polished." Not acceptable: "You need to learn to write." Acceptable: "The dialogue was stilted." Not acceptable: "Have you ever talked to another human or do you live in your mum's basement, loser?" I want to say thank you to @GingerCoffee for running the contests for so long. I thought she did a great job, was clearly enthusiastic and proud of the entries, and gave up a lot of her time. I hope this sounds fun and unspiring. If it doesn't, I want to know why and what you'd like to see!