Frequently Asked Questions
May the words flow to your victory.
For cost, rules, and rights requirements information.
For scheduling and portion information.
For language, submissions, file types, and formatting information.
For Events, word counts, and fanfiction information.
For scoring, disqualification, appeals, and victory information.
For registration, skipping, readers and editors, and transfer information.
The Writer's Games FAQ was last updated:
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The Writer's Games is a free writing competition. There is no charge for participation and every accepted entry receives critique.
The rules are available here or by using the navigation above: Writer's Games > Rules
When you register, you consent to keep every entry you submit private for the duration of the portion. This helps The Writer's Workout maintain a blind judgement process to protect your identity as a participant and keep the scoring fair. Entries you submit must not be published anywhere (including a personal blog) until the overall winners are announced for that portion.
The Writer's Workout maintains publication rights to any winning entry that will appear in the anthology for the duration of one year.
The Writer's Workout strives to provide honest judgement and feedback. When your entry is published or released to the public before the overall winner announcement, the judges have an opportunity to associate that piece with your participant number on the score sheet. While the judges work very hard to maintain an objective view of each entry, knowing who you are as a participant will sway even the strongest objectivity whether intentionally or unintentionally. Keeping details of your entries secret until after the overall winner announcement will help the judges stay fair and protect your identity.
Time Zones, Allotments, and Timing
All Events begin at Midnight, UTC, between Friday and Saturday. Events last 72 hours (3 days).
You can check timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter to find out when Events are posted in your time zone.
Click "Add a City or Time Zone" and type UTC. Click to select UTC.
Click the day/date and select the nearest future Saturday.
Click the time and select 00 - 12 am.
Click "Add another city or time zone" and begin typing your location. A list will drop down, choose the location nearest you. The site will show you the time and day of Event postings in your location.
The Writer's Workout runs a Practice Event before the scored Events begin so you can be sure of the Event start/closing time.
Each portion of The Writer's Games includes six Events over consecutive weeks. Portions begin in May and September annually. Registration is required for each portion, but not for individual Events. Registration opens the month before each portion begins: April and August.
What if I miss the announcement?
You don't have to be present for the start of the Event, just don't miss the deadline!
Entries to The Writer's Games must be submitted in English.
Characters may speak another language but the bulk of your entry must be English.
Writer's Games entries are accepted via email to or through the DropBox app on the Writer's Games page.
The following file types are accepted: .doc, .docx, .odt.
Emailed entries must be sent as attachments. Entries pasted into the body of the email are not accepted.
Entries must meet the following general formatting requirements:
Arial or Times New Roman, size 10 or 12pt, black text only.
1" empty margins on all four sides
0.5" (12mm) or Tab indentations for all paragraphs
Blank line for scene breaks
Do not include a secondary title of your entry.
Entries must include the proper Title Information at the start of the document, aligned left:
Title of Entry
Event Name (this appears in all caps during the announcement)
Entries not meeting the general formatting requirements lose points during judgement. Entries not including Title Information in the order listed above will be disqualified.
What is an Event?
An Event is a challenge in the Writer's Games. Each portion includes six Events over consecutive weeks. While the first Event is for practice, the following five are scored with publication for the winners. Entries to all six Events receive critique from multiple judges. Entries to the Practice Event also include formatting assistance to make sure your entries receive their full point value.
The complete list of Events is here on the Tips & Events page. Events are kept secret until their scheduled announcement, to help provide a fair experience for all participants.
The word count varies for each Event, so read the announcement closely. Most Events provide a range of 1,000 - 5,000 words.
It's possible that some of the Events from either portion in the previous year may appear again the following year, but no two Writer's Games portions are the same. The Event definitions are available to help writers generate ideas but the announcement of each Event is always new. Likewise, the judges change each portion.
Fanfiction is not accepted for any Event or other published challenge at The Writer's Workout. Submitting fanfiction is grounds for disqualification.
Scoring, Winning, and Disqualification
Participant names are removed from entry documents at receipt of submission, before the judges see the entries. Judges read entries in batches and use a ten-point sliding scale. Scores are based on the use and clarity of the Event's Core Concepts. Points may be added for exceptional display of other foundations of writing which have not been requested by the Event.
An entry's scores are averaged to find the Event score. Throughout the Games, Event scores are added to find the participant's Overall score. Every entry carries a score regardless of placement.
Writer's Games is not an elimination challenge. If one of your entries is disqualified, you receive a score of 0 for that Event. You still receive critique for your entry and are encouraged to try the next Event. Entry disqualification has no negative effect on your score or participation.
For more information on disqualifiers, please read Rule 7 of the Rules.
If your entry is disqualified for not meeting the challenge requirements, you may appeal on the grounds of concept. To appeal this type of disqualification, email Theresa at . Include the title of your entry, grounds provided by the judges, and why you feel your entry should qualify. Please keep in mind this process takes a long time and while your entry may have been a great story, it may not have adhered to the challenge at hand.
If your entry is disqualified for incorrect Title Information, you may not appeal. Review the submissions guidelines and try again for the next Event.
Winning depends on each writer's idea of the word. The Writer's Games offers several measurements of success: creating a work of fiction in 72 hours, submitting a piece for blind judgement, trying a genre that scared you, submitting for all six Events in a row, scoring in the top five for an Event, scoring in the top ten overall, and feedback showing a marked improvement over six weeks.
Since judges focus on the Core Concepts of each Event during scoring, pay close attention to how your entry handles these aspects. Your score may receive an additional boost from other foundations of writing or from the overall quality of your piece. However, if your entry is well-written but ignores one or both of the Event's Core Concepts, it will score low.
The top five highest scored entries from each Event are compiled in a volume of the anthology, 72 Hours of Insanity. At the end of all six Events, writers with the top three highest scores are interviewed and receive a physical copy of the portion's anthology.
Additional prizes are subject to sponsorship and donations.
Registration is required for participation in each portion of The Writer's Games. Your registration secures your space on the score sheet, creates your feedback document, and provides your consent to publish your winning entry.
Volume is dependent on several factors and changes each portion. If we're at capacity for the portion, you may add your name to the waiting list. If we're not able to accommodate you for the current portion, your space is guaranteed for the next potion. The waiting list is only available during registration months.
To register: click the registration button on the active Writer's Games page, fill out the form, and click submit. You'll receive an automated copy of your form. We'll send a Welcome Email a few days before the Practice Event with your feedback document attached.
Participants choose to skip Events for various reasons with no negative impact to their scores. You do not need to notify the team if you choose to skip an Event; you can continue with the next Event as normal.
Beta Teams and Editors
The Writer's Games is designed to show you what you alone can do. Some writers have teams of people to help refine their work but others are not so lucky. To provide all writers the same opportunity for success, support readers and editors are not allowed prior to submission.
If your entry wins an Event, it is reviewed by the Writer's Workout editing team and you have the opportunity to use their comments, as well as your feedback, to improve your entry before publication.
If you find you're unable to participate, please notify Theresa by email at prior to the start of the Practice Event. Your space will be given to someone on the waiting list. This list is first come, first served so you may not designate your space to a specific person. Please note no updates can be made to the score sheet once the Practice Event has been announced.