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Not your ordinary writing competition.

The Writer's Games is a six-week, challenge-based competition that can seem daunting until you dive in. It's not your ordinary writing competition for several reasons. Here's the short version: anyone over 13, anywhere in the world, can register in advance for free to participate in six weekly Events. Each Event is secret until the announcement, then registered participants have 72 hours to write and submit. Judges score and critique every entry, and we publish the winners! 


Read "What happens to my entry" below.



Competition breakdown:

Each week is the same; you can set recurring alarms so you won't miss a post!

Friday: Event announcement (midnight, UTC)

Saturday-Monday: WRITE!

Monday: email entry before midnight, UTC

Repeat for six weeks and get free feedback!

Returning Gamer?

Click here for the 2024 changes.

Here's the long version:

  • In the month before registration opens, we hold Mock Events so you can try the challenges in advance.

    • Mock Events work the same way as the regular Games Events BUT these challenges do not require registration; they're open to everyone worldwide. 

    • We use Mock Event entries to train our judges: they read, score, and critique these pieces just like they will in the real competition. It takes a little longer but these entries also receive feedback.

  • Registration opens at the start of the month before the Writer's Games. These spaces are limited so once the score sheet is full, we're out of room. 

    • If registration is full but the competition hasn't started yet, add your name/email to the waiting list. ​Spaces open up again by the end of the month and we contact writers on the waiting list; it's first come, first served. 

    • Registration is free and open worldwide to anyone over 13. Minors require parental consent. Feedback is included.

  • Every week during the competition, we announce an Event. 

    • Events begin at midnight, UTC, on the cusp of Saturday. For those in the Americas, that's Friday evening. Everywhere else, it's ​Saturday.

    • We plan the Events in advance and keep them secret; the announcement starts the clock on the 72-hour time limit.

    • The competition kicks off with the Practice Event. Practice scores don't count toward your total but you still get feedback on your entry, plus formatting feedback to ensure you're submitting future entries correctly. We provide formatting feedback because many publications and competitions reject incorrectly formatted works without ever letting you know. With our help, you'll know you're interpreting guidelines correctly.

    • Find Event announcements on the Games page, Twitter, and Discord. You can also subscribe to our Writer's Games Only list receive announcements via email.

  • Once an Event starts, write your heart out! Create a story that follows the Event announcement and utilizes the Core Concepts listed. Be sure you stay within the word count limit.

    • Your adherence to the challenge ensures you earn a score. Your use of the Core Concepts helps you score higher. 

  • Before time runs out, revise your short story. Quadruple-check your Title Information. It should be four lines, in the correct order, at the top left of your document body with all four margins empty.

    • The Event name (line 3) appears in ALL CAPS in the announcement. Submit your story via Dropbox or email to submissions [at]

      • WW accepts .doc, .docx, and .odt ​

      • Yes, you can send a Google Doc or Word Live link via email. We are not responsible for locked files and we will not request access.

  • At the end of the week, right before the next Event, we announce the Event winners.

    • If you elect to receive feedback weekly, we deliver on Sundays to the best of our ability.

  • Repeat for six weeks!

  • After the final Event ends and the judges finish their work, we announce the Overall winners.

  • At the end of the competition, we publish the edited winning entries in an anthology: 72 Hours. The proceeds from the sale of this anthology provide prizes and pay for this volunteer organization. You can read more on what goes into producing one portion of The Writer's Games on our Donations page.

What happens to my entry?

Judgement of The Writer's Games is blind. Registering for the competition grants you a numbered space on the score sheet. This number is assigned by an impartial third party and is known only to this third party. 


The number system allows judges to focus on the story and prevents bias. When you submit your entry, the third party replaces author names with their assigned numbers and distributes entries to the judges. The judges never see a name attached to an entry; they cannot download, print, or copy your entry and only have access for four days.


Entries are never pitted against one another; they are judged solely on their relation to the active challenge. Your score is determined by how well you express an understanding of the Event's Core Concepts.


At the end of the competition, the judges provide line and copy editing notes on the winning pieces, plus time for their authors to revise. These winning entries form the portion's anthology.


We never release numerical scores or overall volume for any reason. Every entry receives unbiased feedback from multiple sources. The Writer's Games is a free competition provided for you by volunteers. 



What Happens

The Writer's Workout is a global charity working to improve literacy through creative writing. We hold competitions, workshops, open calls, and discussions; provide motivation, tips, prompts, and giveaways; and offer a community rich in culture and skill. Check our donations page to learn more about how The Writer's Workout strengthens the writing community. 



Learn what it takes to produce one portion of The Writer's Games.


The Writer's Workout is a registered

501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

run by volunteers.


The idea for The Writer's Games (originally dubbed the NaNoGames) came from Heather Glomb. The first Games took place in May, 2014, with a goal to "just write". When the contest finished, writers wanted a stronger challenge and this organization was born.

Read about the first Games here.


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