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Not your ordinary writing competition

In our ten-year history of running this competition, we've met a lot of amazing people—competitors and judges. The Writer's Games has inspired thousands of stories (and some poems and screenplays!) and millions of words. Writers are encouraged to use this competition to try new genres, spark ideas, and create the basis for short story collections and longer works. Winning is hard because there's so much talent here; judgement is based on expression of the Event's Core Concepts. Overall winners show consistent quality each week.

Each portion of The Writer's Games requires thousands of hours of volunteer labor. Donate here to help keep us running!

Please note information about Teams portions is not listed below. Past Teams portions (2014-18) will be detailed on the Teams Challenge page as soon as I find a moment to add it.



Hey, writer!

Just a quick head's up: I'm currently working on reformatting every publication (all 30+ titles). If you were featured in anything we've published, you'll receive a digital contributor copy as soon as I'm finished. Keep in mind I'm also reformatting every feedback document we've ever created (several thousand), reorganizing, and repackaging them into folders to distribute via email... while adding past winner interviews to our blog, interviewing hundreds of awesome applicants for our internship program, planning 2024 Writer's Games, and keeping everything else here (WayWords, Tales, Potluck, etc) afloat. It's taking longer than expected. You can reach out with questions here



Winner Interviews:

Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.

Writer's Games 2022

Our ninth consecutive year brought the 17th portion in 2022. Our steady growth is a constant source of inspiration and this year, we tried a few new things with Writer's Games. Hundreds of writers around the world created new tales, submitting several million words to five brand new Events. While we love this competition so much, we were exhausted by the end of the internship program and needed a break in 2023 to come back stronger in 2024. 

72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vol. 11

eBook and Print

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Learn what's required to produce just one portion of The Writer's Games

Writer's Games 2021

In 2021, we decided to focus on offering more publication opportunities to writers around the world. This left us little time to produce multiple portions of this intense competition. Instead, we opted for one big extravaganza... and we were not disappointed. Hundreds of writers around the world joined our community for the summer portion, resulting in millions of words and so many amazing new worlds, we were in awe.  

72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vol. 10

eBook and Print

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Writer's Games 2020

Our seventh year was bigger and better than ever. While the world around us socially distanced in quarantine, we pushed for inventive, new ways to inspire. Writers around the world submitted more than 2.5 million words in Games entries this year. We made new friends, judged wild new style combinations, and produced two amazing anthologies as a result. We also saw two winners land publishing contracts as a result.


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72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vols. 8 & 9

eBook and Print

Writer's Games 2019

With lots of schedule changes at play, Portion 1 took place over March and April in 2019. We worried this deviation from our traditional portion schedule would limit the number of writers who could participate; we were pleasantly surprised to find more overwhelming support for this writing competition. Just like in 2018, more than four hundred writers competed and gathered to accept the challenge of six stories in six weeks. 

Prizes for both portions were graciously supplied by Games sponsors Out of Print and Litographs



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72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vols. 6 & 7

eBook and Print

Writer's Games 2018

After much inter-team conflict and entitlement, 2018 saw the last Teams portion for the foreseeable future. The Writer's Workout community focused on more positive things: TWO Individual portions in 2018! More than four hundred writers competed in the Individual Writer's Games in April and August. The Writer's Workout was thrilled for the support of For Reading Addicts and OmmWriter, who also provided outstanding prizes for our winners. Stacked with exciting new challenges, 72-hour weekly deadlines, and the introduction of the Extended Critique option, this year's Writer's Games was the most challenging to date. 



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72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vols. 4 & 5

eBook and Print

Writer's Games 2017

2017 saw many positive changes to the Writer's Games: a separate Games Twitter account, site and Twitter Event announcements (in addition to the Facebook releases), definitions of Events, and Core Concepts to help writers understand what judges wanted to see. The writing community exploded with anticipation and excitement over our little competition. Within the first six days of open registration, 2017's total exceeded 2016. We blew past our stretch goal in the first two weeks and within three weeks of opening, we had to switch to a waiting list to ensure a consistent level of quality care for our participants. To accommodate as many writers as possible, we reopened our internship to new applicants—doubling our program and allowing us to accept the first one hundred of the 268 additional names on the waitlist. Three hundred writers competed in the Individual portion of Writer's Games 2017; our most successful event to date. With a second internship for the Teams portion, eight teams competed for victory. Writer's Games 2017 maintained the People's Choice Event, feedback for every entry, seven guest judges, and a break in the middle for Camp NaNoWriMo. The Writer's Games anthology published the top five weekly winners of the Individual portion and top three Teams portion weekly placements. Winning entries are available in vol. 3.  



72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vol. 3

eBook and Print

Writer's Games 2016

When 2016 rolled around, The Writer's Workout was buzzing with anticipation of The Writer's Games. Writers encouraged their friends to join in the fun and the group doubled. Planning for the 2016 Writer's Games began in January with an internship for course credit open to college students. By the time registration opened, The Games were ready to go. The Individual portion saw 126 writers, seven guest judges, and a People's Choice Event.

The Writer's Workout took a break in July for Camp NaNoWriMo. The Games returned in August, where five teams tackled difficult Events focused on setting, point of view, and another People's Choice. Publication of the second Games Anthology set a tradition for future Games. Winning entries are available in vol. 2. 


72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vol. 2

eBook and Print

Writer's Games 2015

By the 2015 Games, The Writer's Workout was in full swing and judges had more than a minute to plan for what became the foundation of the Writer's Games today. The Individual portion came first in 2015, with 96 writers using every last second of their 72-hour time limit. Tensions were high as the Individual portion progressed, and amid the competitive nature of the writers involved, lasting friendships blossomed.

The Writer's Workout planned for a month-long break for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, and seven Teams of writers worked to produce incredible and varied short stories in just 72 hours. The 2015 Games also saw the first publication of winning entries in volume 1.


72 Hours of Insanity:

Anthology of The Games, vol. 1

eBook and Print

Writer's Games 2014

The first annual Writer's Games (originally dubbed the NaNoGames) was a 2014 experiment. Four teams battled in what can only be referred to as an all-out war. With 48 hours to write and 46 hours to judge, the Teams portion was a whirlwind of confusion. Both the judges and participants had only a moment to relax before 44 writers competed for the Individual portion and bragging rights. While the writing period was still just 48 short hours this first year, the judges wised up and set a schedule that would provide some consistency to the chaos.

The original idea for NaNoGames came from Heather Glomb, who one day announced seven writing events for a challenge "similar to the Olympics". For the full explanation of what we survived in that chaotic mess of a first portion, read Inside the Writer's Games: The First Games

Learn what's required to produce just one portion of The Writer's Games

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