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October Challenge:

classic "whodunnit"


up to 7,500 words

Deadline: October 31

Find submission links below the rules

A Tip from E.L.:

"Immerse yourself into the world of the whodunnit. Not every mystery requires a murder, but pacing, stakes, red herrings, and classic tropes all play a part. When in doubt, consider Knox's commandments for writing detective fiction. In this golden age of crime, think of your world like a game of Clue. Whodunnit, where, when, and with what? Did some of your characters have the means but not the opportunity? Is everyone lying about their motive? In this world, dust off your fedoras, embrace those femme fatales, and brush up on your detective skills because this is a crime only you can solve."

Submission links are below the submissions guidelines.

One entry per person.

Read past winners here:


The Basics

Fiction Potluck is free to enter and open to fiction writers of all ages around the world. One entry per person per challenge.

Submissions are accepted through Dropbox, Duosuma, and email (submissions [at]

Submissions are accepted in January, April, July, and October. The challenge and guest judge will change each open period. The guest judge picks the challenge—we never know what we'll get!

The selection team reads all entries that follow the submissions guidelines as explained below. Entries are read blind. The team chooses the finalists and contacts those authors. 

Finalist author names and bios are posted on this page and announced in our monthly mailer. 

The guest judge reads the finalist pieces and chooses three winners. Each of the three winning pieces is published on our blog and linked through this page. Winning entries will be published as received.


October Guest Judge

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E.L. Johnson

E.L. Johnson writes historical mysteries for Dragonblade Publishing, the #1 ebook publisher of Historical Romance 

on Amazon. A Boston native, she gave up clam chowder and lobster rolls for tea and scones when she moved across the pond to London, where she studied medieval magic at UCL and medieval remedies at Birkbeck College. Now based in Hertfordshire, she is a member of the Hertford Writers’ Circle and the founder of the London Seasonal Book Club. When not singing in the band, Bloodmemory, she's writing about murder in quiet English villages.

Keeping up with E.L.:

Twitter: @ELJohnson888

Insta: eljohnson_writes

Facebook: @theELJohnson

Tiktok: @alecto99



E.L.'s latest:

The Lyon and the Bluestocking

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General Rules

  • All entries must be in English and original works of fiction. 

  • The competition runs on UTC time, beginning and ending at midnight.

  • You must keep your entry private until after we post the top three winning stories.

  • The judges' decisions are final.

  • The judges will contact the finalists and winners. 

  • The judges cannot provide feedback for every piece submitted.

  • Winning entries will be published as received.


The following are not accepted:​

  • Simultaneous submissions

  • Previously published works

  • AI-generated content

  • Fanfiction, erotica, religious, or political content

  • Pieces longer than the word count limit

  • Pieces submitted outside the competition month

  • Pieces submitted in .pdf or pasted into the body of the email

  • Pieces without the correct Title Information (below) will be rejected unread. 


October: up to 7,500 words

Times New Roman or Arial font, size 10 or 12, single spaced

Indented paragraphs

Empty margins on all four sides

Empty line for scene breaks

Entries must include this Title Information in this order at the top of the document body, aligned left: 

Name or Pseudonym, email

Entry Title

Fiction Potluck

Word Count 

Accepted file types: .doc, .docx, .odt

Live, unlocked Google Docs or Microsoft Word links are accepted via email (submissions [at] Set your document permissions to "anyone with the link can [comment or edit]" so we can collect it. We will not request access and we are not responsible for locked docs.


Your submission grants The Writer's Workout (WW) exclusive electronic rights for 90 days. WW reserves non-exclusive rights to digitally publish winning entries indefinitely. Winning pieces will be published as received.

The Writer's Workout is run by volunteers;

we thrive with your support!


Seth Cupery

Seth is a freelance writer and editor with a bachelor’s degree in the humanities and a history minor, hoping to help other writers improve and find their audience. Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, Seth still tries to learn as much as he can about the wider world so that he can better understand the people he shares a planet with. He enjoys works of fiction, historical facts, weird information from around the globe, and a well-drawn illustration or map.



Theresa Green

Theresa is a co-founder of The Writer's Workout, a crime fiction writer, and the editor at Premier Literary Services.


Sofie Leggett

Sofie is a current college student studying creative writing, Spanish, and music. She enjoys playing instruments, hanging out with her dogs, making art, watching TV, and of course, reading and writing. The historical fiction and mystery genres are her current favorites, but she likes to experiment in every genre of writing. While her current experience is limited to short stories and poetry, in the future, Sofie hopes to expand her horizons by working in different types of media such as television and video games.

Be our guest! 

Do you have a big release coming soon? Spread the word by being a guest judge.

Contact Theresa for details.

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