WRITER'S GAMES: Tips & Events

Use the menu below to jump to the selected section. It is recommended that you read the tips and hints to reap the most benefit from the competition. The list of possible Events is a good place to take notes.

The Writer's Games Events List was last updated:

MARCH 2020

Writer's Games Tips & Hints
  • There are no bonus points awarded for "first received". Each Event lasts 72 hours, so take your time and make sure your entry says what you want it to, the way you want it to. If you rush your entry, it's probably not your best work. Submit work you are proud of, not something you threw together.

  • Edit your work. All submissions should be publication ready.

  • Pay close attention to your Title Information. Missing, misplaced, or incorrect Title Information will result in entry disqualification. Ask questions. If you read the FAQ and the Rules but still don't have an answer to your question, ask! The judges are available in the Forum to help you succeed.

  • Try to participate in all Events. The more Events you enter, the higher your Overall Score. The highest Overall Score wins!

  • Unreasonable demands will be met with the Wrath of Righting.

  • Be respectful of your fellow participants. Remember, there are all ages and cultures here.


Writer's Games Events List

The following Events may or may not appear during the Games. The judges determine which Events will take place in advance; this is a list of potential Events and general definitions. The Event announcement takes precedence; the definitions here are a guide for further explanation. Keep in mind, this list is not complete! One of the actual Events may not be listed here.  


Core Concept: pacing, plot

There are so many morphing creatures out there that sometimes our characters forget about the perils of being human. For this Event, the ability to shapeshift does not exist and all your characters are human.


Core Concept: description, plot

Festivals are full of new sights, sounds, and experiences that can bring out both the best and worst in human nature. For this Event, your characters explore a festival of some kind.


Core Concept: character development, planning

Though obstacles come in many shapes and sizes, life can be easier when characters work together. For this Event, a group of characters works together to survive a difficult situation.


Core Concept: tropes, voice

A child's imagination is a powerful tool. For this Event, access your inner child and write a story for children that targets the specified age group.


Core Concept: narrative, tropes

In fiction, "cliche" is the last thing you want to hear about your writing. From the manic pixie dream girl to the hunky vampire with a soul to the nerdy forensic tech who specializes in all forms of evidence, cliches are tough to avoid. For this Event, combine as many cliches as possible in one cohesive tale.


Core Concept: dialogue, pacing

Dialogue does more than express conversation: it helps show the characters' personalities without telling the reader who they are. For this Event, tell an entire story using only dialogue.


Core Concepts: pacing, perspective

Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective to reveal the horrors of ordinary life. For this Event, your character is scared of an object everyone else finds ordinary.


Core Concept: character development, planning

Life is all about options. For this Event, your character goes through at least one real door that will change their life.


Core Concept: cohesion, description

Decorations, special attire, and grand feasts are the hallmarks of many well-celebrated holidays. For this Event, your character(s) creates a fake holiday and convinces others to celebrate as if it’s real.


Core Concept: backstory, voice

Memoirs tell the true story of someone's life through narrative. For this Event, your character lied in their memoir.


Core Concepts: backstory, character development

Every character is afraid of something, but if they always run away they will never grow. For this Event, write a story in which your character's true personality is revealed as they face what scares them the most.


Core Concept: cohesion, dialogue

Game shows reward people for feats of strength, ingenuity, or knowledge with monetary gain and notoriety. For this Event, the reward for stupidity is death.


Core Concept: narrative; show, don't tell

The most classic pieces of literature have become immortalized because they speak to the humanity within our souls, and touch on some powerful human emotion. For this Event, write a story that conveys powerful emotion that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings.


Core Concept: character development, plot

Journeys to extraordinary destinations are a common trope in fiction. For this Event, write about what happens when your character doesn't want to but must journey to a mundane destination. 


Core Concept: planning; show, don’t tell

Some of the best stories revolve around people you’ve never met. For this Event, write a story around an absent character that is referred to but does not appear and still advances the plot significantly.


Core Concept: backstory, tropes

Life gave us lemons and now citrus is taking over the world. For this Event, unlikely heroes step up to save humanity from something so ridiculously over the top, all you can do is laugh.


Core Concept: show, don't tell; tropes

"First contact" with alien life is arguably one of the biggest and most widely anticipated events in academic society. For this Event, tell a fictional story of the first contact with aliens of another world.


Core Concept: foreshadowing, perspective

Just because everyone survives doesn't mean it's a happy story. For this Event, tell a tragic story where no one dies.


Core Concept: description, voice

To connect with children on their imaginative level, authors of children’s tales sometimes use personified objects to teach a life lesson about friendship, doing the right thing, or acceptance. For this Event, personify an object and use it as the main character in a story for kids.


Core Concept: foreshadowing, plot

History is distilled into distinct dates that can hold a great personal or societal meaning. Often when people live through something, they don’t realize its importance until after the fact. For this Event, select a decade and country from the list provided and write a historical fiction story.


Core Concept: dialogue; show, don’t tell

We navigate the world through our senses. For this Event, a character has lost one or more of their senses and must rely on the descriptions of others to navigate their new world.


Core Concept: description, narrative

Sometimes the most powerful words are the ones not spoken. For this Event, write a complete story with no dialogue.


Core Concept: foreshadowing, planning

Mysteries plague life for everyone: who killed Jim, who ate the last cookie? For this Event, write a mystery that is solved by the end.


Core Concept: foreshadowing, tropes

Just when you think things can't get any worse, suddenly, sharks! In this Event, a tragic story is made comically worse in a sudden and surprising way that, when looking back, is obvious. Don't be afraid to play with the tropes of the extreme tragedy.


Core Concept: character development, pacing

Making an important decision under pressure often reveals a person’s true character. For this Event, your character(s) must meet a pressing time constraint.


Core Concept: narrative, perspective

Board games offer a variety of strategy and storytelling possibilities to the players but what about the games themselves? For this Event, write a story from the point of view of a board game.


Core Concept: description, voice

The worlds are silent characters in the stories you tell; they inform, describe, and bring to life the environment your characters call home. For this Event, tell a story in which the setting is the main character.

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Writer's Games Prizes

Prizes for the 2020 Writer's Games are donated by the co-founders of The Writer's Workout and the judges.

Overall: Each of the top three winners overall receive a physical copy of the anthology for the Portion of their success.

Event: Each of the top five winners per Event are published in the Portion's anthology volume of 72 Hours of Insanity. 

Submissions: Each entry submitted by a registered participant before the deadline receives critique from multiple judges, regardless of qualifying or placement status. 

© 2014-2020 The Writer's Workout 


The Writer's Workout is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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