Owl Canyon Press Short Story Hackathon #5

Order your copy of When the Ride Ends, the collection of winning stories in the Autumn 2019 Hackathon, today!

 To enter your story, please register and make payment on PayPal using the link below:


The link will be active beginning on January 9, 2021. When we have received your payment, we will email instructions for how to submit your story.

Hackathon Contest Rules and Regulations


Writers are invited to create and submit a short story consisting of 20 paragraphs. The contest provides the 1st and 12th paragraphs, and the short story writer crafts the rest.   First prize is $1000, 2nd prize is $750, and 3rd prize is $500 with the winning short stories published in a short story anthology, as well as an invitation to give a public reading at Inkberry Books in Niwot, CO. The twenty-four (24) Finalists will also have their short stories included in this anthology.


Owl Canyon Press provides paragraphs #1 and  #12, and the writer creates the other 18 paragraphs (i.e., paragraphs 2-11 and 13-20) to complete the story.


  • There’s is an entry fee of $25 per story payable using the PayPal link above

  • Anyone can submit, including outside the USA, but the stories must be in English

  • 20 Paragraphs total – including the 1st and 12th provided below:


#1. The world felt changed. The fare on TV looked the same but wasn’t. Grocery shelves were well-stocked and colorful as ever, but with what exactly, it wasn’t as clear. Reports from Greenland foretold the future, as per usual, but, whereas before I ignored them, today I was unmoored. A friend, a former D-1 scholarship athlete, confided that he had stopped exercising, while my mother, who is sixty-three, enrolled in not one but three Pilates classes. The elevator opened and I stepped from pondering this liminal haze into face-to-face confrontation with the chairman of the board.


#12. The manager handed me a bill for $5,993.27, the cost of a new battery for my ancient Tesla. I looked it over, casually held my card over the scanner, and turned to leave. That’s when the woman coughed and I hesitated. Without turning and businesslike, I took a few more steps and asked if she thought she had a cold. When she didn’t immediately reply, I stopped and looked from the corner of my eyes. Spinning around, I was surprised to discover I was alone. Inspection of the premises, at first slow but soon frantic, revealed nothing and no one. And my car was gone too.

  • No maximum word count, but each paragraph needs to be at least 10 words – feel free to use as many words as you need to tell the story

  • Dialog is fine as long as it’s in a paragraph of at least 10 words

  • Authors retain all rights to their short stories

  • Winning authors agree to permit Owl Canyon Press to publish their stories in an Anthology

  • Winners receive up to $1000 in cash awards, publication in a short story anthology, and an invitation to give a public reading at Inkberry Books in Niwot, CO

  • The entry deadline is midnight, Mountain Standard Time, March 15th. Winners will be notified in May 2021

  • Failure to comply with any contest guidelines may result in disqualification 

  • Please note that, given to the large number of submissions, we will not be able to provide individual feedback on work submitted.




Pre-order your copy of An Odd Sized Casket, the collection of winning stories in the Fall 2020 Hackathon, today!

Tanya  Aydelott

Tanya Aydelott is a Pakistani American writer currently based in Texas. She earned an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her work has been published in Dark Moon Digest and FORESHADOW: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA.

Steven Dandaneau

Steven Dandaneau lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. His first novel, Say Hey Little Prince, was released by Owl Canyon Press in November, 2020.

Rev. Sally Brower, PhD

The Rev. Sally Brower, PhD has devoted two decades to the art of sermon writing. Her writing seeks to transform even painful human experience into something beautiful and meaningful. Her poetry appears in Wisdom Found: Stories of Women Transfigured by FaithReinventing Sunday, and The Cup of Salvation.

Carrie Jane Knowles


Carrie Knowles was the North Carolina Piedmont Laureate for Short Fiction in 2014. Her short stories have won numerous awards, including the Village Advocate Fiction Contest, the Blumenthal Writers and Readers Series, the North Carolina Writer’s Network Fiction Syndication, and Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Competition. She has been a finalist in Glimmer Train competitions six times.


Carrie has published four novels: The Inevitable Past, Lillian's Garden, Ashoan's Rug and A Garden Wall in Provence,  a collection of short stories, Black Tie Optional, and a memoir, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s.


She has recently published a writing workbook:  A Self-Guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on Learning How to Write Stories from Start-to-Finish. 


She writes a regular column for Psychology Today: Shifting Forward: A Wanderer's Musings (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shifting-forward).



Find out more about her work at: cjanework.com

Elana Rubin

Elana Rubin is a creative writing major at Johns Hopkins University. Next year, she will begin her master's in education, leading her closer to her life goal of instilling a love of writing in all students. Her work has appeared in Thimble Literary Magazine and As It Ought To Be Magazine, among others. 

Owl Canyon Press

Publishing Fine Books in Boulder, CO since 2011