The Rules: Compose a short story entirely of dialogue. You may use as many characters as you want. Your entry must be under 2000 words. Your entry does not have to follow standard rules for writing dialogue. Your entry cannot use any narration (this includes tag lines such as he said, she said, etc.). These are the only rules. Manipulate them however you see fit.
The Winner: The winning entry will be the story that most effectively uses dialogue to deliver a powerful and engaging story.
Judges: All finalists will be chosen by the Staff of Bartleby Snopes. In the final round we will have help from our special guest judges Rae Bryant (Moon Milk Review) and Kevin Dickinson (Writers’ Bloc Magazine).
Entry Fee: $10 for unlimited entries (only one entry allowed at a time; see Response/Notification section for more details). Entry fee is due at time of submission and will be collected through Submishmash (you may pay using a credit card or with Paypal). Note: We must have at least 25 entries or the contest will be cancelled and all entry fees will be returned.
Deadline: All initial submissions must be received by September 12th. Winners will be announced by October 12th.
Response/Notification: Our contest runs with a rolling rejection process. We will always keep our five favorite stories. You will be notified immediately if your story falls out of the top 5, and you will have the opportunity to resubmit. There is no extra cost for subsequent submissions, but you may only submit one story at a time. September 26th is the final day for resubmissions.
Submission Guidelines: All entries should be submitted using our Submishmash page: http://bartlebysnopes.submishmash.com/submit. Your name, contact information, bio and word count should appear in a brief cover letter and at the end of your story. The title of your document should be the same as the title of your story.
No simultaneous submissions or previously published stories are allowed. If your story is discovered to be simultaneous or previously published, you will become ineligible from competition in the contest and your entry fee will be forfeited.
By submitting, you are stating that you are the sole author of the work and that it has not been published before. Work posted on blogs, message boards, personal websites, etc. all counts as previously published material.
For regular submissions, please see our Submission Guidelines page.
1st Annual Dialogue Contest: The Results
Note: The five finalists were published in our 3rd issue available free here: http://bartlebysnopes.com/Bartleby%20Snopes%20Issue%203%20January%202010.pdf
1st Place ($410)- David Williams, “Cooking Chinese”
Guest judge j.a. tyler said “this one was able to get the most complex story out of a mimnum of language, making the conversation resonate from within rather than filling itself with exposition / explanation. It also managed to feel natural and easy, the flow of a conversation as we are known to have them, us when we are not writing.”
2nd Place ($10) – Mel Bosworth, “Cash and Coupons”
3rd Place ($10) – CS DeWildt, “A Wager Between Scientists”
4th Place ($10) – R.F. Marazas, “Post-Coital Conversation”
5th Place ($10) – Allen Kopp, “The Clown Who Stole Lady Chatterly’s Lover”
Thank you to all who participated. All entrants have been notifited of their current standing. If you think you have not received word from us, please let us know.
Thank you to j.a. tyler from mud luscious press for serving as a guest judge (www.aboutjatyler.com).