Call for Submissions (for Mormon works under 1,000 words)

How can we get more Mormons exposed to interesting Mormon literature? In a recent discussion on this blog, I recommended posting more short works online as an easy-to-access gateway to the field. Well, Scott Hales and I resolved to “go and do” and organized a contest for very short works which will culminate in a one- or two-week “blitz” of short new work on the Mormon Artist blog. We’ll work to build a broad audience for the project–but we need your work first. Please consider responding to, and spreading the word about, this call for submissions. Update 19 Nov: You can also help by sharing the contest page on Facebook or following us on Twitter.


Now announcing the first ever Mormon Lit Blitz Writing Contest. Send up to three submissions by 15 January 2012 to for a chance to win a Kindle and more.

What we want:
Short work for Mormons to be published and read online.

The details:
“Short” means under 1,000 words.

“Work” means creative writing in any genre, from literary realism to far future science fiction, and in any form: fiction, essay, poetry, even play or screenplay if you can keep it under 1,000 words. Give us a tiny, polished gem we can show off to people who love Mormonism and love great writing but  “know not where to find” a place where the two meet.

“For Mormons” means for committed Latter-day Saints. Yes, that’s an extremely diverse audience (see the “I’m a Mormon” campaign—and your ward members), but it’s also an audience with distinctive shared values and history that don’t often get attention in creative work. We want you to write something that will appeal to us as people who believe in the sacred, who have ridiculous numbers of brothers and sisters we see every week, who worry about being good and faithful servants no matter what our day jobs are and wonder what it will be like to meet our grandparents’ grandparents in heaven. We don’t need your pieces to preach to us. We do need them to combine your creativity and religious commitment in a way that excites us and gives us something cool to talk about with our Mormon friends.

“To be published and read online” means we’re going to post six to twelve finalists’ pieces on Mormon Artist magazine’s blog ( and then ask readers to vote on their favorites.

One catch: since even 1,000 words can be intimidating on a screen, your piece needs a strong hook of no more than 120 words (or eight lines for poetry) to be visible on the main blog page. Mark the end of your hook with [MORE]. Even our editors will only read further if you’ve piqued their interest.

Submission Guidelines:
Submissions must have fewer than 1,000 words with a hook no longer than 120 words (or eight lines for poetry). Submissions must be engaging to Latter-day Saints and engage with their Mormon identity in some way.

Authors may submit up to three works. Each submission must be attached to an email as a .doc or .pdf file. The selection process is blind, so the author’s name should not appear on the document.

Email any questions and your submissions to Submission emails should contain the author’s name, the titles of each submission, and contact information (telephone number or email address).

By submitting, authors give us the one-time rights to publish their work electronically. Previously published work is OK if you still have the rights to the piece and if it meets the above contest requirements (don’t forget to add a [MORE] tag to the end of your hook).

The prize:
The contest editors will select six to twelve finalists. All finalists will have their short works published online starting in mid-February 2012 and actively promoted across the LDS blogosphere by the Mormon Lit Blitz team.

After all pieces have been published, readers will vote on a single Grand Prize Winner, who will receive a Kindle pre-loaded with LDS literary works, including Parley P. Pratt’s classic short “A Dialogue Between Joseph Smith and the Devil,” Peculiar Pages’ recent Monsters & Mormons anthology, Zarahemla Books’ Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction, the poetry anthology Fire in the Pasture, and recent issues of Mormon Artist magazine.

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19 Responses to Call for Submissions (for Mormon works under 1,000 words)

  1. Tyler says:

    One question: you don’t mention anywhere (unless I missed it) whether or not these short works can be previously published. Yea or nay?

  2. Wm Morris says:

    Pssst. Tyler: “Previously published work is OK if you still have the rights to the piece and if it meets the above contest requirements”

  3. Tyler says:

    Holy cow, Wm., thanks. I knew I probably missed it. Derrrr. Ima blame that on the strep I’ve been battling for two days…

  4. Gamila says:

    This is awesome!

  5. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    Glad to see this happening. Good for you and Scott for taking it on.

  6. Scott Hales says:

    I’m glad to see it happening too!

    By the way, you can now “like” the Blitz on Facebook and receive updates and information on the contest:

  7. Rii the Wordsmith says:

    Man, I really want to participate but I suck at -short- works. I have a hard time writing a story in less than 80,000 words ^_^;

    But…if I can get inspiration, as obnoxiously fickle as it is, to strike me I can at least enter a poem. I never write particularly long poems :D

    Oh! Maybe if I try to write a fairytale, I could do that in less than 1000 words. I’ve been wanting to write one for a while now…Yes. Let’s go with that.

    Okay! We’ll see what I manage to come up with, I guess!

    • James Goldberg says:

      Personal request: can the fairy tale involve a scene where the princess is picking lice out of the hero’s hair? That seems to happen all the time in the Grimm brothers edition, but never seems to crop up in film…

  8. Emily says:

    I saw this on the Segullah blog today and I am totally intrigued and want to give it a try. Do the works need to address some kind of “Mormon topic” or can the scope be wide-ranging (as long as it offends neither the reader’s religious sensitivity or their gag reflex)?

    • James Goldberg says:

      That depends on how broadly or narrowly you define “Mormon topic.” The call says: “submissions must be engaging to Latter-day Saints and engage with their Mormon identity in some way.” We do want stuff that engages with the Mormon part of us–but that could simply mean an investment in intergenerational relationships, or the obligations of community, or hopes for a radically different future. Etc.

      Think of it this way: what would people in your ward get out of it? They don’t need you to duplicate Sunday school, but they’d probably like it if the piece felt just a little bit like it was written for them.

      Does that help?

    • Just as science fiction writers and readers may claim that science fiction includes mainstream fiction, because it’s all about people in imagined situations, I would think that “Mormon topic” could include stories that aren’t specifically about Mormons, but that deal with the kinds of things Mormons care about and would be interested in reading about, stories with “Mormon values” even if they aren’t about Mormon characters.

  9. Jonathon says:

    Multiple entries acceptable? Is there a number that gets obnoxious? Is that number a) less than 3 but greater than 1, b) less than 4 but greater than 2, c) greater than 3 but less than 4 billion, d) none of the above?

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