Fall into Fiction Short Story Contest

Submitted by SJWrites on Tue, 08/23/2022 - 4:00 PM
The words Fall into Fiction September 1-30 with autumnal leaves

Enter your Short Story to the Fall into Fiction Contest!

Fall is here again! To celebrate, San Jose Public Library is hosting a short fiction writing contest for the month of September. The contest is open to writers of all ages and in any style. Entries will be published on our Short Edition Portal and Short Story dispensers and prizes will be award to for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each age category.

How to Enter

Step 1: Complete the online registration form for Fall into Fiction 2022 by September 30 at 11:59pm.

Step 2: Submit Online, via Short Edition Portal or by email (shortstories@sjlibrary.org), by September 30, 2022 at 11:59pm.

Writing Guidelines

  • Works must be previously unpublished in print and online, including on personal blogs.
  • Story may not exceed 4500 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
  • Story must be for general audiences. We will not accept entries with explicit or mature content.
  • Only one submission per person.
  • All submissions must be proofread for spelling and grammatical errors.

Please review our full list of Submission Guidelines for more details.

Age Groups and Prizes

  • Children (0-7): Prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
  • Children (8-9): Prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
  • Pre-Teens (10-12): Prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
  • Teens (13-17): Prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
  • Adults (18+): Prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.

All winners and other selected works will be published on SJPL Short Edition online platform and in the Short Edition Dispenser at select locations.


Library staff and volunteers will oversee the judging process. To understand what the judges will be looking for, you can view the detailed judging rubric. Winners will be announced in mid-October.


photo of a teen writer

Upcoming Writing Programs

Attend a program to get some creative inspiration, hone your writing skills, receive feedback, or find a community of fellow writers.


(Virtual) Short Story Writing and Publishing For Teens

Friday September 16, 2022, 4:00 - 5:00 PM

Join us for a one hour program where attendees will learn about the library's publishing platform Short Editions. We will be writing introductory paragraphs to get us started creating our first 1 minute, 3 minute, or 5 minute stories, which will be made available to the community through the library.

This program is perfect for any aspiring writers and also to any teen interested in earning volunteer service hours working as a Teen Short Editions contributor. Join the program to find out more.

Author's Corner

Last Friday of each Month, 5:00 - 6:00 PM

For teens hoping to hone their creative writing skills, stop by Author's Corner!

Author’s Corner is a monthly, informal creative writing club to help support Short Edition Authors, teens considering a career as an author looking to get practice and feedback on their work, teens looking to create works to help build portfolios and samples for creative writing programs, or any teen that is working on a piece of creative writing/wanting to practice their creative writing skill. It will also provide an opportunity for teens to practice 21st century skills of creativity, communication, collaboration, initiative, productivity, and social skills. Each session will feature new writing prompts (that we hope will inspire bigger stories or cure writer's block!), time to practice writing, an opportunity to share and discuss our writing with peers, open forum to swap writing tips and tricks, as well as short lesson each session focusing on a different facet of creative writing.


Spring into Poetry Contest Submissions are on Biblioboard!

You can now see the winning entries from SJPL's Spring into Poetry Contest 2022 on Biblioboard! Discover the amazing creativity of our community.

Blog Category
Adult Fiction
Adult Nonfiction
System Programs


Submitted by S. on Wed, 09/07/2022 - 8:13 PM


Your Comment
Do you know when the summer reading winners will be announced?
It has been a while since the competition has ended.
Thank you so much!

Submitted by Neeti on Sat, 09/10/2022 - 8:24 PM


Your Comment
Can submissions include drawings? Do they need to be typed or can they be handwritten (younger children)?

Your Comment
Thank you for your question! For this contest, submissions should include just text and no drawings. We encourage you to keep telling stories with text and pictures and to consider submitting to next year's Graphic Novel Making Contest (sjpl.org/graphicnovels)

Typed submissions are preferred, and we can accept handwritten submissions on a case-by-case basis. Library staff may need to transcribe handwritten entries to accommodate our Short Edition platform.

Submitted by Viraj on Mon, 09/12/2022 - 6:51 PM


Your Comment
Can the short story be fan fiction of another book for example "The Lightning Thief"

Your Comment
Thank you for your question! Your short story should be your own original work. Therefore named characters and settings from other series, stories, comics/graphic novels, games, etc. are subject to copyright laws and cannot appear in your submission. All characters and settings that appear in your submission must be your original work and cannot be based on other creations not originally thought up by you as the author. If your submission could be interpreted as fanfiction or knock-off, then it is not eligible for an award. We encourage you to create your own unique story!

Public Domain stories/retellings are permitted. Public domain includes any work published in the United States in or before 1926. Examples of public domain stories include Robin Hood, Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes. However, keep in mind one of the rubric criteria you will be judged on is originality.

Submitted by Delilah on Fri, 09/16/2022 - 5:27 PM


Your Comment
I couldn't make it to the (Virtual) Short Story Writing and Publishing For Teens zoom. Do you know if it was recorded, and how soon other writing programs be?

Your Comment
The (Virtual) Short Story Writing and Publishing For Teens program was not recorded, but this program is sometimes offered during branch Teens Reach meetings . I also recommend you check out the Virtual Author's Corner on September 30th at 5pm. Check our events calendar periodically for the latest program offerings: https://sjpl.bibliocommons.com/v2/events.

Submitted by R.M. on Thu, 09/22/2022 - 8:32 PM


Your Comment
Do we have to register for the contest or do we just hand it in?

Your Comment
See the 'How to Enter' section above for links. Step 1 is registering using the online form. Step 2 is submitting your work via the Short Edition Portal, or by Email.

Submitted by J.S. on Tue, 09/27/2022 - 11:37 PM


Your Comment
Under the short edition portal, should I submit a work under the regular "short fiction" category?

Your Comment
Yes, please submit your work under the regular short fiction category in the short edition portal. Thank you for submitting your work to the contest!

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 10/01/2022 - 1:06 PM


Your Comment
When will the judging / announcement of winners be for the short story contest?

Your Comment
Thank you for entering the contest! Winners will be notified the week of October 17th, and we'll announce the results of the contest via a blog the week of October 24th.

Submitted by Aimee on Tue, 10/04/2022 - 10:04 AM


Your Comment
When will the winners be announced and how will they be notified?

Submitted by Estelle on Thu, 10/06/2022 - 10:14 AM


Your Comment
When do the short stories finish the review process, not relating to the contest? (I wanted to share the story with friends, but it’s been on review for several days)

Your Comment
Thank you for submitting a short story to our Short Edition platform. Rolling submissions are reviewed on a monthly timeline. Depending on when works are submitted to Short Edition, it can take up to a month for staff to receive and review submissions. During contests, we hold on reviewing entries until after the contest closes.

Submitted by A.C. on Fri, 10/07/2022 - 6:13 PM


Your Comment
I've submitted a story and filled out the form but don't see it marked down/recorded anywhere on the portal. Is this normal?

Your Comment
Contest submissions will be approved and live on the Short Edition platform soon. Thank you for your patience as we process and prepare all the Fall into Fiction Contest submissions.

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