The 7th Annual Dialogue Only Contest is now open. Please follow our Contest blog for further updates regarding submissions and prize money.
7th Annual Dialogue Only Rules and Guidelines
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. Check out past winners and read our tips for writing good dialogue before submitting your entry.
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. Five finalists will be submitted to the final round of voting. The order of winners will be determined by the staff of Bartleby Snopes and our two guest judges. This year's guest judges are Sorrel Westbrook-Wilson (6th Annual Dialogue Contest Winner) and Bud Smith (author of Tollbooth and Everything Neon). All decisions regarding contest winners are final.
Prizes: A minimum of $500 will be awarded, with at least $300 going to the grand prize winner. Our five finalists will also appear in Issue 14 of the magazine due out in January 2016. Last year we awarded $2380 in prize money. For every entry over 50, an additional $5 will be added to the total prize money.
2015 Prize Structure:1st Prize: $300 minimum + $3 for every entry over 50
2nd Prize: $100 minimum + $1 for every entry over 50
3rd Prize: $50 minimum + $1 for every two entries over 50
4th Prize: $30 minimum + $1 for every 4 entries over 50
5th Prize: $20 minimum + $1 for every 4 entries over 50
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 Submittable.
How Entry Fees Are Used: The entry fees are used to fund the prize money and pay for contest advertisements/maintenance. $1 from each entry pays for required processing fees. Other than this processing fee, all entry fees are used directly for the purpose of the contest. No editors receive any portion of the entry fees. Any excess funds will be used to provide contributor copies of Issue 15 to the winners.
Deadline: All initial submissions must be received by September 15th. Winners will be announced by October 19th.
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 30th is the final day for resubmissions.
Rights: All rights revert back to the author after publication.
Submission Guidelines: All entries should be submitted between June 1st, 2015 and September 15th, 2015 using our Submittable page. Your name, contact information, and word count should appear in a brief cover letter. The title of your document should be the same as the title of your story. All submissions are read blind. Please do not send a bio or include any contact information in your document.
No simultaneous submissions or previously published stories are allowed. If your story is discovered to be simultaneously submitted 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 your submission has not been published before. Work posted on blogs, message boards, personal websites, etc. all is considered previously published material. By submitting you are also agreeing to all contest rules.
For regular submissions, please see our Submission Guidelines page.
6th Annual Dialogue Contest Results (2014):1st Place - Slurpie Safari by Sorrel Westbrook-Wilson - $1428
2nd Place - Everyone Smiles by Amy Morris-Jones - $476
3rd Place - Sorry, Was That Pronounced with a Long O or A by Daniel Thompson - $238
4th Place - Where We Go When We're Gone by Gabrielle Hovendon - $124
5th Place - Blue Frosting by Mathangi Subramanian - $114
Read all five finalists in the Issue 13 of our semi-annual print and PDF magazine.
Thank you to everyone who participated. A very special thank you to our guest judges, Ronald Friedman and Ben Tanzer.
5th Annual Dialogue Contest Results (2013):
1st Prize - Night Orderly by Ronald Friedman ($705)
2nd Prize - No Lips by Ben Orlando ($75)
3rd Prize - The Last Bear in Indiana by Robyn Ryle ($60)
4th Prize - Read This Manual Carefully by Rick Hodges ($55)
5th Prize - Oblique by Tom Howard ($50)
Read all five finalists for free by clicking on the image of Bartleby Snopes Issue 11.
4th Annual Dialogue Contest: The Results (2012)
Note: The five finalists were published in our 9th issue available free here: Issue 9
1st Place - Open Me by Lee Stoops
2nd Place - On the Mountain by Ted Haynes
3rd Place - Props for Life by Gregory Marlow
4th Place - The Gig by Peter DeMarco
5th Place - ...I'm Sorry? by Joshua Browning
A big thank you to our guest judges Justis Mills (First Stop Fiction) and Matthew Guerruckey (Drunk Monkeys).
3rd Annual Dialogue Contest: The Results (2011)
Note: The six finalists were published in our 7th issue available free here: Issue 7
1st Place - Poem About Writing a Poem by Mark Jordan Manner ($670)
2nd Place - Working it All Out by David Meuel ($65)
3rd Place - This Transfer's Only Good Until 6:28 by Don Hucks ($45)
4th Place - The Little Gymnast by Eirik Gumeny ($40)
5th Place - Clown Adoption by Chad Redden ($35)
6th Place - Therapy by Steve Karas ($10)
A big thank you to our guest judges Ben Loory (Author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day) and Matt Rowan (Untoward Magazine).
2nd Annual Dialogue Contest: The Results (2010)
Note: The five finalists were published in our 5th issue available free here: Issue 5
1st Place - Why Won't You by Annam Manthiram ($875)
2nd Place - Cowboyism by Don Hucks ($50)
3rd Place - Happy Trolls Incorporated by Donna Marinelli ($25)
4th Place - Death in Lou's Coffee Shop by John Domenichini ($15)
5th Place - The Pussy Death by Jason Helmandollar ($15)
A big thank you to our guest judges Kevin Dickinson (Writers' Bloc Magazine) and Rae Bryant (Moon Milk Rview).
1st Annual Dialogue Contest: The Results (2009)
Note: The five finalists were published in our 3rd Issue
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.
Thank you to j.a. tyler from mud luscious press for serving as a guest judge (www.aboutjatyler.com).