GUIDELINES:  Please read the following carefully!

GENRE: So long as the story fits the 'Halloween' theme and has an element of the supernatural, feel free to be creative; however, DO NOT use pornographic material and DO NOT use gore for gore's sake or graphic violence / sexual content when these are not necessary to the story. An epic poem format may be used to relate the story so long as the story can be followed easily.

WORD LIMIT: Not to exceed 5,000 words.

SUBMISSION PERIOD: Entries are accepted year-round.

DEADLINE (for any year’s inclusion): September 15, Midnight
(For example, if you send a contest story and I receive that on Sept. 16, your story will go into the pool for the next year's contest).

FORMAT: Electronic submissions only! Nefarious Thoughts (NT) will accept MS Word submissions ONLY. All other submissions, including the dreaded copy and paste into an email, will be deleted unread. Please use the form provided at the bottom of this page for submissions.


Manuscripts:  Please give the attachment the same name as the entry title and follow these guidelines exactly:

  • Do NOT use hard returns at the end of lines (except poetry)
  • Do NOT space between paragraphs
  • Do NOT use headers or footers (including page numbers)
  • Do NOT use HTML tags or special word processing tags
  • Do NOT use underlines or asterisks to indicate italics or bolding
  • Do USE double spacing
  • Do USE tabbed paragraph indents
  • Do USE a cover page with story title, word count, pen name (if any), real name, address, payment preferences, and a short bio
  • Do USE italics, underlines, and bold face
Any submission not meeting these requirements will be deleted unread.


  • Grand Prize: $100.00 (US) + publication + PDF Copy + 1 month subscription to Shadows & Impressions
  • 1st Place: $50.00 (US) + publication + PDF Copy + 1 month subscription to Shadows & Impressions
  • 2nd Place: $25.00 (US) + publication + PDF Copy
  • 3rd Place:  $10.00 (US) or 1 month subscription to Shadows & Impressions + publication + PDF Copy
  • Honorable Mentions (2-3): publication + PDF Copy

All prize awards are subject to and governed by NT’s standard guideline policies for payment. All winners and honorable mentions will be published in the October Issue of NT.
Prior winners may not enter the contest again for a 2-year period.


JUDGING: Entries will be judged by the editor and a panel of at least two other writers, publishers, editors, or other industry professionals at the sole and absolute discretion of the publisher. NT reserves the right to change judges whether because of vacancies or otherwise. Decisions of judges shall be final as to all matters and nonnegotiable. Further, NT reserves the right to cancel the contest and not name winners depending on the quality and number of entries. Submissions will not be returned -- those electronic entries which are not awarded prizes will be deleted immediately.

It is agreed and understood by the author:

  • COPYRIGHT. By entering the author represents, warrants, and covenants that he or she has the full right to submit the manuscript to the contest and to authorize its publication by NT.
  • AUTHORIZED USE. By entering the author authorizes the one-time (1st serial rights) electronic publication of the manuscript by NT, after which all rights revert to author.
  • INDEMNIFICATION. The author agrees to indemnify and hold harmless NT, its officers and assigns from and against any and all claims, suits, damages, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys' fees), which are based on any claim of copyright infringement, plagiarism, or unauthorized use.
  • GOVERNING LAW. These Terms and Conditions will be governed by the laws of the State of Texas.
  • AUTHOR AGREEMENT.  Notification of prize award will be by email with all pertinent award information. No signature is required; however, the author must agree and confirm such award and publication by return email. If no such reply is received by the editor, then the award is forfeit -- the file deleted and publication denied. It is in the sole discretion of the publisher whether or not to fill the place vacancy with another entry.
  • AGE LIMITATIONS. Writers entering this contest must be at least 18 years of age, OR if under 18, must provide proof of parental consent to enter.
  • RIGHT TO CLOSE CONTEST. Should it occur that not enough entries are received to move forward with the judging of the contest and the awarding of prizes, NT reserves the right to close the competition.





















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