You are invited to write a piece of fiction between 500 and 1,000 words long. The only catch? We give you the first and last sentences. It’s up to you to fill in the rest.

The competition is open to the public in three divisions: Middle School, High School, and Adult. Each division has its own incredible judge, and prizes will be up for grabs!

We are accepting entries throughout January and February 2021.

Entry is free for middle-school and high-school entrants, and $5 for adult entrants.

Click here to read the rules and terms and conditions (you can also find them at the end of this page).

These are the two sentences you must include in your writing.

First sentence:
The envelope-maker stopped and listened quietly.

Last sentence:
He waited for the roar to subside, then he closed the door behind him.

Write out your story using the sentences above.

Submit the story by clicking on ‘Submit your story’ between January 1st 2021 and February 28th 2021.

The Literacy Center will create a shortlist to go on to the judges, who will then decide 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in their respective divisions.

We’ll announce winners on April 5th, 2021.

Read the rules and terms and conditions by clicking here or by going to the bottom of this page.

Middle-School Division

High-School Division

Adult Division

Terms and Conditions

Download a PDF of the terms and conditions here.

  1. Write-a-thon is a competition organized and operated by The Literacy Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
  2. Write-a-thon is open to U.S. residents only. One entry per person. 
  3. Entries will be accepted between 00:01 CST on January 1st, 2021, up to 11:59 CST on February 28th, 2021.
  4. There are three divisions in the competition, i) Middle School (Grades 5-8), ii) High School (Grades 9-12), and iii) Adult (Age 18 and over, not in High School). Eligibility is based on the entrant’s grade level/ age at time of entry.
  5. Entries must conform to the Write-a-thon rules. Entries that do not conform to these rules will be rejected and be ineligible for prizes: a) Your story must be your own writing, b) Your writing must be fiction, c) Writing must be prose (no poems or scripts), d) Your writing must be at least 500 words long. It can not exceed 1,000 words, e) Titles do not count in your word total, f) The first and last lines do count in your word total, g) Your writing can be in any genre, style or perspective, h) No inflammatory, racist, sexist or otherwise offensive content.
  6. The Literacy Center will determine a shortlist of entries for all three divisions, and shortlisted entries will be submitted to each division’s judge. All entries will be shortlisted and judged anonymously. Each judge will determine the 1st, 2ndand 3rd place winners in their respective divisions.
  7. Winners will be announced Monday, April 5th2021 on litcenter.org/wat and on The Literacy Center’s social media pages. Winners will be directly contacted by The Literacy Center. 
  8. Entrants to Write-a-thon must provide correct contact information. If a winner can not be contacted by The Literacy Center within fourteen (14) days of the competition ending or if a winner is disqualified, The Literacy Center reserves the right to select an alternate winner or withhold the winner’s prize.
  9. A single entrant can submit only one piece of writing. Co-authored pieces of writing are not eligible.
  10. The Literacy Center reserves the right to amend or change the competition rules or prizes if deemed necessary or to account for unforeseen circumstances. Notice of such changes will be given on the competition webpage, www.litcenter.org/wat.