IFW Photo Prompt Short Story Contest




Institute for Writers presents our Photo Prompt Short Story Contest.

For this contest, we want to see your take on a short story of 1,000 words (or less) inspired by this photo:

Girl in Cafe - photo credit Craig Adderley Pexels

Any genre will be accepted as long as it’s a complete short story of 1,000 words or less and follows the criteria below.

Our judge will be grading entries based on these criteria:

  • The story needs a main character
  • A resolvable conflict directly involving the main character
  • An ending that ties up the story well
  • The story must be for an adult audience. (No teen protagonists.)
To get started, our judge suggests:
  • Take time to absorb the photo
  • Think about how it came to be (how did the people or objects get there?)
  • Formulate a plot and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Your entry should be aimed at an adult audience.

Deadline: July 31, 2024

Entrants are eligible to win up to $650!


Susan Ludwig, MA has been an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature for almost twenty years. Susan’s writing credits include teacher resource guides, English language learner books, and classroom curriculum for elementary through high school students. A former magazine editor, she assesses students’ written essays as a scoring director for the ACT and SAT exam. When she is not writing or working, she is usually found playing with her grandsons or curled up with a good book.


*Link to contest submission form will be sent after purchase is completed.

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