This contest runs every month from the 1st to the 10th. Entries are due on the 10th at 11:59 p.m Pacific Time.
We cycle through fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Check this page on the 1st of the month for the next contest guidelines or sign up for our mailing list for notifications.
Open to anyone worldwide. Prize payout via Interac e-transfer (in Canada), IBAN transfer (Europe), or Wise or PayPal (anywhere).
November 1-10, 2023
Send us a formal poem that includes the word SQUARE. You can choose any poetic form you want. You MUST include the name of the form in your submission. Submissions that do not include the name of the poetic form will be automatically disqualified and will not receive feedback.
Some leeway is given to how closely you follow your chosen form, but your poem should be recognizable as the form that you have claimed to use.
Words that include the word SQUARE (SQUARED, SQUARES…) are acceptable. Other forms that do not include the full word (SQUARING, SQUARISH…) do not count.
For some examples of poetic forms, browse through this detailed list from Writer’s Digest: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/list-of-50-poetic-forms-for-poets
Unfortunately we can’t accept submissions that include images.
For this month only, poems may be any number of lines, but for the sake of the judges, please be reasonable.
Please include the title at the top of your document and in your file name. These titles should be identical.
Please remove all information that might identify you (such as in the title, headers, metadata, etc.). That includes things like your name and email address, or anything else that could be used to identify you.
Multiple submissions are welcome, but each one counts as a new entry with a new fee. Please submit each entry in a separate form. You can pay your fees in one transaction, as long as it totals at least $5CAD or 4€ per piece.
Submit by November 10, 2023, at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
All eligible entries receive feedback from the judges
The winner will take home 50% of the entry fees and your story will be published here at Off Topic. It may also be eligible for future anthologies.
Honourable mentions may also choose to be published online throughout the following month.
$5 CAD or 4€ (additional contributions gratefully accepted, to boost the prize, pay the judges, and help cover costs)
Prize: Winners are paid 50% of the submission fees received for that month. The other 50% goes to the judges, organizers, and incidental costs (such as website upkeep and payment processing).
We publish the winner of our contest online. Honourable mentions can choose to have their piece published or not (there is no payment for honourable mentions).
No simultaneous submissions!
No reprints! Original stories only.
Multiple submissions are welcome! (Submit each one as a new form entry.)
Short Fiction: All fiction genres, mixed genres, non-genres, and so on are accepted. For this category, we do not accept poetry, screenplays, or anything else that is not a prose story. Please include the title at the top of your document and in your file name.
Stories should be 1500 words or less.
Short Creative Nonfiction: All creative non-fiction genres, mixed genres, non-genres, and so on are accepted. For this category, we do not accept poetry, screenplays, or anything else that is not a prose story. Please include the title at the top of your document and in your file name.
Stories should be 1500 words or less.
Poetry: All poetry forms, rhyme schemes and meters, traditional or otherwise, are accepted. The only exception is that unfortunately we can’t accept submissions that include images.
Poems should be 20 lines or less, including blank lines. This does not include the title, which should be at the top of your document and in your file name.
Please do not include images with your submission.
If you win, we ask for first serial rights, exclusive worldwide print and electronic rights for six (6) months, and perpetual non-exclusive worldwide print and electronic rights, including the right to archive and anthologize the work.
If your piece is reprinted elsewhere, we would love if you mention that it originally appeared at Off Topic Publishing.
Winners and honourable mentions may also be included in a future anthology. If selected for such a project, rights will be negotiated at that time.
Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be ignored and will not receive feedback. No submission fees will be refunded. Please double-check your entry before you send it in!