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What is the Deathmatch Short Story Contest?

Welcome to the Deathmatch!

Since 2008, Broken Pencil: the magazine of zine culture and the independent arts, has been running the world’s most audacious short story contest — The Indie Writers’ Deathmatch Short Story Contest.

“This is definitely not a contest for sensitive writer types. If you can’t handle the thought of your short story being smacked down by online voters, then you’ll want to stay well clear of this one. Think Literary Survivor. On an island. Surrounded by a sea of sharks.”
– Jennifer Moss, The Vancouver Sun

Online Battle to the End!

In the Deathmatch short story contest, the top 16 stories as selected by the Broken Pencil editors are pitted against each other in our online arena.  In the online arena, anyone and everyone can read the stories and vote on which one deserves to reign supreme. The authors will be in constant communication with their audience through the comment boards, and they can hype up their own story, or trash-talk their opponent’s writing. The winning story moves on to the next round until there are only two stories left, battling it out for ultimate victory! With over 100,000 votes cast each year, the Deathmatch is a high stakes struggle for literary bragging rights! Complete rules are here.

The Indie Writers Makeover & More

The winners and runners-up get published in Broken Pencil Magazine, plus cash prizes of up to $400 and BP prize packs. The ultimate winner also gets the unique Indie Writers Makeover in which they meet with an editor at a publishing house, an established literary agent, and acclaimed novelist and BP founder Hal Niedzviecki. At these meetings, the winner will receive commentary on their writing, guidance on entering the publishing industry, and suggestions for next steps.

Enter Now…If You Dare

DEATHMATCH 2019 is now open for submissions!

If you have questions about Deathmatch, email our fiction editor at [email protected].