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This years submission period has closed - but you can read all about the contest if you scroll past the scorecard. Below are the up-to-date bout schedule and results.

Bout #1 - Blue Bonnet  vs  ishYouNotishMe / Winner = ishYouNotishMe
Bout #2 - Apollo Catspolis  vs  Word Slinger / Winner = Word Slinger
Bout #3 - Galadhon  vs  Griff N. Dorr / Winner = Griff N. Dorr
Bout #4 - NoPlanStan  vs  Sicaria / Winner = Sicaria
Bout #5 - Frazzled Father  vs  Charlie St. James / Winner = Charlie St. James

Bout #6 - Book-Keeper  vs  Timberjack / Winner = Book-Keeper
Bout #7 - OpeheliaPansies  vs  Daisy / Winner = OpheliaPansies
Bout #8 - Donald LeClaire  vs  Hijinks Aplenty / Winner = Hijinks Aplenty
Bout #9 - The Bulging Ballpoint  vs  Thirty / Winner - The Bulging Ballpoint
Bout #10 - Cora Williams  vs  Sunshine&Rainbows / Winner = Sunshine and Rainbows

Bout #11 - ElviraBrown  vs  Cardigan Fig / Winner = Cardigan Fig
Bout #12 - YNaLIas  vs  Ms. Sunnydale / Winner = Ms. Sunnydale
Bout #13 - Cleo  vs  MatchMaker  / Winner = MatchMaker
Bout #14 - Organized Confusion  vs  PBSSpecial / Winner = Organized Confusion
Bout #15 - Terrance East  vs  Sydney Slayer / Winner = Terrance East

SaveWeek  Winners = Blue Bonnet / PBSSpecial / Sydney Slayer  

Cage Bout #1 - ishYouNotishMe vs  Word Slinger vs  Griff N. Dorr  / Winner = IshYouNotIshMe
Cage Bout #2 - Sicaria vs  Charlie St. James vs  Book-Keeper  / Winner =  Sicaria
Cage Bout #3 - OpheliasPansies vs  Hijinks Aplenty vs  The Bulging Ballpoint  / Winner = Hijinks Aplenty
Cage Bout #4 - Sunshine and Rainbows vs  Cardigan Fig vs  Ms. Sunnydale  / Winner = Ms. Sunnydale
Cage Bout #5 - MatchMaker vs  Organized Confusion vs  Terrance East  / Winner = Organized Confusion
Cage Bout #6 - Blue Bonnet vs  PBSSpecial vs  Sydney Slayer  / Winner = Sydney Slayer

Playoff Bout #1 - IshYouNotIshMe vs Sicaria / Winner = IshYouNotIshMe
Playoff Bout #2 - Hijinks Aplenty vs Ms. Sunnydale / Winner = Ms. Sunnydale
Playoff Bout #3 - Organized Confusion vs Sydney Slayer / Winner = Organized Confusion

Wildcard = Sicaria

Semi-Final#1 -  IshYouNotIshMe vs Ms. Sunnydale / Winner = IshYouNotIshMe
Semi-Final #2 Organized Confusion vs Sicaria / Winner =  Sicaria

Final IshYouNotIshMe  vs Sicaria (Decided by celebrity panel)

WRiTE CLUB Champion = Sicaria (aka Wendy Cross)

Have you always wanted to attend a writers' conference but you just couldn’t swing the expense of it? What if I told you there was a way to win a ticket to one of the most prestigious conferences and all you have to do iswrite.

WRiTE CLUB is back for its eighth straight year and whether you’re serious about writingor just like to dabbleit’s time to tighten up those laces. The “little contest that could” – known for identifying talent that goes on to realize their own publishing dream – continues to be associated with the DFW Writers Conference which has recently been recognized as one of the best writing conferences in America by The Writer magazine!

This year’s contest will run for eight weeks with the winner announced during the fabulous conference in Hurst, Texas taking place on June 22-23. As always, even though the contest is sponsored by DFWCON, the contest is open to everyoneeverywhere!

Just what is WRiTE CLUB? It started off as a modest competition loosely derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB, and from there it has grown into a writing community sensation. You may have heard of other versions (usually LIVE face-to-face events), but they are nothing like how we do it here. Reader participation and anonymous submissions set it apart and is responsible for its phenomenal growth. The contest embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top.

Here’s the ABC’s of how it works. When the submission period opens (Mar 18-Apr 14), you simply send in a 500-word writing sample using a pen name (details on how to do that below). Once the submission period closes, all the entries are read by a panel of twenty volunteers (I call them my slushpile readers). The slushpile readers are a diverse group of avid readers and they each will select their top samples. Their selections narrow down the contestant pool to the thirty writers picked by the most judges. Over the course of the next eight weeks, we’ll hold daily bouts (M-F) right here on this blog – randomly pitting the anonymous 500-word writing samples against each other. The winners of these bouts advance into elimination rounds, and then playoffs, quarter-finals, and then ultimately a face-off between two finalists to determine a single champion. The writing sample can be any genre, any style (even poetry), from a larger piece of work or flash fiction -- the word count being the only restriction. It’s a way to get your writing in front of a lot of readers, receive a ton of feedback, all without having to suffer the agony and embarrassment of exposure. How cool is that?

And how are the winners of each bout determined? By you and other WRiTE CLUB readers! Anyone who visits my blog during the contest can vote for the writing sample that resonates with them the most in a bout. All I ask is that you leave a brief critique of each piece to help the contestants improve their craft.

Wait a minute, how can samples of different genre's and age groups compete against one another? First off, although we don’t like to admit it, writers compete against each other every dayin the query piles, bookstores, the library, and other online marketplaces. Which book am I going to take home with me (or download) today? Secondly, I believe visitors to WRiTE CLUB...regardless of the genre they read... can recognize excellent writing! And it doesn't matter if that writing is YA, MG, Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, etc...etc. I'm confident that the WRiTER's choosing to submit their work (which I have the utmost admiration for) do so knowing those 500-word snippets would stand on their own, without the benefit of plot or theme, and though there may be an element that suggests a specific genre (vampires are a dead giveaway), it is the way the writer weaves the scene that will be judged.

But to step into the WRiTE CLUB ring, you must first make it past our twenty slush pile judges. It’s their job to read each and every submission and help me decide the top 30 entries. The slush pile readers are comprised of people who come from different backgroundspublished authorsfellow bloggers...and individuals who simply have a passion for reading. Our slushpile judges will also hold a pair of Twitter parties in April. They’ll be tweeting about submissions that caught their attention (all anonymously of course) and doing what they can to stoke the competitive fires. Watch the fun by using the Twitter hashtag #WRiTECLUBDFW.

So what’s at stakeother than exposure? Here’s the booty available to be won.

Prize #1 - the WRiTE CLUB Champion — announced during the DFW Conference – will receive FREE ADMISSION TO THE 2020 DFW CONFERENCE IN DALLAS.  That is a $429 value and an experience that cannot be missed! In addition, the winner will also receive a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Prize #2 - the first runner-up (also announced at the conference) will receive a $75 Amazon gift card!

Prize #3 –Every visitor to a WRiTE CLUB bout during this year’s contest who leaves a vote/critique will have his/her name thrown in a hat. One slip for every bout voted on. There will be a total of 26 bouts, so it’s possible to have your name in the hat 26 times. Then at the end of the contest, we will draw one name out of that hat and that person will receive a $60 Barnes & Noble gift card! Yeswe value our readers/voters as well.

Prize #4 – (new this year). Since this contest is powered and thrives based on word-of-mouth, we wanted to award a prize to a follower who creates the most unique and expressive ad campaign for WRiTE CLUB.  Here’s another chance to use your imagination. How will we decide the winner? Our twenty slushpile readers will evaluate all of the entries and vote on their favorite. Simply email the details of what you are doing to and you’ll be entered. The prize is a $40 Barnes & Noble gift card!

Prize #5 –We will hold prize drawings for anyone who enters the contest, along with our slushpile readers, that are present at this years DFW Conference. A few lucky winners will receive a free DFW Conference T-shirt. Make sure you stop by the WRiTE CLUB display table at the conference and let us know you’re there.

And although not technically a prize, the combatants in the final round will be exposed to a panel of publishing industry professionals (list below)!  Agents, Editors, Publishers, Marketers, and well-known Authors!  I don’t want to brag (but I will anyway), every WRiTE CLUB winner (except one) has gone on to become published.

Still not convinced? Then how about some testimonials from previous WRiTE CLUB winners? Remember as you read these that the contest has evolved over the years.

Aden Polydoros – 2018 winner. His post.
Solange Hommel – 2016 winner.  Part 1Part 2.
Lisa Dunn – 2015 winner. Her post.
Dan Koboldt – 2014 winner. His post.
Arianne “Tex” Thompson – 2013 winner. Her post.
Dan Koboldt & Tex Thompson – Slushpile Impressions Post.

Are you bouncing up and down with excitement, wondering how to submit your sample? Here are some Q & A that will answer all your questions.

1.    How do I enter this fabulous contest? – The simplest way (for me) is for you to format your entry like the example below (in a Word attachment, or a format compatible with Word). Make sure to include the header information on your document even though the link will ask you to repeat some of it. Then click on the link just below the example to fill out the entry form and upload the document. Note – the pen name you choose cannot be tied to your real name in any way. That means you can’t use your Twitter handle or anything else somebody could recognize as you.

Make sure after you upload the document you hit SUBMIT. You must have a Google account to submit this way, but don’t worry if you don’t (but who doesn’t these days?). You can still do it the old-fashioned way by emailing your submission to My wife is the only person monitoring that email address during the contest and she will log and assign every entry a number – then remove the writer’s name. You will receive a confirmation email from her once your entry has been logged. A word of caution – although I do my best to make sure the original formatting remains intact when a submission gets uploaded for a bout, sometimes HTML doesn’t cooperate. So go easy on any specialized formatting. It’s the words that matter, not the presentation.

2. How long do I have to submit? - Submissions are open March 18th until April 14th. After that date, a panel of twenty judges will read all the entries and select 30 of the best writing samples to climb into the ring.

3. What happens after I submit – how will I know if I’ve been selected to fight? In 2018 we had 181 entries, so just getting selected to take part in the contest is a reason to celebrate. To find out if you’re one of the thirty contestants, you must follow the contest and watch for your pen name to appear on the day of the bout.

4. Is there a limit to the number of times I can enter? You may enter two different writing samples – each in separate entries using the same pen name – but only one will be eligible to become part of the 30 contestants. The sample that does not get selected can be used for future rounds if you’re lucky enough to advance.

5. What happens if I make into the playoff rounds? If you progress past the first round, you’ll need to provide additional writing pieces for subsequent rounds (as many as four total – with the final one being 1000 words). The additional pieces don’t have to be related to the original, but they can be if you choose to do that. So be prepared.

6. I don’t intend to enter a submission, but can I still vote on the bouts? Absolutely! All we ask is that you leave a brief critique for both contestants. Although our contestants are anonymous – voting is not. And every time you vote your name is placed in a hat from which a prize winner will be pulled at the conclusion of the contest to win a $60 Barnes & Noble gift card.

7. When you say anonymousjust how anonymous? No one (other than my wife)not even the judges being used to pre-select the 30 contestants, will see the true identity of any sample. Not even me.

8. If I entered last year can I use the same pen name again this year? No. We start fresh every year, which means no repeating pen names.

9. What changes can we expect this year? We’ve reintroduced a concept used in earlier versions of the contest – the Save Week. During that week readers can vote for writers who lost their bout, giving three contestants (one from each of the previous weeks) a second chance. We’ve also added a new prize for the most creative ad campaign for the contest.

10. How can I help spread the word? Write a blog post, mention it on Facebook, Tweet about it (#WRiTECLUBDFW), post a pic on Instagram, talk about it on any writer forums you visit, hecksend up smoke signals if you have to. Please take note – you cannot drive traffic to promote a specific piece of writing. That will get a writer disqualified. Just ask people to read and vote their hearts.

Contest Calendar

Here are the rules of WRiTE CLUB
(loosely based on the rules from the movie Fight Club).

1st RULE: You DON’T talk about WRiTE CLUB – What we mean is no one can solicit votes for a specific contestant.  All the writing entries are anonymous, and we want it to stay that way. This is not a popularity contest! Ask others to vote – YES. Ask others to vote for a specific contestant – NO. Violators will be immediately disqualified.

2nd RULE: You MUST talk about WRiTE CLUB – This may seem contradictory, but we want everyone to spread the word far and wide so we can involve as many writers/readers as possible.  Display the WRiTE CLUB banner prominently on your own blog.  Write a post about it (I’m more than willing to guest post on your blog).  Tweet it.  Make videos and post them on Facebook. And once the contest starts, keep banging that drum so we can attract as many voters as possible and give our contestants as much exposure as possible.

3rd RULE: Anyone can WRiTE, but it must be original material. Your submission can not have been published anywhere else before! (That includes your blog) 

4th RULE: Bouts will continue for only eight weeks - No matter how many submissions we receive.

6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes - Come on, tell me you didn't giggle at that one.

7th RULE: If someone taps out, WRiTING is over - Tapping out means a WRiTER can decide at any time during the competition to withdraw their name from the pool. If that happens the next writer from the slush pile with the most votes will move into that spot.

Here are the celebrity judges (and their bios) choosing the final winner for 2019:

Chuck Wendig is the noted science fiction and fantasy novelist, comic book author, screenwriter and popular blogger!

Chuck’s books include the Atlanta Burns series, the Miriam Black series, the Heartland Trilogy, and the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. He’s also written two non-fiction books about the craft of writing: Damn Fine Story and The Kick-Ass Writer. And he is skilled in the ways of Twitter.

Check out his website Terrible Minds at, and follow him at

Chuck will also be the keynote speaker at this year’s DFW Conference and appearing in several panel discussions. 

Lisa Regan is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling crime/suspense writer and the author of Finding Claire Fletcher, which was the winner in Best Heroine and runner-up in Best Novel in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards for 2013.  Her second novel, Kill for You  (previously published as Aberration) was the 2014 winner (tie) for Best Twist in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards.

Lisa’s most recent work is a multiple book deal with Bookouture for the Josie Quinn detective series which includes the titles Vanishing Girls (a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller which was released in January 2018), The Girl With No Name (a top 100 USA Today bestseller released in April 2018) and Her Mother's Grave (a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller released July 19, 2018). Her Final Confession, Josie Quinn # 4, was released November 28, 2018 and immediately made the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. The Bones She Buried, Josie Quinn #4 will be released on March 27, 2019.

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer.

Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED. His latest book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, will be published in July.

Tiana Smith (pronounced Tee-ON-uh) debut novel was released January 8th, 2019 from Swoon Reads/Macmillan, which is awesome, but what really makes Tiana stand out is she was the first ever WRiTE CLUB campion!
Tiana grew up in Montana, which taught her how to build a fire better than her husband. But even though she grew up in the Wild West, she considers herself a city girl at heart.

Tiana graduated with an English degree with a creative writing focus from Westminster College.

Barbara Poelle began her publishing career as a freelance copywriter and editor before joining the Goodman Agency as a literary agent 2007, but feels as if she truly prepared for the industry during her brief stint as a standup comic in Los Angeles. She has found success placing thrillers, literary suspense, Young Adult and upmarket fiction and is actively seeking her next great client in those genres, but is passionate about anything with a unique voice. Barbara also writes the column Funny You Should Ask, in Writer's Digest.

Kristin Nelson is the President and founding literary agent for the Nelson Literary Agency, LLC. Her goal as an agent is simple: she wants every client of hers to make a living solely from writing and 90% of her authors do without help from any other source of income. She established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 and over the last decade+ of her career, she’s represented over forty New York Times bestselling titles and many USA Today bestsellers. Although she’s a very nice Midwesterner, she’s heard through the grapevine that editors call her “a hard-working bulldog agent that will fight for you.” What a compliment!

When not busy selling books Kristin is quite sporty. She attempts to play tennis and golf. She also loves playing Bridge (where she’s the youngest person in the club). On weekends her husband Brian and her can be found in the mountains hiking with their 15+ year old rat terrier, Chutney.

Melanie Newton is the Submissions Supervisor / Social Media Trailblazer for Clean Teen Publishing.

Reading is her superpower, and she even has a necklace to prove it!

Melanie is Clean Teens most versatile multi-tasker. She thrives in her ever-changing role which includes running submissions and street teams, coordinating the editing process, helping both new and established authors alike fight the ever-changing algorithms on Facebook, and generally being there for advice.

The hostess with the mostess, Melanie loves finding new ways to promote our authors including using her Melanie’s Muses Vlog and Facebook Live (every Sunday with her husband Greg – Crazy Shenanigans guaranteed).

Shelly Stinchcomb is passionate fan of the written word, which is appropriate because she makes her living as an editor. As a Developmental Editor with over 9 years of experience, she takes the approach of a writing coach. Her expertise, strength, and value is in working closely with writers on areas such as language, story flow, narrative tension, plot and character development, consistency, and pace. Understanding how intrusive editing can feel, she takes great pride in providing an honest review and thoughtful suggestions, often with explanation, so not only does the writers current manuscript improve, their overall writing for future projects does as well. Her focus is all in the details to help any writer polish their manuscripts and make them shine.

She creates an environment of open communication where projects are discussed freely and without judgment. Her end goal is to work collaboratively to build a trusting, long-term relationship with each of her clients.

She edits for fiction authors across a variety of genres, with multiple best-selling clients such as Caroline Mitchell, Holly Kammier, and Jessica Therrien. Other clients, including award winners, Bruce Ashkenas, Ramcy Diek, and Debra Kristi.


Besides these fine authors, numerous agents and editors attending the DFW Conference (bios available soon), and the six other WRiTE CLUB winners (Aden Polydors, Solange Hommel, Lisa Dunn, Dan Koboldt, Tex Thompson, and Mark Hough), will also have a vote.

Are you willing to WRiTE for what you want?  Then crack those knuckles and get ready to flex that imagination.  Here’s a video that might help get you fired up.

Whatever you do, tell your friends!

This is WRiTE CLUB, the contest where the audience gets clobbered!


  1. Oh wow. Have to think about this! Sounds amazing...

  2. Very excited to be judging! Can't wait to see the finalists!

  3. *Exactly* 500 words or about 500 words?

    1. 500 words or less. Anything over 500 will be rejected.

  4. Do I need to copyright my writing before I submit?


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