Short Story Contest

The N3F Operates a yearly Short Story Contest. There are no entrance fees. You pay nothing to enter a story. However, we offer cash prizes to contest winners, usually First, Second, and Third places.

2024 N3F Amateur Short Story Contest

Story Contest Rules and Entry Blank

  1. This contest is open to all amateur writers in the field, regardless of whether they’re members of the National Fantasy Fan Federation. For the purposes of this contest, we define an amateur as someone who has sold no more than two (2) stories to professional science fiction or fantasy publications.
  2. Stories entered in the contest must be original, unpublished, not longer than 8,500 words in length—and must be related to the science fiction, fantasy, or similar genres in the opinion of the judge.
  3. Email attachments of Word documents are acceptable for submission. Manuscripts on paper should be typed, single sided on 8 1/2″-by- 11″ white paper, double spaced, with pages numbered. The name of the author should not appear anywhere on the manuscript to ensure impartial judging. Photocopies are acceptable, if they are of good quality. Computer printouts must be legible.
  4. Contestants can enter up to three stories. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) if you would like your story returned at the end of the contest. Stories will not be returned without an SASE. Do not send your only copy in case of accidental loss. We are not responsible for lost manuscripts.
  5. Email entries will be accepted. Send to Jefferson P. Swycaffer at No guarantee can be made of email receipt. Privacy and property rights will be absolutely respected. No one other than the Short Story Judge will ever see the submission.
  6. There are no entry fees.
  7. Cash prizes totaling $100 will be awarded as follows: First prize is $50, second $30, and third $20. Honorable mentions and semi-finalists will receive a certificate of award.
  8. Send all manuscripts to the contest manager: Jefferson Swycaffer, P. O. Box 15373, San Diego, CA 92175-5373; Emails with the story attached in word format are preferred. Paper manuscripts are acceptable. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than Dec. 31, 2023.
  9. The Short Story Judge is a published science fiction professional, and also a loving fan of the sf and fantasy genres. All comments and critiques are solely the Short Story Judge’s opinion, but he promises to be constructive and polite.
  10. Stories will also be reviewed by the Editor of the N3F Fiction zine Eldritch Science; authors of suitable tales will be invited to submit their tales for publication in our zine. This review and invitation will only occur after contest winners have been announced, so it can have no effect on the contest outcome.
  11. The NSF may want to publish an electronic book including top entries from one or more years of publication. You will not be contacted about this until after the contest is over and prizes have been awarded. If we want to publish your story, you will have to sign over to us first world serial rights. Your willingness to sign over rights cannot affect whether or not you win the contest. Winners will be notified as soon as the judging is completed. Announcements and notifications of winning entries will be made by March 2024. Please take your time and submit your best work. You can resubmit stories previously entered if they did not win previously. All entries will be kept confidential and will be judged fairly and anonymously. The deadline for all entries is Dec. 31, 2023. Good luck!

Please supply on a separate page the following information as your entry form.

Title of story (for identification):
Author’s name and address:
Author’s email address:
I have read the above rules for the 2024 N3F Amateur Short Story Contest, and I agree to them.
Signature/Date:  ______________________________________________________

Mail to: Jefferson Swycaffer, P. O. Box 15373, San Diego, CA 92175-5373

Or email to: