The 50-Word Fiction Competition

Can you write a story in just 50 words?

Each month we’ll provide a prompt to get you started, but where the story goes from there is entirely up to you.

The competition includes four categories, Adult Writers, All-age Gaelic Writers, Young Writers 5-11 and Young Writers 12-18. The entries will be judged by a panel and the four winning stories will be published on our website roughly two weeks after the closing date.

A prize will be awarded to a writer in each category:

Whether you're a seasoned writer or you've always fancied picking up a pen, why not give it a go?

Need some inspiration or tips? Read our 50 Word Fiction blogs, check out Sophie Cooke's 5 Things for Writing A Short Story and read last month's winners.


October's prompt

A man walks along a rocky shore

Write a story about an unexpected visitor. 

This month, we’re partnering with the National Trust for Scotland and using an image from one of their current projects. 

Thanks to funding from the Morton Charitable Trust, the National Trust for Scotland is currently undertaking the digitisation and documentation of the Margaret Fay Shaw photographic archive of mid-20th-century Hebridean life


Image credit Margaret Fay Shaw, ©National Trust for Scotland, Canna House.

How to Enter

Entries for our October competition are currently open. Submit your story by Tuesday 30 October 2018 at noon.

- You can submit one entry to one category per month. Please read the terms and conditions carefully before entering.
- To submit your story, please complete the form below. You will receive a confirmation message on screen after submitting. 
- We welcome entries in Scots or Scottish Gaelic for both categories and thank The Gaelic Books Council for their support in judging our entries.
- Please note that we no longer send acknowledgement emails and due to the large number of entries, we are not able to offer individual feedback.

Gaelic Book Council
Literary Gift Company

If you have any questions about the competition, please send them to:

Submit your entry here:

We only need this information if you are 18 or under
Interested in Scottish Book Trust’s monthly round-up of tips, advice, awards and competitions for writers? Subscribe to our Writing Newsletter
Please note: this box does not limit you to 50 words, so please check your story length before submitting.
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August's Winners

Prompt: Write a story on the theme 'someone's at the door'.

All-age category winner by Joyce Ohara:

door with a knocker

I walked, slowing as I approached,
Steps cracking the gravel drive of the beautiful, Victorian house.  
Lawns happily edged with roses, pansies and tall sunflowers following the sun.
Relief fills my heart and emotion traps my breath.
Clenching my handbag with the precious baby photograph, treasured since 1952,
I knock.

Gaelic category winner by Seonaidh Charity:

An toiseach, parsail an siud ’s an seo. Trì no ceithir gach mìos, sa gheamhradh fhuar. 
Ghnogadh i aig an doras, an lèine-t uaine Yodel oirre, am bogsa na làimh, a gàire…
A-nis – samhradh – parsail a h-uile latha. Cunntas banca falamh. An-diugh, thig am parsail le fàinne ann.

Translation by Gaelic Books Council:

At the beginning, a parcel now and then. Three or four each month, during the cold winter.
She would knock at the door, in her green Yodel t-shirt, the box in her hand, and a smile…
Now – summer – a parcel every day. An empty bank account. Today, the parcel containing the ring will arrive.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Emily Campbell, age 12:
I knocked. The door creaked opened, revealing a tall, figure before me. My heart stopped and I felt my sins crawling up my back... But the feeling didn't last for long as a grip tightened on me. The door slammed and the darkness around me began to eat me alive.
Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Matthew Little, age 9:

One day when I was at home watching tv, I heard someone knocking at the door loudly. It was a tall, scary person holding a parcel. The parcel started to shake so I opened it and it was a necklace. I thought 'no' and just put it in the bin.


Read all the previous winning stories here.

Image credit to MichaelGaida on Pixabay