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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September's Winners

Prompt: Write a story featuring face paint.

All-age category winner by Alexandra Folly:

A Painted Face

A fine black line over the eye. Deepest red for the lips. And some colour for the eyelid. After a long look in the mirror, Jenna removes the make-up with a sigh. James has to go to work. Reluctantly the cotton pad scratches over his beard stubble.

Young Writers (12-18) category winning story by Louis Brice, age 15:
The paint covered his scars from wars long forgotten. The man gazed into the mirror, staring back at him was an unrecognizable figure. He limped away and picked up his rusty longsword to defend his home.
Young Writers (5-11) category winning story by Charlie Cameron, age 11:

The blood dripped down the clowns smeared bright red, blue and chalk white face paint. At this point the clown was only a corridor away. It was so silent, we could hear his dripping face paint hitting the floor. The door that we were hiding behind creaked THERE HE WAS!!!


Read all the previous winning stories here.

Image credit to Ivanovgood on Pixabay