The Forgotten Carnival - (Short Story Project )

The Forgotten Carnival - (Short Story Project )

Write a short story about a long-forgotten carnival tucked away in a hidden corner of a dense forest.
🏆 Prizes
Grand Prize: $200
Four Runners-ups: $25

19 Days Left
Project ends on Dec 30,2023 at 11:59 pm PST
Winners announced on Jan 21,2024
Pay $3 to make a submission
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Project Details

Write a short story about a long-forgotten carnival tucked away in a hidden corner of a dense forest. 

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Setting: This carnival has been abandoned for decades, and nature has begun to reclaim it. Describe the environment in vivid detail, using all your senses. What does it look, smell, and sound like?

  • Characters: Create two main characters who stumble upon this forgotten carnival. One should be curious and adventurous, while the other is more cautious and skeptical. Develop their personalities, backgrounds, and motivations.

  • Discovery: As the characters explore the carnival, they come across strange and mysterious attractions that seem to have a life of their own. 

  • Flashbacks: Intersperse the story with flashbacks that reveal the history of the carnival and why it was abandoned. Unearth the secrets and tragedies that led to its downfall.

  • Conflict: Create a conflict or dilemma the characters must face while exploring the carnival. It could be a moral dilemma, a choice between two paths, or a threat that emerges from the past.

  • Resolution: Decide how the characters resolve the conflict and whether they leave the carnival changed in some way. Does the carnival have a final message or lesson for them?

  • Themes: Explore themes such as nostalgia, the passage of time, the power of nature, and the resilience of memories in your story.

Remember to immerse the reader in the eerie and enchanting atmosphere of the forgotten carnival, making them feel like they are right there alongside the characters as they unravel its mysteries.

Ready? Read the rules first. 

  • The entry fee is $3. 

  • The Grand Prize is $200. 

  • Up to 4 Runners-ups will win $25.

  • We’ll feature the winning article on our homepage, newsletter and socials.

  • SMPLE will contact anyone who excites us about future collaboration or paid contributions. 

  • Aim for a short story of around 2,000 to 4,000 words, but feel free to adjust the length as needed to fully develop the narrative.


Please note: We'll only declare a winner if we find merit in at least one submission. In the event that no submission meets our criteria, everyone will receive a refund of their submission fee.

Grand Prize: $200
Four Runners-ups: $25
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