Open Now - Third Annual Literary Contest

Legendary Women’s Third Annual Literary Contest!

Legendary Women has now held two literary contests and we couldn’t be more excited to do this again! Our first year, the theme was strong heroines. Last year, we wanted to concentrate on original stories that passed The Bechdel Test with meaningful conversations. We read so many amazing short stories with in so many different genres (you can check out some past winners here and here).

This year, we’ve decided to start this in November in the spirit of NaNoWriMo. If you don’t have a full length novel in you (just yet), maybe you’ve got a short story! For this year, our own Morgan Barker gave us two words:

Alexandra Hamilton

We’ll go into what that means in a moment. First, let’s get the rules down.


  1. Writers of all gender identities are eligible and encouraged to submit, as long as contest entries adhere to the criteria outlined below.
  2. Authors must be 16+ years of age. One day, we’ll host something for younger writers, but this is not that contest.
  3. Board members of Legendary Women, Inc., as well as their close friends and family, are not eligible to enter this contest. Similarly, the family and close friends of members of the judging committee are not eligible to enter.
  4. All entries must be received by us no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard Time (US) on January 12th, 2017. Any emails with a timestamp after this will NOT be opened or accepted.
  5. Stories that have been submitted elsewhere will be accepted. However, we will not accept stories that are or have been published elsewhere.
  6. Finally, we do love fanfiction. We think it is an awesome form of expression. With that being said, there are legal complications that arise from giving prize money to work that uses someone else’s original characters and intellectual property. Obvious pulled-to-publish fanfic or fanfic with “the serial numbers filed off” are not allowed. (This includes any works that began as fanfiction, but were re-purposed as short stories with names and details changed. We can always tell.)


  1. Stories must have a woman protagonist. To be clear, we are inclusive of all people who identify themselves as women.We do not discriminate. In fact, we encourage women protagonists who are not just cisgender as well as those from different racial, religious, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds and with different sexual orientations.
  2. Again, all content must be original. Work that is either fanfiction or is discovered as plagiarized will not be eligible. Additionally, if an individual submits plagiarized work to us and we find out, they will be banned from entering LW writing contests in perpetuity.
  3. We are sex positive. One day, we may have contests with different categories like erotica. However, this is not an erotica contest. While stories may discuss sex frankly and openly as it relates to plot and character, stories featuring graphic sexual content, anything beyond an R-rating, will not be considered.
  4. We will not accept stories that glamorize or glorify prejudice and bigotry. Yes, we do understand if the antagonists/villains in the story are bigoted and the story concerns the heroine overcoming that. However, anything that we view as sympathetic to discrimination will be disqualified. Also, there are a few curse words that, if used in your story, will automatically disqualify you. Use of the f-word, c-word or n-word will automatically disqualify you. Please do not use them. Remember, this goes up on our Medium site for the public to read, so please try to keep curses to a minimum and to avoid slurs. Thank you.
  5. Stories MUST BE between 3,000 and 5,000 words. We will not accept any stories either over or under that word limit. If we see that the file you send us is NOT within the word limits, it will not be read and your entry will be automatically disqualified. Also, these must be complete stories. We do not accept stories that are actually book chapters within a larger work (once again, we can always tell). These must be stand-alone short stories.
  6. You are allowed one entry per author. This means per your legal name. You cannot submit multiple entries under different pen names. HOWEVER, you may write with a writing partner. If one piece is listed as being written by two people, that’s okay. Still, the same rules apply and only one entry per team or person is allowed. Also, if you enter as a team and place within the Top 3, you will split the prize money. It will not be doubled.
  7. Legendary Women, Inc. reserves the right to display and promote the winning stories on our site for no less than six months after they are posted. Afterwards, we can take them down, if asked, so that the winners can submit them to other places for formal publication.
  8. Currently, all stories must be in English. Our staff consists mainly of English readers, so stories in other languages cannot be accepted.


  1. Stick to standard fonts. We will accept stories typed in Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial ONLY.
  2. All stories must be submitted in BLACK type face. Special colors or color coded stories will not be accepted.
  3. The stories submitted must be double spaced.
  4. Please put the page numbers and story title on top of your pages. DO NOT put your name on the top of the pages, only the numbers/title.
  5. The files must be sent as .rtf files. We have a variety of computers among our judges and entries must be sent in rich text format so as to be readable by all. If an entry is submitted in ANY OTHER FORMAT, the story will be disqualified.


Our first year, we wanted women with strength of all kinds. In our second year, we wanted to see women forming emotional bonds together. This year, we want women that go for greatness. As Morgan put it:

Alexandra Hamilton — It’s about women who are not throwing away their shot. They are seizing an opportunity or making opportunities and leaving their mark. These characters only get one shot and they are driven to become LEGENDARY.

You can decide what that means to you. Is she going to rule the world or just her own corner? Is she going to change the world or make life better for one small part of it? Is she going to conquer her fears and be more than she ever believed? Will there be press, poetry, and tales told of her greatness? However it happens, she is not doing things by half-measures. She is well on her way to becoming LEGENDARY.

As to genre and style, we are open. It can be set in this world or one of your own creation, modern times or ancient history or some far-off future, and it can be told from any perspective you choose.

Prizes and Dates

So when do you submit?

The ability to start submitting to our email will begin today (November 12th, 2016) and it will remain open for two months until January 12th, 2017 at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time in the United States.

Here is how you enter…

  1. Send us a short email to with your name, the country from which you are sending the story, and the word count of the story.
  2. Make sure that your story is complete with numbered pages and attached as a .RTF file to the email and compliant with our formatting rules above.

The email for submitting stories is, once again:

So what could I win?

Third Place:

You will win $25.00 USD have your story published on our site, and also have a short paragraph written up about you and featured on our site.

Second Place:

You will win $50.00 USD, have your story published on our site, and have a short interview with you featured on our site.

First Place:

You will win $100.00 USD, have your story published on our site, and have a long form interview featured on our site.

All bragging rights are implied!

What is the time frame?

As said above, we will take entries from today until January 12th, 2017.

We will start organizing the stories for first round reviews during the following week. We hope to have the first round of reading done and stories narrowed down by February 15th, 2017.

Our final round judges are a carefully selected panel with a mix of published writers, feminist scholars, and activists. This panel will be the one to make the final decisions on winners. From there, we hope to have their consensus on our winners by March 31st, 2017 to score the five finalists and return their results to our board.

In the first week of April — the board will average the scores and determine the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Winners will be announced on April 10th, 2017!

At that point, the winners will be notified, given their prize money, and we will start posting the winning stories and interviews towards the end of April.

If we are inundated with more stories than we expect, we reserve the right to take longer with judgment. This is a general estimated timeline, but it may change, depending on circumstances. We will post a notice on our Medium if that is the case.

If you have any other questions, please send them to either or to and our Board can clarify your concerns.

We look forward to meeting your LEGENDARY woman!

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