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Campfire Ghost Story

Write the scariest fiction story. We’ll give you the first sentence. Win $10,000.

Join Vocal+ to enter

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Prizes

Grand Prize:
$10,000
Second Place:
$2,500
25 Runners-up:
$50

Status

11 days left

Timeline

Submissions open

Jun 13, 2022

Submissions close

Jul 08, 2022 3:59 AM CUT

Results

Jul 21, 2022

Join Vocal+ to enter

Already have a Vocal account? Log in

Prizes

Grand Prize:
$10,000
Second Place:
$2,500
25 Runners-up:
$50

Status

11 days left

Timeline

Submissions open

Jun 13, 2022

Submissions close

Jul 08, 2022 3:59 AM CUT

Results

Jul 21, 2022

About this challenge

The campfire is crackling. Night owls are hooting in the distance. Your marshmallow is nearly the perfect shade of toasty brown. There’s only one thing missing to set the mood: a spooky, hair-raising, hold-your-breath-til-it’s-over, campfire story. For this Challenge, you're the fireside storyteller.

The Prompt:

Write the scariest, most bone-chilling horror fiction story—the kind of story you'd tell around a campfire on a summer night.

From famous stories like “The Green Ribbon” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” to the original edge-of-your-seat thrillers your Dad would make up, summer nights are when we embrace the macabre. For those classic campfire moments, or simply for the thrill of being frightened, write the best scary story to tell in the dark.

We’ll give you the first sentence of your story to get those creative wheels turning. Here it is:

"The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window."

Remember, your Campfire Ghost Story must begin with this sentence to be eligible, in addition to the Challenge Requirements outlined below.

The rest, as always, is up to you.

The Prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $10,000
  • Second Place: $2,500
  • 25 Runners-up: $50

Judges:

For this Challenge, we’ve hand-selected two members of our own community to serve as Guest Judges. Chelsea Catherine and Meg Anderson are both multiple Challenge-winning Vocal creators who have demonstrated a strong penchant for the horror fiction genre, making them the perfect additions to our judging panel.

Chelsea Catherine

Chelsea Catherine joined the Vocal community with a splash in 2021, debuting with “The Nanny”, a short story that would win the grand prize in the Foggy Waters Challenge. Chelsea is a native Vermonter living in St. Petersburg, FL. In 2018, they won the Mary C Mohr nonfiction award through the Southern Indiana Review, and their book "Summer of the Cicadas," won the Quill Prose Award through Red Hen Press, which was published in August of 2020. Most recently, they won an Emerging Artist grant from Creative Pinellas to work on their novel "The Harvest." You can find them at chelseacatherinewriter.com.

Meg Anderson

Meg Anderson rose to true Vocal fame when her horror short “Glimmer” won the 7th round of the Vocal Summer Fiction Series in 2021. Her short fiction has also appeared in Reflex Fiction Quarterly and the 2022 Bath Flash Fiction anthology. She was shortlisted in the 2021 Bridport Prize. Megan also makes art under the guise of Hangdog Art, which sometimes sneaks into her fiction, like that time she wrote and illustrated Word of Dog, a book about humanity (according to canines). She jots something down most days, usually in cafes around Fremantle, Australia.

How to enter

For your story to be eligible, it should be between 600 and 5,000 words and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Stories published on Vocal and entered into the contest up until July 7, 2022, at 11:59 PM EST will be entered for consideration. Official Rules for the Challenge can be found here.

The Campfire Ghost Story Challenge is exclusive to Vocal+ members. To learn more and upgrade to Vocal+ visit https://vocal.media/vocal-plus.

To be eligible to win the grand prize, second place, or runners-up prizes, you must be over the age of 13 and residing in a country where Stripe is available at the time of entry. A complete list of countries where Stripe is available can be found here—winners will need to have a Stripe account created and connected in order to receive the prizes. For this reason, entrants located outside of any of these countries will not be eligible to win.

Join Vocal+ to enter

Already have a Vocal account? Log in

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