No theme at all. Since it’s the holidays and we’re already a third into the month, we don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on anyone. If you do need a theme or a bit of inspiration, let’s go with No Way Out.

The word count is anything under 1,500 words, and we’ll make the deadline January 5th. The winner will receive $0.03 per word, publication, and an Author Spotlight on our newsletter and Patreon page. Second place will receive $0.02 a word, and third place $0.01 per word. Submit your entry in the body of an email to The email subject line should be your story’s name and your author name / pseudonym.

Please take note…
You do not need to be a Crystal Lake Patreon patron to enter. This is a contest and only the top three placing stories will receive payment. I’ll personally read all the email submissions and post the best 10 to 20 stories on the Crystal Lake Publishing Patreon page (to our $5 a month and higher tiers). Our patrons will then read all the entries, posted one per day, and vote for a winner. Some editors/publishers may consider having your story posted on a subscription-based platform, like Patreon, as a first publication. If your story does not win, we will remove it upon request.