• The Elissa Award

    The Elissa Award, formerly the Readers' Choice Award, is named for our dear friend and regular contributor Elissa Nelson, who passed away in 2013. We miss you every day, Elissa. Thanks for supporting Sledgehammer and sharing your writing with us.

    The award is given to the story and writer(s) with the most votes on the website.

  • Visit Indigo

    Sledgehammer is proudly presented by Indigo, which offers editing, design, and more to authors and publishers around the world.

    Visit us at www.indigoediting.com to learn more and to schedule a free sample edit and initial consultation.

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  • Photo Gallery

    To view photos of Sledgehammers past, visit our Facebook photo albums!

    All photos property of Sledgehammer Writing Contest. Most photos copyright Doug Geisler.


2015 Sledgehammer Winners Announced

We had some really fantastic stories this year. As our guest judge Kate Gray put it, “How in the world can people come up with such polished and arresting pieces in that short, high-pressured time? Awesome.” Thank you to everyone who participated, sponsored, and supported.

And now… *drumroll please* ...the winners of the 2015 Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest are:

Individual: “Ghostbox” by Rich Meneghello
The judges were impressed with the high concept and solid voice that was developed in such a short piece and within the time limit, as well as the creative use of the prompts.

Judge’s Choice Award: “Just Like Heaven” by Heidi Sterling
From our guest judge Kate Gray: “
From the opening line, the voice grabbed me. Immediately I was inside a dream, a poetic view of pain and longing and loneliness. ‘There’s no real end to this—the ice roads, the linty snow collecting on the windshield, the reverberation of winter, a song that keeps playing over and over.’ Right away the reader knows there’s no end to the way that this speaker has been affected by what’s about to unfold for us. The world of Drapek’s bar is clearly drawn if tainted by the speaker’s heartache, and we’re able then to return to it as a place of solace and inspiration. When that world closes for the speaker, we mourn in a way that one mourns oversleeping: we hate waking up. This writer knows how to break our hearts with setting, with layers of backstory, with broken syntax. More than anything, though, it is the voice that compels us to trust this speaker, to want more.”

Youth, high school: “Heather” by Rebecca Hicks
Our judges said: “Nice opening portrait of Heather and her niece singing karaoke in the discount department store.”

Youth, middle school and under: “The Bathroom Stall” by Rockin’ Writers
The judges were impressed with the excellent character development.

The Elissa Award (Readers’ Choice): “In Pieces” by Aaron Deck
Thank you to everyone who voted!


Winners will receive CASH prizes in addition to online classes and memberships from our sponsoring writing organizations:

Gotham WritersIndigo Logo 2013 - Spotiwg logo_nonitalic_highresAllSpheres_BlogHeader_Mediumdebbie reber logoOWC LOGO-page-001

Thank you to our sponsors!

What’s Sledgehammer, You Ask?

It’s a quirky writing contest that incorporates:

  • a scavenger hunt
  • four writing prompts
  • a 36-hour deadline
  • the option to write as a team or solo
  • a celebrity judge
  • more than $1,000 in CASH prizes

Writers of all ages can participate individually or as teams and from anywhere in the world.

Visit the Contest Details page for more information.Sledgehammer 1.15

36 Minutes of Writing Fun

While you’re waiting for the 2015 Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest, join our monthly Mini Sledgehammer 36-Minute Writing Contests!

Second Tuesdays, except July 2015
Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese
4323 NE Fremont St., Portland, OR
6:30 p.m., FREE

If you’d like to start a Mini Sledgehammer Writing Contest in your city, email sledgehammer@indigoediting.com.


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