The 2013 contest will take place Saturday and Sunday, August 17-18 in Portland, Oregon. Registration will open in mid-July.
How It Works
The contest starts at noon on Saturday, when writers converge at the starting point (TBD) to receive their first writing prompt and scavenger hunt clues. They head out to several locations around the city to gather all six writing prompts, and have 36 hours to write the best fiction piece they can come up with. Final submissions are due at the end location (TBD) by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.
We’re offering six prize packages this year:
Team and Individual Awards will be selected by judges. The Readers’ Choice Award will be voted on by attendees at the post-contest reading and online readers.
All winners will be announced the week of September 30. Winners are invited to read at various venues throughout the year!
Through the Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest, we support writing as a team activity, foster love for the beautiful city of Portland and its small businesses, and thrive through cooperative creativity among people and across the arts.
2013 Start location: To be determined.
End location: To be determined.
- Participants can compete in teams or individually. All team members must be on the registration form.
- One entry per team/individual participant.
- Register online in advance or in person the day of the event.
- Entries must contain all six writing prompts.
- Entries must be written for an English-speaking audience.
- Entries must be fiction, entirely created by registered team members within the time frame of the contest.
- Participants must be willing to be photographed and/or interviewed for publicity.
- Participants must be willing and able to read at a few events throughout the year.
Indigo Editing & Publications and Sledgehammer Writing Contest are not responsible for the safety of participants or that of people they encounter. Please travel and write responsibly.
Q: Can I compete from another city?
A: In the past, we’ve made this a Portland-only event. Due to popular demand, we’re working on details to make this event open for anyone in the world. Stay tuned!
Q: How many people can be on a team?
A: As many as you want, but you have to figure out how you divide duties and prizes!
Q: Is there one of every prize for every team member?
A: Nope. Different sponsors have donated different amounts of their prizes, but be certain that there’s something for everyone on your team.
Q: Can I play with form?
A: Sure! Just make sure your story is fiction and written for an English-speaking audience.
Q: What’s this writing-prompt business? Do I have to do that?
A: Yes, the four components of the writing prompt are required to appear in your final submitted story.
Q: Is there a word count limit?
A: No, but remember that conciseness is usually a sign of better writing.
Q: What if I don’t already have a team but I want to compete with one?
A: Let us know! We’ll help you connect with other writers to form a team.
Q: Does everyone on the team have to be at the start and end?
A: The whole team must be present to start, but only one person needs to turn in the story at the end.
Q: How will the stories be judged?
A: Judges from Indigo Editing & Publications will evaluate stories based on their creative use of prompts, use of literary devices, cohesiveness, topic, and overall appeal. We’ll also have a short public reading, where competitors can read excerpts of their stories to an audience that will vote for the Readers’ Choice Award. Readers can also vote for this award here on the site.
Q: When will this public reading happen, and are we required to participate?
A: We’re working on finalizing the details, but it usually takes place the Monday after the contest. Contestants are invited to read a five-minute excerpt of their piece. Make it dramatic! Audience members will vote on their favorite reading. Contestants are not required to participate, but it is encouraged.
Q: I can’t make it to the reading. Can I submit a video of me reading my story?
A: Sure, as long as you make it easy for us. Submit the video before noon, limit it to five minutes, and make sure it’s in a universal format that we won’t have to fight with to play.
Q: Can kids participate?
A: Absolutely! All of our scavenger hunt stops and writing prompts are family friendly, and we love to see young creatives. We’ll even make a special young writers category if we see some sign up. Bring the whole gang!
Q: What other costs are involved aside from the entry fee?
A: If you’re driving during the scavenger hunt, you’ll want some money for parking. If you’re taking public transportation, you’ll need some money for that. See the Portland Office of Transportation and TriMet for more information. If you’re biking or walking, you’re even cooler than we thought.
Q: Can winners compete again?
A: Out of fairness to other contestants, Sledgehammer winners cannot compete for the same prize again for three contests of the same level. So, an Individual 36-hour contest winners can’t compete for the Individual Award for the next three years, and Mini-Sledgehammer winners can’t compete for three months. Winners can compete in contests of other levels or for different prizes (i.e., the Team Award) though.
Terms and ConditionsSledgehammer Participation Terms and Conditions By registering to participate in the 2013 Sledgehammer Writing Contest, my team and I agree to the following: All materials submitted will be original, unpublished, and completely created during the thirty-six hours set aside for the contest. No previously written pieces or late entries will be accepted. All materials—including story and digital photos—must be submitted on the provided CD by the deadline. Submissions must be fiction and in English. One entry per team. Writers must be present to start and finish the race. There will be no refunds for registrants that register but do not participate. At least one person from the winning team must be willing and able to read the winning story at events throughout the year. Participants may be photographed and/or interviewed for publicity purposes. At least one person from each team must be willing and able to cooperate. Indigo owns the rights to contest photographs. Travel responsibly. Sledgehammer Writing Contest and Indigo Editing & Publications are not responsible for injuries to participants or bystanders or damage to property that occurs during the Sledgehammer Writing Contest. Participants take full responsibility for damage they incur. Indigo staff are prohibited from entering. Indigo may publish winning stories for distribution. All submitted stories will be posted on the Sledgehammer website. Participants offer first print and online publication rights for these purposes. By registering for Sledgehammer, you agree to these terms and conditions.