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CRAFT Elements Contest

The CRAFT Elements Contest is an occasional contest for unpublished short stories that show mastery of a certain element of fiction. Three winners are selected, with $3,000 and publication awarded.

2018: character, dialogue, and setting
2020: conflict

Girl in the Forest of Fear by Steph Grossman

February 12, 2021

  “Yeah, he’s totally jerking off,” Lexi said. She elbowed Lara in the side and pointed to the front of the school bus where Coach Rogers sat alone. Lara let slip a laugh, but otherwise tried to ignore Lexi by…

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This Dreary Exile of Our Earthly Home by Eliana Ramage

December 18, 2020

  When we got to Kituwah it was dark. The mound-building ceremony was long over, the cars driven in and out of the field were gone, the little road empty and twisting through the mountains. Mom got out of the…

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Splinter by Tobey Hiller

December 11, 2020

  He sighted down the barrel. He could see her legs moving, her arms pumping. She was wearing a billed cap, probably her 49ers hat, and she was running down a road on the other side of the forty-acre cleared…

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Shelter by John Haggerty

December 4, 2020

  There’s an air-raid shelter in the backyard. It was built in the fifties, back when such things were fashionable, back when, if your neighbors didn’t have one, you made it clear to them that at the sight of that…

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River Bandit by Carl Napolitano

June 7, 2019

  For my mother   In the past month, ten rivers had gone missing. Throughout the South, zigzagging up and eastward from the Gulf Coast, tributaries popped up dry. Their dryness could be seen from above in a helicopter, funny…

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2.25.64 by Mark Farrington

May 10, 2019

  Into the arena comes the somber and menacing figure of Charles “Sonny” Liston, aptly named the most frightening man in the world.   People said the war changed your father but your mother disagreed. “It just gave him license,”…

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Passing by Thaïs Miller

January 18, 2019

  I. Jason On the brink of Armageddon, I find myself in Stark County, drinking. We’re underground in a bunker, a former stockroom in the basement of a grocery store that’s been converted into a wartime bar. Patrons, in their…

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Heart Trouble by Rex Adams

January 11, 2019

  The nurses, cafeteria workers, surgeons, Harold, they all irritated Darla. So did the old man in the room next door. He was dying, had been for days. Family kept streaming out of the elevator, stomping down the hallway and…

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So Much Trouble by Karin Lin-Greenberg

January 4, 2019

  Katherine had only intended to spend a few minutes outdoors wiping the birdhouse with vegetable oil, but now, over an hour after she’d started, she stood in the front yard, an oil-drenched wad of paper towels in one hand,…

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