Intermittently, MacQ runs writing challenges which offer modest cash prizes and
publication online to one Winner and a few Finalists. A few semi-finalists are
typically selected for publication as well. General guidelines for each writing
challenge are the same, and a template follows below this intro section.
Because certain requirements are unique to each challenge, those are now highlighted
in green font to make them easier to find in the text.
For specific guidelines for our current competition, visit
The MacQ RESQ Challenge (entry deadline: 30 September 2020).
To see results and guidelines from our previous competitions, please follow these
The MacQ Quink Challenge (July 2020)
Magician Ekphrastic Challenge (May 2020)
The DavenTree Ekphrastic Challenge (Spring 2019)
One Life, One Earth (OLOE) Challenge (Spring 2017)
Template of General Guidelines for Writing Challenges:
[Specific requirements re theme and word challenges will appear here, in green
|[$ USD] and [# of max entries]
To be announced [date]
For a chance to win [$$$ USD] and publication online in [Issue #]
of MacQueen’s Quinterly (aka MacQ-#): Submit unpublished
work(s), no longer than one thousand words each, including title and any author
footnotes. Up to [#] separate entries will be considered from each person, and
each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry fee of [$ USD].
In addition, up to [#] Finalists will receive [$$ USD]
each, plus publication online in MacQ-[#].
Only one cash prize will be awarded per person.
All entries will be considered for publication. Several semi-finalists
may also be selected for publication in Issue [#].
Note: MacQ Contributing Editors may not enter this contest.
Submission period is open for only [#] days: from [date] through
[date]. No entries can be uploaded after 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on [date].
Electronic Submissions Only: Entries in the English language will
be considered from writers worldwide, via Submittable. (Link follows below these
Entry Fee: [$ USD] for one piece, uploaded in a single file.
If more than one piece is included within a single file, only the first one will be
considered. Additional pieces should be entered separately.
Up to [#] entries of one piece will be considered from each person,
and each entry must be uploaded in a separate file and must include a separate entry
Submission files will be accepted in .doc or .docx format. Visual
artworks such as haiga, taiga, and photo-poems may be embedded within a Word document,
only one artwork per entry.
Submission documents must be “anonymous.” Do not include
your name, address, and other identifying info within your document(s).
The same is true for the name of your file(s): No author info.
Instead, please name individual files with the title of the piece in the entry.
This will help ensure that all entries will be considered “blind” and as
impartially as possible.
Author name, contact info, and bio should be entered in the boxes
provided at Submittable. And Submittable will assign a unique number to each entry.
Requests to Edit Entries: If you discover a typo, factual error, etc.
in your work after uploading your file, please send us a note thru Submittable and
request an edit. Please do NOT withdraw your entry just to resubmit
an updated version. Doing so would not only waste your time and money (entry fees cannot
be refunded), but would also impact our publisher’s crazy-busy schedule
(she’s a one-person production army), as well as skew our submission stats.
Huge thanks for your understanding!
Basic Formatting: 11- or 12-point, easy-to-read-onscreen font such as
Verdana. At least one-inch margins. Double space most prose works; but poetic hybrids
like prose poems, haibun stories, tanka prose, etc. may be single-spaced. Please submit
lineated poems with line and stanza breaks as you wish them to appear on-screen.
Word Count: No more than 1,000 words per piece, including a mandatory
title at least one word in length (and any author footnotes). The thousand-word max
per piece applies to all genres, including hybrids and poetic works, since we do not
count lines and line breaks.
All entries must include at least one instance of the word .
[Specific requirements re word challenge and theme will appear here, in green text.]
Entries may be serious, humorous, or both (and anywhere
Multiple Genres Considered: We’re looking for polished and
evocative literary works that balance “music and meaning” (to borrow from
poet Richard Hugo) within a max of 1,000 words and using forms such as these:
- Prose poetry
- Micro-fiction (up to 500 words)
- Flash fiction (501–1,000 words)
- Poetic hybrids: for example, haibun, haibun stories, tanka prose, tanka tales,
and haiga, taiga, and photo-poems
- Nonfiction (creative nonfiction, essays, memoir)
- Lineated poetry
Just a tip: For this writing challenge, individual micro-poems are
a long shot. Sequences and hybrid combinations of multiple micro-poems such as haiku,
senryu, tanka, kyoka, and cherita will have a better chance. (For example, the
semi-finalists in the MacQ Magician Ekphrastic Challenge included
a sequence of six cherita.)
Original Works Only: Entries must be unpublished, and must not have
been chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest. Works that
have appeared on an author’s website or blog, and/or on social media like
Facebook and sites such as Fictionaut, are considered published and thus not
eligible for this contest.
Please, no simultaneous submissions. Our publisher is committed to
announcing results as soon as possible, which will be no more than four weeks beyond
the closing date of the contest.
No cover letters, since we have very little time to read or respond
to them. Folks with specific questions or concerns that are not addressed in these
guidelines are welcome to leave us a brief note at Submittable.
- No gratuitous violence; remember, less is more.
- Although the use of explicit language may be appropriate for this particular
contest, no gratuitous obscenities please. Judicious usage is okay.
- No children’s stories, but we will consider fables or fairy tales for
- No pornography, although literary Romance, Erotica, and works with sexual themes
and related explicit language will be considered.
- No political screeds and/or religious rants—however, literary works from
all spiritual traditions are welcomed.
Publication Rights: Authors whose works are selected will be asked
to approve an agreement which grants exclusive first-time worldwide publication rights
to MacQueen’s Quinterly.
By entering this contest, you certify that: the work(s) you’re
submitting are your own original writings, they have never been published in print
or electronically (including on social media), they have not been submitted nor
accepted for publication elsewhere, and they are not in the public domain.
Results will be announced no later than [date], with the
publication of MacQ-[#] online. Clare MacQueen, founding editor and publisher
of MacQ, will select the Winner and Finalists, who will be notified by email just
before results are announced officially. All decisions by the judge(s) are final.
Payment of Prizes:
- Winners and Finalists will receive electronic payment via PayPal in USD (United
- Only one cash prize per person.
- If a collaborative artwork such as haiga, taiga, or photo-poem is selected as
a Winner or Finalist, then the cash prize will be split evenly between the writer(s)
- Any taxes due on contest winnings are the sole responsibility of the prize
This competition is void where prohibited by law.
A world of thanks for accepting our Challenge—we hope you have
fun with it! We look forward to reading your entr(ies) and to presenting the results