Welcome to the Fourth Annual Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest! This page is for students and teachers and will serve as the epicenter of all contest information and activity. Please be sure to visit often for answers to any questions you may have.

This year, as we launch the Fourth Annual Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest, we’re thrilled to welcome more classrooms across the US and abroad, and to read, celebrate, and publish the next generation of writers. We are eager to hear from you.


A short video about the High School Contest:



2018–2019 “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest Rules and Guidelines:


Prompt: “The Mistake.” An experience becomes a story the moment someone makes a mistake. That’s where you come in. This year, for our Fourth Annual “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest, go ahead and drop the ball, miss the exit, make the gamble, forget the consequences, and royally mess up. We’re all ears. In 600 words, tell a personal or fictional story that centers on a pivotal mistake. Be sure to include the buildup (How did we get here?) and the resolution—if there is one. Remember, not all mistakes are created equal: some can be fixed, others cannot. Push yourself to tell a story that makes your heart quicken, one that involves two or more characters. See if you can articulate what each wants, so that when the mistake occurs, it has multiple consequences. Tap into the humanity at the core of every mistake, and run with it.


What do Narrative editors look for? We’re looking for personal narratives and works of short fiction that show how one event can change everything. That’s why this year we chose a prompt—the mistake—that asks students to revisit or create a moment that caused a big reaction. They should begin their personal narrative or story with a singular moment and develop it from there. The moment itself may be small or large. We encourage students to focus on an action, a piece of dialogue, a character, or a question that truly resonates with them. We ask that they tell a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. What led to the mistake? What did it cause? What now? In true Narrative fashion, tell us a story . . .


Who can enter? Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to submit to the contest via their teachers, starting in January 2019. The contest is free to enter for all eligible students. Our list of partnership schools is finalized for this year’s contest, but if you are interested in participating, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always eager to expand our reach.


When’s the deadline? The contest submission deadline is March 8, 2019. We will announce the winners and finalists in April.


What should a submission look like? Manuscripts should be double-spaced and in 12-point type, with one-inch margins and numbered pages, and must be unpublished (that includes blogs). Student name, school, English teacher, class period, and email address should be typed in the top left corner of the first page. And remember, start by signing in to Narrative with your name and email, so we can find you!


Can I read other work published in the magazine? Absolutely! Join us by making a free account here.


How do I submit? Students must share submissions with their high school English teachers, who will submit personal narratives and stories on their students’ behalf.


Awards: The winners of the Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest will receive $1,000 in prizes, be edited and mentored by Narrative cofounder/editor and bestselling author Carol Edgarian, and see their work published alongside many of today’s great authors. The winners and their works will also be featured on Narrative Outloud, the Narrative podcast.

And here’s an instructional video to help you get started. More videos can be found here.





Additional Information:


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