Elevator Fiction Contest, 2017

writing contest

Welcome to ACFW-SFBA’s 2017 Elevator Fiction Contest! The rules! Here they are:

The SF Bay Area Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) is pleased to launch our third annual Elevator Fiction contest. The challenge is straightforward: using the story prompt, write an original story in exactly 250 words. All stories should be polished and complete, with a beginning, middle, and end. Delight us! Surprise us!

Story prompt:Time ran out when …”

 First Prize $75 Amazon gift card   Second Prize $10 Amazon gift card   Third Prize: Honorable Mention

Word Count Rules

Entries must equal 250 words and exactly 250 words. This includes the opening story prompt. Your story must begin with the prompt. Each and every word is counted. Do not depend on the word count in your word-processing software: for the purposes of this contest the following are counted as separate words:

  • Hyphenated words: knee-high forest-green suede boots = 6 words
  • Contractions will be counted as one word
  • Dialogue beats such as um, er
  • Stand-alone letters or groups of letters
    • “No, it’s Marty, with an M.” = 6 words
    • “It figures I’d get in a fender bender in the AAA parking lot.” = 13 words
  • Write out numbers less than 101. Numbers 101 and greater may be expressed in numerals, which count as one word. (twenty-five = 2 words; 2,500 = 1 word)

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/) will be the authority to determine if a word is a compound word, a hyphenated word, or two words. (E.g. per MW, goodbye is good-bye which counts as 2 words.)

You must title your entry. The title will not count against your word count.

Submission Details and Deadline

Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PDT, May 20, 2017

All submissions MUST be submitted electronically via email to acfwsfbayarea@gmail.com with Elevator Fiction Contest in the subject line. If your email contains a different subject line, your entry is at risk of not being included in the contest.

Please include your story within the body of the email. Attachments will not be opened.

Include your name, address, email address, telephone number, and title of your story in an opening paragraph above your story. Then please include your story, headed with the title.


Elevator Fiction Contest Fees

The entrance fee is $20.00 for SF Bay Area chapter members, and $25.00 for nonmembers. Payment to be made via PayPal to the SF Bay Area chapter at https://www.paypal.me/SFBayAreaACFW

Payment must be received in the SF Bay Area PayPal account by 11:59 p.m. PDT, May 20,2017.

Contest Judging

The contest will be judged blindly, meaning each entry will be assigned a number prior to being sent to the judges. Therefore, judges will not see the writers’ names.

All entries will be screened by a panel of judges. All decisions are final and may not be contested or appealed.

Contest Timeline

May 20, 2017             Entry deadline at 11:59 p.m. PDT

July 15, 2017             Announcement of three finalists

September 16, 2017   Announcement of the winner, second and third place

Finalists and winner will be announced at the SF Bay Area chapter meeting, followed by an announcement on the ACFW main loop. In the event that the finalists and / or winner are not local chapter members, they will be contacted by phone.


If fewer than six entries are received by the submission deadline, the contest will be cancelled and entry fees refunded.

Other Contest Fine Print Of Interest

An individual may submit up to three entries. Each entry must be accompanied by the corresponding entry fee ($20 chapter members / $25 non-chapter members per story).

By submitting an entry to this contest, authors agree to allow ACFW SF Bay Area non-exclusive rights to publish and/or reprint the story as a part of the ACFW SF Bay Area blog and/or as promotion for a future flash fiction contest.

Except as previously stated, all rights belong to the author.

No profanity or erotica.

We will not be able to provide any refunds except in the case of insufficient entries canceling the contest.

Write on!


2016 Winners Congratulations to Steve Hooley from OH who took first place in our chapter’s 2016 Elevator Fiction Contest this year. You can read his story below, as well as  the stories from the other two top finishers.

winners are



The Voice
Steve Hooley, Bellefontaine, OH

I thought I was in the clear, but then…The Voice…inhabited—possessed—me.

You think I’m crazy, and I thought so, too. But hear me out.

What it told me to do was…I shudder. I couldn’t imagine it. It had been gone for years, then slipping in through the stillness of the night, it reentered my head. I had thought it was God speaking, telling me what to do.

Later I wondered if the voice was the devil’s. It crept into my heart, deceiving me into wanting to obey. This couldn’t be.

No! Let me go. But finally I did as instructed.

In the night, I entered the boy’s room and took him while he slept. I pushed back my long oily hair and carried him, my sandals crunching in the desert. Evil burned in my pocket. I laid him on some rocks and tied him.

No, don’t make me do this.

“What are you doing, Daddy?”

“Go back to sleep, son. Close your eyes.”

What was I doing? I can’t! Ask anything else. Take me! Not my son. Please!

A flood of tears blinded me as I reached for the evil instrument. Plunge fast. Make it end. I grasped the knife, and screaming, I raised it.

“Stop!” The iron fist clamped my arm and dropped me to my knees.

Holding my son to my chest, I sobbed and rocked him.

“What’s wrong, Daddy?”

“I love you, Isaac.”

And The Voice said, “Great will be your reward, Abraham.”


Beeves on the Barbie
Amy Ballard, Fairfield, ID

I thought I was in the clear, but then my men ate Helios’ cattle.

Ever since Troy, the sea god Poseidon had been on my case. So I fought on the wrong side, okay! Then I played Messin’ with Cyclops, and the one-eyed giant turned out to be Poseidon’s son. How should I know? We’d gotten away, booking it for Ithaca and home, when the sea god heard his son’s invocation.

“Pulverize Odysseus’ ship, Daddy!” Polyphemus must have prayed; the waves surged taller after that.

We sailed on hope and the blessing of Athena. It was not enough.

When we put ashore to make dinner on Helios’ island, I warned my men: “You have one job. Don’t eat Helios’ cattle!” But Poseidon was still furious with me. (I did snap the tendons of his son’s eye with a corkscrew). His tempests kept us land-bound for a month.

We got pretty ravenous on that green island with the cows. Hamburgers yet to be processed. Juicy sirloin burgers. What’s that smell? Next thing I knew, their beef was cooked.

Helios smelled it, too. “Odysseus!” he blazed. “You slaughtered my beeves!”

“It was we,” confessed Eurylochus, my wanna-be celebrity chef. “We killed them. Our leader had nothing to do with it. But that savory aroma! Vegetarianism is so overrated!”

“No eating of any beeves was endorsed by me,” I pledged, thinking it an ideal time for passive voice.

“Peace, Odysseus!” the sun god flamed. “I have no beef with you.”


Flies with that Order?
Alan Daugherty, Bluffton, IN

I thought I was in the clear, but then, a hand visible over a bush signaled two more in that direction. Reacting instinctively I dropped one at the hot spot, followed by another that fell partially onto the first.

Never fails, just when a lull seems to signal an end, a call revives the action. I throw down a full load fast, causing ash and smoke to billow.

“Fire!” Seeing, not hearing, the alarm, I pulled the trigger and shot a sweeping spray. Practice perfected aim instantly averted the crisis.

Moving right, out of drifting smoke, I looked down and slowly turned one over and pressed with the heel of my spat. Blood oozed outward. It looked just like hamburger. The sight nearly caused me to puke, perhaps nerves after hours of service. Swallow. Focus.

While trying to flip the next, it fell to the ground with a lifeless thud. A dog ran from around a bush and had to be kicked away from what lay broken, bloody, and burnt on the extremities.

“Over here,” came another authoritative shout. I sent my secondary to reconnoiter the full need in that direction. She soon ran back, a fast unbalanced sidestep needed as she stepped over what lay on the ground.

“Four more with cheese,” she shouted above the din, “then it is finished.”

Success. Another neighborhood burger picnic grill duty done. I shouted at my wife, Gwen, “This is the last party where I will play grill chef, got that? Please?”