Greetings all you smart and super-talented writers of Prince Edward Island! Are you ready to partake in the fourth-ever Battle Tales short story contest? If so, you’ve come to the right place. If not, you’ve clearly made a wrong turn somewhere, but we sure would love it if you stayed anyway.

Behold your writing prompts:

  1. A secret told in confidence.
  2. An old memory triggered by a familiar touch.
  3. A telephone ringing in the night.

Now remember: your story must be based on all three of these prompts. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Be creative. Take these prompts and build something lovely— or terrifying— with them. However you do it, really try to give our judge a run for his money.

Just imagine the possibilities. Maybe Little Sally Pipsqueak made you swear you won’t tell her mom about the time she kissed Jimmy Droopy Drawers out behind the school house at last summer’s strawberry social. Or maybe a local politician has just let his wife know about the body resting on the bottom of the Saint Lawrence River. Secrets may not be healthy in a relationship, but in a story, well, they’re almost magical.

What about that late-night telephone call? Could it be an old boyfriend using up his scant payphone privileges from the county jailhouse? And that touch— is it coarse, like the stubble on your groom’s face that time you slapped him for kissing your maid of honour? Or could it be that sense of strong arms holding you, like how it felt when your grandmother hugged your for helping her roll out dough for biscuits? Who knows. It’s up to you to tell us.

Oh, don’t forget to checkout out the contest rules before you get started. We want a good, clean battle, after all. None of that sneaky ninja-in-the-shadows stuff.

And while you’re here, check out this excellent advice to help guide your writing, prepared by our judge Steven Mayoff.

Good luck, everyone. May the best literary gladiator win!