Battle Tales IV: WRITING PROMPTS!

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!

Battle Tales IV: Free Advice From Our Judge

What makes a good Battle Tale? We asked Steven Mayoff, our wise and very cool Battle Tales judge, to share a few things he’s looking for in a submission. Here’s what he said:

“I will be judging the stories using the usual criteria of story and character development, language, etc. I will also be looking to see how creatively the three prompt words are integrated into the story, rather than just embedded so the story qualifies for the contest. Writers should also think about why this story is important to them. Give me a sense of it, not as an overt statement, but more imaginatively. Condense it to a single image or a situation or maybe as a bit of dialogue. Challenge yourselves and challenge me.”

Battle Tales III: WRITING PROMPTS!


Greetings all you heroic (and decidedly nice-looking) writers of PEI! Are you ready to partake in the third-ever Battle Tales short story contest? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Behold your writing prompts:

  1. An urgent message left in haste.
  2. A vivid memory evoked by a familiar scent.
  3. A conversation only partially heard.

Now remember: your story must include all three of these prompts. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Be creative. Take these prompts and build something lovely with them. Really give our judge the run for his money.

Maybe that urgent message was scrawled in lipstick on the back of a napkin, or perhaps those few words of conversation you heard had something to do with an old, jealous flame. And what was that smell? Did it remind you of your grandmother’s oatmeal bread? Or was it the aroma of old fish down by the docks? 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 guerrilla warfare 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!

Battle Tales III: Meet Your Judge!

Curious about who will be judging your totally-awesome, perfectly-standout submissions once the Battle Tales contest closes? Why, it’s none other than our Island-proud author and poet Steven Mayoff!

Steven Mayoff was born and raised in Montreal and moved to Prince Edward Island in 2001. His fiction and poetry have appeared in literary journals across Canada and the U.S. as well as in Ireland, Algeria, France, Wales, England and Croatia. He has written two books of fiction: the story collection Fatted Calf Blues (Turnstone Press, 2009) and the novel Our Lady Of Steerage (Bunim & Bannigan, 2015). Upcoming is a poetry collection Swinging Between Water And Stone to be published by Guernica Editions in 2019.