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Short Story Guidelines

A  brief  examination  of  a  subject  in  prose  usually  expressing  a  personal  view  or  interpretation  of  a subject or topic.

Traditional elements of the short story include plot, characters, style, setting, structure, tone, theme and narrative point of view. These elements may guide a writer in the creation of a short story, but not all elements will be clearly identifiable in every story.



1. Only one (1) notarized Short Story written only by the contestant, with six (6) copies of the notarized original, must be submitted two (2) weeks prior to date of the regional competition. The top of each page must include the contestant’s name, page number, and unit name and number (Beaver County NAACP ACT-SO - Unit  #2372


2. The Short Story must be typed and double-spaced and between 1000 and 1500 words. 


3. The contestant must be prepared to answer questions by the judges.


Contestants Will Be Judged by the Following Criteria:

• General Merit (25 pts)

        1. Organization - order, placement and development of structural elements such as characters, events, conflicts;

        2. Use of language - effective word choice and use of stylistic elements such as description, dialogue, and verbal images;

• Mechanics (25 pts)


1. Usage;

2. Punctuation/Capitalization/Spelling;

• Overall Effect (50 pts)

              The unity and effective coordination of all story elements to produce an emotional response in the reader and communicate a message or main idea.

NOTE: For students that qualify for the National Competition

The deadline for submission of national registration documents is the second Saturday of May. No materials or copies will be accepted after that time or at the National Competition.


Contact ACT-SO Chairman Carter Spruill for further information 

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