Anything But Ordinary Short-Story Contest

The catalyst for Lara Avery’s debut novel, Anything But Ordinary, is a freak accident at the Olympic trials that leaves Bryce Graham, a 17-year-old platform diver, in a coma. Having lost all hope that she’ll ever wake up, her family, her best friend, and even her boyfriend eventually move on. Then, five years later, Bryce opens her eyes. At the very beginning of the novel, Bryce wakes up in the hospital and discovers she’s missed her senior year of high school—and half a decade of her life.

Will she get back together with her boyfriend, even though he’s engaged to someone else? Will she reconnect with her high school friends, who now have college friends of their own? Can she even begin to get to know her 12-year-old sister, who’s now 17—the age Bryce was when her life suddenly stopped?

Inspired by the many questions asked in Anything But Ordinary, we’re hosting a short-story contest. Your challenge: Get inside the head of a character who, like Bryce, awakens after years in a coma. In 1,200 words or less, write a story about that character and someone he or she has just been reunited with. What has changed—and what has stayed the same?

How to Enter:

1. Read the full rules.
2. Create an account on
3. Start a new writing of 1,200 words or less.
4. Tag your writing with AnythingButContest on the Details tab.
5. Press “Publish Now.”
6. You should receive a pop-up confirmation of your entry, and in about two hours or so, your piece should appear among the submissions.

You have until Monday, September 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET to enter your story. Voting will run until Tuesday, October 2 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The top ten most-hearted finalists will be sent to Lara Avery for judging!

The grand prize winner will receive Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery, BETA by Rachel Cohn, Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone, Carter’s Unfocused, One Track Mind by Brent Crawford, and False Memory by Dan Krokos.

The second prize winner will receive Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery, Cinders & Sapphires: At Somerton by Leila Rasheed (not out until January 2013) and Poison by Bridget Zinn (which won’t be released until Spring 2013).

The third prize winner will receive Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery.


Contest Entries

  • Unknown
    • 1
    • 0

    No one to tell me

    He's the last person left in her life, and he was the one who almost ended it. They have also never met.

    View Entry »
  • 77761_intercom
    • 0
    • 0

    I Do

    This is my entry into the Anything but Ordinary Contest. Henry Peterson is meeting with Maggie, a woman who he has not seen in three y…

    View Entry »
  • Hello sarah
    • 1
    • 0

    Hello Sarah

    Trenton Malone last remembered being forced to marry his enemy Sarah Farrell. Just because he desired to go to any limit for Ana, an a…

    View Entry »
  • Hello my name is
    • 14
    • 2


    They say that sometimes the only one who can tell identical twins apart is their mother. But what happens when not even that is true? …

    View Entry »
  • Car abcde
    • 1
    • 0


    View Entry »
  • Cover-normal
    • 15
    • 4

    Continuing Life


    View Entry »
  • Carved heart
    • 0
    • 0

    Scars & Strawberries

    What happens when Maura wakes up from a 12-year coma? How does she take the news? What has she missed?

    View Entry »
  • 253996_168754846520121_5946606_n
    • 54
    • 7


    Princess Drinks are not for little girls...

    View Entry »
  • Image(2)
    • 150
    • 19

    Start Again

    PLEASE READ! My entry for the Anything But Ordinary Contest. Hope you all like it, let me know what you think! I had to take a lot out…

    View Entry »
  • Cover-normal
    • 1
    • 0

    Love Conquers All

    Love Conquers All, even if that does mean you're some type of creature who has blue breath, has an owner & could be immortal--maybe. C…

    View Entry »
  • A dream filled sleep
    • 1
    • 0

    A Dream Filled Sleep

    Wendy wakes up after being asleep for five years. What does she mean, "It's over?" My entry for the Anything But Ordinary competition.

    View Entry »
  • C
    • 193
    • 41

    Waking Up

    Anna was young, beautiful, happy and living the perfect life. Then she got into a car accident and got stuck in a coma. When she wakes…

    View Entry »
Show all entries »

23 thoughts on “Anything But Ordinary Short-Story Contest

  1. Can we switch point of views if we want? Like do half from the coma patients POV and then half from the person she reunites with? Or should it all be in the coma patients POV?

  2. This is the best prompt for a contest ever! I’m definitely willing to put in the work (since it’s most-hearted). Hopefully I don’t waste my time though /:

    • All our author challenges and newsletter contests are non-heart based (we have one of each of those running now!) Most of our flash fiction contests are also staff-judged.

    • As long as you’re answering the prompt, you’re set! If you’re worried that you’re not following the prompt, your best bet is better safe than sorry!

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