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

  • Sister dearest
    • 47
    • 10

    Safe and Sound

    2ND PLACE- ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY CONTEST :) When Paige wakes up from her coma, every one appears to be thrilled to see her- except fo…

    View Entry »
  • 253996_168754846520121_5946606_n
    • 54
    • 7


    Princess Drinks are not for little girls...

    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 »
  • Last rays of light[1]
    • 13
    • 10

    The Second Day 1

    AnythingButContest Kate has a brand new life after she awakes from a seven year coma. Not finished sorry i had a deadline and word lim…

    View Entry »
  • Ambulance
    • 0
    • 0

    Bright Lights and Dark Shadows

    Lexi has just woken up from a coma that trapped her for three years. What secrets will she uncover about her life? Find out now!

    View Entry »
  • 1057587_hospital_corridor
    • 4
    • 0


    What if you woke from a coma, only to find the hospital, and the entire town deserted? Or so you thought...

    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 »
  • Scenery
    • 3
    • 0

    Not Right

    After 5 years she wakes from her coma. But something is very not right.

    View Entry »
  • Little miss miracle
    • 4
    • 0

    Little Miss Miracle

    ~Cover by Sophia Halcyon~ Tara Shelby was in a car accident on the way to prom. She miraculously wakes up from her coma after five …

    View Entry »
  • Couple-holding-hands
    • 0
    • 0

    Unforeseen Consequences

    Sometimes riches go to rags. Sometimes, a female politician has too much wine. Sometimes, an old friend who has had a more challenging…

    View Entry »
  • Images
    • 1
    • 0


    Jamie Stimson had it all, that is until a car accident landed her in a coma. But when she wakes up six years later she finds that ever…

    View Entry »
  • Boy-boyfriends-cute-girl-laying-favim_com-300715
    • 69
    • 10


    *For the Anything But Ordinary Contest - Top 10 finalist.* A single night can change your life forever. A single moment can take your…

    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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