The Dark Unwinding Short-Story Contest

Katharine Tulman is in a tough situation. Her aunt has sent her to a remote English estate to have her seemingly-crazy uncle committed to an asylum before he squanders the family fortunes. But what Katharine discovers at Stranwyne Keep is beyond anything she could have ever imagined. The once-grand mansion is now a crumbling maze of abandoned rooms, underground tunnels, and secret passageways. Her uncle is a genius inventor who employs a village of nearly 900 people to help execute his innovations. As Katharine is drawn into their madcap world, she begins to care deeply for her uncle and this unusual community. But what surprises Katharine most of all is her growing feelings for her uncle’s handsome apprentice.

Inspired by the striking settings described in Sharon Cameron‘s novel The Dark Unwinding we have a new short-story contest for you! In 1,200 words or less, write a story that takes place in an idyllic English village, a crumbling mansion, or a secret passageway.

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 UnwindingContest 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 Tuesday, September 25 at 11:59 p.m. ET to enter your story. Voting will run until Wednesday, October 3 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The top ten most-hearted finalists will be sent to Sharon Cameron for judging!

The grand-prize winner will receive a written critique of their story by author Sharon Cameron focusing on voice, narrative structure, and character development, along with a signed copy of The Dark Unwinding.

Two runners-up will each receive a signed copy of The Dark Unwinding with a limited edition bookmark from the author.

Contest Entries

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23 thoughts on “The Dark Unwinding Short-Story Contest

  1. This contest sounds like it was written for me!! All three of my favorite things! I might write an entry just for fun; heart-based contests are time consuming, if you want to actually compete. Extra time is not something I have at the moment :/

  2. There’s a typo in the announcement. It says “…her growing feelings for her uncle’s HIS handsome apprentice”. No need for the ‘his’. Lol, this website has turned me into a grammar Nazi…

  3. It’s kind of sad how only residents of certain countries can participate. What about the rest of us? There should be contests for everyone too!

  4. Hi! Can a scene take place in an english village or a secret passageway, only for a couple scenes or the entire story? I am writing a story about a girl who lives in the forest of an english village, does that still count? Thank you 🙂

  5. I’ve never done a contest on figment before. If you finish your story before the deadline of September 25, can you start your voting then or do you have to wait till after the 25?

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