12 Short Stories | Tips and Tricks | How does the website work?

The 12 Short Stories Challenge is about is about beating procrastination butt by writing 12 Short Stories in 12 months. These Tips and Tricks will help you make the most of the Deadlines For Writers website.

How to Submit your Short Story for 12 Short Stories: 

The deadline:

The deadline for 12 Short Stories is a 24-hour window. I am based in Pretoria, South Africa. We start at 8 am(GMT+02:00) on deadline day,  and end at 8 am(GMT+02:00) the following morning. You can submit any time during the window, but please do not submit before or after that. I use this website to calculate the time zones: World Time Buddy.

A big part of the 12 Short Stories Challenge is about giving and receiving feedback. Remember we post on short story and comment on four.

To submit:  

  1. Log in to deadlinesforwriters.com. If you are blocked or locked out you are trying to log in to Writers Write or you need to reset your password. The stories are posted on a separate site. Please use the link above.
  2. If you cannot remember your password please use the “Lost your password” button and follow the steps. If you need help please mail: write@12shortstories.com
  3. Once you have logged in you will see a menu bar on your left. Select SUBMIT/Write Short Story. A form will appear. If you do not see “Write Short Story” please mail write@12shortstories.com.

This is what you should see:

4. The first field is for the title of your short story.

TIP: Please enter the STORY TITLE AND YOUR NAME. This ensures that your name forms part of the URL. For example: The Bomb Maker of Belfast by Mia Botha will look like this https://staging.deadlinesforwriters.com/the-bomb-maker-of-belfast-mia-botha/

TIP: You are welcome to use the prompt as the title, but choosing a different and unique title will make it more noticeable and easier to search. It’s good practice to brainstorm titles.

TIP: The title does not form part of the word count.

5. Select the correct category. As the year progresses the list of available categories will increase and also include poetry. Please double check that you have added the correct one.

6. Add Featured image. This is optional but makes your post look good. DO NOT USE ‘Insert Photo’ your pic won’t appear in the right places. If you use Featured Image your pic will appear (partially) in the feed and above your story.

7. Follow the steps to UPLOAD your image. Upload/Browse/Select/Open.

8. You remain responsible for copyright. Please make sure you have permission to use images. I use a site called Unsplash. The images are free and all you have to do is credit the photographer. I paste the link they supply in the first line of the story block.

9. You may have to reduce the size of the image. The site will not allow you to upload huge images. This slows our site down. Some Unsplash images are too big even once they have been reduced then I choose a different one.

9. Click in the CONTENT block. Copy/paste your story in the block. The text formatting options are very limited and the site overrides most formatting, even manuscript layout. We use paragraphs, it won’t allow us to indent.

10. Make sure your word count is correct. You have a 50-word leeway either way.

TIP: A huge and very valuable part of this challenge is to use the exact word count. It forces you to read through the story just one more time and trust me, it will make you a better writer.

TIP: Many word processors and writing programmes have different ways of counting the characters. You will see discrepancies between the various programme. Choose the one you prefer and stick to it.

11. The teaser is optional. It is good practise to start using this section. It helps you to summarise and work on a little pitch for your story.

TIP: This is also a good place to mention if your story is part of a series. You can include links to the previous month’s story.

TIP: If you do not enter a teaser the first few lines of your story will appear in the feed.

TIP: If you would prefer not have people comment on your grammar you can also mention this here or if you are a little scared of receiving comments add it to the block.

12. Enter a genre for your story. Some people actively seek out certain genres and avoid others. It’s good to read out of your comfort zones, but it’s also good to know what you’re in for. You can also search according to genre.

13. Warn us! Please enter a warning if needed. We mention triggers like suicide, rape, violence or profanity. You can also simply say: Not for sensitive readers.

14. Add TAGS. Tags tell Google what your story is about. Suggested tags: your name, story title, 12 Short Stories, Short Story Challenge, writing challenge.

15. Select Submit. Please do not save your story as a draft. They get mixed in with the pending stories and are approved by and then you have two versions of your story on the site.

16. Your story is pending. I need to approve it and will do so as soon as possible.

17. Once you have posted your story please read and comment on four other stories.

18. To EDIT your story: profile/short stories/select story/make change/update post. Your story will revert to pending and I will approve it again.

How to Read and Comment on Short Stories:

  1. Select READ/Read Short Story in the menu bar on the left.
  2. Select the prompt/month you would like to read.
  3. Click on the story title.
  4. Read the story.
  5. Click on the comment block below the story.
  6. Type your comment.
  7. Reply to a comment by clicking carefully on the Arrow.
  8. The writer of the story will receive email notification of your comment or reply.
  9. To read older stories for 2017, 2018 and 2019 go the Archive tab on the left-hand menu.
  10. To look for stories that don’t have a lot of comments, search for the prompt select blog posts and scroll/page to find stories that need love.
  11. To read the story of the writer who commented on your story click on their name in the comments. This will take you to their profile, click on short stories and you will be able to see the list of their stories.

Your profile:

  1. Once you have logged in select PROFILE in the menu bar on the left.
  2. Select EDIT.
  3. Enter your name and a short bio.
  4. Add a profile picture.
  5. Add a cover picture.

6.Under the SHORT STORY tab you will find a list of your short stories. This is where you EDIT your story.

Finding people:

  1. The search bar is at the top of the page.

2. Once you have searched for a name you will see three options: All/Blog posts/Members

3. Select Members to go to their profile or Blog posts to go to their stories.

  1. Scroll until you have found the writer’s profile or the story you want to read.
  2. Click on their name and it will take you to their profile and their stories.
  3. Click on Add Friend and you will send a friend request.

To add a new level:

  1. Select the Account tab on the left.
  2. Click on View All Membership Options.
  3. To add a competition entry and a short story appraisal to your profile select Level 2 and make payment through Paypal.
  4. To add 12 coaching sessions and 12 appraisals to your profile select Level 3 and make payment through Paypal.
  5. To add the poetry challenge select Level 4.

Here is a PDF version of this document to download and print. How to use deadlinesforwriters.com

If you have any more questions about the 12 Short Stories Challenge please mail: write@12shortstories.com

Happiness and I hope you enjoy the 12 Short Stories in 12 Months Challenge.