Monthly Writing Challenge The Challenges & Entry Rules


The Monthly Writing Challenge is designed to encourage PSWG Members to write. It is also an exercise to practice working under a deadline, keeping story momentum using only 500 words, writing within submission guidelines, accepting winning accomplishments in a public setting, as well as improving on the willingness and persistence to submit additional work should a story not be selected as a winner.

"The Plot Thickens"

This season the Monthly Writing Challenge invites members to explore plot. While opinions differ on the number of plots available to writers, the definition remains fairly consistent – plot is a chain of cause-and-effect relationships that create a pattern of unified action and behavior – forcing the reader to ask “Why?” 

What is the difference between plot and story? Strictly speaking, the story is the series of related events that make up the story. The plot of the story, on the other hand, asks why? It includes the motive of the main character to take action or to react. And this motive helps to create meaning or theme, which enables the reader to talk about what the story says about the human condition.

All plots stem from conflict and contain the basic dramatic elements that revolve around a problem dealt with in sequence: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. There are two types of plots; physical plot where the story arises from external causes, and character plot where the story arises from character. Each is examined in the challenge.

Membership Benefit Bonus!: Members, would you like your MWC reviewed by an editor? PSWG Member Kathryn Jordan, also known as the Manuscript Mechanic will review and edit MWC entries at no charge! Simply enclose a stamped and addressed envelope with your story.  This is a fantastic opportunity for members to get professional recommendations on their stories. 

2014 - 2015 Monthly Writing Challenges 

*Scroll down for entry rules

October 2014 Challenge: Quest Plot about a search for a person, place or thing, tangible or intangible. The judges will be looking for a motivating incident for the quest, how the character is shaped by the quest, whether a success of failure, and all the dramatic elements. This is a character plot. *Submit October entry and $5 at October 11, 2014 Monthly Meeting.

November 2014 Challenge: Adventure Plot – focus is on the journey itself rather than the person taking the journey – the event is larger than the character and character is defined by the event. The judges will be looking for the motivation to begin the adventure to a new, strange place, the journey to the brink of danger and returning safely, and all the dramatic elements. This is a physical plot. *Submit November entry and $5 at November 1, 2014 Monthly Meeting.

December 2014 Challenge: Revenge Plot – the focus is on the act of revenge for a crime committed rather than an examination of character’s motives. The hero should have moral justification for vengeance and the punishment must fit the crime. The judges will be looking for the crime that terminates the hero’s happiness, the act of revenge itself and confrontation with the perpetrator of the crime. This is a character plot. *Submit December entry and $5 at December 13, 2014 Monthly Meeting.


January 2015 Challenge: Rivalry Plot – two people who compete for a common goal with equivalent strengths and possibly different weaknesses. The conflict is the result of an immovable object meeting an irresistible force. The judges will be looking for a struggle for power between the protagonist and the antagonist, with sides being clarified by the moral issue involved. This is a character plot. *Submit January entry and $5 at January 3, 2014 Monthly Meeting.


February 2015 Challenge: Pursuit Plot – one person chases another and the chase is more important than the people who take part in it. This plot relies on physical action that is confined to a finite space to increase tension. The judges will be looking for the motive for the chase, the stakes of the race, and the danger of getting caught. This is a physical plot. *Submit February entry and $5 at February 7, 2015 Monthly Meeting.


March 2015 Challenge: Escape Plot – the protagonist is confined against his/her will and wants to escape. The hero is unjustly imprisoned and a victim. The judges will be looking for the reason for imprisonment, plans for escape and the actual escape. This is a physical plot and the focus is on the escape plan rather than the hero. *Submit March entry and $5 at March 14, 2015 Monthly Meeting.


April 2015 Challenge: Forbidden Love – any love that goes against the conventions of society. The lovers ignore social convention and pursue their hearts, usually with disastrous results. The judges will be looking at the relationship in social context (what taboos are broken), the realities of the doomed relationship and the end point of the relationship – usually by death, force or desertion. This is a character plot. *Submit April entry and $5 at April 4, 2014 Monthly Meeting. 
*This winning entry will be announced / read at June 6, 2015 meeting.


Entry Submission Rules

Be sure to comply to all requirements. As with most professional writing submissions, there is no leeway on the above rules.

Your entry will not be returned to you unless you have requested an editorial review.
Questions? Please contact: MonthlyWritingChallenge.PSWG@gmail.com

~ Must be a member of Palm Springs Writers Guild with current status.

~ Monthly entries must be submitted by hand at the specific monthly meeting. [Example: Submit October’s entry at the beginning of the October meeting] 

~ Title your entry.

~ Entry of 500 words or less

~Double space, 12-point Times Roman or Times New Roman

~Indented paragraphs

~Do not put your name on your entry.

~ Entry Fee: $5.00 CASH ONLY

~Place entry in envelope with $5.00 cash fee,

~Write your name on outside of the envelope.

*Entries are judged by selected Guild Members who are professional, published authors. 

*Winners receive cash prize based on number of entries. 

*Winner will be announced and entry may be read aloud at following scheduled meeting. (October winner will be announced at November Monthly Meeting). 

Questions? Please contact: MonthlyWritingChallenge.PSWG@gmail.com


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