Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Indi-500 (word) Challenge

Start your creative engines; it’s time for a writing contest! Race down to your writer’s desk and put aside your day job to spend 48 hours creating a new story that will win you fame and fortune—or at least a chance to win a free critique!

Tell me more! The live kick-off event will take place on January 15. All completed stories (maximum 500 words) will be due by 11:59 p.m. (Central Time) on January 17. Entries will be judged by three Nebraska children’s librarians. The selected winner will get a FREE CRITIQUE from the faculty member of their choice during our Ready, Set, Critique! event the weekend of April 16-18, 2021.


Make sure your membership is up-to-date or join if you’re not yet a member. This contest is restricted to members of the Nebraska region of SCBWI.

To participate, you must register below. Only those who have registered will receive the link to access the kick-off event and have their entries considered for the contest.

Attend the Zoom kick-off event at 7:00 p.m. (Central) on January 15 to get the assigned theme and two required word prompts. These will be drawn during the event and your story MUST include all three items or it will be disqualified. (If you can’t attend the kick-off event live but still want to participate in the contest, email Judith Snyder at

Spend the next 48 hours crafting a 500-word (MAX) story for kids or teens. Be sure to proofread, revise as needed, check spelling and grammar, and generally make sure you’re submitting good quality work. Let’s impress our state librarian judges!

HAVE FUN! Sure, it’s a contest, but it’s also a chance to spur some creative expression during the darkest month of the year. Have fun with it.

Before 11:59 p.m. (Central) on January 17, submit your final piece as a Word doc using 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced with one-inch margins. Include a title at the top but NOT your name (entries will be judged anonymously). Put INDI-500_[yourname]_[title] in the filename. (Replace [yourname] with your actual name and [title] with your actual story title.) We will replace names with ID numbers before sending entries to our judges. Those who have registered will receive information on where to send their submissions.

Click here to register for this event!