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Do you have a question about the Parsec Short Story Contest? Please browse the FAQ’s on this page before contacting the editor.

Q: I’ve been trying to figure out how to use spell check in my documents (i.e. Grammarly) but not use that kind of AI when I write my submission. So far, I’ve been unable to as long as the AI is on my computer. Do you have any advice on how I can write without AI, since it’s in the Guidelines.
A: The guidelines state, “We do not want stories “WRITTEN BY” AI. Using an AI spell checker does not make your story “written by” AI.

Q: When I submit my manuscript, should I include my name or anything else on the file? Or do I just need the title and then the story?
A: Use proper manuscript format and include your name, address, phone number and email in the Contact Info section of the story.

Q: Can I submit my story to the contest using a pen name, or at least to have only the pen name made public in the case that one is a finalist or winner of one of the prizes?
A: Yes, you can have your pen name as the name associated with your story should you win. Referring to Shunn’s proper manuscript formatting, use your full legal name in the contact information section and use your pen name (the name you want associated with the story) in the byline.

Q: Do you accept simultaneous submissions?
A: No. Submit one story per author only.

Q: I’ve just submitted an entry to the short story contest. Only afterwards I realized I attached the wrong version of my story. Can I resubmit the correct manuscript?
A: You can contact the coordinator through the online contact form to find out if your manuscript can be updated.

Q: Is the contest international?
A Yes. The Parsec Short Story contest is open to international authors.

Q: I qualify as an associate SFWA member, but not a full member. (one professional sale). Am I still eligible for this contest? SFWA has recently changed their requirements from publications to earnings. Is your eligibility based on their current requirements or their previous ones?
A: Associate SFWA members are eligible. SFWA Full members are not.

Q: I have a novel sold through an indie publisher but it hasn’t done well according to them. Does this disqualify me from eligibility to enter this contest?
A: Our eligibility requirements follow SFWA for Full Members only. Those meeting the SFWA Associate level are still eligible. If you meet the Full Member requirements for SFWA, you are not eligible.

Q:  I am a screenwriter and have earned money from my screenwriting but have never earned money from my prose. Am I eligible to submit to the short story contest?
A: The contest is open to non-professional writers. If you’ve “written” for screenwriting in a professional capacity, then no, you are not eligible.

Q: Can the genre be any? Like, crime or mystery?
A: No. The contest is open only to Speculative Fiction stories; Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.

Q: The Theme prompt doesn’t specify if the work has to be explicitly sci-fi. Do the submissions have to be heavily sci-fi or can they just hint at sci-fi elements (ie implying throughout the work that the setting is dystopian instead of making it objectively clear)?
A: Stories must be speculative fiction; science fiction, fantasy or horror. Science fiction need not be “hard” SF, but rigor is appreciated. Fantasy can be contemporary, surreal, folklorish, etc.  We prefer horror that has some SF elements and isn’t a gratuitous bloodbath just for the sake of blood.

Q: What are the do’s and don’ts like swearing, murder depiction, rape, etc., for the contest?
A: Swearing is fine if it is in keeping with the character and not thrown in the story just for the sake of swearing. We prefer stories not contain rapists, murderers, child abusers, or cannibals.

Q: If I chose to enter the youth prize will I only be entering the youth prize or will I be entered for both contests?
A: You will be entered for the youth only.

Q: Can someone enter both contests if they’re a minor, or only one? Can someone under 18 only enter the youth contest? 
A: You may enter only one category. The Main contest is for anyone to enter. The Youth category is for ages up to 19 years IF they are still enrolled and attending high school at the time of submission.

Q: If I am 20 years old (older than 19) am I eligible for Parsec Short Story Contest?
A: Yes, you are eligible to submit your story for the Parsec Short Story Contest.
If you are age 18 or older, and no longer attending high school, you are NOT eligible to submit your story for the BEST YOUTH STORY contest.

Q: I don’t live close to Pittsburgh, PA, how can I attend the Confluence conference?
A: You will need to register for the conference and purchase a membership ticket then travel to Pittsburgh, PA. Currently Confluence does not offer a virtual component.

Q: Where do I submit my story?
A: Submit your story through our Submittable portal.

Q: What does previously published mean?
A:  Released for public distribution or sale as a print or ebook or as part of a print or ebook. Or, if you displayed your story (for free or for sale) on any website or social media port, it is considered “published” and therefore not eligible for submission to the contest.

Use this form ONLY if you have a question that is not listed above. Do NOT use this form for story submissions!

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