mash comp

MASH competition aims to spot rock star quality storytellers. We like innovative ideas, but we are not keen on too many rules.

Our competition is simple. Every three months, three random words are selected from a randomly gathered list. Writers are invited to incorporate them into a short, sensible and convincing story.

You can send one story for free, or you can join Mash Club for extra benefits if you are invested in improving your writing. Mash Club members receive detailed, professional feedback from our team of editors, and they can submit up to three stories per quarter. Mash Club membership does not improve your chances of being shortlisted or of winning the competition.

“I had written one or two short stories before I found Mash and submitted them to publications, but form rejection letters are completely unhelpful. I wanted to know what was wrong with my stories so I could get better. The ridiculously comprehensive feedback for Mash Club members has been so, so valuable to me… I would absolutely recommend the Club to anyone who wants to improve.” – Conor Yunits, 12th winner of the Mash Competition

Whether you join Mash Club or not, all shortlisted stories are published on our website and promoted via our newsletter, Mash WeeklyThe Top 3 writers get the opportunity work collaborate with a Personal Development Coach to address any issues in their writing careers, and the winner gets a $100 award.



Current Keywords

Please make sure that you use the words exactly as they are assigned at least once within the story. No variations are accepted. Everything should remain the same, including plurals or tense suffixes.


  • Max. 500 words, excluding the title. This is one of only two strict rules. Go over 500 words and you’ll be disqualified.
  • The second no-no is missing the deadline. MASH stories runs every quarter, meaning every three months and a total of four times a year.
  • Any genre is accepted.
  • There is no submission fee.
  • Stories can only be in English.
  • Each quarter, only one submission per person is allowed (three for Mash Club members).
  • You can include your name anywhere you like.
  • You can choose any font you like. This is a story-telling competition, not a typography contest.
  • Submissions are accepted via Submittable. Please visit us on Submittable and attach your story as a Word document there, and return to Submittable to check the progress of your story.


  • Please note that our editors may require small changes to be implemented in shortlisted stories, in order to maintain the consistency throughout the website. These changes would never go beyond altering punctuation, or correcting typos. We will always ask for authors’ approval in such cases. However, if you’re sensitive about your writing, you may wish to reconsider submitting a story.
  • Publishing rights of the winning and the shortlisted stories remain with the author. However, MASH Stories holds the non-exclusive publishing rights for the full term of the copyright in the work. By sending your story to us, you automatically agree to this statement.

Schedule for the Current Competition
15th July 2016 > 12th Mash Competition opens.
15th October 2016 > Deadline for submissions.
15th November 2016 > We announce the winner.

typewriter-oldOur schedule is designed to give each writer enough time to get their share from the general traffic of the website. For more information about the workings of MASH stories, see our FAQ section.

“This is the first time I have entered a MASH stories competition and had only heard about them in Writing Magazine recently. I was very excited and an idea came almost immediately. I loved the challenge of fitting random words into a seamless story and it was great fun.”

Lyndsey Shir-McDermott-Pour