The Dead Robots' Society

Writers on Writing


The 2nd Annual Dead Robots’ Society Writing Contest!

Hey, everyone, this is Justin Macumber. Well, it’s nearing the end of the year, and with the coming of that crisp autumn wind also comes the second annual writing contest. This year we decided to make this a contest about great opening chapters. If you want the reader to carry on past the opening of your book, you have to hook them, entice them, capture their attention and draw them in. That’s what this contest is all about. We don’t care about the genre, or the subject matter. All we want is something that will grab us and have us begging to read more. And keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a cliffhanger. If you develop a strong enough premise and memorable characters, that can be enough to hook people.

The contest will run from October 1st to October 31st and the entries can’t be longer than 5,000 words. Email your chapter to That’s it. Just make sure it hooks us, that it’s in before October’s over, and it’s within 5,000 words. We can’t wait to see what you fine folks have in store for us.

Now for the payoff. This year there won’t be just one winner, but many. The grand prize is an autographed copy of Scott Sigler’s out of print and damn near impossible to find novel “Ancestor.” And, not only is it autographed, but it will also be personalized to the winner. Other authors with names you’ll recognize have pledged autographed copies of their novels, including Tee Morris, Patrick Rothfuss, Mur Lafferty, A. Lee Martinez, Mathew Wayne Selznick, Pip Ballentine, and P.G. Holyfield! Be very excited. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.



  1. Does the book have to be completed, or should we just write a chapter of a novel for this contest? And, if it’s something we do want to publish later, how about the rights? Will the contest take ’em from us? And just to clarify, any genre is okay?



  2. Alice, no, the book or longer story doesn’t have to be completed. All we want is that opening section, that hook. As for the rights, those are strictly yours. Since it’s only about opening segments, there are no worries about losing any kind of first-publishing rights. And, yep, any genre is fine with us.

  3. If it is a book, would you prefer the first chapter (up to 5k limit), or the prologue and 1st chapter up to the 5k limit?

  4. Sean, whichever you feel like works best. It needs to be cohesive and to read well, and it needs to hook us. If you feel that the first chapter does that fine on its own, great. If you want to meld part of it and your prologue, you can do that. Just make sure that it reads properly.

  5. Boy you guys have started something now! I’ve always felt I wanted to write and now you’ve given me a push. Thank you for advertising on Slice of SciFi and I hope you like my entry. I now want to see how it ends. 🙂

  6. We received about 30 entries, and we should have the results to you by about the middle of this month. That’s a lot of stories to read through, make notes on, and discuss. Thanks to everyone for their patience.


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