Teen Short Story CONTEST: It’s a Mystery

While we're spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've all been looking for ways to pass the time—other than binging Netflix every night. Why not challenge yourself to try something creative, and try writing a short story? Maybe you'll find a new hobby that will be entertaining over the winter months (and maybe even win some prizes while you're at it!).

Our Creative Doers volunteers, opens a new window love writing and wanted to host a short story contest for other teens in Halifax.

So, here it is.

We want you to write a short story based on the first line listed below.

It's that simple. Get inspired and see where the story takes you. 

If you need help getting started, check out Sally's blog, opens a new window on how to start writing, or read her short story Still The Same Remi., opens a new window Or, take out some short stories or writing books from the Library.

Here's the rundown


Write a short story inspired by, and starting with this as your first line:

She opened the door to the classroom and waited for the class to quiet before she spoke. She said in the calmest voice possible, "I'm sorry to report that your teacher has gone missing."


  • This contest is open to youth in junior high and high school from October 1-31st. You can submit one entry.
  • The story can be about any topic you choose but it must start with the first sentence. Get creative with your characters, setting, plot, and dialogue.
  • It can be as short as you'd like—up to 1,000 words maximum.
  • Our volunteers will be reading every submission and choosing a winner based on these criteria: creativity, plot and overall presentation.


The winner will receive a prize basket with lots of Library swag, books, a $25 gift card for Bookmark Halifax, and their short story will be featured on our youth blog , opens a new windowand homepage.

How to create and submit


1. Write your short story using the first line shared above.

2. Submit by email (document attached, or written in the body of the email) to teen@halifax.ca with the subject line “Short Story Contest" before November 1, 2020. Please include your full name and what grade you are in.

Contest details

  • After November 1st, we will contact the winner via email.
  • Every writer will receive personalized feedback on their story from our staff and volunteers who also love writing and stories.
  • We'll feature an announcement of the winner on our website with a blog post featuring their short story.
  • Halifax Public Libraries' Contest Ineligibility Policy applies. You must be a resident of Halifax Regional Municipality to win this contest.


By submitting your story, you give Halifax Public Libraries and its partners non-exclusive permission to use content of and/or made by the participant for digital or print publications. You understand that this may include, but is not limited to, social media posts, websites, newsletters, advertisements, posters and pamphlets. You also understand that on occasion, Library photos, video, audio, or publications may be shared with media outlets and community partners for use in promotions of Library events, initiatives, and stories. You certify that no other person's permission is needed to authorize the use of said images or content. You agree that Halifax Public Libraries cannot be held liable for images or content used with your consent. ​
We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Halifax Public Libraries