The Scent of an Ending™  Contest

sponsored by

White Eagle Coffee Store Press

New Rolling Deadline   October 1, 2012

Finalists Published as Selected

Since 1992, White Eagle Coffee Store Press has been publishing straight-up literary poetry and fiction. We've made a fine reputation, and we'd like to keep it.

So, what's with this???

     Many years ago, I first encountered Frank Kermode's important critical work The Sense of an Ending--a title that I could never get out of my mind. The book's ideas about life and literature seemed both solid and abstract with a tensional play between the intellectual and practical. It had intriguing implications for both the reading and the writing of fiction.

     At the time, I was fascinated by theory but also engaged in reading and writing fiction and eventually teaching creative writing, which I did for many years. One of the most basic problems that I encountered in my own writing was endings. Coming up with a good idea for a story was not so much a problem; writing well certainly was. But, endings! Endings that fulfill all the conditions of the story: that seem neither surprising, nor expected; not conventional, nor imitative, nor clichéd; not too quick, not too slow; nothing forced, and always with a sense of 'rightness.'

     Some annoying endings:  I love movies, but why can't film writers work their ways out of stories without blowing everything up? Or, getting 'cute.' Or, waking someone from a coma, Or, a dream. A deus ex machina!!!  Bad writers do it all and worse.

     Teaching creative writing, I found that one of the hardest parts of the instruction was to help each fiction writing student find a way to finish a story in a believable manner that remained true to the conditions that the story had inherited from its characters and conflict. "But, it really happened that way" is not a good ending.  Nor is getting your character needlessly pregnant or unexpectedly dead. Or, pretty much anything extreme or outside the story you've been telling.

     Doing the preliminary reading for the Long Story Contest, International, before the finalists go off to the judge, I have read hundreds of wonderful stories that fail in the final pages. And, judges tell me that, even of the finalists, usually only a few provide completely satisfying endings. The winner is always one of the stories that gets the ending right.

     So, it must be easy to write bad endings, and here's your chance to prove it.

The Scent of an Ending™ Contest    Guidelines

Submit: the Title of an imaginary novel and the Final 25-125 Words.

How to Enter:

     By mail--Send each entry printed double spaced with a check to WECSP for $6.37 to   The Scent of an Ending Contest, White Eagle Coffee Store Press, PO Box 383, Fox River Grove, IL 60021

     By e-mail--Send each entry within the body of an e-mail, not an attached file, to                                      and send $6.37 by PayPal to

Use subject line: The Scent of an Ending.

     In either case, be sure to include complete contact information: name, address, phone, e-mail with your entry.

You may submit more than one entry with an additional reading fee attached to each entry.

Prize1st Place $89.93,  2nd Place  $67.32,  3rd Place $31.18  plus dubious fame and publication for winners and all finalists. Initial publication on website, then in print.

DeadlineOngoing.  October 1, 2012  final postmark.    Finalists published as selected.

Other ConsiderationsThe entry must be original and unpublished. No restrictions on materials or subject.

JudgingWinners and finalists are selected by editors of White Eagle Coffee Store Press. All decisions final. Ownership of winning entries and finalists will revert to the authors; WECSPress holds the rights to publication on the internet, in a chapbook, or in a book. An entry into this competition is an acknowledgment of its rules.

Sample Endings:  Editors of the press wrote some stinkin' endings, on purpose!!!

***We're still working on the noses.   Please send noses!!!  We need noses in the worst way.***

WINNERS and FINALISTS TOCs      2009-2010       2010-2011      2011-2012    2012-2013

  White Eagle Coffee Store Press HOME          Scent of an Ending Contest  FAQs 


|   WECSPress Publications     |   Long Story Contest, International    |      Poetry Chapbooks  |             or