Enter here starting September 15th

Writers who can boil down a mystery into a half-dozen words are encouraged to enter the fourth annual Six-Word Mystery Contest sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (RMMWA).

The contest opens September 15, 2020, when instructions and entry forms will be posted here at RMMWA.org. Entries must be received by midnight, Oct. 31, 2020. Six-word “whodunits” can be entered in one or all five of the following categories: Hard Boiled or Noir; Cozy Mystery; Thriller Mystery; Police Procedural Mystery; and/or a mystery with Romance or Lust. The Six-Word Mystery Contest is open to all adults 18 and over. No residency requirements.

Award-winning author and RMMWA Chapter President Margaret Mizushima said, “This is a fun way to boil down your intriguing mystery in six words and be judged by professional writers and agents. Writers from across the nation and Australia have entered our previous contests. We’re excited to see what creative entries we receive this year.”

Last year’s winning entry by Jeffrey Lockwood was “36D, 44 magnum, 20 to life.” Another previous contestant, Kathleen O’Brien, said her entry landed her a literary agent.

This year’s esteemed judges include Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Editor Linda Landrigan; New York Timesbest-selling author Anne Hillerman; award-winning author, lawyer and activist Manuel Ramos; BookBar Denver store owner Nicole Sullivan; and literary agent Terrie Wolf, owner of AKA Literary Management.

The contest entry fee will be $6 for one entry (just $1 per word); or $10 to enter six-word mysteries in all five categories. The grand prize winner will receive $100 in cold, hard cash. Winners in all other categories will receive $25 gift certificates, and all winners and finalists will be featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, on our RMMWA website and in our popular newsletter, Deadlines.

Finalists will be invited to the chapter’s annual Mystery & Mistletoe Holiday Party in December held virtually on Zoom.

According to legend, the first six-word novel was born in the 1920s when Ernest Hemingway at New York’s Algonquin Hotel or Luchow’s restaurant (depending on whom you ask) won a $10 bet by writing a six-word story. His dark and dramatic submission was: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Urban legend or no, memorable, heart-breaking and sublime six-word stories have been penned ever since.

For more information about the contest rules and how to enter, please return to RMMWA.org on September 15th.