Lit Demon Presents WAR: Paradise Lost


Our partners at are hosting War: Paradise Lost!

What is WAR?

WAR: Paradise Lost is a tournament-style competition. The tournament will consist of several writer “battles” in which two participants will receive a prompt and a time limit. The stories they create will be voted on by their peers and the winner (the one with the most votes) will move on to the next round. Contestants will be paired into a traditional bracket format and write until there is only one left standing. This is a 64-contestant, 6-round, single-elimination tournament.

The winner of WAR: Paradise Lost will receive the prestigious title of WAR Queen/King and have their picture photoshopped beautifully by Jessica Leonard. It’s an honor. In addition to this, as if you needed more incentive, there will also be tangible prizes! More on that at the bottom.

Read the rules guys, for real.

How This Works:

1.  You tell us on the Lit Demon forum that you want in. We put your name on the Battle Roster. Once you name is on that list, you must PAY the $10 entry fee. If we have more than 64 people who want in, we will make a list of alternates. More on those later.
2.  After the Battle Roster is filled, contestants will be randomly placed into the bracket.
3.  We post the bracket for you to get excited about.
4.  On the start date, you receive your writing prompts. Each pair will receive its own prompt. These prompts will be emailed to each contestant individually at around 9am CST (this is approximate as we’re sending them all and clicking buttons and stuff takes time).
5.  Competition stories are due at Jessica Leonard’s email account by midnight CST on the following Sunday. Failure to meet deadline will result in immediate disqualification. Do not include any personal information in the body of your story. Do include your prompt at the top of the story, below the title. Please bear in mind that if you do not follow these directions, it’s just going to slow down your story getting posted, as we will have to take the time to remove all that stuff.
6.  Competition stories must be 2,500 words or fewer (word count not to include title, prompt, “The End”, etc.). Final drafts of more than 2,500 words will be disqualified.
7.  Stories will be emailed to all participants in groups. For example, you will receive an email titled WAR: Round 1, Match 1. This email will contain two stories. There will be a corresponding Poll on the forum with the same title where you can vote for your favorite story of the two. So, the first couple of rounds, you will be getting several emails. The reason for the emails is to keep your stories PRIVATE and UNPUBLISHED.
8. Polls will be created Monday morning and voting will last until Sunday night at 9pm CST. Brackets will then be advanced.

Who participates?

All of you. Any of you. We want to see work from those of you who don’t think you have a chance to win, because this is how we get better. The joy of War is going in with seasoned veterans and newbies all in the fray together. It’s one reason we keep the stories and polls as anonymous as possible. Everyone has an equal chance. If you think you’re the best, this is your chance to put your money where your mouth is and prove it. And win a prize.

WAR will BEGIN JULY 7th!  


ALTERNATES DO NOT pay the $10 entry fee unless they are tapped. They CAN read stories, vote, and otherwise play along, but they don’t have a chance at winning any prizes unless someone else drops out and they are rotated in.

IF YOU DROP OUT your entry fee is non-refundable after the competition begins. Take that into consideration, please.

The stories in this contest are to be kept completely anonymous. You may be able to guess who writes what if you have friends in the game, but do NOT share this information. Please do not form alliances. This is not reality television. You’re better than that.

If you are eliminated, you will still receive the stories for the next rounds and you will still read and vote. (There are reviewer prizes too!)


JULY 7th: WAR OFFICIALLY BEGINS!!! The first round of prompts will be delivered.
July 13th: Stories are due by midnight CST.
July 14th: Half of this rounds stories will go out and polls will go up. (Since there are so many stories in round one, we’re splitting it into 2 weeks.)
July 21st: Polls for the second half of the Round One stories will go up.
July 28th: Round 2 Begins: prompts go out!
August 3rd: Stories are due by midnight CST
August 4th: Polls for Round 2 will go up.
August 11th: Round 3 begins: prompts go out!
August 17th: Stories are due by midnight CST.
August 18th: Polls for Round 3 will go up.
August 25th: Round 4 Begins: prompts go out!
August 31st: Stories are due by midnight CST.
September 1st: Polls for round 4 will go up.
September 8th: Round 5 Begins: prompts go out!
September 14th: Stories are due by midnight CST.
September 15th: Polls for Round 5 will go up.
September 22nd: Round 6 Begins: the FINAL PROMPT GOES OUT!
September 28th: Stories are due by midnight CST.
September 29th: The final poll will be posted.

Prizes, bitch!

We will be awarding a prize for first and second places as well as 2 best reviewer prizes that will be awarded based on number and quality of reviews.

More prizes are still to come, so stay tuned for updates and announcements!

We already have LOTS of prizes – including shirts from Skurvy Ink and Out of Print Clothing, a free poster from Lithographs, books from The Feminist Press, Lazy Fascist, Dark House Press, Publishing Genius, and many more!

There are even more awesome prizes coming – including more books, swag, and story reviews – stay tuned for the details on those.

May the best warrior win!