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what we stand for

Hour of Writes is a new literary creative outlet. It combines the best elements of a democratic talent show with a constant poetic dialogue. We created it because we wanted a place to put our creative, crafted thoughts where we could remember and use them to some purpose, or share them with like-minded others. We want to read contemporary literature written with passion and by people from all over the world, especially those who would not usually write. We want to publicise and reward the best of this, and make it known to the interested world. We want to be made to write, so we do not live our lives without ever having communicated the deeper thoughts and reflections we have every day while we go through the mundanities of life. Competition and restriction can provide a spur to action. We want to have an existence on a different plane. We want to live….!

Hour of Writes is a weekly peer-reviewed writing competition.


frequently asked questions

What can I do on the site?

You can enter the Hour of Writes competition. It is run weekly, and anyone aged 16 or over can enter. The competition involves a timed hour of writing with a new title each week, and marking the writing of other entrants. There is a small entry fee (one credit), half of the value of which goes into the prize fund for that week, so the prize increases, the more people that enter. See full Competition Rules.

You can buy credits on the site. You need to be registered to buy credits.

You can access the Notes feature to store thoughts, ideas, quotes etc. on the site, as well as sharing some Notes with other users if you so choose.

You can read the best entries from past competitions in The Canon archive, all entries as they happen in Ephemera (if individual writers have not kept them private) as well as editorial articles written by Hour of Writes staff.

When can I enter the competition?

You can enter the competition any time during the competition period, which will (unless otherwise indicated) run every week for five days from 00:00 Monday GMT (UK time). The first entries can be made at 00.00 Monday morning (12am), and the last entries can be started at 23:00 Friday night (11.00pm). You always have one hour from when you click ‘start’ to complete your entry. The week-long entry period allows people from all over the world to take part in the competition. All times are decided by Hour of Writes.

How much does it cost to enter the competition?

It costs one credit to enter the competition. Credits can be bought on the site in different permutations with discounts for packages. One credit is £3 when bought alone, and can be bought more cheaply when bought as part of a package.

Can I copy and paste text into the entry page?

Yes, it’s possible. You can use the Transfer button in Notes to instantly transfer the entire content of one of your Notes to your entry. This can be helpful to bear in mind when planning your potential entry during the week. You can also copy and paste from other sources, but the word limit is always 2000 words, and entries will be judged on how they respond to the title. You are, of course, free to paste in your own material, but pasting in copyrighted material will disqualify you from the competition (see Competition Rules).

To what extent do I need to respond to the title?

The title exists for a couple of reasons: firstly, it forms one of the restrictions, along with the time limit, which allows creativity to flourish. Secondly, it groups the pieces of writing by theme, so each week provides a collection of the variation of response to a constant stimulus.

Do I have to write a short story?

No. You are free to respond to the title in any written way you please. We encourage different styles of writing which could include but are not limited to: fiction, poetry, journalism, play and screenplays.

What if I don’t like my entry and don’t want to enter it into the competition?

You can ‘discard’ your entry at any time during the hour. Discarding it means that it will not be submitted for marking or saved anywhere on the site. You will not receive a credit refund if you discard your entry.

How does the marking work?

As part of your participation in the competition, you must mark three other entries (anonymously, for all parties). These will be sent to you a few minutes after the close of the competition period (Friday night GMT). The marking takes the form of five categories which may vary from week to week, marked out of 100, and one independent comment.

In return you will receive personalised feedback on your own entry.

Every entry will also be read by Hour of Writes staff or partners, so brilliant entries will never get lost.

What happens if I don’t do my marking?

Users who don’t complete their marking will be disqualified from winning the competition and will not receive feedback on their own entry. If they persistently fail to submit their marking then they may receive a ban at the discretion of the Hour of Writes management.

After I’ve submitted my entry, will it be visible on my profile page straight away to other users?

You entry will be visible to you on your profile page, but you can make it private from other users at any time after marking is complete. You may wish to keep it on your public profile so that you can show your friends what you wrote.

What is the prize for winning?

The prize for winning is half of all of the entry fees received for the competition that week. This total takes into account variable credit prices and associated transaction costs.

How is the winner selected and how many winners are there?

The marking is used as a guide to identify the best entries. The overall winner will then be chosen by HoW staff, and often with the guidance or final decision from an external judge from the literary world. There is one overall winner each week who wins the cash prize and is published as the winning entry that week on the Homepage. The winning entry can be any of the entries submitted at the discretion of HoW team, though it will often be from the marking shortlist. Entries not on the marking shortlist will be checked over to make sure nothing has slipped through the net.

Two other entries will be selected each week for publication on the Homepage and in The Canon (archive).

Where will my entry be published?

If you are the overall winner, your entry will be published on the Homepage of the site for the ensuing week, and will be included in The Canon (archive). If you are one of the other two chosen entries for that week your entry will also be published on the Homepage and in The Canon.

After you have submitted your entry, it will immediately be included in Ephemera, the transitory records area of the site, unless you choose to make it private.

Your entry will be included on your profile page and you can choose to make it private or public as you wish.

Entries may also be published in Hour of Writes magazines and/or books. See terms and conditions for specific details relating to this.

Who owns the copyright to my entry?

You retain the copyright to your original writing on the Hour of Writes site. See specific terms and conditions for full details.

If I win, how will I be paid?

Usually by bank transfer; other methods such as cheque or Paypal could also be used if necessary.

If I am featured but I am not the overall winner, do I receive any money?

No. Only the overall winner receives prize money.

How many titles are there per competition?

There is one title per competition.

How do I enter the competition?

You enter the competition by clicking on any of the “entry” links on the site, and then using a credit and confirming your entry on the competition start page. You must have at least one credit to enter the competition.

How do I buy credits?

You can buy credits through the account tab of your profile page. Whilst you are logged in, click on the View profile circle in the top left of the page to be taken there. If you try to enter the competition when you have no credits, you will also be offered a link to this page to buy credits.

F.A.Q. My Notes