Official Contest Rules (Minnesota Mystery Flash Fiction)



The Minnesota Mystery Flash Fiction Contest (the “Contest”) is sponsored by Minnesota Historical Society (“Sponsor”), a Minnesota nonprofit organization with principal offices at 345 W Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55012.


The Contest is a writing submission contest offering the opportunity for individuals to compete for (i) the opportunity to have their original, previously unpublished story published on (three [3] winners will be selected); and (ii) in Sponsor’s sole discretion, one [1] winner will be selected to have their story published in Minnesota History magazine’s Spring 2023 issue. Retail value is $0.

How to enter the contest


Participants must submit entry between 10 am Central Time on Oct 21, 2022 and 11:59 p.m. Central Time on December 15, 2022.

Submissions must:

  • Be set in time period before 1985
  • Involve a mystery in the plot
  • Include a historical event or figure from Minnesota history

Submissions must not:

  • Be more than 1500 words in length
  • Contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including, but not limited to, material that violates privacy, publicity, or intellectual property rights, or that constitutes copyright or trademark infringement
  • Feature obscene, inappropriate or offensive material


Open only to legal residents of any one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Void where prohibited by law.

The following persons are not eligible for the Contest:

  • Persons are employees of Sponsor or its related organizations, including Minnesota Historical Society (“Employees”).
  • Persons who were employees of Sponsor or its related organizations at any time during the six (6) months prior to the start of the Contest (“Former Employees”).
  • Immediate family, and persons living in the same household as the Employee or Former Employee.

Selection and notification of winner

Every eligible entry will be included in the contest.

Submissions will be reviewed by Sponsor’s panel of judges and evaluated on the following criteria:

  • 20% (Ideas and Organization) Does the story present a focused idea? Is the flow of action logical?
  • 20% (Historical Accuracy) Does the story contain an historical event or figure from Minnesota history? Are characters, setting, and events historically plausible? Setting appears plausible to the time period (before the year 1985)?
  • 20% (Plotting) Does the plot sequence contain or generate a mystery? Is the plot original, interesting, and appropriately condensed to develop within the story’s length requirements?
  • 20% (Style and Grammar) Does the writing style elicit interest and/or engagement with the plot, character(s), and theme(s)? Does the story contain a unique, consistent, personal voice? Is the writing free from grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors?
  • 20% 10pts. (Length) Does the story stay within the 1500-word limit?

Winner(s) will be notified by e-mail by January 9, 2023.

Grant of rights

Upon submission of entry form, participant grants to Sponsor a non-exclusive, irrevocable, fully paid, universal license to use, copy, sublicense, transmit, distribute, publicly perform, publish, delete, or display the entry, or any portion thereof, in any media now known or hereafter devised and for any purpose, including advertising or promotions; and to use the name of participant in conjunction with entry in aforementioned uses. 

By entering the Contest, each participant warrants that the submission is an original work written by the participant and that any plagiarized works, if discovered, will be disqualified. Participants and their entries will be bound by Sponsor’s privacy policy.


By participating in this Contest, each participant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and to the decisions of Sponsor and the judges selected by Sponsor, which are final and binding on all matters relating to the Contest. Sponsor and related organizations, their agents and employees have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind which result from use of the prize, or by participation in the contest.