Last year I helped judge the inaugural Sapiens Plurum fiction contest. It was a blast reading stories from writers of all ages coming up with solutions to our ocean trash heap problem. It really caused me to work harder to reduce/reuse/recycle. Every time I have to throw away a piece of plastic, my stomach flips.

That will happen after reading 100+ stories about ocean pollution.

We at Sapiens Plurum listened to your feedback and made a few changes to this year’s contest. The theme is not so narrow this time. Instead of first place being a trip, it is simply a cash prize (the logistics of a trip are quite a headache, as it turns out). Also, we have abandoned giving smaller prizes to more people to create larger prizes for the top three.

You have until Earth Day to submit (April 22nd).

Submission and contest information can be found at the Sapiens Plurum website here:

As mentioned before, I was part of the blind judging of the first contest. If I may, I would like to give some tips and common problems I encountered with many of the entries from the first go-around.

  1. Too many stories forgot the Sapiens Plurum mission.
  2. Several stories failed to present original “science fiction” solutions to the environmental problems at hand. Copy/pasting proposed solutions from research and pro-environment websites won’t get you anywhere.
  3. Awkwardly juxtaposing the requirements of the contest into your plot will lead to a disjointed and disappointing store.
  4. Please proofread your story. At least one judge is a stickler for grammar. I am (somewhat) more forgiving, but I do have my…quirks. If you mess up they’re/their/there, you’re not going to win! Sorry. The line must be drawn here!
  5. We want stories that are positive in tone. Certainly, darker subjects can be explored, but we want stories that provide solutions, not an apocalypse.

I hope these tips help! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Good luck!

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