An Axe to Grind — 2020 Contest Results

The results are in...

It was an honour to read so many awesome submissions. Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter. We had a whopping 174 entries—up by 60 from last year! Here's how that looks for the prize pool:

1st place – $720 CAD
2nd place – $100 CAD
3rd place – $50 CAD

And now for Michelle's big announcement!


As always, it is both an honour and a pleasure to read the Axe to Grind final contest submissions. And, as always, I struggled to make my decision. Every finalist submitted work that was engaging, surprising, and skillfully rendered. But I had to choose the top three, so here they are: 

1. Keeping Watch by Kate Maxwell

This story uses haunting imagery and atmospheric detail to great effect. Several times while reading it, I realized I was holding my breath. The use of second-person POV, tricky to pull off, was exactly the right choice.

Click here to read Keeping Watch

2. Eleven for Good Measure by Sarah Collins Honenberger

This is a well-crafted story with a strong narrative arc that accomplishes a lot in a small space. Strong characterization and a fine eye for detail made this a very satisfying read.

Click here to read Eleven for Good Measure 

3. Status Update by Kate Viggers

This author experimented successfully with a form that approached poetry. High tension, strong detail, and interesting social commentary kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Click here to read Status Update 

Kudos to everyone who submitted their work. It was a pleasure to read so many great submissions.

—Michelle Barker



Darling Axe Editing presents... An Axe to Grind – Flash Fiction Contest

Tell us a story in fewer than 1000 words for a chance to win from a growing prize pool, plus publication on the Chopping Blog.

Each $5 CAD entry contributes to the prize, so once we hit 40 entries, the prize pool starts to spill over... and trickle down! Here's how this will work:

Up to 40 entries: $200 for 1st prize
At 60 entries: $200 for 1st prize, $100 for 2nd prize
At 70 entries: $200 for 1st, $100 for 2nd, $50 for 3rd
Above 70: 1st place continues to increase – no limit!

Finalists in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place also win publication on the Chopping Blog.

Deadline to enter: March 31, 2020


A note on sincerity: some so-called editing websites host writing contests as a ruse to then up-sell contestants into paying to have their submissions edited. A shifty trick indeed! We attest that this is a legitimate annual writing contest, and if winning entries ever need some editing, we will gladly assist without charge.

Check out the 2019 winner here.


Darling Axe Editing – manuscript development, professional beta reader, developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, proofreading, query letter critiquesDarling Axe Academy – online writing courses and workshops