The Crime/Mystery Short Story Contest - Uncharted
By Uncharted

Thank you to all of our submitters this year! We can’t wait to share the winning stories with you.

Uncharted Magazine publishes Crime/Mystery Short Stories from fiction writers of any background or experience. We want stories that delve into the psychology of crime, that explore desperate and dastardly characters committing crimes of passion and intrigue. We want stories of mystery that make us search for answers, for reasons, for the things that happen in the shadows. We want stories that thrill us, that make us feel alive, that awaken our desires to explore and go on adventures.

Guest judge Kimberly McCreight will choose three winning stories from a shortlist. We’re excited to offer the winner of this prize $3000 and publication, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive publication and $300 and $200, respectively along with publication.

Kimberly McCreight is the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, which was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Alex Awards and was called Entertainment Weekly’s Favorite Book of the Year. Reconstructing Amelia has been optioned for TV by HBO, Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films, and David E. Kelley.

McCreight’s second adult novel, Where They Found Her, was a USA Today bestseller and a Kirkus Best Mystery of the Year. While her third, A GoodMarriage, was named a Best Book of the Summer by the New York Times, People, and Publishers Weekly. It was also an Amazon Best Mystery of the Month. A TV adaptation of A Good Marriage is coming soon from Amazon and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films.

McCreight’s most recent book is Friends Like These. It was named a Good Morning America Buzz Pick and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. It will be adapted for TV by Amblin Television.McCreight is also the author of The New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy The Outliers (The Outliers, The Scattering, and The Collide), optioned for film by Lionsgate and Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard.

She attended Vassar College and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


  • The deadline for entry is December 30, 2021. We will announce the shortlist within 8-10 weeks of the contest’s close. All writers will be notified when results are in.
  • Your $20 reading fee allows 1 story of 1,001-5,000 words or fewer each per entry.
  • We allow multiple submissions—new story should have a separate submission accompanied by a reading fee.
  • Short Stories only—5,000 word count maximum.
  • We only consider unpublished work for contests—we do not review reprints, including self-published work.
  • Simultaneous submissions are okay—please notify us and withdraw your entry if you find another home for your writing.
  • All entries will also be considered for publication in Uncharted Magazine.
  • Double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 pt font.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history (if applicable). Please mention any content warnings as necessary to protect our readers!
  • We only read work in English.
  • We do not read blind. The judge will read anonymously from the shortlist.


You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. Our aim is to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Uncharted Magazine. A significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA. Should your story win, no feedback will be offered and your fee will be refunded.


  • First time using Submittable? Submittable has a great walkthrough on creating and using your account.
  • Please be sure to whitelist/add to contacts so notifications do not get filtered as spam/junk:
  • If you realize you sent the wrong version of your piece: it happens.
  • Please DO NOT withdraw the piece and resubmit. Submittable collects a non-refundable fee each time.
  • Please DO message us from within the submission to request that we open the entry for editing, which will allow you to fix everything from typos in your cover letter to uploading a new draft. The only time we will not allow a change is if the piece is already under review by a reader.
Why should I submit to Uncharted?

We are a new magazine for the new literary moment. Though we began in 2021, our roots actually go much further back. Our sister magazine, The Masters Review (, began in 2009 and has been serving emerging writers of fiction ever since. Over the years, however, the TMR team noticed just how underserved writers of genre fiction are in the traditional literary magazine space, and thus the Uncharted dream began.

Uncharted aims to give a quality, modern, exceptional digital publication experience to our contributors and our audience. Our ultimate goal is to make an Uncharted Magazine publication credit be a powerful step forward in the careers of any of our contributors.

Come, we warmly invite you, join our community of contributors and commit to the work of being a professional writer!

Why do I have to use submittable?

Submittable has become the standard tool for magazines to organize and manage submissions. They have been around since 2010 and are a trustworthy place to handle the sensitive information involved with submissions.

Why is there a contest fee?

All of our budget is managed by our contests—this allows us to have our regular submissions be always open, always free, and always paid at professional rates! They also allow us to have industry-leading prizes and incredible judge partnerships.

We started Uncharted with the aim to offer the absolute best opportunities to genre writers—opportunities we saw being granted to the more traditional literary writer that so many digital and print magazines already serve. The contest fees enable our mission to level that playing field and to shine more and more bright light on incredible stories from SFF, Horror, and Mystery writers.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to submit for free ( to our regular submissions as well, as often as you’d like!

How does the reading process work?

Every submission is evaluated first by our team of readers—all who have been vetted through a rigorous application process and trained according to the current understanding of bias and equity in literature.

Once our team of readers have discovered their favorites, they then mark them for the second round of reading, conducted by our editorial staff.

After this longlist has been processed, our editor, Tommy Dean, makes the final decision on the ten finalist stories that get sent to our Guest Judge. That Judge then chooses the winner and two runner ups.

This whole process takes about 12-16 weeks, as we take very seriously the privilege of reading our submitter’s hard-earned stories.