Writeoffs are fiction writing contests which aim to help authors improve their writing through competition and collaboration. (And for those who actually enjoy writing, it’s even be said to be fun.)

Authors are anonymous for the duration of a contest. Critiquing each other’s work is a long standing Writeoff tradition, and anonymity helps keep these critiques fair and unbiased. Between this and the crucible of competition, authors are able to both improve and gauge their progress over time.

Prompts are submitted and voted on by the community. Each user can submit a prompt any time before voting begins, which is 24 hours before the event starts. The prompt with the most votes becomes that round’s prompt.

Once a prompt is selected, the meat of the competition begins: writing. The word limit and time allotted depend on the competition's format. The current formats are—

  • Minific — 400–750 words in 1 day
  • Short Story — 2000–8000 words in 3 days

Once submissions close, voting begins. Anyone can vote, though in practise voting is mostly done by the participants. (For obvious reasons, participants can’t vote on their own stories.)

Voters are assigned stories from the competition to read and rank from best to worst. (What that means, exactly, is up to the voter.) These rankings are then combined into a unified ranking, which is used to determine the winners.

There are usually two voting rounds. After each voting round, the top ranking stories move on to the next round, while the others are eliminated. Once eliminated, stories have their authors revealed.

Once the voting rounds are finished, results are posted. The first, second, and third ranking stories receive gold, silver, and bronze medals respectively. Other miscellaneous awards are also dealt out.