Spring 2019 Contest: Writing for a Podcast

Contests  /   /  By Jane Levi
Stone Soup Magazine
June 2019

Write a story, and have it recorded and broadcast as a podcast episode

Stone Soup has partnered with AV Education, a South African nonprofit organization that produces By Kids For Kids – Story Time Podcast, a podcast series featuring children’s stories performed by kids as audio dramas. Until now, the stories they have recorded have been classic tales written by adults for children. Now, we are working together to give voice to new stories written by the young writers of today!

We are looking for original short stories, between 500-1,000 words long, by kids aged 13 and under. Our theme is climate change. Your mission as writers is to deliver your message in an accessible, fun style: the material that works best for the Story Time podcast tends to be fantasy, magical, or fairytale. The winning stories will feature a strong narrative, and plenty of direct speech (but remember, we are looking for a story, not a drama script). The top prize is to have your story turned into a podcast episode, performed by the Story Time cast of 1 lead narrator and up to 4 character actors.

It is a serious topic, but we are looking for stories that are fun, with a sense of drama, and some scope for silliness in the podcast performance.

Contest Details

Topic: Climate change or other environmental issue.

Length: 500 – 1,000 words.

Deadline: April 15, 2019 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time).

Submission: via the Stone Soup Submittable portal, in the specific Contest category.

Results: We will select three winners, plus runners up.

Prizes: The winners will receive the following prizes:

  • First place – your story made into an episode of Story Time podcast, and published in an issue of Stone Soup, plus a one-year digital subscription to Stone Soup and a copy of theStone Soup Book of Fantasy Stories.
  • Second place – your story published in an issue of Stone Soup, plus a one-year digital subscription to Stone Soupand a copy of theStone Soup Book of Fantasy Stories.
  • Third place – your story published in an issue of Stone Soupand a copy of theStone Soup Book of Fantasy Stories.
  • Commendations – up to three runners up will receive a copy of the Stone Soup Book of Fantasy Stories.

Publication: We will consider all stories submitted as part of the contest for potential publication, and as potential future stories for podcasting.

Further information and advice

Our best advice to all entrants is to listen to some past episodes of the podcast, to get a feel for the style that works for performance.


  • Your story should have a narrator, with liberal use of direct speech, but it should not be an audio drama script!
  • Podcast episodes are performed by 1 lead narrator with up to 4 character actors, so think about how many voices you are writing into your story.
  • It’s always more fun to perform (and to listen) when there is a strong story, and perhaps some exaggeration.
  • We value silliness! Even in the most serious of stories, just to lighten it up.
  • Although message is important, the story must come first! There’s no point in having an important message if the story is weak.

Your story will be adapted for dramatized performance, and the best dramas follow a structure. Ideally your story should have:

  • Exposition: set the scene – who, what, where, etc. Protagonist vs Antagonist?
  • Problem: an obstacle, problem or task that needs to be overcome.
  • Climax: rising tension leads to tackling the problem.
  • Denouement: tie up the loose ends, what happens in the end.
About the Author

Jane has been working with Stone Soup since 2016 on variety of different things--including running the Stone Soup Test Kitchen! She is a writer, researcher and consultant.

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  1. Shyamsree Nandi May 12, 2019 at 1:03 am Reply

    Hi Jane,

    This is a great initiative indeed. My daughter has submitted her story and is eagerly waiting on the results of the contest. Please can you publish a timeline on when we can hear about the final decision? Many Thanks.

    Best Regards.

    • Jane Levi May 13, 2019 at 12:14 am Reply

      Hello, we are very close to announcing the winners: we are just agreeing the final places with our podcasting partner, and will be able to tell everyone the results during this week (commencing May 13). It’s been a tough job for the judges!

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