We are actively seeking new talent to join the creator-owned family here at Cold Open Stories. We only publish creator-owned material written for our calls for submissions, and since we own no intellectual properties, you can be assured—accepted or not—that your stories will remain yours.

We just hope that when the time comes, we can collaborate together in helping your work get adapted into new media for a larger audience.

Latest writing prompt


Horror & Comedy is a genre blend that can be both terrifying and hilarious. The genre often employs parody, satire, and irony to subvert and play with the conventions of traditional horror. At its core, horror comedy aims to entertain, shock, and amuse audiences by using humor to relieve tension and lighten the mood of an otherwise frightening story.

Some common tropes of horror comedy include:

  1. The reluctant hero: The protagonist is often a character who doesn’t want to be involved in the horror or comedy elements of the story but is forced to confront them.

  2. The bumbling sidekick: The hero often has a sidekick who is inept and provides comic relief.

  3. The absurd premise: The story often has an outlandish and ridiculous premise that defies logic or common sense.

  4. The self-awareness: The characters in horror comedies are often aware of the ridiculousness of their situation, and they often comment on it in a self-aware way.

Submission deadline is August 31, 2023 @ 11:59 PM ET

What are we looking for?

World & Character

Create an immersive, well-realized world that has distinct characters with clear goals.

Blend The Genres

Settings can include Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Western, Noir, Romance -- just write to the prompt.

3,000 - 5,000 Word Limit

Stories must have a beginning, middle, and end - all within 3,000 to 5,000 words.


Ready to submit your story?

The Cold Open Stories Discord is a great place to talk with other aspiring authors. Get feedback on your entry before submitting.


Format your entry submission according to the Standard Manuscript Format, and follow British English spelling conventions. The University of Oxford Style Guide is a great reference for this. Fast Fiction submissions should be 1000 words or less.


Save your entry submission as a .docx or .doc and attach it to an email.


In the body of the email, provide a brief paragraph that includes your name, the title of the short story, word count, your social media (or website if you have one) and a maximum 100-word short bio about yourself.


Edit the email’s subject line so it reads: ORIGINALS – ISSUE 5 SUBMISSION [STORY NAME] followed by Title of Your Story


Email your formatted email and entry submission to coldopenstories.editors@gmail.com 

Editorial support

Sstories that are selected for publication with Cold Open Stories will receive the professional support of a volunteer editor. This support will assist the author with constructive critiques to identify what works, what needs work, and to help plan final drafts and revisions of the story. Due to the large number of submissions we receive, Editorial assistance is limited to those stories that are chosen for publication. However, feedback and critique are offered to all submissions upon request, as it is our goal to guide, educate, and support aspiring authors as they strive for self-publishing or working within established intellectual properties.

Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions

COLD OPEN STORIES is a place for authors to share their talents, get seen, and celebrate fandom. We are committed to helping new and emerging voices get recognized, and no money exchanges hands through our site. We believe that diversity in fiction in an excellent way to find new voices and stories. We want this to be reflected in our content and welcome submissions from every race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

Want to learn more about how your Short Fiction submission will be presented, promoted, and potentially adapted into an audio drama? Expand one of the categories below for more details.

Reply Process

1. Upon submission, writers will receive an email confirming that their entry has been received. 

2. If the piece does not meet submission criteria, the writer will receive an email explaining why the piece has been rejected. If the writer does not receive a letter of rejection at this point, then the piece has met all submission criteria and will be passed on to the editing team for review. (This review process may take some time, potentially several weeks depending on the size of the amount of submissions received during any given period.)

3. Once the piece has been reviewed, the writer will either receive a letter of rejection if the piece needs more work, or an offer to continue with the revision process in preparation for publication.

4. Upon acceptance, the writer will work closely with the editing team in order to further revise the piece and come up with an end product that all parties are satisfied with.

5. Once the piece is ready, both parties will sign a contract allowing Cold Open Stories permission to publish the piece. More about this process can be found below.

Our average initial response time is one to three days, however the tides of the Warp are ever-changing and some astropathic emails may be missed! If you haven’t heard back from us after a week, feel free to contact us as coldopenstories.editors@gmail.com.

1. The Author grants Cold Open Stories permission to reproduce and publicly distribute the short story in digital form on the Cold Open Stories website (http://www.coldopenstories.com).
2. Authors maintain the ability to publish their work with other partners or websites, blogs, subreddits, but a “First published on
www.coldopenstories.com" is greatly appreciated.
3. The Author agrees that the short story was written by them as an unofficial fan work and was made for non-commercial entertainment.
4. The Author agrees that any edits to the short story’s content will be offered for review and consideration, and that creative control over these edits remain with the Author. Control over these edits are waived for formatting requirements necessary for posting on the Cold Open Stories website (font size, colour, page breaks).
5. The Author will maintain ownership of the short story. Publishing, submission, and selling rights remain with the Author if the story goes to print or it is shown there is a demand for it.
6. The Author will receive written credit on the Cold Open Stories website with a “Written By” acknowledgement preceding the short story. The Author will receive links to their social(s) and website (if available) and will provide Cold Open Stories with a brief biography to include on the site.

1. The Author assigns to Cold Open Stories the permission to promote the short story across social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the purposes of directing traffic, generating readership, and reader entertainment.
2. The Author grants Cold Open Stories the permission to include extracts or passages of the short story in promotional materials.

1. The Author gives Cold Open Stories the option to adapt the story into an audio drama or dramatized narration (digital format) which would include dialogue by actors, composition of original music, and sound design. Creative control to make edits or changes to the short story to fit this adaptation is understood. Authors have the option to opt-out if they are not comfortable with this. 
2. The Author grant Cold Open Stories permission to publish, reproduce, and publicly distribute the produced audio drama or dramatized narration across streaming services (Apple Podcast, Soundcloud, Podbean, Spotify, YouTube) in serialized and completed formats.
3. The Author will receive verbal and written credit in the Cold Open Stories adaptation with a “Story By” acknowledgement.
4. The Author agrees that Cold Open Stories receives an exclusive first right of refusal for other proposed fan audio adaptations.

1. The Author agrees that the work performed in writing the short story was done on a volunteer, non-commercial basis and acknowledges that there is no employment relationship, remuneration, or salary offered by Cold Open Stories for the actions of publishing, promoting, or adapting the short story online.
2. Individuals or organizations who are interested in financially supporting Cold Open Stories or the Author will be directed to support the Author directly on their website or social accounts, or to donate to a charitable organization, identified by Cold Open Stories, which is committed to improving accessibility for multi-barriered populations.