Creative Writing Competition – Prose & Poetry

The time for DemiCon 30 is upon us. And you know what? It’s about time! This year our theme is “It’s About Time”, and what a grand ol’ time we shall have. And what better way to appreciate time and what it brings us (both good and bad) than stories and poems?

This year we will have two contests. We will have Creative Writing and Dramatic Reading. Both are very close together and even closer this year because besides reading the Dramatic Reading, we will also allow you to submit a piece this year that may be read in the competition! Both will be available to read at DemiCon at the panel as well as be available to read on Here are the guidelines that must be met to qualify in the Prose & Poetry Contest.

Rules for the DemiCon 30 Prose & Poetry contest are:

1) Stories and poems are to be written in the genre of science fiction or fantasy. Points will be deducted for non-genre entries.
2) Prose is limited to no more than 7,500 words.
3) Poetry is limited to no more than 100 lines.
4) Entries must include the sentence “Only time will tell.”
5) The deadline for receipt of entries is Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
6) Entrants may submit up to two items, i.e., a poem and a short story or two short stories or two poems.
7) To be eligible to participate, entrants must have a membership to DemiCon 30. This may be an Explorer, one-day, or full convention membership.
8) DemiCon is a family-friendly convention and all entries must be suitable for open reading at the convention and posting on-line.

Entries may be posted on-line after judging is completed and will be available for reading in print form at the convention. In addition to judges’ comments, members of the convention will be invited to give their feedback to the writers.

There will be first-, second- and third-place winners. Judging will be based on an overall ranking and on three broad categories. Winners will be selected based on total points, with any ties broken using the overall rankings.

The categories for short stories are Character, Description, and Continuity based on their effective use within the story. Character includes growth of characters, use of dialogue, and believability of characters. Description includes the general use of description, how technological or fantastical items specific to the story are described, and description that sets the scene. Continuity includes consistency of writing, general adherence to the theme, and if the story or poem progresses true to the story’s world.

The categories for poems are Rhythm, Imagery, and Coherence. Rhythm includes how the poem sounds when read aloud and how well the poem works within its particular form (e.g., free verse, iambic pentameter); plus, for poems following established styles, how well the poem adheres to the established structure. Imagery includes description but, more so than with stories, how well the scene is evoked. Coherence includes how well all parts of the poem go together.

The DemiCon Writing Contest focuses on judges as readers more than as writers. Judges will be well-read individuals who are not published writers or editors and may include members of DMSFS.

Please proofread your entries in addition to checking the spelling.  Judges do not deduct points for typographical errors, but misspellings and incorrect word usage do distract from the writing

Send your entries no later than April 2, 2019, to RTF is preferred over .doc or .docx files. Entries should include, on the first page only,  the author’s name, the title of the story or poem, and contact information for the author.  The judging will be blind, i.e., the judges will not know who wrote which story or poem. Please mark the end of your stories and poems with “# # #.”

You will be sent an email to confirm your entry was received. If you have not received a confirmation within three days of submitting your entry, please contact and If you prefer to submit your entry by U.S. mail, send it to: DMSFS – DemiCon Writing Contest at PO Box 7572, Des Moines, IA 50323.

Dramatic Reading Competition

This contest celebrates the popularity of audio books and the joy of reading to a toddler or sharing a favored book passage with a friend. Whether you enter the contest or merely participate by being in the audience, come experience the skills and variety of approaches applied to speaking the written word.

Judging will be based on how well characters’ lines are delivered, how effectively descriptions are conveyed, and on how well audience attention is captured. Pacing of the story will also be taken into consideration.

Participation is limited to 6 people, on a first-come-first-entered basis. Pre-registration will be allowed by sending an email to starting in late March. Due to demand, if you pre-register and are not in the room by 5 minutes after the start of the contest, your place may not be held. Registration is also allowed at the contest.

Traditionally, the contest is held on Friday at 5:00 p.m. The reading selections will take between 5-6 minutes each to read. If there are only three, or fewer, participants, contestants may read a second selection.

This year’s selections are from:

If you have questions please contact Tiki at

Hall Costume Competition

Part of the fun of any con is the freedom to dress up as your favorite character, or archetype, or as some completely unique and original concept spawned from your own very creative brain. We at DemiCon like to encourage that freedom further by offering you the chance to show off your clever ideas and talented handiwork through our costume contest events.

On Friday, the Hall Costume Contest allows you to immortalize your amazing apparel via our fabulous official photographer’s portrait service (it’s free!), while our mystery judges mingle among the attendees to quietly select the best-of-the-best.



All you need to do is come to the lobby starting around 9:30-ish and have your photo taken. That’s it! That let’s the judges know you want to be a part of this competition. Now go and enjoy your Friday evening.

When you have your photo taken they will take some of your contact information and will contact you if you have won a prize. For latest news and announcements please join our Facebook Group at


SPECIAL AWARD – The Costume Time Traveler Award

This year we are doing a special costume event for Flashback Friday.  We invite you or another person of your choosing to wear an old DemiCon costume. Many of us are a little order and fitting certain costumes just does not work anymore, we encourage you to share your costumes with a family member or friend.

Same rules apply for regular Hall Costume, just show up for your pictures but you need to add a little bit more.  Let the judges know it is for The Costume Time Traveler Award, how old the costume or what DemiCon(s) it was originally worn too , and if you are the original wearer/creator or not (if not how you were connected to the original person).  On the costumes themselves, it just had to be worn at DemiCon sometime. On stage, in the hallway, as a joke, it could have even won a previous award. We just want to see as many costumes and the love of costumes on Friday if not the whole weekend long.

DemiCon Manga Contest

Welcome everyone to the first ever DemiCon Manga Contest! Manga is the Japanese word for a graphic novel or comic book. Contestants will create a one page manga.  Entries will be judged on a 5-point scale in three different categories: Story, Use of theme, and Artwork. Contestants may submit a maximum of three entries. All submissions are due by 11:59 pm Central time on April 20th, and must be submitted to Prizes will be awarded for first and second place.


Time Travel


DemiCon is a family friendly convention, so please keep this in mind when submitting your entries (no nudity, etc).

All works can not have been previously posted anywhere else.

All works must be original.

Contestants must be present and registered at DemiCon to win.

Have fun!

We have some templates you can use for creating your submissions.

Masquerade and Cosplay Competition


Part of the fun of any con is the freedom to dress up as your favorite character, or archetype, or as some completely unique and original concept spawned from your own very creative brain. We at DemiCon like to encourage that freedom further by offering you the chance to show off your clever ideas and talented handiwork through our costume contest events.

On Saturday, the mainstage masquerade and cosplay event lets you thrill our audience with not only your spectacular costume creations, but your skilled (or not-so-skilled – we don’t care, we love just watching everyone try!) mini-performance.


Unlike the Friday night “Hall Costume” contest, the Saturday evening event gives you a chance to strut your clever and cunningly-crafted attire in front of a captive (although voluntarily so) audience. Prizes will be awarded for the costumes deemed by our judges to be the best of the best.

If you’ve participated in masquerades before, then you’re already familiar with the thrill of hearing the “oooohs” and “aaaahs” of an audience eager to appreciate your handiwork and presentation skills. If you’ve NOT tried your hand as a contestant in the past, then get ready for one of the biggest endorphin rushes one can experience at an SF con. Once you’ve walked across that stage in your jaw-dropping Renaissance garb, or Steampunk finery, or as your favorite anime character, or wherever your creative muse has taken you, you’ll be hooked — we promise!

Masquerade & Cosplay Sign-up Form

STUFF TO KNOW (aka Rules and Procedures)

  • The masquerade will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday evening. Adult participants should report to the green room (Ballroom D) by 7:15; junior participants (ages 13 and under) should report to the green room by no later than 7:30. [Times subject to change]
  • You must have a DemiCon 30 membership to take part in the Masquerade and Cosplay. If you have not registered for DemiCon 30 yet, please visit the Registration page.
  • There is no private dressing facility in the green room — so if modesty is an issue, you’ll need to don at least your lowest layer either in your hotel room, or in the nearby hotel restroom facility, before reporting in.
  • DemiCon recognizes three entry categories: Apprentice (a.k.a. Junior — for contestants aged 13 years and younger), Artisan (ages 14 and up), and Exhibition (for show only; not entered for judging consideration). There will be “Best of Apprentice” and “Best of Artisan” awards presented, as well as a “Best of Show” that can be selected from either category. In addition, the judges will be given leeway to present a few “honorable mention” awards, which may include things such as: Best Presentation, Best Media Recreation, Best Use of Materials — or whatever else they deem fit in order to recognize our contestants’ outstanding work. There will also be a “Best Workmanship” award bestowed by a separate panel of judges, who will examine costumes up close and personal in the greenroom area. The workmanship judges may also elect to give out some honorable mention awards for special detail work, as they deem appropriate.
  • For those opting to avail themselves of a tech rehearsal, you will be granted a 10-minute slot to practice with the emcee and tech crew on Saturday afternoon. You can sign up for your tech rehearsal time when you submit your entry paperwork — but in order to be granted tech rehearsal time, we will need your paperwork no later than noon on Saturday. (Remember: if you like being super-efficient, you can get your “paperwork” to us in advance by including it in your Masquerade and Cosplay registration.) It is not necessary to come to your rehearsal in your full costume — but for best results, we do recommend bringing along any special props, headgear, and/or footwear that are part of your ensemble, as those are the items most likely to cause unexpected challenges during a presentation.
  • Persons scheduling a tech rehearsal should bring any special music or audio files with them if the presentation requires it. Preferred format is .mp3 or .aif files on a flash drive or CD. Our sound crew may or may not be able to accommodate other formats, so deviate from these guidelines at your own risk. With or without a tech rehearsal, however, we can provide you with some kick-ass background music if you need it. Just let us know the general type of mood you want to set, and we’ll select something great for you accordingly.
  • We will have a photographer available to take studio-quality pictures of you in your masquerade garb. You should plan to be prepared for your photo shoot during the pre-event green room time, although our photographer MAY be available for a brief period after the conclusion of the masquerade if you don’t get around to having your portrait snapped earlier.
  • After your time on stage, we recommend that you remain in costume until all entries have been presented (although you can certainly temporarily remove pieces if some “breathing time” is required), so that you may participate in the post-masquerade “photo run” across the stage for the photographers in our audience. This is optional — but after having gone to all that hard work to make the costume, don’t you want to give everyone else as much opportunity as possible to enjoy it?
  • After the photo run (or sooner, for those who opt not to do the “catwalk” thing), participants may remove any or all portions of their costume, and are invited to sit in the audience to enjoy the halftime show, and to be present when the judges return from deliberation to announce the awards.


Questions? Suggestions? The sooner you contact us, the better. Please direct all masquerade-related correspondence to Jeannette Roth — your humble DemiCon 30 masquerade/cosplay director — at

And once again, if you’ve decided to join us with an onstage presentation – and we hope you have – you can help yourself and help us to make things run more smoothly and efficiently by registering online.

For latest news and announcements please join our Facebook Group at

DemiCon 30 Sweded Movie Trailer Contest

These are your rules:

  1. Entries are to be in the style of movie trailers (not entire short movies), 1 minute to 3 minutes in length.
  2. Entries are to parody/mimic a trailer for a science fiction, fantasy, superhero, or horror movie. This is to be done without the use of professional costuming or special effects. The more low-budget, the better.
  3. All entries must be original work by person(s) submitting the entry.
  4. Entries must meet the criteria for previews approved for General Audiences.
  5. Credits are not to be on the video entered. (This is a blind judging). When submitting entries, provide all credit information in an e-mail.
  6. If an entry wins a prize, the prize will go to all individuals identified as Entrants, so be sure to specify Entrants in addition to any credit information in the submission e-mail.
  7. A panel of local experts will judge the entries before DemiCon 30. Judging will be based on entertainment value, successful parody/homage to the movie’s genre, being low- (or no-) budget, and creativity. (E.g., does the trailer make a good “advertisement” for the movie?)
  8. Judges’ Choice and Fans’ Choice are to be awarded. (Fans’ Choice will be voted on during DemiCon 30.)
  9. A maximum of three entries per person/group is permitted. All entries must be made separately.
  10. Entries must be in MP4 format. Files are to be no larger than 500 MB.
  11. Entries will be shown at DemiCon 30, possibly on the DemiCon Channel.
  12. Deadline for entries is April 21, 2019. A confirmation will be sent when the entry is received.
  13. Submit entries and any questions to Robert Uy at You may send a link to the file on Google Drive or Dropbox.


As with all DemiCon contests, this video contest is about having fun, trying something new in an encouraging environment, and exploring creativity. In other words, no experience necessary!

If you are not sure what a Sweded Movie Trailer would be, “Be Kind Rewind” is a good movie to see for ideas. Also check out last year’s DemiCon Sweded promo programming trailer below. YouTube is also a good source for Sweded trailers. Good luck, filmmakers!


Silly Hat Liberation Society Competition

In honor of guest author Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, we are having a fascinator competition.

The Silly Hat Liberation Society wants you to enter a fascinator you have created in the style of Ivy Hisslepenny, the best friend of Alexia, the protagonist of the Parasol Protectorate series. Ivy is infamous for her lively taste in strangely decorated hats in eye-searing colors. Fascinators can also be inspired by other characters or anything else in the books. Entertain us by including the story of your inspiration!

We’re going with fascinators rather than full hats as most of us mere mortals do not have Ivy’s panache. Making a fascinator is easier and requires less time and materials than a full hat. Full size hats and other headgear will also be accepted. Fascinator making was a DemiCon Lite at Summer SACC.

Post a photo of your fascinator on this offical facebook group page ( by April 15, 2019 before DemiCon. Judging is being done by photo in case your creation has too much Ivy-style panache for you to wear in public. There will be a popular vote as well as judging.

Please create a fascinator in a style similar to Ivy’s hats or even re-create one of Ivy’s fashion faux paus in fascinator style. If you are recreating one of Ivy’s hats, please reference which book it is from. Even better, include the description from the book.

We look forward to having our eyes seared!