The Great Challenge

Challenge Yourself... Write a Short Story Every Week

The Great Challenge

For the last few years I have done quarterly challenges that many people have enjoyed. And a lot of novels or stories have come out of those challenges that I enjoyed reading.

So a new challenge, with a brand new form. One a little saner and a little crazier in the same breath. And again, the fee goes toward two workshop fees.

Here are the basics…

Every week, on Teachable, a new story prompt will appear. That prompt will be a video prompt that will be short, maybe with a writing tip with it, most of the time just explaining the prompt, the origin of the prompt, or maybe even some ideas possible with the prompt.

The Great Challenge is to write a short story a week and turn it in.

You can use the prompt if you want, but you don’t have to. Only rule for the story is that it be original that week, not something from your inventory.

Again, you can use the prompt or not. Your choice.

No genre limitations.

Length from 2,000 words minimum and up. Max length is 15,000 words.

It has to be turned in by Sunday midnight West Coast Time to count in the challenge.

I will look at the story, usually when you send it. I will seldom say anything. My feedback is not the point.

The cost is $600.

If you miss, at that point you get two regular online workshops or $600 credit toward any online teaching, such as Pop-Up series or lectures or classics or lifetime workshops.

So in essence, you are buying two workshops, just as my challenges have been in the past.

Make sure that you use the most recent prompt instructions when you start. So go to the bottom of the prompt list and read the instructions there.

The Great Challenge Reward…

First, you have a new short story every week to get out to markets or up to readers for as long as you can keep the streak alive

Second, if you hit 26 weeks in a row without missing, you will get three workshops instead of two. ($900 value in workshops.)

And third, if you hit 52 weeks in a row, you will get a lifetime subscription of your choice to all workshops, all lectures, Study Along, or Las Vegas workshops.

So, in summary...

The Great Challenge consists of the following…

--- Video story prompt every week.

--- I am the deadline and I might or might not read your story.

--- Stories must be minimum of 2,000 words, no upper length, but close to short story length. Any genre.

--- If you miss, you instantly have credit for two workshops.

--- If you get to 26 weeks in a row, you get three workshops ($900 credit) when you miss.

--- If you get to 52 weeks without missing, you get a lifetime subscription of your choice.

--- Cost is $600. (And yes, if you miss, you can buy back in and start over, but not with credit.)

--- You can start at any time you want into the future. This will continue on for years.

--- Sign up on Teachable under The Great Challenge header, where the story prompts will be each week.

Questions, write me.

This is great fun.

Your Instructor

Dean Wesley Smith
Dean Wesley Smith

With over twenty-three million copies of his books in print, USA Today bestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith now brings you original fiction every month for the past three years in his own magazine, Smith’s Monthly.

Dean wrote over twenty-five original Star Trek novels, the only two original Men in Black novels, plus Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man novels, and others. He wrote many gaming novels including Final Fantasy.

He wrote novels and stories under almost fifty pen names and did scripts for Hollywood as well as being an editor for various magazines. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch. You can follow his writing life at

Course Curriculum

  The Great Challenge Introduction
Available in days
days after you enroll
  The Weekly Prompts
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
For lectures and classic workshops, the course starts now and stays on your dashboard for as long as you like! They are completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish. For the monthly regular workshops, each has a start date and each week's lectures will appear on the same day. After the course is finished it will remain on your dashboard for as long as you like.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
How do I contact someone about a course?
If you have any questions at all about anything in a course, simply email dean with the word "workshop" in the subject line. His email is [email protected]

Get started now!