Rusty Fears 4!

As we approach the end of The Magnus Archives, we can look back on nearly 5 years of creepy stories that have entertained and brought shivers to so many listeners. It’s safe to say that this era of podcasting has brought new life (or should that be unlife?) and new aficionados to the horror audio drama genre. And we would like to continue that trend by looking to showcase, once again, some of the best in new and undiscovered horror writing talent.

Would you like to hear YOUR words on air?

That’s right, folks, it’s time for Rusty Fears 4 – Feartile Ground! This writing competition has run to great success for the last three years, and we’re hoping to see even more amazing pieces come from the fertile ground of our listeners’ imaginations this time round.

We are looking for the best, new, original short stories in the horror genre, from which we will pick a set of winners who will have their pieces read, produced and broadcast by us later this year on Rusty Quill’s feed for The Magnus Archives!

This year, we would like to read your tales on one of the following themes, chosen by various folks at Rusty Towers:

  1. An Animal’s Viewpoint
  2. A Curious Collection
  3. The Messenger
  4. Seeds of Doubt

How you choose to interpret these is up to you, but we’ll be on the lookout particularly for original takes and/or explorations of tropes that might be less well-known in traditional Western media.

Links to previous winners can be found below, beneath the Terms & Conditions.

This year’s competition will see 4 winners crowned, with each having their original horror short story produced and read out by members of the RQ Crew (depending on availability) as part of the post-TMA bonus season. Full details and terms are provided below, but you’ve got until Sunday 28th February to get your creative pieces to us, whereupon a judging panel will choose 4 lucky pieces to undergo the RQ treatment and be released in the main #MagnusPod feed. So, pick up those quills and get writing!

RUSTY FEARS 4 – Feartile Ground – a RQ Horror Writing competition Terms & Conditions

  • Competition opens at 1pm GMT on Saturday 6th February 2021.
  • Competition closes at 9pm GMT on Sunday 28th February 2021.
  • Submissions should be made via this SUBMISSION FORM, with all relevant fields filled in.
  • Any questions regarding the competition should be emailed to, or tweeted @therustyquill.
  • There will be 4 (FOUR) winning entries, and the prize for each winning entry is to have the winning short story recorded, produced and broadcast by Rusty Quill Ltd.
  • Entries should be an original short story in the horror genre, with a word count between 1,000 and 2,500 words (not including title).
  • Entries should incorporate one of the contest themes, either An Animal’s Viewpoint, A Curious Collection, The Messenger or Seeds of Doubt.
  • Entries must be written in English (or English dialect).
  • You may use first, second or third-person perspective for the piece.
  • Entries submitted must not have been accepted for publication or recording elsewhere at the time of submission.
  • We are looking for stories NOT statements. Please do NOT submit stories set in the Magnus-verse or use #MagnusPod characters/events/IP in your submission.
  • Entries should be in prose NOT script format, nor should it read like a statement that would be used in The Magnus Archives.
  • Entries should be submitted in GoogleDocs format or via a similarly accessible link (e.g. link to a pdf in GDrive).
  • No more than 1 (ONE) entry per person; collaborations are permitted but will not allow for those writers to submit individual entries as well.
  • Entries should abide by the standards as presented in The Magnus Archives, and avoid lazy & inappropriate horror tropes like (but not limited to) queer-coded ‘evil’, sexual trauma and mental illness stigmatisation.
  • The winning entries may undergo script editing before transmission.
  • The winning entry will be read/voice acted by members of the Rusty Quill Crew and the episodes will be broadcast publicly in due course after the series end of The Magnus Archives, and no later than July 2021.
  • Whilst copyright in the winning entries remains vested with the respective writers, the writers agree to freely licence the work and any adaptation thereof to Rusty Quill Ltd, who may use it as they see fit with appropriate credit given where due.
  • This competition is not open to employees of Rusty Quill Ltd or their relatives.
  • In the unlikely event that we do not receive any entries that meet our standards, Rusty Quill reserves the right to decline to name & produce any winning entries.
  • The judges’ decision is final and, unfortunately, no communication with writers about non-winning entries can be entered into, unless otherwise agreed.


 Rusty Fears (2018)

 Rusty Fears 2 -Fear More (2019)

 Rusty Fears 3 – Fearsome (2020)