Royal Road Community Magazine

Dear Royals,
We hope that you had a wonderful holiday season! To get back into the writing mood, we wish to introduce an exciting community contest!

The Royal Road Community Magazine is a contest sponsored by Royal Road but organized and run by the community. 

This contest is centered around writing from a specific prompt suggested and voted on by the community. The winning submission will be chosen by readers from the community who volunteered as judges (in the forum).

Royal Road Community Magazine:


How to Participate: 

  • Submit the first chapter. If this is your first time, you can read this post regarding the steps on how to submit a novel on Royal Road.
  • After your novel is approved; register it by filling out this form (now closed)


  • The submission must be based on the writing prompt: “Uncharted Waters.”
  • The submission must be written during the month of January.
  • The submission must be independent and not a part of any other work.  The judges need to be able to review it fairly without needing to read any other book or material.
  • No sexual content is allowed.
  • The submission must have at least 8,000 words by the second deadline. 



On January 10th, the first chapter of each entry will be compiled and published in a magazine format. No new entries will be accepted afterward. 

You can view the last two editions as an example: 

January 2022 edition
June 2022 edition

New: January 2023 Edition

Second Deadline: 

As long as you participate before January 10th, you will have until the end of the month (January 31st), to write and publish at least 8000 words in your own fiction page. 


The judgment: 

There are multiple volunteer judges who will review the entries and assign scores to them. 

  • The judges will judge up to a maximum of 40,000 words, but the submission may exceed that amount.
  • There is no requirement for a definitive ending. You don't need to complete the story within the contest itself. But, Judges need to get a sense of how the story will proceed.
  • The prompt writing theme must be obvious to the judges. If they are unable to see where you included the prompt, the submission will be disqualified. There are no clear requirements on how to include the prompt. Be as creative as you want to be.

The top 3 scorers will receive the fabulous prizes listed below!

The Prizes: 

First Place: $1000 Royal Road Ad Campaign
Second Place: $300 Royal Road Ad Campaign
Third Place: $180 Royal Road Ad Campaign

*All three winners will also receive Author Premium alongside their campaigns.
**At least half of the ads must be used for the entry story.

We look forward to your participation and can’t wait to see what sort of stories you will create!

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Thank you for the chapter.

+1 rep? Anyway I was just glancing through some of the stories already published in the magazine. Good Lord!!!! I can scarcely believe it.

Do u mean they're really good?

3 or 4 of the ones I read were quite good.

Thank you for the chapter!

I think I have something in my Unreleased Archive for this :D, Maybe I can repurpose it for this :)

Sounds exciting! Good luck to everyone who participates

TFTC! Just wanna ask, what's the prompt?


I made it more bold based on your response. 

Pls does uncharted waters mean an exploration novel about people traveling the seas”?

uncharted waters can be anything related to the prompt. As long as you can point out where it was used when asked, it works.

- organizer

As I’m reading it, it says it has to be immediately obvious. Also based off of the fact it says your submission will be immediately disqualified should the judge not understand where it was used, I’m guessing they won’t even ask a question. This might just be me tho

So, the entire writing prompt is just Uncharted Waters? I want to make sure that's it.

@Ya Grl Rae-Rae

Yes the entire prompt is just Uncharted Waters, you can interpret it as you want. There is no limit to your imagination, just a limit to how far the judges will read

@Chili, the Primordial Tomato

Going by the last two iterations, the prompt hasn't been a major problem for us. I would recommend having the two words mentioned in the first chapter itself, but as long as it is mentioned somewhere we will consider it.


I would recommend having the two words mentioned in the first chapter itself

Do we actually have to use the words "Uncharted Waters" in the story?

All od my work have sexual content 😵😵😵

Can we take uncharted waters as in a more philosophical way.

YAY! I can see this going in all kinds of interesting ways!

This is exciting! I really like the prompt, there are so many ways to tackle it!

TFTC! looking forward to it!

I'll see you all on the battlefield, troopers. 

Ah, damn... Don't have time to be writing another story atm :(

Tempting to join in. But this time, might actually not have the time, so I'll think on it.

Being a judge in the second one was fun. Can't wait to see what this round brings as not a judge

Thanks for the magazine!

Sounds interesting! 

But I have a question: is there a 1 work/account limit? Our account is run by my friend (Ofa) and me (Toru), and we both have separate ideas for this prompt. So we wondered if we can submit two works from the same account, or not. 

Thank you for the answer in advance, and sorry if there is a better place to ask questions, we are still new to the community.


multiple works is fine.

Hmmm. This might be a problem as the form only allows you to fill it out once per account?


Oh heck

I'll change that real quick 


Props dude. Totally onto it!

Oh no, but I'm supposed to be finishing the last few chapters of my sequel to Spliced! Maybe I can do both. Both yes, both is doable

Burn out is the best work out.


Wait is that right? Eh, an extended break will fix it I think

Get on it team! My most successful story was the result of the first magazine prompt 😈

Is uncharted waters like a pair ate novel?


Good luck to everyone that's participating! The prompt sounds fun, I can already feel the ideas flooding in!

Can it be a short story? like 10k-15k words in total?


as long as it's over 8k words, it counts

This is the third iteration of the competition which means we're not in uncharted waters!

At first, I was kind of confused by the rules regarding sexual content on here, but after trying to find interesting novels on Scribble Hub, I realised why it was that way. 

Also, great contest! 

Thanks for the notice!

Started at 2am, place holder for new book submitted. To sail the Sunless seas. 5,856 words done by 8ish am. I only really have Tuesday nights free to work on this, so I'm going to have to find the time to get the other 2,135 words done before the deadline. Editing might be even more of a problem. So apologies in advance.

well, you have a month for 2k words, that's several tuesdays. You only need the first chapter done before the first deadline. 

Really wishing my reading comprehension was better at 2am. Oh well, it was really nice break  to work on something other then my main project. And I'm well ahead on this contest. Also just noticed its being judged up to 40k at the end of the month, not requiring 40k in a month. I was feeling like my normal writing output was seriously under speed. Thanks for clewing me in.

Great start spleen. Looking forward to wherever you take this!

Me: late to post my most recent chapter, busy with home repairs and caring for four kids, and no time or mental energy for spare.

Also me: Write a new story without any idea where it will take me? Sign me up! 

Uncharted waters, indeed.

I feel that 😂 But hey, sound like a lot of fun to try something new!

This was my reaction. For the first time in almost a year, I was ready to start working on a project. I got the first chapter plotted out and began writing. Saw this contest and wrote a new chapter for a new story in two days.

Usually, I follow through on this sort of thing. I participated in Writathon a few times, and I know how to grind out new chapters on a regular basis, but I've unexpectedly been pulled into basement repairs and house projects, and I won't be able to make either the first or the second deadline. Maybe I'll try again in the summertime if they do another competition in June. Best of luck to the rest of you! :)

Can "Uncharted Water" also be taken to mean the unknown? 

This is my understanding. I'll be writing something that means the unknown, anyway, and has nothing to do with actual water. Either way, hopefully it will be a good ignition to start writing again... as I've been lacking motivation.

There is no organizer imposed limit to your imagination, you can interpret the prompt as you want. The only thing we ask is that you have the words 'Uncharted Waters' somewhere in your entry.


When you say "independent and not part of any other work", what if the story in question is to be part of a  work or larger writing project (for example a short story set in the larger universe), but the entry itself is the first time any part of the larger work has been published in any form -including blog, reddit, or RR- and in fact is to be considered the entry point for the series? (Thus there is no other material that can be consulted) Is that allowed?

Then it isn't part of a larger work nor does it have any prerequirements for reading as of yet?

The rule is there so that the judges do not have to read another fiction/work to understand your entry well. The kind of entry you speak of is very welcome.

I was too busy and lazy to write for writathon, but if I manage to write something good for this, I might decide to do it regularly.

Do you need any writing experience to join? I have ideas, but i haven't actually tried to write longer stories like this before...

no experience required 

Nice prizes, unfortunately, I have no time to participate :(

Ooo, I think I'll join this event since I have the time. Is there a minimum requirement of words for the first chapter to count as a submission? I know we have to have 8,000 minimum for the 31st. 

Also, I know sexual content isn't allowed but is light romance allowed? I.e kissing, groping? What about moderate drug use?

My moderate or your moderate?

What is your idea of moderate? Haha

Our moderate, comrade. 

I have a question, when you say it must not be a part of any other works, does that mean it cannot be a part of any other already existing setting ? I like to write stories serving as pieces of (usually ancient) history of my settings, thus I wanted to ask.

I'm certain that it means you cannot extend a story you already have to include this prompt, but rather must write a new one. Incorporating existing history (as in an alt-history story) should be fine. It wouldn't make sense otherwise, I think.

The entry must allow the judges to understand the entry without reading any other work. A novel set in ancient history is fine.

Hope everyone has fun! 

Oho! I do love a contest!

Does no sexual content mean just no descriptive sex scenes or explicit content? Is profanity and gore allowed?

profanity and gore are fine.

Seems like I could write a short story after all those years again! Gonna check up my folders and see if I can manage something in this damn short time~

It would be well within the brief to write something contemporary and geopolitical. Things have stayed well out of the ordinary.

This gives me an interesting idea for a story, but I don't think I'll make the update. The prompt is cool though, and I look forward to the stories!

So does Uncharted Waters mean like literally waters or just generally delving into the unknown?

Definitely more the latter of those two options imo

The prompt can be interpreted as you wish. There is no organizer enforced limit on it.

Could you please make it more prominent that the 8.000 words refers to the second deadline?

I had missed that part – no idea how – and have been stressed out by it since I read about the contest, which was 13 minutes after it got published.

Now that I know that I have more than enough time, I‘ll be participating.

Maybe by adding '(January 31st)' behind it. 

Does the Title have to be Uncharted Waters?


No, the topic has to be Uncharted Waters, not the title. And Uncharted Waters does not seem to have to be taken literally. 

That can be whatever you think fits your story the most. 

Thats a very broad net, i mean, if we are being sophistric, every story were the MC faces the unknown counts, and those are pretty much all on this site

Better add some waters to be sure... the MC having a new drink, will do

Wait, does the prompt has to be inside the very first chapter? or can we include the theme in the rest of the month?

omg an excuse to write about my gay pirates and also to start writing again

What a fun prompt! This gave me such a great idea! I look forward to participating!

This looks like a fun contest! I may have to see what I can come up with...

Okay, too many ideas... too many ideas! Let's see if I can par this down...

Either way, excited to give this a try.

Thank you v very much sir 

How do you link the story

You have to register it using the link provided in the explanation. 

This sounds like fun, this is going to be my first competition I will ever enter.

Sounds good! Best of luck guys.

Question on language - swearing ok?

Can the work be titled, "Uncharted Waters"?  Asides from it including the prompt within the text of a chapter or chapters, of course.  Can the prompt be used multiple times throughout the work?  Just asking, been disqualified before on other sites/competitions/disciplines, just want to make sure.


Also, can more than one chapter be included for the 1st deadline?

And, is there a minimum amount of words allowed for the first chapter?


I gotta be clear on all options. :)

Only one chapter will be used for the magazine per story but you are free to upload more.


Fair enough 

For those critics, please begin with chapters: (6): Nunc Sumus Nautas Ma12ia?

Thank you.

Please write that on your fiction page instead of commenting it here.

If anyone needs inspiration this:

and the comment section are full of it

I'm not a fan of the title, but it is not a bad idea to explore it. I might start to write a series full of comedic undertones.

Well, I'm eager to participate. There is nothing to lose anyway. Hopefully, the judges will read it without asking a question about why did I make it funny, lol.

I made my submission. I have never done a contest before so this should be fun!


How do you know if your book has joined?

if you submitted it, it has

Well, hopefully my novel is approved before the 10th so I can submit it... I had to sort of rush, but I've got the first chapter done, so all we can do is hope.

Hello, thank you for hosting this event! Does our entry have to be exclusive to RoyalRoad, or can we post the story on other web-serial platforms, too? Many thanks!

Question…how do I know if my submission for the contest will go through? Not talking about being submitted to RR in general but the contest specifically?

Haha submitted mine and feel exactly the same way.

The feeling of when you pull the door open to double check it's been locked - but this time you can't.

Guess we just have to wait until the 10th and find out.

If you didn't specify that you broke some of the contest rules while submitting it, there's no reason it wouldn't go through.

I've got a question.

1) Does the story have to end or have an ending by the 31st? 

2) And is the 31st when the whole competition end?

You don’t have to end the story by the 31st. You don’t even have to end it at all. It just has to be 8000 words by that point. But the competition ends at the end of January, or at least I think.

That's so cool. unfortunately i am just but a noob at writing, not having the confidence to participate.

Should try anyway. You’ll never get anywhere unless you put yourself out there.

Awww. Thank you for your encouraging words. i might really give it a try, hope you do as well friend (人❛ᴗ❛)✿ᵗᑋᵃᐢᵏ ᵞᵒᵘ

Also, my artist hasn't gotten back to me for my cover art, I wanted to ask if a cover art essential for this? Could I just upload a better cover art as the competition goes on?


Yes. The cover art is not required. 

I edited my first chapter, to make it clearer what are the uncharted waters, do i re submit the form?

Or are the chapters going to be reviewed until the 10th?


No need to resubmit the form. It will only be checked after the form closes. 

I found out about the contest a little late, so here I am, submitting the story for approval on the last day. I hope it doesn't actually take 48 hours haha or I'm screwed.

same wanted to talk with an admin about that, sent a message already. I'm a lot later than you though, had to register the same time i submitted the novel for approval.

Can I still participate? If you add a novel right now, you also need to pass the test there.

Awesome contest and great prizes! I would never be able to finish a writathon, but this I can try.

I registered yesterday, but my nervous brain whispers to me. "Are you sure? You should do it again just in case." I wish there was some kind of confirmation system in place.

Same. I’ve been debating submitting it again. I kind of wish it didn’t let you submit twice. That way at least I could prove that I submitted somehow. 

Well, I guess they did it like that so people can submit more than one fiction. They were debating about it  before. It would be nice if they sent you an automatic message or something.


My guess is that that is fine.

1. Can the chapters be edited up until the 31st?  

2.  Does the prompt have to appear on the first chapter?

For 1 I believe yes.

From what I read it just needs to be within the first 40,000 words and obvious and made it in the month of january.

What if you finish writing the first chapter for the community magazine on time but the story doesn't get approved on time?

I'm in this time crunch too since I just found out about the contest tonight. I think it has to be approved as well by the time they start compiling the stories. The magazine form says the deadline is tomorrow the 10th but doesn't say what time.

Edit: My story was approved within 5 minutes. Talk about fast turnaround time!

Out of curiosity, are we allowed to add images to the submitted contest story to spice things up or is that not allowed?

think so. the previous versions all have that

Interesting. That could make things more fun. Thank you for the reply.

Since the contest doesn't end until Jan. 31. Are we able to edit/polish up the first chapter submission we submitted by the 10th later on? 


Yes, on your own fiction page. NOT on the Magazine page. 

I understand. The magazine page is probably an index. Thank you.

Nice! I submitted my first RR work today. I was under the impression that the deadline was tomorrow, the 10th. But if it can take up to 48 hours for the work to be approved, wouldn't that mean that the effective deadline was the 8th because submission can happen only after approval?

Okay.. Approved in 10..and submitted in contest.

Is there a hard deadline on this? Just found out about this yesterday & am trying to whip something up, but I'm not sure how long the submission process will take. Thanks either way ^^

ok... I see it might not be that big of a deal. I'll try to get it going within the next hour or two, then I guess it's up to fate!


You still have time, but not too much! 

Until the deadline (IDLW) all submissions are being checked at a high rate (within a very short period) - so don't worry about that part, just try not to submit it at the very last second. 

No clue when the deadline is, but I'm just waiting for the submission to be checked. Might have missed it, but such is life!

Thanks for everyone's hardwork!

Is there a way to tell if a story has been accepted? I submitted my story last week and haven't heard anything.

can anyone tell me, do I have to write about something related to uncharted water. or can it be litrpg without any element of uncharted water.

Bruh. Read the rules. 

  • The submission must be based on the writing prompt: “Uncharted Waters.”

Submitted my story late last night and it was approved in 10 minutes. Good luck everyone on crunch time! Thank you also for the fun prompt.

Good luck everyone. I've entered with my story: Children of the Wave

It's January 10th. When is this magazine coming out?

you mean this?

Are they still setting it up? I only see 10 stories and mine isn't one of them.

it'll be coming out in the next 10 days, yes

Why isnt my story approved, is it because i havent mentioned Uncharted waters on first chapter?

Is there a way to tell if it's approved? I submitted mine last week, but haven't heard anything.

yes, but it can take a few days before it shows up:

Excited to join in on this. I'm incredibly new to this whole thing and so far it's been a blast! Can't wait to read what others write and have my own stuff read in return.

Umm... it's Tuesday. When exactly does the Mag launch? 🤔

It already has! Buller posted this an hour before your comment.  

Oh, thanks for the heads-up!👍

200 entries? Wow that's a lot of reading for the judges. I recently participated in a contest where I had to read (and leave feedback for) 5-6 2,000 word short stories within the span of a few weeks and I was pooped afterwards. 

Question, what defines sexual content? Is the word “sex” or implication of sex sexual content or the obscene description of it?

I think they mean no literal stuff like Bateman's on the book. 😆

I meant IN the book... boy the hardest part about English, prepositions...

Has anybody begun to read the chapters already uploaded? Any recommendations? I read some of the earlier ones, in bits and pieces, and I found the first one to be good, the one about the Planet.

I'm not that far in either but if you haven't already an eye on it "Beyond World's Edge" is a great read as far as it goes. The characters are super fun!

Hey thanks for that. Yes, Dick and Cocksworth are 'great characters'.

I am, hands down, already a great dan of Cassius!

Got a little further and "The Depths of the Ice Sea" seems quite interesting as well. 

My book has no words on the magazine thingy for some reason.

Is the magazine finished uploading chapters? My story hasn't been posted :(

The blurb said there are over 200 entries that will be posted. Since we are many stories away from it (currently at 66 or so), maybe a problem came up or stuff.  :(

Yeah, that was my suspicion. My submission was real nail biter for time so I got worried. But one submission every hour for 200 hours straight is a big ask. 

I wish them well.

No new stories have been added since last night when I last checked it.  Who knows, maybe, Denwa, you're right.

We had some technical issues!

Chapters should start out coming out again before the end of the day

Awesome!  Thx for the feedback!

Ah! I am sorry if I am the one who broke it. I noticed I am the first one that went up after things got moving again!

Question.  Can you confirm if my story was submitted?  I published the first chapter before the 10th and it got approved, but I  haven't seen it up on the magazine yet.  Name of the fiction:  "Marcoceanum"  Thanks.

Did you remember to submit it on the google form? I can't find it

Oh man.  I probably didn't.  That must be it.  I rushed to write and send the first chapter before the 10th, then intently refreshed page til' I saw it was approved, then relaxed and placidly sat back to write the rest, fully believing I had made it on time.  Newbie life.

Hey there, circling back: my first chapter was submitted on time, and following the promt convention.  Is there anything that can be done about my registration oversight (late reg or something) so I can still participate?  Again, my chapter was up and approved well before the 10th.  I had only recently joined this community and upon discovering this contest was totally thrilled to jump right in.  I will finish and post it anyway (8,400 word draft completed last night), but it would be nice to know where I stand.  Thanks.

While we used to make exceptions with cases like this, the contest becoming official limits what's possible. Sorry, but you're gonna have to try again in June 

Got it, it's actually good news that the contest has this formality.  Thanks for your prompt response.

Sorry to bother you, but can you see mine? I submitted it on the Google form, and the title is 'Vanitatum vanitas'.

I am now getting paranoid with how its getting close to 200 chapters, and I still don't see mine. I submitted it on the Google form as "Off My Dock", I hope its there.

it is. you were just very close to being the last one to submit it

Thank you so much for calming my nerves. Also for running this event. You have a lot to read (me too!)

Sorry to trouble you again, but did I get disqualified for some reason? I see that people who published their first chapter after I submitted the Google Form are getting their fiction put in the magazine now.

Is it too late to participate in the contest?


"...this form (now closed)"

:) Join the club.

It sucks that jan 10th was the deadline. I got inspiration only a couple days ago 😢😢

What's judges' stand on authors rewriting already submitted chapters?

I wrote my two chapters several weeks ago, and now I have a totally new idea about the way that my story would be, which may require me to completely rewrite those two chapters. My fictions is already in the magazine, so I wonder whether it'll be OK.