I've taught short stories--both studying them and writing them. The most effective way to learn about short stories is considering Poe's rules.
Here are a few that will help you create a better short story.
- The story can be read in one sitting.
- The story focuses on one element: plot, character, theme, setting, etc.
- Limit the number of characters.
- Confine to a single setting.
- Follow structure: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement. (Most of the story leads to climax. The falling action and denouement can be a paragraph or even a couple of lines.)
Follow these rules and you might even make Poe proud.
Go ahead and enter it in a contest. OWFI is accepting entries until February 1.