Did you know that Writer Advice has been running Flash Contests since before the genre was popular? We’re getting really good at recognizing what works and why.
QUICK NOTE: Were you looking for our Scintillating Starts Contest, which normally happens this time of year? It’s now a Scintillating Starts Opportunity with the same method of critiquing and a MUCH more flexible word limit. Details are at https://writeradvice.com/manuscript-consultation/. We’re call it what it is–an opportunity.
Submissions for our Micro Contest are closed, but our next contest, Flash Memoir, will be posted sometime this month. This quarter, we’re trying a Micro Fiction Contest. We’re open to micros, including “dribbles” (exactly 50 words), “drabbles” (exactly 100 words) and any fiction (or fictionalized but true experience) up to 500 words. Labels don’t matter. Content does. Your title doesn’t count in the word total.
If you’re a finalist or a winner, you’re welcome to add that credit to your resume. It’s a great way to build your platform.
This contest officially opens on October 6, 2023 and closes on December 2, 2023.
How do you write something so short?
- Focus on the moment that changed the protagonist.
- Start far into the story.
- Cut everything that isn’t essential.
- Let your verbs and nouns describe.
- Let tone, attitude, and behavior as well as dialogue get your ideas across.
Feeling stuck? Google “50 Word Stories” or “100 Word Stories” for examples. You can make this a simultaneous submission but please tell us immediately if it’s accepted elsewhere.
If you’d like to know what’s working in your writing and what trips up an award-winning writer, I’m happy to send a personalized, detailed letter, but I have to ask that you pay an additional $10 fee. You’d pay the $5 submission fee and add the $10 feedback option on Submittable. If you have the money, I strongly recommend it. It’s a good bargain and a worker is worthy of her hire. Thank you for understanding.
Strong suggestion: Don’t try to compress a longer story to fit the length. It never works. Submit longer stories to any of the many places seeking those.
Writer Advice gives opportunities to all writers—especially ones who share a story that touches our hearts and makes us look at the world more wisely. We enjoy stories with a discovery, maybe a surprise, and a tone that rings true. Enlighten, dazzle, and delight us.
PRIZES: The $300 formerly divided among the winners of the Scintillating Starts Contest will now be divided among the Micro Fiction winners. I will publish more than usual—up to one a week for 3 months. It’s a different approach, but I think it’s a worthwhile one.
- Up to three 50 or 100-word pieces, or a combination of the two, for $5.00.
- One or two pieces up to 500 words for $5.00.
- If you want feedback about what worked and what tripped readers up, there’s an additional cost of $10.00 as there is with all of our contests.
CONTEST OPENING AND DEADLINE: This contest opens no later than October 1. If I can move up the date, I’ll change it here. The last day to submit is December 2, 2023, at 9 PM PT or midnight ET.
HOW TO SUBMIT: Use the black box that says “Submit Here” at the bottom of this page. If there’s a problem, please use the Contact Box to let me know. Technology can be imperfect.
QUESTIONS: Please ask. Use the Contact Box.
COPYRIGHT: You own it. If you republish, please say that it first appeared at Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com.
JUDGES: Watch this space. I usually use former winners, but this is a new contest.
SUBMISSIONS: Keep scrolling. The Submittable box is at the bottom of the page.
FOR BEST RESULTS:
- Include your name, e-mail address, and title on the Submittable form, but include only your title in the submission so it remains anonymous. Pleaseleave the header and footer blank.
- Since we judge these anonymously, you don’t need a cover letter. If you are a finalist, we’ll ask for a bio.
- Please double-space your submission. We recommend that you use a 14-point font that is easy to read. Cambria, Ariel, and Verdana are all good. If you forget, we may fix it for you.
- You own the copyright. If we publish your work, the rights still belong to you, though we ask you not to resubmit until 90 days after it appears on Writer Advice and give us credit if it is published elsewhere.
- Simultaneous submissions accepted.
- If your work is accepted elsewhere, please notify us immediately.
- Please hit the contact button and ask questions if anything is unclear or missing. Thank you!
Tips for Success:
- Let readers care.
- Leave out details that don’t help you tell this story.
- Know why your story is unique. (If you don’t know, ask your characters.)
- We only need your contact information instead of a whole query letter, but if you want to send your query, we won’t stop you.
- NOTE: We had an excellent piece in the last contest that did not win an award because it was too long. The length matters! Following directions matters.
- We like double-spaced manuscripts with standard, one-inch margins.
- We prefer an easy-to-read font.
- Please use the Submittable box below. Manuscripts sent in other ways will not be read. If anything about the form is unclear, please contact me using the contact box on the home page of writeradvice.com.
COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS CONTESTANTS:
“Thank you for your great advice. I appreciate it and will use it to improve my writing.” –Shelley Malicote
“Your suggestions for improvement rock.” –Shelley Stutchman
“WriterAdvice.com is one of my all-time most reliable and accessible sites for writers. I use it—and recommend it to my clients.” ~Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers (http://howtodoitfrugally.com), poetry and fiction
“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told about the great feedback you give to folks no matter how many entries you get.” –Bill Buschel
“It’s such a refreshing experience to have some exchange — as most submissions disappear into the either like rogue satellites.” –Charles Watts
“Your insights are excellent” –Dan Dubelman
“You are the first professional to offer feedback and your encouraging words have given me additional motivation! It is reassuring to know that I was on the right track; you have a remarkable ability to give constructive feedback in a positive way (and you are absolutely correct). I look forward to submitting more stories and continuing to improve.” –Jamie Fouty
“I learned about this contest from the Submittable page. I then checked out your website and felt comfortable submitting my story as you seem like someone who genuinely wants to help and advise others.” –Roger Yetzer
“I’m always striving to improve my writing, and feedback from editors like you make it much easier to do so.” –Margarite R. Stever
“Many thanks for your response, from it, I can tell you’re very good at what you do.” –Kisa, Visually Versed
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to read and analyze my work . . . It’s not every day a contest gives you comprehensive feedback instead of a simple yes/no!” –Lena Crown
“Thanks for the wonderful feedback, never, never, got that before in thirty years.” –Jenny Hickinbotham