Particularly appropriate for April 2020:
“The first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when alone.” ~ Martin Amis, Paris Review Interview
You can find lots of definitions for Flash Fiction. For Writer Advice, it is a story of 750-words or less that has a protagonist, a conflict, a setting, excellent use of language, and an ending that we didn’t predict when we read the first line. Although it may be based on an actual event, it is not memoir. It may be historical or futuristic as well as contemporary.
We enjoy stories with a discovery, complex characters, lovely language, and a tone that rings true. Some of the best flash fiction has a plausible ending that we never saw coming.
While there is no formula for success, a protagonist we care about, a distinctive voice, and a clear impact on the reader all matter. Setting helps. So do conflict and resolution. Less is more.
If the story feels squeezed at 750-words, don’t force it. There are plenty of journals where you can send your longer pieces.
We enjoy stories with a discovery, a surprise, and a tone that rings true.
Finalists receive responses from all judges. Everyone receives a detailed response from award-winning author B. Lynn Goodwin.
DEADLINE: Submit to the WriterAdvice Flash Fiction Contest by June 2, 2020. Early submissions strongly encouraged.
JUDGES: will be selected from previous prizewinners. Their names will be announced soon and you can read their pieces by clicking on Archives.
PRIZES: First Place earns $150; Second Place earns $75; Third Place earns $40; Honorable Mentions will also be listed.
FOR BEST RESULTS:
- Include your name, contact information, and title in the cover letter, but include only your title in the submission so it remains anonymous.
- Since we judge these anonymously, you don’t need a cover letter that includes more than your contact information. 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 can fix it for you.
- You own the copyright. If we publish your work, the rights still belong to you.
- Simultaneous submissions accepted. You may submit up to 3 pieces to us, but each one must be submitted separately.
- We prefer unpublished work, though we do accept stand-alone excerpts from fiction seeking a publisher or agent. If it doesn’t work as a stand-alone, it’s best to submit it elsewhere.
- If you have questions, please click on the contact button and ask.
COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS CONTESTANTS:
“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
“Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for this feedback. It’s such a refreshing experience to have some exchange — as most submissions disappear into the either like rogue satellites.” –Charles Watts
“Thank you so much for your detailed feedback!! 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
“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
“Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts. 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
“Thank you so much for your feedback, it always makes me feel inspired and motivated.” –Elizabeth Cockle
“Thanks for the wonderful feedback, never, never, got that before in thirty years.” –Jenny Hickinbotham
All entries should be submitted through Submittable,
Winners will be announced on WriterAdvice, www.writeradvice.com at the beginning of July or—worst case — later.