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Written by Grace Tierney   
2004-05-03

Flash Fiction Contests

by Grace Tierney

Let us help you to find the perfect writing contest to enter and leave you free to do what you’re good at – writing your entry.

Welcome to the first edition of the Contest Department. My regular round-up of contest deadlines for this month is at the end of this article, but sometimes shorter is sweeter, so recently I have been taking short dips into the world of short-shorts, flash fiction, sudden fiction, postcard fiction, and micro-fiction writing contests. I am still slightly puzzled even now as to what the correct word count is for each of those categories, as contest organizers have varying views on the topic. However, I am taking a broad view today and including contests whose word counts range from 55 to 1,500. Anything longer is short fiction, in my opinion.

One common misconception to avoid is that the shorter the story, the easier it is to tell. Mark Twain pinpointed this issue when he wrote that ‘I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.’ It can be extremely difficult to capture the essence of characters, settings, and plot in a few pithy phrases. Frequently flash fiction can slide towards being a terse character sketch rather than a fully fledged story. A classic fault is taking a short story and editing out all its flair in an attempt to create a flash story.

If you want to write some contest-winning flash fiction, check out the tips provided at Fiction In a Flash (www.fictioninaflash.com/page1003.html) and ShortShortShort (www.shortshortshort.com/flash/). You could also join the Flash Fiction Flash Newsletter (www.yahoogroups.com/group/FlashFictionFlash).

So, once you’ve crafted a perfect piece of flash fiction, where do you send it? I’ve gathered a selection of flash fiction contests which are listed below. Remember that Polonius in ‘Hamlet’ claimed ‘brevity is the soul of wit’ and that even attempting to create clear and concise flash fiction is bound to pay dividends in developing your writing style.

Happy Writing and Good Luck!

+O+O+

Whims Place
http://www.whimsplace.com/Contest/Contest.asp
quarterly, June 30 is the next deadline

+O+O+

The Write Coach PEP Contests
http://www.thewritecoach.com
regular contest, next deadline not yet announced

+O+O+

Peeks and Valleys Flash Fiction Contest
http://www.peeksandvalleys.com/ (follow link to temporary Website, as they are under re-development currently)
July 1

+O+O+

The Fish Short-Short Story Competition
http://www.fishpublishing.com
regular contest, next deadline not yet announced

+O+O+

Smiling Politely Very Very Short Story Competition
http://www.smilingpolitely.com.au
October 18

+O+O+

The Margin Flash Fiction Contest
http://www.angelfire.com/wa2/margin/contests.html
May 15

+O+O+

The Great Blue Beacon Short-Short Story Contest
ajircc@juno.com
June 20

+O+O+

Finding the Right Words Flash Fiction Contest
http://inkspotter.com/contest.htm
July 21

+O+O+

New Times 55 Fiction
http://www.newtimes-slo.com/55_fiction/55_enter.html
May 10

Coming Soon to the Writing Contest Department

Forthcoming features will focus on contests for poetry, poetry collections, first books, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, contests for young writers, personal essays, plays, screenplays, haiku, quirky contests, non-fiction writing, no-fee contests, humor writing, short story contests, travel writing, and even contests with unusual prizes.

I’m always looking for new contest types to research, so if you’re looking for one, just drop me a line. I’d also love to hear from you if you win a contest you read about here or if you have a contest to suggest for inclusion. Please note that I will only include contests which are open to writers anywhere in the world as our readers are geographically dispersed.

Contest Deadlines from 10 May to 10 June

May 15
Various
Writers Digest
http://www.writersdigest.com

+O+O+

May 15
Various
Williamette Writers Kay Snow Writing Awards http://www.willamettewriters.com/guidelines.htm

+O+O+

May 15
short fiction
Paper Journey Press Short Story Competition http://thepaperjourney.com/sin/original_sin.php

+O+O+

May 19
Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction
New Letters
http://www.newletters.org/

+O+O+

May 21
poetry and short story
Drogheda Creative Writers Short Story and Poetry Competition
Drogheda Creative Writers Resource Centre, 7 North Quay, Drogheda, Co Louth, Ireland.
There is no Website for this contest

+O+O+

May 28
Screenplay
British Short Screenplay Competition
http://www.kaosfilms.co.uk/2004/home.html

+O+O+

May 28
non-fiction
KellerMedia Non-Fiction Contest
www.kellermedia.com/contest.htm

+O+O+

May 29
Screenplay
The Writers Network Screenplay Competition
http://www.fadeinonline.com

+O+O+

May 30
short fiction
Blackberry Hill Creative Arts Awards Short Story Contest www.blackberryhillcreativeartsawards.com

+O+O+

May 31
short fiction
Frome Festival Short Story Competition
www.wordswork.net/frome

+O+O+

May 31
Poetry
John and Miriam Morris Chapbook Competition
http://alabamapoets.org/poetry_contests.php?contest_id=18

+O+O+

May 31
Poetry
The William Stafford Award for Poetry
http://www.rsbd.net/stafpriz.htm

+O+O+

May 31
Poetry
Lois Cranston Poetry Prize
http://www.proaxis.com/~calyx/04-lois-cranston-rules.html

+O+O+

May 28
short story
KT Publishing Short Story Competition
http://www.kt-p.net

+O+O+

May 31
short fiction (adult and junior categories)
Wee Ones Fiction Writing Contest for Adults and Children
http://www.weeonesmag.com/contest.html

+O+O+

May 31
short fiction
Hidden Talents Contest at Tall Tales Press
http://www.talltalespress.com/pages/882187/index.htm

+O+O+

May 31
short fiction
PlaneTree
http://www.planetreecompetitions.co.uk/index.html

+O+O+

May 31
short fiction
GreatScribblers
http://www.greatscribblers.com/

+O+O+

May 31
poetry and short fiction
King's Lynn Writers' Circle Writing Competition
http://www.leziate.demon.co.uk/writers/comp2003.htm

+O+O+

May 31
Poetry
War Poetry Contest
http://www.winningwriters.com/annualcontest.htm

+O+O+

May 31
Essay
The Power of Purpose Essay Competition
http://www.powerofpurpose.org/

+O+O+

May 31
Play
Life in the Past Lane
http://www.heritagesquare.org

+O+O+

May 31
poetry and short fiction
PebbleLake Poetry and Fiction Contest
http://www.pebblelakereview.com/Contest.htm

+O+O+

May 31
short fiction
Best New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Contest
http://www.gompublishing.com/authorrelations_contest.html

+O+O+

May 31
Poetry
River Styx Poetry Competition
http://www.riverstyx.org/contest.html

+O+O+

June 1
Poetry
Boston Review Poetry Contest
http://www.bostonreview.net/

+O+O+

June 1
Various
SouthWest Writers Contest
http://www.southwestwriters.org

+O+O+

June 1
Poetry and fiction
Wild Violet Literary Contest
http://www.wildviolet.net/contest.html

+O+O+

June 1
non-fiction
Dog Hero Non-Fiction Contest
http://www.doghero.com

+O+O+

June 1
Screenplay
Hollywood Symposium Screenplay Contest
www.hollywoodsymposium.com

Grace Tierney is a freelance writer who lives in Ireland. When she’s not researching writing contests, she enjoys gluttony, reading, gardening, and travel. Her short stories have been published in the US and UK, and her non-fiction has been published in Ireland, the UK, America, and Australia. She is a staff writer with Writer Online and Netsurfer Digest. Grace may be contacted via www.gracetierney.com
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