Finding an affordable and engaging fiction competitions to enter is harder than you think- especially if you’re a flash fiction writer.
Flash fiction writing contests are gaining popularity as well as notoriety. With many affordable (or even free entry) options out there today, it is no wonder that flash fiction competitions are worth seeking out!
But what exactly is flash fiction, and where can you find some of these fantastic opportunities so that you can submit your work to them? In this article I’ll be introducing you to some great competitions, including deadlines and fees.
Let’s get started.
What is Flash Fiction?
Flash fiction is its own unique form of short story. I’m sure you could have already guessed that it is designed to be brief – typically with word counts ranging from 5 words to rarely more than 1000.
There are many other terms used to refer to flash fiction: micro-story, nanotale, short short… It all depends on who you are talking to or submitting your work to. Short fiction competitions will all have their own specific guidelines to go over as well.
Keep in mind however that flash fiction isn’t simply a truncated short story – it’s a unique story form. Chopping up and editing your existing novella into a flash fiction piece is possible, but not necessarily recommended.
This writing style is unique, to the point, and fun, should you feel comfortable limiting your word count! Verbosity is common for writers, but whittling words down in order to fit a flash fiction brief is a talent all on its own.
So, what are some of these flash fiction competitions like, and what will they require of you before submitting your work? Let’s take a look at some of Jericho’s top recommended fiction contests out there in 2021, including up-to-date and relevant deadlines!
Flash Fiction Competitions
I doubt I’m the first person to tell you, but: there are a wide variety of flash fiction competitions.
Some are regular and routine to a particular magazine or website, some have annual submission opportunities with larger prizes, some are considered prestigious with publications, and there are also one-off contests with interesting themes.
There is a lot of merit to submitting flash fiction for contests and competitions. The most obvious is winning awards and prizes, and therefore becoming an award winning author.
However, there are many other reasons to consider writing and submitting your flash fiction, including gaining exposure, getting published, and receiving critiques or more experience writing in this innovative genre.
Looking for a home for your piece of flash fiction? Look no further! Here are some of the best contests out there, with upcoming deadlines and low-cost or free entry fees so that you don’t miss a beat.
Prime Number Magazine 53-Word Story Contest
First Prize: Publication in Prime Number Magazine + a free book from Press 53
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 15th of each month
Prime Number Magazine has a wonderful flash fiction competition posted every month, under a different theme. Each prompt should be inspired by a single word and can only be 53 words long. Should you win, you will receive publication of your short story and bio in Prime Number magazine, as well as a free book. Submission guidelines and prompts can be found on their site– just be sure to submit by the 15th of each month!
Flash 500 Contest
First Prize: £300
Entry Fee: £5
Deadline: Quarterly- March 31, June 30, September 30, December 31
Looking for a flash fiction contest with some decent monetary reward? Check out the Flash Fiction Competition from Flash 500. There is a small entry fee, and you can even receive critique on your work if you submit a little extra fee. The prize money truly reflects the skill required to encapsulate an entire story in just 500 words- and there’s even money for second and third place too! Check out more about this contest and submit at their website, here.
Tadpole Press 100 Word Writing Contest
First Prize: $1,000
Entry Fee: $10
Deadline: November 30, 2021
Now here’s a first prize! Tadpole Press has a flash fiction competition, normally reserved for writers on their own specific retreat. They have decided to open up the competition to everyone, with a $1,000 first prize to boot. Second and third place also get rewards, and the theme for this year’s competition is “Abundance”. All it takes is 100 words to potentially win! More information regarding the prompt as well as submission guidelines can be found here.
River Styx Micro-Fiction Contest
First Prize: $1000
Entry Fee: $15–$20
Deadline: December 31, 2021
This flash fiction challenge comes from River Styx, with a word count maximum of 500. You can choose two different submission prices (the higher amount including a yearly subscription to River Styx’s magazine), and first, second, and third prize winners will be published. First prize wins $1000! You can learn more about this micro-fiction contest on their website here.
WOW! Women On Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest
First Prize: $400
Entry Fee: $10
Deadline: Quarterly- February 28, May 31, August 31, November 30
WOW! is all about promoting the communication between women writers, and their quarterly flash fiction contest is no exception. With an open prompt and a low entry fee, submitting your flash fiction is easier than ever. Make sure your work is a minimum of 250 words and a maximum of 750 before you submit. More guidelines (including how to get your piece critiqued) can be found here.
The Third Word Press Great Eighty Challenge
First Prize: Publication
Entry Fee: Free
With a free entry fee and as many short submissions as you’d like, The Third Word Press has a wonderful flash fiction submission option. Submit a piece of flash fiction of exactly 80 words of your own work- no theme, no genre. You can even take from a larger piece, if you’d like. Submit using this form here, and keep it 80 words or less!
Cranked Anvil Press Flash Fiction Competition
First Prize: £100
Entry Fee: £3 for 1 entry; £5 for 2 entries
Deadline: Quarterly- 28th (or 29th) February, 31st May, 31st August, 30th November
With a monetary reward for both first and second place, this flash fiction contest from Cranked Anvil Press may be worth checking out. You can even submit a second entry with a slightly raised submission fee. The deadline is quarterly, so don’t stress about missing out on this one. And you can read more about their publication here.
Bath Flash Fiction Award
First Prize: £1,000
Entry Fee: £9
With a goal of bringing flash fiction to a wider audience, Bath hosts two international flash fiction competitions, including a novella option. With three yearly submission opportunities and a low entry fee, this contest is well worth checking out. There’s a large first prize, and decent second and third place rewards. Keep it all under 300 words, and learn more about Bath here.
First Prize: £1,200
Entry Fee: £7
One of my favorite flash fiction competitions is this one from Reflex fiction. It has a robust prize system, with monetary rewards for first, second, and third place. Their rules are also simple: entries must be at least 180 words but no more than 360 words. You can submit more than one piece, but you will need to pay the entry fee for each one. Winners (and many of the non-winning, honorable mention entries) are published on the Reflex Fiction website, where you can find more submission requirements here.
Craft Flash Fiction Contest
First Prize: $1,000
Entry Fee: $20
Deadline: October 31st
With $1,000 awarded to first, second, and third place, this flash fiction contest from Craft is well-worth considering. Your piece will be published on their website, you will be interviewed by their editor, and you will even receive a book bundle of amazing works from Rose Metal Press. While $20 isn’t the cheapest submission fee out there, you can submit up to two 1,000 word pieces. Learn more about this competition here.
While this is a comprehensive guide to flash fiction competitions, there are still many more opportunities to consider. I encourage you to research contests that interest you, and submit before deadlines loom!
Have you found many flash fiction opportunities that spark your creativity? Let us know in the comments!
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