Winners Announced

Flash Fiction Competition 2021

99 words — A story in your pocket.

“There was more room to think,” wrote novelist David Gaffney on becoming a flash fiction convert, “more space for the original idea to resonate, fewer unnecessary words to wade through.” Stories of the sudden/skinny/mini/micro variety pack the best parts of fiction into brimming, half-pint packages. Celebrate the art of concision this month, dear writers, and write a story in 99 words or less.

Flash Guidelines
  • DON’T SWEAT THE WORD COUNT (AT FIRST). Write with abandon, letting your story unfurl and wander as necessary. Then start the editing process. Clip a sentence here, prune a paragraph there, shaping your story down to its essence.  
  • NARROW YOUR VIEWFINDER. With just 99 words, flash fiction that focuses on a specific event/experience/memory is often most captivating. Let “depth over breadth” be your mantra. Rather than including multiple scenes, for instance, give your attention to one dazzling vignette.  
  • DIVE INTO ACTION. You don’t have time to wax poetic for a paragraph before getting to the heart of your story, so jump into the juicy stuff in your opening lines, sketching in the backstory later if necessary. 
  • LEAVE BREATHING ROOM. Like an iceberg, flash fiction only reveals part of the story. Celebrate the power of suggestion. As you write, ask yourself: What thought or question or feeling will this sentence leave the reader with? How can I open a door without revealing everything on the other side? 
  • MAGNIFY MOOD. A small space doesn’t lend itself to elaborate plots or a cast of characters. But you can create mood. As your narrative develops, step back and consider what feeling you want the story to elicit in your reader, and then choose your words carefully to help conjure that mood or atmosphere.
  • WORK THE WORD COUNT. Your submission must, in its final form, be under 100 words (99 words or less!). Cutting down a long draft might sound like an arduous task, but concision will help you hone in on what’s most important and find the most essential story.  

Who is Eligible?  
Young writers ages 13-18  
99 words (or less)

Guest Judge: Janelle Milanes - YA Author 
Janelle Milanes is originally from Miami, FL and received her BA in English Literature from Davidson College. A lifelong YA addict, she moved to New York for her first job as a children’s literature associate at Simon and Schuster. 

For the past five years, Janelle has worked as a teacher and librarian throughout the New York City area. Her first novel reflects many of her own experiences growing up as a second-generation Latina in America. 

  • Best Entry: $100 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the winning piece, and an interview with the author will be featured on Write the World’s blog) 
  • Runner up: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the piece will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
  • Best Peer Review: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the best peer review and an interview with the reviewer will be featured on Write the World’s blog)     

What’s Different about Write the World Competitions? 
  • Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer will receive $50.       
  • Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.       
  • Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday, August 9, and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.  

Key Dates 
  • August 2: Competition Opens  
  • August 9: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)      
  • August 13: Reviews returned to Writers  
  • August 17: Final Submissions Due
  • August 27: Winners Announced  

WtW Camps and Workshops!
Take your writing skills to the next level by participating in Write the World's virtual writing camps taught by professional authors, editors, and educators—including our Guest Judge, Janelle Milanes! This month, Janelle will be teaching Micro Memoir: Exploring Personal Narrative. Include the code MicroMemoir15 to receive a 15% discount off the price of this workshop. Learn more and register here.
Upcoming Competition
Our Film / TV Series Review Competition opens Monday, September 6th.
Stay tuned for more details!  

Is previously published work eligible?
Our monthly competitions are designed to get you writing across a range of genres throughout the year, so we encourage you to  write a new work for each  competition, but we will also accept work that has been previously shared with a small, local audience (for instance, a piece that was published in a school journal).

How to Enter 
  1. If you haven’t yet, sign up for a free account for Write the World as a young writer here
  2. Hit the “Start Writing” button above! 
  3. Draft your entry! Hit “Save” to return to it later. 
  4. The first 100 people to submit a draft will receive an in-depth review from one of our Expert Reviewers—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals—that you can use to revise your final entry. The “Submit for Expert Review” button will be clickable if slots are still available—click it to have your draft reviewed. (Note: you can still enter the competition if you haven’t received or don’t want to receive an Expert Review!) 
  5. When you are ready to submit your entry, hit the "Submit as Final" button (You can revise, re-publish, and mark any version as your "final submission" until the deadline.)
  6. Only one entry per person, please. 
Writing Guidelines
The power of our writing goes hand in hand with responsibility. Make sure that you’re supporting other people through your writing rather than pulling them down. The types of content that will be removed from the site include, but are not limited to:   
  • Anything that may be deemed hurtful, defamatory or discriminatory in nature.
  • Anything deemed explicit or gratuitously violent.
  • Anything referencing self-harm. 
  • Any commercial posts and/or spam. 
  • Plagiarism (see more at our Writing Guidelines page). 
  • Personal contact information—including usernames on social media or other platforms. This is to protect the privacy of our members.
  • Links to any external websites, with the exception of links to citations as part of an essay, or including links to illustrations or audio as part of a Write the World competition or prompt.
If a writer posts content that violates our terms or goes against our guidelines, we will remove the post and contact the writer when necessary.  Please refer to our Writing Guidelines and site’s terms for further information.
All final submissions will automatically be published on Write the World’s website.

Due Dates
  • Aug 9 - Drafts Due for Expert Review

  • Aug 17 - Competition Deadline


Flash Fiction Competition 2021 Winners Announced!

August 27, 2021

Like an amuse-bouche—a small appetizer that provides a full taste experience in just one bite—Flash Fiction provides a full narrative in just one sitting. In one hundred words, your Flash Fiction Competition entries gave us fully realized worlds, characters, and tension. And, like a good amuse-bouche, they left us both satisfied and wanting more. 

Read on to see Guest Judge Janelle Milanes’s winning picks! 

See the Winners!

Q&A with Flash Fiction Guest Judge Janelle Milanes

August 5, 2021

Most writers could easily spend 99 words waxing poetic about the sky or ocean. However, crafting an entire story, complete with character, conflict, and resolution, in 99 words is no small feat. That’s why it’s important to choose a story idea in which, as YA author and Flash Fiction Guest Judge Janelle Milanes says, “you can convey the stakes as quickly as possible. Stories that need more exposition and explanation might be better suited to a different genre of writing.”

Learn more about Janelle’s background and work and for more great tips to polish your Flash Fiction entry! 

Read More!