Winners Announced

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Short Story — 99 words.

* This competition is now closed but you are welcome to read the published writing and blog posts. *   

Flash fiction packs the best parts of storytelling into brimming, pint-sized packages. But stories scaled back to a handful of words also give the reader what Lydia Davis—a master of the genre—calls a “less usual offering.” For her, flash fiction is more than a typical narrative. Shirking convention, flash fiction can look like almost anything, Davis says—from meditation to logic games to extended wordplay to diatribe. What’s more, a story so short requires you, the writer, to delve into the truest essence without wasting words. “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.”
This month, dear writers, gather your briefest bits of story, combine them with your poetic impulse, and give us "a work of art carved on a grain of rice," as Tara L. Masih says. Celebrate the art of concision, 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.

WORK THE WORD COUNT. Your submission must, in its final form, be under 100 words. 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
Bükem Reitmayer  
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions? 

Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the 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 and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.   


​Young Writer Hadiyyah Kuma on her Winning Flash Fiction Entry

September 22, 2017

In less than 100 words, Canadian writer Hadiyyah Kuma managed to write a deeply affecting story about family and loss. “Frogs in the Tub”, the winning entry in our Flash Fiction Competition, garnered the attention of Guest Judge Bükem Reitmayer, who described the piece as “subtly devastating”. Today, Hadiyyah tells us about her process for achieving such beauty in brevity and her plans for pursuing writing in the future.



Flash Fiction Competition Winners Announced!

September 1, 2017

This August, we kicked off our third annual Flash Fiction Competition. Hundreds of writers, from all corners of the globe, sent in their best tiny tales. To help us tackle the near impossible task of choosing our winners, we enlisted the help of Guest Judge Bükem Reitmayer, Editor-In-Chief at Cosmonaut’s Avenue. Read her thoughts on the winners and exemplary pieces. 

See More

Q&A with Flash Fiction Guest Judge Bükem Reitmayer

August 11, 2017

As Editor-In-Chief at Cosmonauts Avenue, Bükem Reitmayer reads thousands of pieces of flash fiction each year. Throughout her time at the magazine, she’s discovered that flash fiction is less about conventions and word count and more about defying expectations and bringing something unique and surprising to readers. In our interview with Bükem she shares more on what makes for a stellar flash fiction piece and a bit about her own writing practice and career.

Check it Out

August Spotlight: Reading Like a Flash Fiction Writer

August 11, 2017

For our August Spotlight, resident blogger, writer and poet Lisa Hiton, discusses the works of flash fiction pros Lydia Davis and Jorge Luis Borges.

Read it Here