Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a short fiction story, written with utmost brevity. Not more than 1000 words, and still offers characters, plots, settings, style and themes. With the access of the internet, flash fiction is becoming more popular, as many journals and online magazines are dedicated to the style.  

Benefits Of Participating In Flash Fiction Contest

Flash fiction is a favourite genre among the world’s most celebrated writers. Revealing the truths of life and surfing on the ocean of the human emotions in just a few paragraphs, unwraps the writer’s ability. Taking part in the contest for writers allows fresh writers to exhibit their writing skills in their owned style.

Consider a flash fiction contest  as an opportunity. Do not portray the details of the situation and discard exposition theories.

Understand what you don’t need to write.

Discard extra words. 


Discard urge to longings. 

What is left is a pure shiny piece of literature, flash fiction.  


Writers arrive at flash fiction contests with their own writing strengths and weaknesses. Short story writers are good at narration and struggle with word constraints. Poets are comfortable working in small places and struggle with narration. 

Each story begins with an idea in the writer’s mind and followed by writing. 

A writer starts writing………

A writer starts diving into deep self-introspection and starts feeling the emotions of the characters of the story.

Keeps writing day and night….

Networking with friends and fellow writers, reworking on critics received.

Keep on editing and writing…..

Finally, a writer manages to create something one is really proud of, after consistent involvement in one’s own writing.

After that comes where the writer wishes to publish the writings?

Here’s where the contest for writers benefits. Writing competitions are a good platform for writers to showcase their writings, analyse their skills, acquire the recognitions, learn and improve their writing skill.

Lists of contests and awards are created to help writers. Some award them, few offer free learning courses, very few give them a chance to work with them, and few even publish their work.

How To Write Good Flash Fiction?

Every good story needs urgency to know what happens next. In flash fiction, there is always movement of something unfolding. Briefly flash fiction keeps the reader engaged and tells the story before it is too late.

Zoom Lens Approach

In this approach, a writer has to take the extreme close-up shot of a very big story, like we zoom in to the big picture. It is narrowing the focus from a large picture to a small object. 

To begin this, first, a writer has to pick up a story from a bunch of stories. Now this story needs to be identified by how much time this story covers from start to end. Say a week? A month?, A year?, Or several months? Or several weeks?

Now a writer has to ask: What are the most important 5 minutes in the whole story?

Now start writing only that much.

There is no space for the backstory and extra descriptions. Drop everything unessential and only tell the story.

After five minutes what is left is a little slice of a story, a golden piece of flash fiction.

Involve The Reader In A Real Story

There are two simple rules for a flash fiction contest. One thousand or fewer words and tell your story. But how can one write such a big story in such a small space? We can do this through purposeful implication. As a writer one can imply any sorts of things, like descriptions, actions or backstories. 

For instance, I will say, I boarded the flight, so a reader will understand that I went to the airport, took my boarding pass, finished security check-ins, reached the gate and went inside the plane. A flash fiction writer has to drop all the backstory and descriptions. 

No need to describe the whole setting. If a writer sets the story in places like an airport or a restaurant, a writer doesn’t need to describe the place or the ambience. By eliminating all the extra scenes you can better engage your readers in the real story.

Look For Constraints To Squeeze The Entire Story

After following all the rules to compress the entire story, still, your flash fiction counts just over 1000 words. Is it still too long for flash? The answer is yes. There are fictions with 999 words, considered as still trying to fit in writers. 

Constraints are the barriers in the facility of achieving the great result, but that is where the real magic plays the role. A person can produce the best result only after pushing against the constraints. Deadlines and constraints make the winners apart.

For entering the contest for writers of flash fiction, attempts for 999 words are also welcomed. The more comfortable one gets, the more the stories will naturally start to shrink. 

Goals For Entering The Contest For Writers

Every writer should sit back and think: What one wants to achieve with the writing? What writing means to you? What value does one want to create by writing? What end result one expects? And so on….

 Here’s what every writer taking part in contest must consider:

  • Do you want to get paid for winning the contest or interested in just to get your ideas out there?
  • Do you want to reach a bigger audience? What is the size of that audience?
  • What amount of money are you willing to invest?
  • How many publications would you like to have in a year or your specified time period, say three years?

We all are unique individuals as humans and as a writer. We all have our own way of perceiving the contest for writers and how it fits our set of goals.

After lining up with our goals we can better make choices of which contest for writers from the best flash fiction contest to jump in and throw our dart in the bull’s eye. 

How Does The Contest Work?

Flash fiction contests abound. So it’s better to understand the worth before taking the part. The contest for a writer should be recognizable enough to make a difference after winning. If it’s not then it will not impact the career of the writer. The shortest route to shine as a flash fiction writer is to take part in the flash fiction contest conducted by prestigious journals and magazines. 

Each flash fiction contest has a distinct way to run the show. They have different sets of criteria. Writers must go through all the details carefully before selecting a flash fiction contest. 

  • How often are they conducting a flash fiction contest? (annually, quarterly, monthly)
  • Deadlines
  • Do they allow writers for the contest from all around the world or their home country only?
  • Entry fees
  • Top prizes (awards and recognitions)
  • Maximum words accepted
  • Whether winning writer’s stories will be published in their magazine?

List Of Flash Fiction Contest

Short Story Award for New Writers

The Masters Review

This is an annual flash fiction contest that recognizes the best flash fiction among emerging fiction writers. 

This year’s judge is Helen Oyeyemi. She is an author of the story collection – What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. She is the winner of the PEN open book award. Helen wrote six novels including Gingerbread and boy, snow, bird, and that was the finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Allows only previously unpublished stories.

Simultaneous and multiple submissions are allowed.

This is the contest for writers who are emerging as new writers. Also for self-published writers who are having a poor circulation of fewer than 5000 copies.

  • Top Prize:  $ 3000
  • Additional prize:  Online publication and agency review
  • Entry fee: $ 20
  • Maximum word limit: 6000 words
  • Deadline January 31st 2021


Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction


The prize is named after Jacob Zilber for his profound contribution as a founder of British Columbia University’s creative writing department (the very first in Canada) and Prism international.

Tea Mutonji is this year’s guest judge. Mutonji was the finalist for the 2019 Roger Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for her book of short stories Shut Up You’re Pretty. Tea was named as an emerging writer of the year by the Ontario Book Publisher Organization in 2017. 

  • Grand Prize: $ 1500
  • Additional Prizes: $ 600 Runner up, $ 400 2nd Runner up
  • International entry fees: $ 45
  • All contestants will receive a subscription of 1 year to Prism International (4 issues) 
  • Deadline 31st January 2021


Desperate Literature For Short Fiction


The flash fiction contest aims to celebrate new fiction and give winners the maximum visibility possible for their writing.

To achieve this, they teamed up with fourteen different literary and art institutes, to not only give prizes but ensure the short-listers to retreat them with an opportunity to print their work in multiple online journals. 

This is how they will put writers’ work in front of literary agents performing from different countries.

  • Grand Prize: €1500
  • A week’s residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation
  • A consultation with a literary agent from Andrew Nurnberg Associates
  • Runners up Prizes: €750( Two prizes)
  • Entry fee: € 10
  • Maximum word limit: 2000 words
  • Deadline 15th April 2021


Bridport Flash Fiction Prize

Bridport Arts Centre

According to this contest for writers, it is a sprint of creative writing but that doesn’t mean that there is a rush in creativity. 

The flash fiction contest demands that lightning strikes just once, but they want to feel the electricity in the fiction from just the beginning to the very end.

  • Grand Prize £ 1000
  • Runners-up Prizes £ 500, £ 250
  • Entry fee £ 9
  • Word limit: 250 words Max. , no minimum limit. Title not included in the words count
  • Deadline: 31st May 2021


Globe Soup Flash Fiction Competition

Globe Soup

Globe soup flash fiction contest features a secret location in which the writers have to set their stories. The location can be a chalet in Switzerland, a restaurant in Nairobi, a beach in Australia, a forest in Africa, or a casino in Macau. A writer has to find out the location after entry. Fiction can be written in any genre or style. The contest for writers will judge the fiction on the quality of the story, not how tempting the location features.

  • Grand Prize £ 1000
  • Entry fee: £5 Early Entry, £8 General Entry
  • Maximum word limit 800 words
  • Deadline: 11th February 2021

Bath Flash Fiction Award

The contest for writers hosts two flash fiction contests.

  1. Bath Flash Fiction Award

This flash fiction contest runs 3 times a year. Charmaine Wilkerson is a judge for the competition. She is an American writer, who has lived in the Caribbean and is based in Italy. Her award-winning flash fiction can be found in the Best Micro-fiction Anthologies and magazines. She represents Madeleine Milburn of the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency.

  • Grand Prize £ 1000
  • Additional prizes: Runner-up £ 300, Second runner-up £ 100
  • Entry fee: £9 One Entry, £15 Two Entries, £18 Three Entries
  • Maximum word limit 300 words
  • Deadline: 7th February 2021 


  1.   Bath Novella-in-flash Award

This flash fiction contest runs once a year. Michelle Elvy is a judge for the competition. She is teaching online at  – 52/250 a year of writing Blog, edits at Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction and Best Small Fictions, and chairs at National Flash Fiction Day in New Zealand.

  • Grand Prize £ 300
  • Additional prizes: Two runner-up prizes £ 100
  • The number of words in Novella-in flash should be between 6000 and 18000 words, individual flashes (chapters) should not be more than 1000 words long
  • Deadline: 17th January 2021


The Lascaux Prize In Flash Fiction

The flash fiction contest allows writers simultaneous submissions. True stories are welcome as long as it’s written in a narrative style. Every participant, in the contest for writers, will be given two journals. Writers can appear more than once and can submit a maximum of three stories (all pasted in one document), per entry.

  • Grand Prize $1000 and Bronze Medallion
  • Additional prizes: Runner-up £ 300, Second runner-up £ 100
  • Entry fee: $15
  • The maximum word limit is 1000 words
  • Deadline: 30th June 2021


Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize

Gotham Writers 

The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize is a contest for writers, sponsored by the stage and radio series Selected Shorts. This long-running series in New York City celebrates the art of flash fiction of emerging writers. Selected Shorts is recorded for Public Radio and heard nationally on both the radio and a weekly podcast. 

Joshua Ferris will be the judge. The winning work will be recorded and performed by an actor and published in Electric Literature.

  • Grand Prize $1000 and free 10-week course with Gotham writers
  • Entry fee: $25
  • A writer can enter with as many stories as one wants. For each story, one has to pay a $25 fee
  • A story should be of 750 words or less
  • The story must have a title
  • Deadline: 5th March 2021


Stringybark Open Short Story Award 2022

The flash fiction contest is sponsored by Stringybark Publishing. The contest for writers welcomes any great short fiction story, regardless of themes but it must have the smallest link to Australia.

David Vernon is a judge for the flash fiction contest. He is a full-time writer and an editor. He is known for his non-fiction books: Men at Birth, Having A Great Birth in Australia. He established the Stringybark Short Stories Award in 2010 to promote short story writing.

  • Grand Prize: Over $1000 in cash and books
  • Additional prizes: Runner-up £ 300, Second runner-up £ 100
  • Entry fee: $14 for One story, $26 for Two stories, $36 for Three stories(max)
  • Maximum word limit 1500 words
  • Deadline: 31st January 2021


Short Story Prize

Gemini Magazine

The flash fiction contest accepts any style, any subject, or any genre. Stories must be unpublished. They accept work on personal blogs. 

  • Grand Prize :$1000
  • Additional prizes: Second prize $100, Three honorable mentions $25 each
  • Entry fee: $8
  • Length is six to six thousand words
  • Deadline: 31st January 2021

The Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition

The Ghost Story

In this contest for writers the flash fiction contest is looking for an uncanny element. The ghost stories are welcomed. The submission should contain any paranormal or supernatural theme or a dash of magical realism. What they are looking for are superb writing, fresh perspectives, and some surprises.

  • Grand Prize :$1000 and both print and online publication
  • Additional prize: Two honorable mention winners will receive $200
  • Entry fee: $15
  • A story should be between 250 and 1000 words sent through an online submission system
  • Deadline: 31st January 2021

An Axe To Grind – Flash Fiction Contest

The Darling Axe

All three finalists will win the publication on the chopping blog and will also receive complimentary access to a Darling Axe self-paced course. Michelle Berker is the judge for the contest for writers.

  • First Place :$700 CAD
  • Second Place: CAD 200
  • Third Place: CAD 100
  • Entry fee: CAD 15
  • A story should be fewer than 1000 words
  • Deadline: 31st January 2021

Biopage Storytelling Writing Contest


Biopage conducts a contest for writers to remind people about the importance of writing. A writer can write about a good or bad experience or embarrassing or frightening stories. 

The flash fiction contest suggests writing about a recent covid-19 pandemic. As we all are working from home, they want writers to write about quarantine life. Stories like window view, home workout routine, neighbors helping each other, homeschooling, or add more drama and write about a family member fighting coronavirus at home or hospital, someone losing their dear ones, or write about a doctor who is treating a covid-19 patient and his family life in this critical time.

  • Grand Prize :$500
  • Additional prize: Six runner-up with $100 each
  • Entry fee: Free
  • A story should 500 characters or 1000 words sent through an online submission system
  • Deadline: 31st January 2021


WOW! Women On Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest

WOW! Women On Writing

WOW conducts a flash fiction contest every three months. The purpose of their contest for writers is to inspire creativity, great writing, and admiration to the participants. The contest is international and can be on any subject, style, or genre. Age is no barrier. Entries must be in English. 

Literary agent Maria Rogers is a guest judge in the contest. Throughout her publishing tenure, she worked on behalf of Pulitzer Prize Winners, National Book Award Winners, New York Times Best Sellers.

  • First Place :$400, 
  • Second Place :$300
  • Third Place :$200 
  • All the 3 winners and seven runners up will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate, published on WOW, and an interview on The Muffin
  • Entry fee: $10
  • Word count: Minimum 250, Maximum 750
  • The title is not to be counted in the word count
  • WOW takes limited entries of the maximum of 300 stories
  • Deadline: 28th February 2021

Recommended Courses

Michael McLaverty Short Story Award

Linen Hall Library

The linen hall library of Belfast, Northern Ireland has announced Michael McLaverty’s flash fiction contest. This prestigious award was set up to encourage the Irish tradition of a short story. 

Participants have to be born in, or citizen of, or a resident in Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland. The award is started in the name of Michael McLaverty, who was the foremost proponent of an Irish short story.

Multi-award winning writer Donal Ryan is the adjudicator of this year’s flash fiction contest. Some of his award-winning Books are The Spinning Heart; The Thing About December; All We Shall Know and a few more. His work as a judge is dedicated to choosing a work out of the contest for writers, to honor McLaverty’s legacy. 

  • Winning story Prize: £2000 and the story will be published
  • Additional prize: £250 for each of the runners up
  • Entry fee: Free
  • Participants can submit a single story
  • Entries should not exceed the maximum count of 3000 words
  • Deadline: 31st January 2021


To write good fiction one needs creativity and also a skill, which can be acquired by pursuing a good creative writing course like that of Henry Harvin, where you can get trained under industry experts and avail yourself a lot of facilities and opportunities.

Recommended Reads:

What is a flash fiction

Flash fiction is a short fiction story, written with utmost brevity. Not more than 1000 words, and still offers characters, plots, settings, style and themes. With the access of the internet, flash fiction is becoming more popular, as many journals and online magazines are dedicated to the style.  

How should weriters select a flash fiction contest. 

How often are they conducting a flash fiction contest? (annually, quarterly, monthly)
Do they allow writers for the contest from all around the world or their home country only?
Entry fees
Top prizes (awards and recognitions)
Maximum words accepted
Whether winning writer’s stories will be published in their magazine?

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