Flash Fiction competitions and why they sometimes suck and why ours doesn’t.

I hate how it often feels as if the writing world is only opened up by having money. If you can afford to pay for an MA, a writing retreat, a workshop, then you not only pay for the knowledge you gain but also the connections you make. The internet is a leveller. I joined a brilliant online writing group and have learned heaps from other writers, for free. However, if I want to submit my work to competitions there is usually a fee. I moan about this to anyone who will listen. Who will win a flash fiction competition that charges £9 to enter? A writer who can afford it. Someone kindly suggested on twitter I could email competitions and ask if they have reduced entry fees for those with a restricted income. It’s a terrific idea to offer such places. The truth is I can pay a £9 entry fee if I really want to, but I choose not to. I want the playing field I am on to be as open as possible.

I’m the Managing Editor of The Forge and we pay writers thanks to the generosity of John and Yosh Haggerty and the writers who submit using our $3 tip jar option. I know it’s unusual to have this private backing and it’s a privilege. I understand the need to charge money to make the prize fund. But… £9 for 300 words?

We are holding our annual flash competition this September and the prize is $500, publication, and, a 2-year subscription to Duotrope (thanks Duotrope). It is free to enter until we hit our Submittable limit of 300. There is also a tip jar option. Our tagline is “Literary excellence is our only criteria.” And it’s true. We are looking for stunning writing and that’s it. We are open to all voices with any background, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual and personal identity. I’m very proud of what we offer and would be grateful if you spread the word. Because it is rare to offer something for nothing I expect we will be inundated so to be sure of free entry get ready to sub asap. I know the writer tendency is to wait for the deadline (September 14th) and then fling something in just before midnight in a last-second scramble but we open on September 1st.

I’m looking forward to reading your work.
(I’m posting this on my personal blog because these are my personal views and I don’t speak for any other member of The Forge.)

*klaxon* I have a new story up at Pithead Chapel

I have a new story, Looking Back, up at Pithead Chapel. Please do read if you are so inclined. And massive thanks to those of you who have already read and tweeted and shared. Writing often feels like screaming into a void to me, so it was pretty intoxicating to get such a good response to this one. It’s a stonking issue featuring brilliant words from Megan Pillow Davis, Bradford Philen and Tara Isabel Zambrano, so even if you don’t like my piece I guarantee there’s something you will enjoy.

Beautiful Trees by Nik Perring

Roast Books have just published another of Nik Perring’s intriguing fictions.

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It’s the second in a trilogy of stories following the lives of Alexander, Lucy and Lily. Just like the first, Beautiful Words, it resembles a children’s book. (The third will be Beautiful Shapes.)

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Nik is a flash fiction magician conjuring whole lives with small, careful details. He goes back and forth in Alexander, Lucy and Lily’s timelines and whilst describing various trees gently relates moments to it. For a book so brief it’s surprisingly moving, but that’s because Perring is extraordinarily good at this. A written review can’t quite explain how this all works. Suffice to say it is all very uniquely Perring. His words are accompanied and enhanced by illustrations by Miranda Sofroniou, and you should probably buy a copy for yourself and one for your favourite person too.

Daftness

Sometimes I forget that I find it fun to play with words. I’m working on my novel, and work is exactly what it feels like. Thanks to Visual Verse  for setting a picture prompt and a word and time limit for me to enjoy. My fiction “In a Flap” went up yesterday.

A short fiction of mine up at Cease, Cows

Cease, Cows looks to be a pretty nifty new journal. My ace writing pal, Tania Hershman, encouraged me to send a piece their way, and they published Cara last week. They’ve done a wonderful job finding an accompanying image. It’s a bit different to my usual fiction, maybe even a little sci-fi-esque.


New flash up at The Ilanot Review

I like the Editor‘s note for The Ilanot Review’s summer edition. They asked for submissions for a “hybrid” issue and wanted something different – work that “rejected labels.” The journal is packed with good words from super smart writers like Elaine Chiew, Sarah Hilary, Jonathan Pinnock, Angela Readman and Nuala Ni Chonchuir. It’s pretty damn cool to be appearing in a journal alongside them. I’m pleased with my piece, Immalore. At the risk of sounding like a twat, it’s kinda personal, but ambiguous too, and probably the closest I get to poetry.


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