Just a few words…on flash fiction

photo by Nina Voulis

by Carolyn Thomas

After reading Mike Smith’s February article for Thresholds, I turned my thoughts to capturing ‘the essence’ of a story in as succinct a way as I could – though not reduced to a single word, I have to confess.

I found a monthly mobile phone competition that allows just 154 characters of text (including spacing and punctuation) so basically not much more than a sentence!

I smugly submitted my attempt of 147 characters….

The competition describes itself thus: ‘At txtlit.co.uk we provide a platform where you can test your writing skill…..through what we believe to be the easiest to enter writing competitions in the UK.’

Easy – no, but I did find it quite a good exercise and for their February challenge in the genre of ‘sci-fi’ they published my offering as a runner up:

How quickly the human body repairs itself. Kai’s new head even had the hair he’d lost since turning 120. But what point if just to re-join the war?

I have to agree with Mike that flash fiction often presents the reader with ‘fragments of larger stories, rather than complete, essential stories in their own right.’  However, always up for a writing challenge as you will know from my earlier posts, I’m now on the flash fiction trail and it seems that opportunities for this type of writing are everywhere!

To whet your appetite for this month alone, you could enter the following, most of which have a deadline of 30th June:

Lightship (A generous 600 words permitted!)

Bridport

Earlyworks Press

Flash 500

Cazart Story Competition (Note this one has a deadline of 26/6)

(Good luck with your entries – but don’t give me too much competition!)

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See our CALLS page for details of other upcoming competitions.

About the author

Carolyn Thomas has written 3 articles for THRESHOLDS

Carolyn trained and worked as a primary school, then SEN teacher, specialising in dyslexia. She also trained with NAWE as a writer in education to provide writing workshops in schools/colleges and has a diploma in Dramatic Writing from Sussex University. She has worked with New Writing South as a writer in residence in schools and is part of their Creative Learning Team. She is a tutor in Creative Writing for the Open University.

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