In 2012, writer and writing tutor Nancy Stohlman conceived the idea to run a series of daily prompts during November for those who wanted write a flash fiction a day instead of writing a novel during November for NaNoWriMo. Six years on, and a huge number of writers throughout the world take up her challenge each November. Read more about how she started this in my interview with her from last year. Want to write a novella-in-flash for our third Novella-in-flash Award? We think with the motivating prompts Nancy supplies, November is an ideal month to create a flash fiction novella draft. Thirty stories and you'll have a complete draft manuscript at the end of the month. Don't know where to begin? The prompts themselves may give you initial ideas, and they can also push forward a vague idea you already have and take it in different directions. You can also sign up to a Face Book group to receive daily prompts from Meg Pokrass throughout the month. Read in Full
At Bath Flash Fiction, we love the buzz around the end of the Award on social media. We've never quite worked out the psychology around writers and deadlines, so if someone wants to try an explanation, let us know. For our Awards, the pattern is always the same, 80% of entries come in the last few weeks even though discounted entries are available in the Early Bird deals which end half way through the contest. Some people buy their Early Bird entries and submit much later but not that many. A very large number of writers enter on the final day. Those writers are members of the Last Minute Club. Last time we introduced a badge for them, pictured here. And there will be another one for avid collectors on Sunday 14th October, which is the last day for this award. K M Elkes, the winner of the June round told us he is an up-to the-wire kind of guy. He said he entered not long before midnight on the final day. Just the one story. Read in Full
We like to nominate winners' stories from the Bath Flash Fiction Awards and the Ad Hoc Fiction winners for yearly anthologies and awards. Authors nominated by us have done very well. This year,'Tying the Boats' by Amanda O'Callaghan, the first prize winner,from the June 2017 Award selected by judge Meg Pokrass was included in Best Small Fictions 2018 and The Hand That Weilds The Priest by first prize winner, Emily Devane, from the February 2017 Award, judged by Kathy Fish, was included in the long list out of thousands of submissions. 'Roll and Curl', by Ingrid Jendrzejewski first prize winner in the February 2016 round judged by Tania Hershman was longlisted for Best Small Fictions 2017 out of a similar number of submissions, as was 'White Matter' by Julianna Holland, which won third prize in the October 2016 round judged by Robert Vaughan. Henry Peplow's micro 'Zeus Falls to Earth', winner of Ad Hoc Fiction in June 2016 was also included in the Best Small Fictions 2017 longlist. Finally, we nominated Charmaine Wilkerson's novella-in-flash How to Make A Window Snake for the novella category in the Saboteur Awards 2018, and it won the Award.
This year, two new opportunities to nominate stories have arisen. 'The Best Microfiction 2019 anthology co-edited by Meg Pokrass and Gary Fincke for stories 400 words or fewer published in 2018 and the Best 50 Flash Fictions from Britain and Ireland 2018-2019 organised by TSS. We're also looking forward to nominating our winning authors again for Best Small Fictions 2019. See which stories we've currently nominated below. Read in Full
At Bath Flash Fiction, a few winners have mentioned their dogs in interviews with me after their wins. So as we near the end of the October 2018 round of Bath Flash Fiction Award, judged by Nuala 0'Connor, we're giving the winners' dogs a spotlight. Dogs are inspirational and we know several other dog-loving flash fiction writers, whose dogs are essential to their writing lives.
Molia Dumbleton's lovely dog, Huckle is pictured here with Molia. Molia won third prize in the February 2018 round of Bath Flash Fiction Award judge by Tara L. Masih, with her flash 'Why Shit is Still Like This Around Here and Probably Always Will Be' In my interview with her, I asked her if her dog was her muse. She said. "I think my only muse might be a deadline. Ha! But sadly, kind of true. I go for very, very long walks with my dog and those are pretty essential, just for energizing and de-cluttering the head." Read in Full
Jude Higgins and Meg Pokrass will both be at the Poetry Society's Free Verse the Poetry Book and Magazine Fair, organised by The Poetry Society, on Saturday 22nd September in Senate House, London 11.00 am - 4.00 pm Jude will be taking along all the books published by Ad Hoc Fiction. Meg will be there to sign her new collection Alligators at Night published in July this year. Come along and say hello. We've special book deals on all the anthologies listed below: Read in Full
Frankie McMillan introduces flash fiction to her students at the Hagley Writers' Institute, Christchurch, New Zealand by studying works of great writers of short-short fiction. Here she describes how she recently taught flash fiction using Meg Pokrass's marvellous new collection Alligators at Night, published in July 2018 by Ad Hoc Fiction and available from the Ad Hoc Fiction bookshop. We thrilled that Frankie is widening the international line up and coming over from New Zealand to teach and read at the next Flash Fiction Festival, taking place at Trinity College, in Bristol, from 28th-30th June 2019. Frankie says: Read in Full
Jude Higgins, Diane Simmons, Santino Prinzi, Michael Loveday, Karen Jones, KM Elkes, Matt Thorpe Coles and John Wheway.
Our readers are widely published writers and experienced performers of flash fiction. Learn more about them at on the festival website and at johnwheway.com. Each writer will have a slot of about 8 mins. A fun and pacy evening with many different styles of short short fiction to inspire you.
Sat. 6th October
7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
late bar, free snacks
St James' Wine Vaults
10 St James St
for your name put on the door.
In this fascinating and wide-ranging interview with scientist and writer, Conor Haughton, who won second prize in the June round, judged by David Gaffney with his story 'The Undertakers' Jolly' you can learn a couple of words of Esperanto. Inspiration for flash fiction can arrive at any time and for Conor it was at an Esperanto conference, by the sea in Aberystwyth, when he was a little drunk. I suggest, as well as reading his interview, you watch the short and entertaining video, of him at Ignite Bristol telling the more-or-less true story, complete with cartoon illustrations, of the time he was arrested in London. That event in Bristol was where he was inspired to begin writing and only four years ago. We love his idea of a science and literature spoken-word event and if Conor ever does set one up, a Bath Flash contingent would be there. As he lectures close-by in Bristol University, I'd also love to sneak in to one of the lectures and grasp a little more about mathematical principles via his story telling to explain how theorems work. His longer writing project to write a story, not about a computer programmer but about programming itself sounds very interesting. Especially as it needs to contain some computer code and ways of explaining it. Finally, I've now discovered that possibly one of the vegetables in the picture Conor supplied to go with his bio, is a horse radish. Read in Full
Tim Craig, who won third prize in the June Award judged by David Gaffney with his story 'Northern Lights' only recently began writing flash. We love how Tim was prompted to write in this form by his friend, Mandy Wheeler's suggestion that 'Life's too short to write long things'. It's a great incentive to get into writing short short fiction and then perhaps to stitch the pieces up into longer fictions like novellas or novels. After I received Tim's answers to my questions, I asked him for a photograph of his dog, as he mentioned it. We've noticed many of our prize winners for this contest own dogs. He's included a picture of it looking very chilled under a lattice of shade. We hope he gets some quiet time himself soon to do some more writing. He's a very good reader and we'd really like to hear more of his stories. The other picture included here of what he calls 'the hairy babies' he saw in a French cafe, looks like a perfect story prompt. And his tip quoted from Ray Bradbury, to think of rejection as nothing more than a wrong address is a further incentive for anyone to get those words down on paper and not worry about how they will be received.
- Can you tell us what inspired your powerful and atmospheric flash fiction ‘Northern Lights?
- I did a fair amount of hitch-hiking when I was younger, and came across some interesting people on the way – a bit like my character Pavel the truck driver, so maybe it was that. There’s certainly something magical about entering a stranger’s life and hearing their story in such a confined space and limited amount of time. In that respect, I suppose it’s a bit like flash fiction itself.
Read KM Elkes first prize winning story, 'Extremities' selected by David Gaffney in the June round of the Award for an example of great flash fiction. Ken's a writing tutor as well as a writer, and he ran an excellent workshop on 'voice', an aspect of writing he refers in this interview, at the recent Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol. He gives further useful writing advice, including "write hot, edit cool..., buy (or at least read) the publications you want to appear in (it creates a virtous circle. Pay close attention to language... don't submit your sense of worth as a writer along with your story." There are several more tips to inspire below. To stimulate his own writing, Ken frequently takes pictures of settings or objects that can evoke a mood and also photographs people and places when he is travelling. There's some very evocative photographs included here that are likely to spark off stories from anyone who sees them. We now expect entries in our next competition about older men, beaches and prayers for success...
- Can you tell us how your powerful and affecting winning story ‘Extremities’ came into being?
Ever had an earworm - a song that just won’t let go, that you keep playing over and over in your head? Extremities started like that - a single, crisp image of a hand lying on the floor of a forest while around it rain made a sound like applause. I carried that hand around with me a long time, but didn’t really know what to do with it. I put it in a notebook, like you might press a flower hoping to preserve it, but those fingers scratched against the pages until I had to pay attention. Eventually I went into the realm of What If? Along with prompts, What Ifs are the firestarters of fiction. What if the hand was just one of many limbs littering the forest, accidentally cut off in logging accidents. What if it was so common, people didn’t care that much. I found momentum, images coalesced, and with them came themes and tone and the big one (for me at least) voice. Not the voice of the hapless, handless Bobby, but his so-called friend, who has a distinct tone of detachment (see what I did there!). After all that, it took about an hour to write the basic text that formed the story.
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