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
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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We had a fantastic evening of Flash Fiction on December 9th in Bath at St James' Wine Vaults. Six writers each read a selection of their stories, representing a wide range of subjects, themes and flash fiction styles.
Our novella-in-flash judge, Meg Pokrass read 'Sparkly Plans' a wonderful, moving flash from her novella-in-flash, Here, Where we Live, published in My Very End of the Universe, the Rose Metal Press Guide to writing a flash novella. She also read two other gems from her newest and must-read collection, The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down.
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