2022 Flash Fiction Results
Thank you to everyone who entered this competition. Allison has chosen the top three and you can read them here, along with her comments.
Feedback on all the stories has been sent by email. If anyone hasn’t received it, please get in touch with us via the info form on this website or the admin email address.
The runners up are listed in alphabetical order.
|1st||Another Time, Another Place||Anna Lochlan|
|2nd||A Rare and Beautiful Creature||SamJam|
|3rd||Idle Hands||Carrie Ring|
|Runners Up||Blood Moon||A N Other 9|
|Forgotten Shoes||Jodie Clarke|
|It Comes in Waves||Kerry Potter|
|Missing Witness||Jules Drup|
|Postcard from Ibiza||Lorraine Shirley|
|Visiting Hour||John Vincent|
|We’ve Fudged It||Cornelius Caramel|
Overall Comments by Allison Symes
I was impressed by the quality of these excellent stories. The title choices were interesting and all have good publication potential. Common topics on the theme did arise but a judge expects that. What a judge hopes for is a powerful take on those topics by the writers so something new is brought to each story despite the familiarity of the topic, which happened here, so well done everyone.
There are minor formatting issues in some stories but these can be easily corrected. I have added comments in as to what I would amend if these pieces were mine where appropriate. I hope you find these useful.
My top tip here is to take ten days off any official competition deadline and make that your own deadline. I use that date as the day when I go through my story for the final time to ensure all is as perfect as I can make it. I often spot the odd typo at this point or where I’ve put in an errant line gap etc but that is the point.
Time away from the story makes it easier to spot things like that before you send anything off. I write my story, rest it, draft another story, come back to my first story and edit it to ensure the story itself is fine, and then do the check for typos etc edit as the final thing I do. I then submit it on or just after that deadline I’ve set for myself, still in good time for the real deadline.
I’ve found doing this has paid dividends because I have picked up on errors at almost the last minute and have had time to correct them before submitting the work. I then come back to my second story and work on that. It means I always have work on the go as well so I consider this to be a win-win scenario!
I loved reading and judging the stories. A huge thank you for inviting me to do this – it has been a pleasurable task!
Now for the placings. Many congratulations and well done to the top three. As mentioned, the quality of the stories was very good and it was hard to pick just three placings. I hope that will be encouraging to those not listed. I found that obtaining near-misses led on to those stories being accepted by someone else so I would recommend polishing up your tales and getting them out there again. Getting near misses is a positive sign you are on the right track so keep going!
As for the three placings here, may I say another well done. Being able to add something to your writing CV is (a) fabulous and (b) another sign you are on the right path.
Many congratulations to you all. I love writing and reading flash fiction and its impact. I do hope at least some of these flash pieces make it into print. Good luck!
Another Time, Another Place
by Anna Lochlan
Bells ringing out! Our daughter, looking radiant in her lace gown, wears colourful orchids in her elegantly styled hair. Her brother takes photographs, joking. Playfulness amongst friends. Excited laughter.
Turning, I see you minutes after your birth, my husband cradling me. Sharing our grief, our shock. Lifeless. Your entrance far too early. No grave for us to tend flowers.
Looking up through misted eyes, I walk towards my husband who is beckoning me over, the proud father of the bride.
We stand together as a family group, one present only in memory. Rose petals fall lightly. An image to cherish.
This is poignant and beautifully written. It is an excellent portrayal of understated grief. The “no grave” line has a very powerful impact on the reader and proves you do not need a lot of words to make that impact. This is one of the joys of flash fiction for me.
I would be looking at specific competitions dealing with grief or family relationships for this one. A very quick Google search came up with this – https://hunterwriterscentre.org/grieve-2022/ – so these competitions are out there. With any fiction you want your story to be the square peg that fits in the square hole so finding the right market is not always easy.
I would love to see this story in print. Very well done and congratulations on being the winner.
A Rare and Beautiful Creature
It was a gown once: pink, with ostrich feathers. ‘You’ll look like a film star,’ the shop had told her.
He held out his hand. ‘Shall we?’
They were playing Glenn Miller, so she said yes. And loomed over him.
‘A rare and beautiful creature,’ he said.
She pulled away.
She smiled. The music dipped and he spun her. ‘Little known fact,’ he said. ‘An ostrich can kill a lion with one well-aimed kick.’
‘You calling yourself a lion?’ she said.
‘We’ll see, shall we?’
Fifty years on he kisses the gown, folds it into the charity bag.
This is a beautiful story and a sad one too without being maudlin, which is not easy to get right. Wonderfully done. Look out for competitions and publications who love stories told from an older generation’s viewpoint (Saga, possibly Reader’s Digest. The latter have brought back their 100 word competition so it is worth watching out for things like that). Congratulations on coming second in this competition. All of the stories were excellent to be placed so highly is a wonderful achievement. Well done.
by Carrie Ring
Run the jar under the hot tap, advised Google, but that hadn’t worked either.
Brushing away angry tears I ate my tea and toast. I needed my strong capable husband. But when I visited him, his big gnarled hands that had carved out a living for us, had lovingly cradled our children and grandchildren, were lying useless in his lap. I had to place my hands gently over his to still the trembling
He was safe and cared for, but how I wish he was here with me today, to open that dratted jar of marmalade.
A beautiful, gentle, and sad story. Some humour in it too with the use of the word “dratted”. I can guess at her age from that one word alone. How many people of a younger generation would even think to use a word like that? Nicely chosen.
I have so much sympathy with your character. I nearly always need to ask MY husband to open jars! I can feel the anguish of your character. A good story, of any length, must make its readers feel something. The readers must care. So very well done on achieving that here and congratulations on your third prize placing.
I think you’d be looking at markets catering for the older end of the market with this kind of story. Think Saga, Reader’s Digest etc. I’d also look for competitions dealing with grief and care issues. If you can, get a copy of Writing Magazine when it has its competition guide. There is a wealth of information in here and often organisations such as Cancer Research etc do run their own competitions so it is worth watching out for those. I always recommend reading writing magazines regularly. You do pick up competition news here. And many congratulations on a lovely piece of work.