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Here at National Flash-Fiction Day we're delighted to be taking part in the online launch of a book by some great writers: Nik Perring and Caroline Smailes. They have written a book of flash-fictions entitled Freaks and it's been wonderfully illustrated by Darren Craske.
The book is out today, available in both paper and ebook versions, so you should probably go and snag yourself a copy! If you need more convincing, here is a sample for you. Enjoy it and buy the book, it'll keep you busy until 16th May!


[Super Power: The ability to make oneself unseen to the naked eye]

If I stay totally still,

if I stand right tall,

with me back against the school wall,

close to the science room’s window,

with me feet together,

pointing straight,

aiming forward,

if I make me hands into tight fists,

make me arms dead straight,

if I push me arms into me sides,

if I squeeze me thighs,

stop me wee,

if me belly doesn’t shake,

if me boobs don’t wobble,

if I close me eyes tight,

so tight that it makes me whole face scrunch,

if I push me lips into me mouth,

if I make me teeth bite me lips together,

if I hardly breathe,

if I don’t say a word.


I’ll magic meself invisible,

and them lasses will leave me alone.

Dear All,

Well, is it just me, or is 16th May starting to look really close? Only 5 weeks to go!
And, with the day drawing closer, things are hotting up. We have lots of new events online since the last bulletin, plus more in the pipeline that will go up in the next weeks. Yesterday saw the close of submissions for our anthology which will be going to press very soon, and we have started to appear in the press and on the radio. It's all very, very exciting and I need to thank all of you for your hard work so far.
But it doesn't stop there! Here are some of the things going on and ways you can continue to help:
  • Yesterday, flash-fictioneer Deborah Rickard was interviewed on Radio Bristol about the day and what's going on in the area. ( you can listen at from about 1.53.30). If you are organising an event, taking part in an event, or just as excited as we are about the Day, why not drop your local station a line and go and tell the world?
  • The Guardian, on the 14th May, will be publishing an article by David Gaffney to promote the day. They will be listing our events. So, don't forget to let us know what's happening so we can add you to the list. (And if you don't have anything happening, there's still time to set something up!)
  • We have launched some new projects for the Day. There is the on-going project, Flashpoints ( ), which asks you to go to a place, write a story, and leave it there. And now we have unveiled plans for an International Write-In ( ) to happen on the Day itself. Please do get involved with these, and spread the word to all and sundry.
  • Along with this bulletin we have started to publish Guest Posts on our blog. We will be inviting a range of people to write for it, but if you have something you want to share, please drop us a line!
  • And finally, don't forget there are still competitions on-going with a range of deadlines. ( ) And we are pleased to announce that the top-three winners in all of the competitions will end up in a special e-book anthology published by NFFD.
And I think that's about it for now. We will be publishing this Bulletin weekly from now on, right up to the day (and beyond, maybe!) so stay tuned for more exciting happenings. And, if you have some news we need to share, drop us a line at and we'll spread the word for you.
In the meantime, make sure you have liked our page on Facebook ( and that you follow us on Twitter (@nationalflashfd) and please spread the word to your friends and followers to do the same.
Thank, as ever, for your support with the day.
Until next time, happy flashing!
Calum Kerr
Director, National Flash-Fiction Day 2012

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Everything is a collective effort at Flashquake. We’ve got a great team working together to deliver the best content because our readers deserve just that. With that being said, we want to offer a collective response to what it is like to publish flash.

From Cindy Bell, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief:

We have a long tradition of publishing flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and short poetry including prose poetry. We've got a solid decade behind us, but aren't taking anything for granted. We strive to improve, to grow, and to offer our readers a quality publication. We're adding 10-minute plays, translations, multi-media, and reviews to the mix this year!

From Kellie Doherty, Editor and Segment Leader of Critique-A-Flash:

My experience with Flashquake has broadened my mind to what flash fiction is and how many writers love the style. As the segment leader of Critique-A-Flash, I am exposed to a wide variety of flashes each week. The quality ranges, of course, but, as long as they meet our requirements, I critique them, stating what could be changed or what I particularly liked. Writers, I believe, like the test of penning a flash. It challenges the very core of what a good story is truly about and, with my job, I feel like I'm helping those writers become better at what they love to do and allowing them to get the publication they rightly deserve. It's hard to write good flashes and the ones who try should be rewarded.

From Nichelle Seely, Editor:

Working with flash fiction has been an eye-opening experience. It's been an education to be on the editing side instead of the submission side. When faced with choosing four out of a hundred submissions, I can now appreciate how meaningful each nuance of care and style becomes. Amazing pieces pop out of the field with their originality of subject or beauty of language. At first I felt, 'who am I to judge,' and yet, that was my responsibility--it's humbling! And because Flashquake responds to every submitter with a brief critique, it reminds me that there's a human being with hopes and dreams on the other side of the story, someone who might be hurt or encouraged by whatever I have to say. I try hard to include something that works as well as the reason a story was rejected, because almost everything I've read has some merit. It usually takes me longer to compose my two sentence critique than the time it takes me to read the story.

Being an editor for Flashquake has improved my own writing. Flash fiction by nature must be laser-beam tight, and extraneous verbiage sticks out like a corn stalk in a pumpkin patch. My spidey-sense for needless words gets stronger every issue, and I now have a much better idea of what an actual paid editor must go through, and what they're looking for (or at least what puts them off!)

From David Bowles, Editor:

For me, flash fiction at its best is about the relationship between the author and the reader, the power of resonant writing to interact with a reader's own brain and create a story that is just hinted at on the page. This sort of intimacy is what many writers crave: a one-to-one collaboration with the audience from which powerful shared narratives arise. Finding pieces that accomplish this amazing feat is a joy for me, and sharing them with other word junkies is almost a responsibility.

From Elia Seely, Guest Editor:

I write flash fiction for the challenge of distilling a story down to its purest elements. I read this genre for the same reasons; that pure shot of "ahh" that comes from a perfectly measured portion of character, tone, setting, dialogue. Editing for an online magazine offers and immediacy of experience for both myself and the submitters; it feels good to be able to respond with some feedback right away. I love seeing people's imaginations at work, at it inspires me to get my own work out there.


Our Spring issue is now up in a new format we are proud of and excited to deliver to our readers. We also just opened up our submission period and will be accepting literary works of flash as well as art through May 20th.

At Flashquake, we have a theory: Words are meant to make an impact, to leave a trace, to enlighten and to inspire. We hope you’ll read along with us.


I’ve been entering flash fiction contests for a while now, and have just launched Flashbang, my first attempt at running a contest for others to enter. It’s made me think afresh about the value of contests, and how to describe flash fiction to those coming at the concept for the first time. I’m someone who took to flash like a fish to batter, and landed an impressive tome of rejections along the way, but I hope I’ve got useful things to say to those just setting out on the contest road.

I say I’ve been rejected many times and it’s true. I used to keep a spreadsheet of my entries and their fates, but it got too depressing looking at all the boxes coloured like Elastoplast (the colour I used for rejections). Still, my first big win – in anything – came with flash fiction. I wrote a 300 word story about Lizzie Borden which won the Fish Criminally Short Histories Prize. Hard to imagine a better thrill than that, and for a long time afterwards I was hooked on entering flash contests. It’s fun to be on the other side of the fence now, watching the entries to Flashbang roll in and thinking of the buzz the writers will get when we announce the shortlist, and the winners.

But what if you’re not one of the winners? Well, I have more experience in that neck of the woods than in the winners’ enclosure, and I still think entering contests is a terrific way to get ahead as a writer. Why? Firstly and most importantly, it makes you write. We should be writing all the time, of course, but sometimes a competition is the kick in the pants that reminds us to get on with it.

Secondly, it makes you write something for someone else, which means we start thinking about the readers, or a specific reader – the judge. We check out what the judge likes, and we write towards that, rather than simply pleasing ourselves. Thirdly, contests get us writing to a deadline and a set word count. Again, important skills if we take our writing careers seriously.

Fourthly – okay, that sounds weird. My fourth point: it means we have to let go. Put our words out there, to be judged. This is a really tough part of writing, and I don’t think any author ever gets over how hard it is. As long as we’re in control, we can tell ourselves our stories are great. Fantastic even. But we won’t know for sure, until we send them out into the world of Other Readers. It’s scary, but it’s a vital part of writing. Letting go frees us up to start something new.

Five? You might win! Or make the shortlist. Or the long list. Each of these is a milestone which should be celebrated. Even – and here’s a bruiser – being rejected. Knock-backs come with the territory and the sooner we can start accepting them, the better. Suck in the honey, spit out the bees, as someone said to me recently. Or, as Peter O’Toole says in Lawrence of Arabia: ‘Of course it hurts. The trick is not minding that it hurts.’ In many ways, failure is your friend. I blogged a bit on that theme, here.

I’d encourage everyone to enter Flashbang. It’s free (which is increasingly rare these days) and the judges have provided brilliant hints as to what they’re after in the winning entries, which include some great definitions of flash fiction. Don’t be put off if you’re not a crime writer; perhaps the very best thing about flash is how many hats you can try on. I’ve written horror flashes, comic flashes, and literary flashes. You don’t need to be an expert in the genre to write 150 words – and you may discover a talent you didn’t know you had. So give it your best shot (pun intended) and I look forward to reading your entries.

More info

Visit for full details, and follow @FlashbangGang on Twitter for latest news.