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5

Well, we have had so many activities in the run up to today that this almost feels like an anti-climax...

Almost! But not quite!!

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to National Flash-Fiction Day. This is what you have all been working towards, and I need to start by sending out a big thank you to each and every one of you for helping to make this day happen.

Lots will be going on today including :-
The FlashFlood journal pouring stories over you all day
The Write-in online from 11am till 3pm
FlashTag flash-mobbing in Manchester all day
Workshops in Trowbridge and Derby
Free e-books for your Kindle for 24 hours from 7am (including Jawbreakers!)
The official launch of the day and the book in Southampton at 6.30 this evening

And, of course, all across the country, from Edinburgh to Brighton, Cardiff to Leeds, there will be event after glorious event, all listed here: http://nationalflashfictionday.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/nffd-bulletin-10.html

Personally, I'm starting the day on the BBC Radio Solent Breakfast Show where they are going to give me a prompt to write a story live on air (eek!), then off to Winchester Uni for the physical part of the write-in, then back to Southampton for the launch with Vanessa Gebbie, Holly Howitt, Sara Crowley, Natalie Bowers and chums. But in-between all that, I hope to keep up with you online and (now and again) in person.

Thank you so much for pulling together and making this one (tired) man's dream come true!

Now, get out there and make me proud.
Happy Flash-Fiction Day to you all!!

Calum Kerr
Director, National Flash-Fiction Day 2012.

On 4th May Calum Kerr visited the writing group at Lovedean in Hampshire. He set them a task to write stories from 4 random words - two loved ones and two hated ones - the results will be appearing at http://nffdflashes.blogspot.co.uk/ throughout the day. (And the writers would like me to make it clear that any weirdness has been caused by the randomness of the words...)


The group's organiser, Charlotte Comley, wrote this review of the event:


"Calum Kerr visited The Writers @ Lovedean on the 4th of May 2012.  He spoke passionately about his flash fiction journey, and the 365 project which led on to National Flash Fiction Day.  We as a group had an opportunity to listen to some of his work.  After one of the best explanations of what flash fiction is, Calum gave the group an exercise to do.  All of us present thoroughly enjoyed the exercise.  We then had an opportunity to read our work aloud and receive that all important feedback.  We as a group were so enthused by his presentation that we made a pact to write seven days of flash each until our next meeting.  I have received so many positive comments from members about the event, and we have already asked Calum to come back next May to do an advanced flash fiction course with us."


I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as they obviously enjoyed writing them!

2

Hello again,

Well, this will be the last bulletin before the big day, which is just TWO DAYS away!!
This is the time for a roundup of all the things happening on Wednesday that you can still help out and get involved with. (All times are given in BST.)
  • Then, at midnight, the FlashFlood journal goes live, with stories appearing regularly throughout the 24 hours of NFFD. Submissions don't close until midnight tomorrow, so do please send in your pieces and encourage people to do the same. Details: http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk/
  • At 11am the Write-In will start. This will provide a huge number of prompts for you to write an instant flash and see it appear on the blog. It will run until 3pm and no submissions will be accepted after that. We could still use some more prompts, so if you have a list of interesting words, phrases, titles, lyrics or whatever, do please send them over. Details: http://thewrite-in.blogspot.co.uk/
  • And then, we reach the evening. The main launch event will be occurring in Southampton Central Library from 6.30/7.00pm until about 9.00 and featuring the launch of Jawbreakers along with readings from myself, Vanessa Gebbie, Holly Howitt, Sara Crowley, Gail Aldwin, Natalie Bowers, Tim Stephenson and more (along with some of videos if we get it working!) Do please come along if you can, it's entirely free! https://www.facebook.com/events/379325198752054/ and http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/southwest.html
And that's pretty much it. Things will be happening over the next day on the blog (http://nationalflashfictionday.blogspot.com/), website (http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nationalflashfictionday) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/nationalflashfd), so stay tuned and spread the word. 
And here goes National Flash-Fiction Day 2012!!
All the best for the day,
Calum Kerr
Director

Hello everyone,

Well, we are just ONE WEEK away from the big day and I don't know about you but I'm getting very, very excited!
It's all starting to come together, so let me give you a run down of the things you need to know. There will be another bulletin, probably Tuesday next week, with all the last minute stuff, but this is where we are now:
  • First of all, as you may have seen, at midnight last night we opened submissions for the National Flash-Fiction Day pop-up journal:FlashFlood (http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk/). I have put together a team of editors to work on this over the coming week for the journal to appear on the day itself, filling the day with flash-fictions from midnight to midnight! We are looking for stories under 500 words, on any theme, and from anywhere in the world. A maximum of 3 pieces per writer. Please spread the word and let's see just how many great flash-fictions we can get up online in the day. 
  • Next, Jawbreakers is almost here! The printers have informed me that I can expect the book to arrive tomorrow (10th May) and, if it arrives early enough, we will be shipping all pre-orders on the same day (along with author copies and any requested for events, if we can). Books can be pre-ordered from  http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/anthology.html, or if you want a batch to sell at events (sale or return) then drop me a line here and I'll add you to the list. Can't wait to have my hands on the copies! The Kindle edition will be up on Amazon in time for NFFD next week.
  • Posters and story cards have headed out around the country. If you would still like some we have them, including Jawbreakersposters, so do get in touch. If you have received them, please send us photos of them in situ so we can show the world!
  • There are also competitions which are still open, including the 'Random Words' competition (closes today) and our two Australian opportunities (close tomorrow) plus other new ones which we add as they come along. So do keep checking out http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/competitions.html for details.
  • And finally, as we head into the last week, once again can I ask you to keep spreading the word, sharing the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/nationalflashfictionday, the Twitter address, @nationalflashfd, and generally bigging up National Flash-Fiction Day to anyone who will listen. I'm going to be on Radio Solent at the weekend talking about it. With only a week to go your local radio stations might finally be keen to feature it, so do start pestering them, especially if you are running an event that you want people to come to. And let's make this a day to remember.
Really finally, I just want to say another big thank you to you all. This was a little idea of mine, but you have taken it on board and made it your own. It is far bigger and much better than I could ever have imagined. One last push and then... we're off!
Until next week, thank you and happy flashing!
Calum Kerr
Director, National Flash-Fiction Day 2012

This message was originally sent out to our mailing list. To sign up, send us an email to nationalflashfictionday@gmail.com

2

Well, I've been hinting and nudging to let you know that something new and special was on its way for National Flash-Fiction Day, and with exactly ONE WEEK TO GO, here it is!

Called FlashFlood, and inspired by the recent efforts of The 24 Project, we are launching our own pop-up journal for the day.

The rules are simple (and laid out here: http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk/p/about.html). We're looking for your very very best flash-fictions. 500 words is the limit and we are not limiting ourselves to any genre, style or perspective. Nor are we limiting ourselves geographically, so this is open World-Wide!

There are seven editors, including myself, taking a day of the 'countdown week' each, and submissions will close at midnight on 15th/16th May, with the first story being posted simultaneously. We will then post your stories regularly throughout the 24 hours of National Flash-Fiction Day.

So, get writing, get sending, and let us have your flashes, we want to fill the day with your fictions. We want many, we want loads, we want a FlashFlood!!

http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk/

Is there a magic formula for success? Probably not. But there is a theory I’ve found encouraging, which says that all you need is two out of the following three elements: talent, perseverance and luck.
As I understand it, there are only one and a half of those which an individual has any real control over. Luck is, by definition, a fortuitous chance happening, rather than something you can directly engineer. Talent is a mixed bag – you’re born with a certain amount, and the rest is about perfecting your craft.
So that leaves perseverance. Which is entirely down to you. As a writer, you need to put pen to paper, or fingertip to keyboard. Obvious, right? But how much time do you actually spend writing, as compared to tweeting about writing, blogging about writing, reading books about writing, discussing writing with your writing group, going to writing classes…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking any of these things. In fact, I’ve done them all and have found them to be incredibly useful. But what has proved most effective has been this: write and submit. It’s that simple.
In 2009, I realised that I was never actually going to write that novel I’d been talking about unless I sat down and did it. Being somewhat lacking in self-discipline, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – there’s nothing like a deadline to get you moving, I find, and it doesn’t get more pressing than 50,000 words in 30 days.
Anyway, I did it (hurrah!), but once December arrived I got back into my lazy habits. I needed a regular form of discipline, a time to write and a submissions goal to achieve. That’s when I set up The Steady Table, which does nothing more than provide a regular time and place where writers can gather and get on with the business of writing. We don’t critique, we don’t complete exercises or discuss theory; we just write.
Since The Steady Table launched in January of this year, I have written countless pieces of flash fiction and longer short stories – not just on a Tuesday evening, surrounded by other furiously scribbling writers, but at other times too. Turns out, the fear of failure which so often kept me away from the page, lost its hold on me once I started squaring up to it on a regular basis.
Inspired by my increased productivity, I began submitting work… and found that suddenly I was getting my stories accepted. As well as a number of online publications, I am thrilled to have been accepted for both the Flash Fiction South West anthology, Kissing Frankenstein & Other Stories, and Jawbreakers, the NFFD anthology.
The Steady Table has given me space in which to hone my talent, it has made me persevere even when I didn’t feel like it. And with those two ingredients sorted, who needs luck?

Rin Simpson (@rinsimpson) is Bristol-based a freelance journalist and creative writer, and founder of The Steady Table writers’ group (@TheSteadyTable), which meets between 6pm and 9pm every Tuesday at The Folk House (term time) or The Watershed. For more information, please email steadytable@yahoo.co.uk.

Dear All,

Well, we're into May which means that National Flash-Fiction Day cannot be that far away. Two weeks, in fact! Can you believe it?
So, with it rushing closer and closer and everyone here at NFFD-Towers (that means me... plus all of you, of course. they're virtual Towers...) getting more and more excited, here's this week's roundup of what's happening and what we need you to do:

  • First of all, as you hopefully know, the anthology, Jawbreakers, is nearly here. I received the first proof copy yesterday and it looks amazing! You can pre-order the book from the website (http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/anthology.html) as a number of you already have, plus copies will be available at most NFFD events, and it will soon be available from Amazon and most bookshops, plus the Kindle edition will be coming soon as well. Don't forget the main launch event on the Day will be at Southampton Central Library. It would be great to see you there. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/379325198752054/ And if you would like to host a launch event for the book, please do get in touch.
  • The anthology from the Flash Fiction South West project - “Kissing Frankenstein & Other Stories” - is also imminent, containing a range of wonderful stories from, amongst others, Tania Hershman, Martha Williams, Gail Aldwin, Kevlin Henney, Sarah Hilary, Rachel Carter and yours truly. More info here: http://flashfictionsw.co.uk/.
  • In addition, if you are looking for ways to fill your time, Tania Hershman will be launching her new book - My Mother was an Upright Piano - in Bristol tomorrow (Thursday 3rd May - 6.00-7.45pm, bookshop at Arnolfini, 16 Narrowquay, Bristol). Do come along if you can!
  • Another thing you could do would be to tune into Radio 4 on Saturday evening from 5.30pm where I will be talking about my flash365 project and NFFD as well as writing a flash-fiction to a provided prompt during the programme. It promises to be exciting! (And terrifying, but let me worry about that...) Please spread the word about that!
  • We still have some of our promotional posters (just a few) and story cards (slightly more) hanging around. So if you want some, please do get in touch. Included in this are some lovely Jawbreakers posters which would look great in any bookshop... Just a thought! And, if you have received posters and put them up, can you please take a photo of them in situ and send it to us? We'd love to create a collage of them! The same is true when you receive your books. Photos of you holding it, please!
  • And that's about it for this week. Please keep checking the website and all those other places I mentioned for updates and news during the week, make sure you're signed up and taking part. And please, as ever, keep spreading the word in every way you can. (Did you know that most local radio stations have 'What's On?' guides that you can fill in for yourselves? Just a thought...) 
And, finally, thank you for your help and support. We're nearly there!!!
All the best
Calum Kerr
Director, National Flash-Fiction Day 2012

This message was originally sent out to our mailing list. To sign up, send us an email to nationalflashfictionday@gmail.com

2

It's nearly May, and you know what that means?

It's nearly National Flash-Fiction Day!!

So, in honour of all of that, and following on the great success of last week's Shakespeare prompt, we'd like some more flash-fictions from you.

The deadline is 5pm on Monday, with the posts appearing over at our flashes blog (http://nffdflashes.blogspot.co.uk/) all day on Tuesday, 1st May.

The limit is 310 words (31 days in May, you see) and the theme is May Day! Or Mayday! Or M'Aidez! Or anything really, that includes any of those words and concepts.

Submissions accepted from anywhere in the world. (What's May Day like in New Zealand, I wonder...)

And that's it, that's your task! Send your stories to us at nationalflashfictionday@gmail.com and please put the word 'May' in the subject line. We can't wait to see your writing!

I’ve been writing – and writing about – flash fiction for a while now and I love how diverse a discipline it can be. Ask me my definition and I bet it’ll be different to what you were told last time, and different again to what you’re told next. And that’s what’s so great about writing micro: it might be small in scale but it’s more than substantial in scope, from process to performance. 
And that's what the Manchester-based FlashTag writing collective (which consists of Manchester Blog Awards winners and flash fiction writers Benjamin Judge, David Hartley, Fat Roland and Tom Mason - oh, and me) were thinking about when we came up with our idea for a National Flash-Fiction Day event. We're fans of site-specific stories and of delivering our prose in unusual ways, so we've decided to treat the rainy city to some guerrilla story-telling; some flash fiction flashmobbing, if you will. We plan to travel across town, stopping off at various locations - from cultural venues to iconic spaces - where one of the group will read out a piece of short fiction to the public then move on. We're not releasing details of the itinerary until the day, when you can follow our progress - and perhaps catch us in action - via our Twitter account, @flashtagmcr.

The FlashTag collective is currently running a flash fiction writing competition as part of Chorlton Arts Festival: you have until midnight today (Friday 27 April) to enter! Full details here: http://flashmobmcr.wordpress.com/

Sarah-Clare Conlon is a writer and editor, and one half of flash fiction/music combo Les Malheureux with David Gaffney. You can read more from her on award-winning arts blog Words & Fixtures.

There's less than three weeks to go before the first National Flash-Fiction Day is upon us, and two days before THAT, I'm going to be running a flash-fiction workshop in Manchester City Library. The event's sold out now, but you can still sign up to get on the wait-list, if you're interested. And to get you interested - and perhaps to demystify things for those of you who'll definitely be joining me on the day - here's a taste of what's in store.

First off: no lectures, no tutorials, no severe editorials - this workshop's going to be all about the writing. (And a little bit about the reading - it is in a library, after all...) If you're anything like me, the blank page is a savage horror on the desktop: whilst those first words can be honed and tweaked and crossed out and reconsidered, getting them down in the first place is often the problem. So I want to use this workshop as an opportunity to break down these barriers - for one night, at the very least! So what we'll do will be a couple of very fast, very frantic writing exercises. It'll be fun, and there won't be time to over-think - or, perhaps, to think at all! - or to get intimidated; we'll be gathering prompts and blasting our way through some far-from-premeditated stories as fast as a ticking clock will allow us. (I promise not to bring a ticking clock.) And to get you in the mood, in between rounds, I'll be showing you some of my favourite examples of flash-fiction - for inspiration, not intimidation! At the end of the session, nobody will have to share their stories, but if they want to, there'll be the chance to get them uploaded onto the library's website. Fame! Our great Director, Calum Kerr, has also set up a new flash-blog if you want to send him your work - and I'll also be talking to you about other submission opportunities for flash-fiction.

And if all this hasn't scared you off, I'll see you on Monday May 14th!