Fictive Dream’s Flash Fiction February 2020

Exactly three weeks left to submit your best flash fiction to Fictive Dream’s Flash Fiction February 2020.  

During Flash Fiction February, now in its third year, we will feature a new piece of flash fiction throughout the month. That’s a new story, every day, starting on 1 February right through to February 29. Our submissions window will remain open until December 31, 2019.

As always, we’re interested in material with a contemporary feel on any subject. Your stories may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating, even cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

We’ve put a squeeze on our usual word count though, so only stories of between 200–750 words please.

Read our Flash Fiction February 2020 submission guidelines here.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

For those of you who prefer to write longer stories we remain open to standard submissions (500–2,500 words). 

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Story Friday LEAP! Call for submissions

Story Friday in February has the theme LEAP! in celebration of 2020 as a leap year. Story Friday is on 28th February, the day before the leaping day, and we want to revel in the glory of this springing theme! Whether your stories feature proposals or boxing hares, Christmas lords or death defying jumps, we are so looking forward to reading what you come up with!

Story Friday LEAP! will be on 28th February, deadline for submissions is 17th February. We’re looking for stories that are 2,000 words or fewer.  (Full submission details are here).  Writers must be available to come to Bath for the event.  If you’d rather not read, we have wonderful actors who can read your story for you.

For more information about Story Friday, to listen to stories that we have recorded at our events over the years, and/or to submit your story please visit A Word In Your Ear.

The A3 Review’s New Contest Themes

issue_11_cover_grandeThe A3 Review has recently launched Issue 11. We’ve also just posted new themes for our monthly contests. Publication and cash prizes for winners. To enter and for more details, please visit our Submittable page by clicking here. The next few themes will be included in our “T” issue, so we’re looking for short stories (as well as poems and artwork) about : Tablets, Transformations, and Thanatos.

The two winning entries from September 2019 to February 2020 will make up the list of contributors to Issue 12 (The “T” Issue). From this list, three overall winners will receive cash prizes: 1st = £250, 2nd = £150, 3rd = £75. Issue 12 will appear in April 2020.

The word limit is 150 words, so we’d particularly like to see flash fiction and mini essays. Our $5 (approx £3.50) submission fee helps us cover admin and printing costs and makes sure we can keep offering cash prizes.

Visit The A3 Review’s website to see some back issues. The A3 Press also publishes chapbooks and is open for submissions until December the 10th.

Fictive Dream’s Flash Fiction February 2020

The submissions window for Fictive Dream’s Flash Fiction February 2020 is now open.

During Flash Fiction February, now in its third year, we will feature a new piece of flash fiction throughout the month. That’s a new story, every day, starting on 1 February right through to February 29. Our submissions window will remain open until December 31, 2019.

As always, we’re interested in material with a contemporary feel on any subject. Your stories may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating, even cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

We’ve put a squeeze on our usual word count though, so only stories of between 200–750 words please.

Read our Flash Fiction February 2020 submission guidelines here.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

For those of you who prefer to write longer stories we remain open to standard submissions (500–2,500 words). 

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Beginnings, Middles, Endings: The Structure of a Narrative with Claire Keegan

Goldsmiths University, London

November 2 & 3, 2019. 9:30am–5pm, both days

Claire Keegan, internationally acclaimed author and fiction-writing coach, will direct this, her most popular fiction writing course, using a novel and two short stories to demonstrate and explore the mechanics of fiction writing and narrative structure.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2. “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor

3. “Nobody Said Anything” by Raymond Carver

How do stories begin? How and why does an author make an incision in time and build tension? How is a reader drawn into a narrative? We will also explore the much-neglected middle; the trunk of the story, its denouement and turning points — and ask if endings are natural. Why do stories need to end, to find a place of rest? The discussion around endings will focus on falling action, emotional consequences and inevitability. Participants will also examine the differences between the short story and the novel.

This weekend will be of particular interest to those who write, teach, read or edit fiction — but anyone with an interest in how fiction works is welcome to attend.

To book your place, contact ckfictionclinic@yahoo.com Tuition is £350. A 50% deposit secures.

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Claire Keegan’s story collections include Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards. Her debut, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. “These stories are among the finest stories recently written in English,” wrote the Observer. Walk the Blue Fields, her second collection, was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year in 2010, and won the Edge Hill Prize, awarded to the strongest collection published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, the then world’s richest prize for a single story. New Yorker readers chose Foster as their story of the year. It was also published in Best American Stories and is now on the school syllabus in Ireland. Keegan has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents.

Every line seems to be a lesson in the perfect deployment of both style and emotion.” –Hilary Mantel

The best stories are so textured and so moving, so universal but utterly distinctive, that it’s easy to imagine readers savoring them many years from now and to imagine critics, far in the future, deploying new lofty terms to explain what it is that makes Keegan’s fiction work.” – The New York Times

Every single word in the right place and pregnant with double meaning.” – Jeffrey Eugenides, The New York Times

Keegan is a rarity, someone I will always want to read.” – Richard Ford

Writing Short Stories with Cynan Jones

Write and edit a complete short story and learn essential fiction-writing techniques on Curtis Brown Creative’s brand new six-week online course, Writing Short Stories led by award-winning short story writer Cynan Jones. Cynan won the Betty Trask award for his novel The Long Dry and he won BBC National Short Story Award in 2017, for which he was on the 2019 judging panel . His short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies and in journals and magazines including Granta and the New Yorker.

We interviewed Cynan to find out more about his love of short fiction…

You won the BBC National Short Story Prize for your story The Edge of the Shoal in 2017 and now you’re on this year’s judging panel for the prize. How does it feel to come full circle? And what do you look for when reading short stories for competitions?

Judging the competition has certainly pointed out what an extraordinary thing it was to win. Ultimately, all a writer can do is write as strongly as he or she can, and work on a story until it’s the best possible piece they can produce. What happens to that story is a product of the work and attention put in. If nothing else, I know I’ve really worked hard to write strongly. In many ways then, it feels less of a circle and more of a starting point! What next? I’m always aiming to challenge myself.

The sense a writer has challenged him or herself is in the best stories too. You read great pieces and think, ‘How!? How did they write that?’ Such stories feel both totally impossible to write, but as if they couldn’t be written better.

When reading stories for competitions I look for that. Stories that take narrative risks and show the technical ability to make those risks pay off. That’s much rarer than you think.

What initially inspired you to start writing in short fiction?

I think several elements led me to shorter forms. Firstly, the thing of reading a story from start to finish in one sitting. I loved that as a reader and – as most of us are copyists when we first start writing – wanted to replicate that experience.

I also think that, even in my initial attempts at serious writing, the way my prose hit the page lent itself to shorter form. I aimed always to put a picture down as simply and powerfully as I could and relied on the reader to think and feel in response. That meant I didn’t write a great deal of explanation or back story, or direct a reader how to react. In itself, that makes for fewer words.

In retrospect, perhaps too there were constraints as to how long I could really dedicate to the process of writing when I first started. I usually had about three months for writing at the beginning of the year before the freelance work I did at the time really got going. Perhaps that made me feel I needed to write something I could start and finish in one block. (Which loops back to the first thing I mentioned here, about the immersive experience of starting and finishing something in one go.)

We’re thrilled to have you on board as the teacher of our brand-new Writing Short Stories course. What’s your favourite part of teaching?

Probably how teaching makes you dig into your own process and really work to understand it so you can pass what you know on.

Other than the help of the world-class authors I read, I taught myself to write. Because of that, it’s only since teaching that I’ve really dissected exactly what it is I do, and that’s helped me take things further.

Could you share your top three tips for writers who want to start writing short stories?

Read.

Work at the craft.

Don’t write to be published.

Read the full interview with Cynan over on the Curtis Brown Creative blog.

Curtis Brown Creative’s brand new Writing Short Stories course led by Cynan Jones is open now for enrolment. It starts on October 17th 2019.

Short Stops readers can get an exclusive 10% off by using code: SHORTSTOPSCBC

 

Call for Submissions: Pixel Heart Literary Magazine – Issue Four: Joy

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Pixel Heart Literary Magazine is currently open for submissions for its fourth issue, which has the theme of Joy.

The magazine publishes flash fiction (under 750 words), poetry (of any length), and short stories (1,000 – 2,500 words) as long as they adhere to the issue’s theme.

There is no submission fee, and submissions are open to all – experienced and new writers alike.

Pixel Heart Literary Magazine is dedicated to publishing writers who are disabled, LGBT, and/or writers of colour, as well as writers from a working-class background. While all submissions will be considered with great care, if writers state in their submission email that they are any of the above, then their submission will be given a little extra attention.

For more specific submission guidelines and information on how to submit, please click here. Submissions for Issue Four: Joy are currently open until midnight BST on the 1st of November, 2019. ❤