We’ve started reading theWinter Short Story Contest submissions. We usually wait until the deadline has passed, but we’re nervous of having too much to read to do justice to everyone’s stories, so we’ve made a start.
The first read is really nothing more than getting a feel for the story, the critical assessment as to whether it should go further in the process doesn’t start until the second look.
But seeing these first few pages has reminded us what a privilege it is to be reading the stories at all. Most writers are very choosy about who they show their work to. Some won’t even show their partners. True, sending to a stranger can be a little easier, but that moment can be fraught too. If you’ve ever sent a child off for their first day at kindergarten, to their first step into the world without you being there to explain how they like to be treated, to interpret their little quirks and mannerisms, if you’ve done that, then you have an idea how many writers feel about sending their stories to be read by the jaded eyes of judges and editors.
To those who’ve already sent and to those who have yet to share their stories with us – thank you, we are privileged and will treat your stories with the respect and care that they deserve. They may not be perfect, they may need a comma or two added or subtracted, they may have a typo you missed. It’s OK, we understand, we’re writers too.
We were down to twelve, then six, getting more difficult to choose at each stage. Finding the award winners was agonising, but Caroline Jaine has made her decision, and here’s what she has to say about it:
“This was a very difficult decision, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories. Flash fiction is such an inspiring and fitting genre for our times. Although many of the stories were worthy of praise, Paper Leaves stood out for me as the overall winner. The writer seemed entirely at ease with writing in this short form – there was no attempt to pack too much in, either in terms of content or vocabulary – a common mistake. Paper Leaves felt like a delicate gesture, and yet a surprisingly disturbing one – the loss of a tree, which moved me deeply. It wasn’t quite what I expected to find in such a short piece, and there lies the writer’s skill and strength.”
It’s taken a lot of reading and discussion to get there, but finally we’re done. Our 2018 Flash Fiction shortlist looks like this:
Breath Breeze Caffeine Dreams Missing Paper Leaves Stage Notes
Every story has its attractions, there’s perceptive and original writing, new angles on familiar themes. Getting the list down to six has been hard enough, now it’s over to Caroline Jaine for the one-two-three.
All the stories have been a pleasure to read, a privilege to judge. Those not among the finalists can consider themselves unlucky, the difference between being there and not is paper thin. Our new competition opens on December 1st. Send us something irresistible.
Our 2018 Flash Fiction competition has attracted entries from Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. Thank you! Now we have the pleasure of reading all those little gems. Choosing the eventual finalists looks as if it will be as difficult as ever.
Meanwhile, authors can start flexing their writing muscles for our next competition, details coming in the next few weeks. But it’ll be for short stories this time, again with no theme. Likely opening date will be December 1st with latest entries January 31st. Yes, there will be prizes.
Getting close to having that story polished and ready to send in? Something brand new? Or an old favourite re-worked, distilled to a few hundred words? Either way we’re looking forward to seeing your story before the deadline. Give us something to make us sit up and take notice, give us words that jump off the page.
As we’ve previously announced, Askance’s founder, Caroline Jaine, will make the final selection. Although Caroline is no longer formally connected with Askance, she was delighted to accept the invitation to choose the winners from the shortlist. Caroline is an accomplished artist and writer of short and long fiction in addition to being the author of the widely acclaimed A Better Basra.
Selecting the long and short lists will be two long-time friends of Askance, both skilled in the art of storytelling.
Canadian Grace Keating has written many short stories, winning and being short-listed in competitions in the USA and the UK. Her stories have featured in two anthologies, including Askance’s Positional Vertigo.
David Wiseman is British, although now living in Canada, and has edited Askance’s Homes and Positional Vertigo to which he also contributed. He’s also won and been shortlisted for several competitions in the UK and the USA. Askance has published three of his novels.
The Askance 2018 Flash Fiction competition is open!
We’re really looking forward to reading your stories, so don’t leave it until the last minute to send them in. There is no theme, just a good story well told, which is really what Askance has always been about. But we do like innovation too, whether that’s in the form or the content. Look at our competition details page for full details of how to enter. And if you have a question then please get in touch.
Our first flash fiction competition opens for entries on 17th September 2018.
Prizes? Yes, there are prizes! 1st £100, 2nd £50, 3rd £25 plus publication on the Askance website and as much publicity as we can muster.
How many words is ‘flash’? For this competition we mean a minimum of 250 and a maximum of 1000 words.
Any theme? Yes, any theme you like, we’re not telling you what to write.
So what are we looking for? Others express plenty of lofty ambitions about exciting new voices and stories that thrill and entrance etc etc but what it comes right down to is this: a good story, well told. We’re always open to originality of form or content just so long as you keep that basic premise in mind.
Any entry fee? Yes, the entry fee for each story will be £6.00.
We welcome writing from anywhere in the world, previous entries to Askance competitions have come from many countries including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, United States and the United Kingdom.
Check back to the website on September 17th details of how to enter. We’ll post it on Facebook too. Get writing!
It’s time to remind you that our competition closes in 20 days time, on 31st May. We have received a fair amount of entries so far – but not as many international stories as in previous years. Remember that we accept entries from anywhere in the world. So get writing! Full details are on our competition pages. We are looking forward to a good read in June and handing out a cash price in the autumn.
The 2015 competition is now open for entries. Closing date: 31 May 2015.
We are pleased to announce that Askance are running a competition again this year. Building on the success of our 2012 and 2013 competitions, we have made a few exciting changes for 2015.
To be inclusive, there is no theme this year and Askance will be accepting short stories of any length. You can also enter more than one story. Our 2015 competition is open to all writers over 16, from anywhere in the world.
Entrants are able to submit unpublished stories that may or may not have been submitted for other competitions, and as before, must be happy for Askance to publish their story if it is shortlisted.
Askance Publishing are keen to encourage innovative writing and provide a showcase for writers who might not otherwise have a chance of publication. Experienced writers with a previous publishing record should not feel excluded – they are also very welcome.
Askance are funding a first prize of £300 (roughly $500) for the winning story selected by our judges. The entry fee for each story is £15 (or $25).
We very much look forward to reading all your stories this year and announcing the shortlist and the overall winner in September 2015.
Please see the Conditions of Entry below for how to pay the fee and submit a story.
In the meantime why not read the stories by our winners from previous years?
Entries must be page numbered and preferably contain the title of the story on every page, but must NOT contain the name of the author.
The email submitting the entry as an attachment should contain the PayPal payment reference, the author’s full name, full address including postal code, and daytime contact telephone number. The subject of the email should be ‘Askance 2015 Short Story’ followed by the title of the story being submitted.
By submitting a story to the competition, authors accept all rules and outcomes.
Up to 20 of the entries will be selected for inclusion in the Askance Short Story collection to be published in digital formats in 2015. One story will be selected as the overall winning entry and receive a prize of £300 (approximately $500).
The copyright of each story submitted remains entirely with the author.
By submitting the story to the competition the author grants an exclusive licence to Askance Publishing, which allows them to publish the story in any form for a period of one year from 31 May 2015.