There are many flash fiction / micro fiction / tiny fiction writing competitions and writing contests thriving on the internet. Stories of 2000 words or less are hugely popular. In a world where time is short, what could be better than a nibble of very short stories?
If you are looking to enter and win flash fiction contests, perhaps the most important question for writers is – what’s the word count?
To see the full flash fiction contest list, jump down here.
Flash Fiction Contests – word counts
In my last post, I found the most valuable flash fiction contest 2021 in cash terms. But, we writers are not just motivated by money (although it helps).
The most important drive is creativity. A story forms in your mind and on the page. Entering these micro fiction contests give us a way to share our thoughts with other – maybe even get some recognition.
But, every contest seems to have its own rules around word count. From six words up to 2000, there is a flash fiction competition for almost any length of tiny story. Here, I’ve tried to make it easy to discover them.
Write your story then find your flash fiction contest.
There’s a risk that writing contests result in the tail wagging the dog. Rather than writing your best story, you end up bending to the needs of the contest you are aware of. You have an awesome story about happy piglets that comes in at 600 words, but the only contest you can find needs 1000. Next thing you know, you are padding out your story like a pig stuffing his face at the trough.
A better approach might be to write your story. Then, look for a contest that fits your word count. Now, you’re in charge.
It’s worth noting that most contests don’t have minimum word counts. But your competition will all be writing at or close to the word count capacity.
What’s the shortest flash fiction contest word count cap?
The shortest I’m aware of is the Six Word Wonder contest, hosted by this site. You can win $100 for writing a mere six words! Now that’s short.
Flash Fiction Contests with a word count cap of 100 words or less?
Next closest to the Six Word Wonder is the 50 Word Stories contest. This one is Canada-based, and offers a modest top prize of $10 Canadian.
There are several contests for submitting 100 words or less. The biggest of these is Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation Flash Fiction Competition with a $20,000 prize.
What’s the average word count length for micro fiction contests?
Across all the contests I’ve listed, the average word count is 629 words. Perhaps more useful, the median length is 500 words. If you are going to choose a target writing length for flash fiction, that 500 median might be the sweet spot.
Having said that, 1000 words is the most common contest length with 10 cash paying contests having a thousand word maximum. There are six contests at 500 words.
For the visual thinkers, here’s a scatter graph to show you the spread of contest types.
Full Flash Fiction Contest list – sorted by word count
Here’s the full list of flash fiction contests available in order of the word count requirement. All these contests pay a cash prize to the winner. Note that all prizes have been translated into dollars in Jan 2021 – you’ll need to check the individual websites to confirm all the terms and conditions.
I have a flash fiction contests I would like listed!
If you have a flash fiction contest that pays a cash prize and you would like to be listed here, or for any corrections or updates, please contact me.
The information I need you to include in your request (note that if you have multiple contests, please list each contest separately:
- Contest name
- Link to the submission page
- Closing date for entries
- Entry fee (and currency)
- Maximum number of words allowed
- Prize for top winner (and currency)
- And other special information of genre / entry conditions etc
Learn more about the Six Word Wonder Contest 2021.