Members' Flash Fiction Competition

Judged by David Swann


First Place - Anniversary lunch by Rhona Gorringe
Second Place - All White on the Night 3 by Roger Shadbolt
Joint Third Place - Barbetta by Anne Callaghan & Can Teddy Bears Talk by Cherrie Taylor

Special mention for - Little Pink Flip Flop by Cherrie Taylor & Meltdown by Stephen Turner


General feedback from David Swann

Here are some thoughts on the flash fiction. I hope they're helpful for the writers.

Of course, other judges would have come up with a different list, so I'd ask all writers to please not take the competitive element too seriously.

The best way to improve as a flash fiction writer is to read plenty of the stuff. Then you'll develop a feel for the form, which generally struggles a bit when forced to carry too much plot or back-story. It can be a bit like loading a sack onto a butterfly, if we're not careful.

Similarly, I'd warn against piling too much weight onto the ending, where my advice is to try to end with a twang, not a bang. Punchlines can kill resonance.

The work I chose is the fiction that seemed to me to find a deeper layer, even (or especially!) when including comedy within its approach, and to retain its tension and intensity right to the end, often through strength in the characterisation. I wanted imagery and details that made me tingle, and characters I cared about and was interested in (even if I didn't particularly like them!).