The 4th annual SCI-FI-LONDON + Urban Fantasist 48 Hour Flash Fiction Challenge starts this Saturday 11th April. You can find a full explanation of all the rules for the challenge (and watch out for the #SFL48FLASH Twitter hashtag) HERE however for those of you less-than familiar with the format, here are 12 top tips for writing flash fiction
(1) Flash Fiction has all the elements of a traditional self-contained short story, including a beginning, a middle and an end, even if some aspects may be implied.
(2) Flash Fiction is NOT an extract or vignette from a longer story and should never end with the words To Be Continued...
(3) The definition of Flash Fiction can vary from competition (or publication) to competition. For example SFL48FLASH specifies a maximum of 1500 words but no minimum. Other publications may set the word length at 1000, 700, 500 or even 250 words of less.
(4) Please pay close attention to any particular rules regarding subject matter. For example with SFL48FLASH, as well as having a science fiction or fantasy-related theme, two clues: the TITLE plus a specific piece of DIALOGUE, must be incorporated somewhere within the story.
(5) Please follow any rules regarding manuscript layout and file formatting.
(6) Comply with any deadlines specified. This is particularly important with SFL48FLASH as the whole point of the challenge is you only have 48 hours, from being provided with the two clues, in which to write and submit your story. Don’t grumble, that works out to a writing rate of around just 30 words an hour!
(7) And, talking of grumbling, when the results are announced, please don’t start arguing with the judges and complaining that your entry should have been better placed. Judges’ decisions are final. Similarly, please don’t ask for a critique of your work - this is a competition, not a creative writing course.
(8) Don’t be Evil. Nobody objects to sex, violence and swear words - as long as they are pertinent to the story and are not being used gratuitously. That means no submissions advocating racial and religious hatred, sexism, child abuse, etc.
(9) Don’t get carried away with the gadgets. Yes, this is sci-fi and fantasy but readers (and judges) still want characters who they can engage with and care about. Don’t make your characters mere caricatures whose only purpose is to operate your gadgets.
(10) Start the action rolling immediately. You do not have the word-length luxury of a novel in which to develop your story so cut to the quick as soon as possible rather than waste time on waffling introductory dialogue.
(11) Avoid a clichéd ending. This is a short story, not a preamble to a punchline which (a) probably isn’t as funny as you think it is and (b) is one the judges will have heard before. “We appear to be the only survivors on this planet. My name’s Adam.” “Oh, hello, my name is Eve!”
(12) Finally, do be original. It goes without saying that you should never copy/plagiarise another writer’s work but you should also strive to come up with new ideas or at least a fresh spin on an established trope. Too often judges encounter stories where the denouement is obvious from the first paragraph. So be bold, make it fresh.
Here to inform and entertain you with tales of folklore, urban myths, history, geek culture and the weird. "Fun and high strangeness" is how one reader described it. May contain sarcasm.
Curated by Reuters correspondent and barrister turned writer, podcaster, editor, award-winning tech journalist and sometime werewolf hunter Charles Christian. The site also has links to Charles Christian's books and latest reviews plus his Weird Tales Radio Show.
Charles was born a 'chime child' with a caul – according to legend a caul-shrouded chime-child can't drown at sea but can see and talk to ghosts and fairy folk without fear of coming to harm – allegedly!
Latest book: Shuckland
Weird Tales Radio Show now goes out on syndication across 40 FM & internet radio stations, as well as all major podcast platforms plus Spotify, Mixcloud, SoundCloud, TuneIn Radio, YouTube, RSS & Amazon Music.
Click the <Play> button below to hear the latest show. Follow this link Weird Tales Radio Show to access archive.
Virtual Tip Jar
You can now support Urban Fantasist, its podcasts and its new video channel through our Virtual Tip Jars on PayPal, Ko-fi and Patreon, giving you a choice of ad hoc or regular payments.
Tel: +44(0)1986 788666
Tel/Txt: +44(0)7786 738172
WhatsApp etc: +44(0)7786 738172
"Charles Christian... a man of paranormality" ...Howard Hughes, Talk Radio UK
"A great witty intelligence in the world. We need more CC and less monkey-brained politicians" ...Julia Bohanna
"I love your posts, always something interesting to read and often funny" ...Karen Morton
"Just found the show, absolutely love it. Will be tuning in regularly and catching up."
"Seriously good stuff. It is nice to hear intelligent hosts and guests. People in the chat room love the intellect!" ...Barbara Duncan, Para-X Radio
"You are a great and generous host" ...Patti Negri, The Hollywood Psychic
"You have a pleasant way of conducting an interview" ...Terje Simonsen
"I host a daily morning show in Las Vegas and I like your shows very much. I love the way you pace your voice and thoughts is fantastic and you have a way of making your guest interviews sound more like conversations. Just wanted to let you know" ...Clay Baker
"The ever wonderful Charles Christian and his Weird Tales Radio Show"...Into The Portal Podcast
"The Master of Mysteries & Folklore" ...Fantasy Radio UK
"The witty and knowledgeable Charles Christian."
"We poled our fans on their favorite podcasts and that's how I heard of Weird Tales Radio. You are well loved by the geekiverse, and fans of folklore history and monsters!"
"Charles Christian is really out there cool."
"Check out Urban Fantasist for more fun and strangeness."
"Charles Christian defiantly makes my world a brighter, funnier place."
"Wonderful show tonight full of all the usual delights we've come to expect."
"The legendary Charles Christian at his eclectic best... his insight and humour alone make this a must-read blog."
"Charles Christian is my inner spirit animal, thank you for making me laugh."
"You always make me laugh! Thank you for brightening my day with your dark humour."
"the funny, wonderful and slightly cantankerous Charles Christian"
"Carlsberg don't make clients, but if they did... they'd be Charles Christian"
"His tech journalism is always witty. He has a talent for pricking the overblown claims of suppliers."
"Charles Christian does awesome!"
Charles Christian's Books
AND ON AMAZON IN PRINT & KINDLE
Copyright © Charles Christian
& Urbanfantasist Limited 2021
Powered by green tea and pink wine
Tel: +44 (0)1986 788666
Tel/Txt: +44 (0)7786 738172
Contact Address: Oak Lodge, Darrow Green Road, Denton, Harleston, Norfolk IP20 0AY, United Kingdom