Short Story and Flash Fiction contests

General Rules

  • All entries must be kidlit (ie have a Main Character who is a child).
  • Do not exceed word limits or your entry will be disqualified – word count does NOT include title.
  • Flash = 200 words max
  • Short Story = 1000 words max
  • Please label the word document of your entry with the TITLE of your story – no names in the document either – we want it to be judged anonymously.
  • Use a plan font like TNR, with 12′ and double line spacing.
  • You may enter multiple stories, but each must be a separate entry.
  • You may enter both contests.
  • Both contests close at 11.59pm (GMT) on Friday 8th July 2022.
  • By entering, you give permission for your story to be featured in our magazine.
  • You will then be contacted to give details such as a bio/photo and a few questions for the feature.
  • Open internationally. English only please. 16 years +
  • Judges decisions are final and they will not be entered into dialogue about those decisions.
  • Unfortunately we are unable to give feedback on entries.
  • Winners (and 2 runners-up) will be announced on date TBC.


To enter, first read all the rules above and ensure you follow all of them please.

Then pay via the PayPal link below. It is £4 for each short story and £2 for each flash.

Finally, complete the form(s) below, as applicable.

The first one is for flash fiction:

The second form is for the short story:


Flash Fiction

Sally Doherty lives in leafy Surrey with her husband and three-legged Labrador (don’t let the missing leg fool you, he can run like a cheetah and jump over a six foot wall). Sally dabbles in flash fiction with pieces published by Reflex Fiction, Spelk Fiction, Ellipsis Zine and Funny Pearls. She has won Retreat West’s micro fiction competition four times. Primarily, Sally writes middle grade novels.

You can find her on Twitter @Sally_writes,
and on her blog

Some advice from Sally

I’m very excited to be judging WriteMentor’s flash fiction competition. Here are some some tips on what I’m looking for.

  • Firstly, make sure your flash is suitable for middle grade or young adults. The voice and content must be appropriate and, importantly, the protagonist must be of appropriate age.
  • Flash fiction does not necessarily have to tell a full story. It could be a scene or snapshot from someone’s life. Whichever you choose, it should be something of significance for the character.
  • Have a think about what your character has experienced before this story – how does this give them depth? How does this affect the way they act in your flash?
  • Just like novels, accomplished flash also includes a story or character arc – what changes?
  • What emotion are you hoping to elicit from the reader? Fear? Sadness? Joy?
  • Every word should count in flash. Make sure you show not tell and keep things subtle – the reader should have to do a little work! (Although obviously remember you have a young audience.)
  • Spend a long time thinking about your title and last sentence. They carry great importance in flash.
  • Check out published flash to get an idea of what works. There seems to be little MG/YA flash out there at the moment (hence this competition!) but you can find great adult flash at Reflex Fiction, Spelk Fiction, Retreat West, TSS Publishing, Virtualzine and many more.

I look forward to reading your entries – good luck!

Sally has also written a great blog post on ‘How to Make Flash Fiction Stand Out’.

Short Story

Emma Finlayson-Palmer has been writing for most of her life, with her first publication at the age of 8 on the now ancient artefact known as CeeFax. She is represented by Laura West at the David Higham Agency, and mainly writes for children, but also writes short stories and flash fiction, with numerous pieces online, in magazines and anthologies.

An active member of multiple writing groups and organisations, including SCBWI and NAWG, Emma is also the creator and organiser of the fortnightly writing chat called #ukteenchat on Twitter. An active member of the online writing community, she can usually be found loitering on Twitter when she should be writing.

Emma is a mentor on both the WriteMentor summer programme and Spark, as well as a reader for the WriteMentor children’s novel award.

Emma lives in the West Midlands with her husband, a multitude of children, cats and chickens and hundred of notebooks!

Follow Emma on Twitter: @FinlaysonPalmer and Instagram: finlayson_palmer

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