Looking back on 2020, I was focused on two overarching themes: survival (of my loved ones, myself, humanity, all living things, the environment…) and DEI initiatives (diversity, equity, and inclusion). Maybe you were too?
What does this have to do with flash fiction, you ask?
As I looked back on the year to consider how to curate a list of the top 3 flash-related items that caught my attention in 2020, these two themes became apparent in my choices.
This flash piece related to climate change really stuck with me. A week prior to reading this, I’d had a similar idea for a story premise, so maybe what they say about the collective consciousness is true. Write down your story ideas before anyone else does! At any rate, I’m obviously not the only one considering how the seasons will manifest for future generations.
From Daily Science Fiction, here for your reading pleasure is a quietly disturbing story about weather. May our discernment of the seasons never fail us.
Snowfall, by Richard Bertram Peterson
The past year saw the publishing industry called on to disrupt the lack of diversity across all genres. Speculative literature was no exception, and saw an increase in calls for submission specific to writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). This leads to the next two items on this list.
HBO teamed up with The Root (a G/O Media brand) and put on a contest based on the HBO show “Lovecraft Country” to seek out thoughtful, creative, and terror-invoking tales under 750 words. The contest invited Black writers to “pick a decade or an important moment in Black American history, and weave a tale of the monsters that litter that time.”
From HBO and G/O Media, here is the winning entry from “For the Love of the Craft” contest:
Sunless Halls, by Donyae Cole
A speculative flash fiction collaboration between FIYAH Magazine and Tor.com, co-edited by Brent Lambert and DaVaun Sanders, is exactly what 2020 needed.
“Each of these stories stands in testament to the power and vitality of Black voices in the face of centuries of institutionalized oppression. Breathe FIYAH features fantastical and science fictional imaginings of Black characters honoring forebears and memories of the past, fighting the legacies that underpin the brutalities of the present, and demanding a future that’s freer than today.”
Go on and check it out: Breathe FIYAH
Maybe you already knew, but ICYMI (like I did), I have to share that 2020 also marks when I found out about an international flash fiction contest held by The Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC) that pays $500 Australian dollars. EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.
From AWC’s Furious Fiction page:
On the first weekend of every month, you are invited to put your storytelling skills to the test in the ultimate writer-takes-all short story competition. Armed only with our simple brief, your job is to race the clock to come up with your best 500 words-or-fewer story and be in to win a tasty $500 – every single month.
So there you have it, my top 3 flash-related items for 2020 and a bonus contest to boot. Until next time, keep reading and keep writing!
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