NEHS Writing Challenge: Flash Fiction

Continuing with the success of last year’s Poetry Challenge in mind, the NEHS writing challenge for the 2020-2021 school year will be Flash Fiction in multiple, brief forms. Writers will be challenged to create narratives that make impacts on readers using very limited words or characters. While some view the form as a relatively new phenomenon, brief fiction dates from centuries ago in ancient tales including Aesop’s Fables. Many famous authors, including Hemingway, Vonnegut, Chopin, among others, have written flash fiction, albeit under a variety of names.

All members of NEHS, students and Advisors, are encouraged to submit carefully crafted Flash Fiction pieces from September through April of the 2020-2021 school year. Each month, members of the NEHS Advisory Council and Central Office personnel will read and select the best of the entries; the best submissions will be published through our social media outlets and archived on the Society blog, NEHS Museletter. In May, the monthly “winners,” both students and Advisors, will be re-read and the best work of the year will be picked. Winning writers will be sent a $25 gift e-card and will also receive a certificate of achievement.

Those writers entering the competition must make sure their Flash Fiction pieces fit the monthly requirement. All entries must include a word count; some forms will require an exact number of words or characters; others may not exceed the total number but may use fewer if the form allows. One form, “postcard” fiction, will require all entries to be written on a post card; the content must relate to the picture depicted on the opposite side of the card and both sides must be uploaded.

This award is competitive in nature; applications will be evaluated by members of the Advisory Council of NEHS.

Eligiblity

  1. A student applicant must be an NEHS member in good standing of an active chapter.
  2. A Chapter Advisor must be from an active chapter.

Guidelines 

  1. NEHS will announce monthly (September through April) Flash Fiction forms which the submissions must match. Monthly submissions are due on the 1st day of each month and will be evaluated within that month.
  2. Flash Fiction forms require careful word selection; provide only as much detail as necessary to impact your reader. Writing tip: write more than is needed, then edit down to the required number of words/characters.
  3. Writers may only submit one Flash Fiction piece in any given month. All entries must be submitted as outlined in the submission section below; while 12-point font is usually the standard for submissions of written work, we encourage some creativity with font decisions that may enhance the impact of the Flash Fiction piece(s). (The exception will be the postcard fiction entries, which may be hand-written legibly.)
  4. Submissions are due according to the schedule below and in the form(s) required.
    This writing challenge is open to all NEHS members regardless of whether their schools are in regular sessions, hybrid models, or virtual.
  5. NEHS Advisors must approve and submit all submissions by student members.
    All submissions must be the original work of the writer and may not have been pre-published in another publication with one exception—submissions may have been published in the school’s literary magazine or school newspaper. If so, please indicate such pre-publication with proper citation.

Required Attachments 

  1. All entries must be submitted as outlined in the submission section below using 12-point font (with the exception of the postcard fiction).

  2. Submit narratives in one file. Title the entry; titles do not count against the length requirements. The file must be named the same as the title of the Flash Fiction.

  3. All entries must be submitted as outlined in the submission section below; while 12-point font is usually the standard for submissions of written work, we encourage some creativity with font decisions that may enhance the impact of the Flash Fiction piece(s). (The exception will be the postcard fiction entries, which may be hand-written legibly.)

Submission Due Dates and Topics

  • September 1, 2020 – Six-Word Stories
  • October 1, 2020 – Dribbles, stories in exactly 50 words
  • November 1, 2020 – Postcard Fiction, narratives written on actual postcards; the story must relate to the picture on the reverse side of the card. Both sides must be scanned and uploaded into a single document to be submitted; the written side may utilize the whole space available, but the story, which may be handwritten, must be legible.
  • February 1, 2021 – Drabbles, stories in exactly 100 words
  • March 1, 2021 – Twitterature, stories utilizing no more than 280 characters, including spaces and punctuation
  • April 1, 2021 – A return to the Six-Word Stories

Application Process

Only Chapter Advisors may submit their own work or the work of a student member by completing this form.