Every year, QSF holds a flash fiction contest to create an amazing new anthology of queer speculative fiction stories. We ask authors to do the nearly-impossible – to submit a sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror LGBTIQA story that has no more than 300 words.
Our 2018 contest launches on March 1st, and closes it April 1st. The theme for 2018 is “Impact”:
Take that however you will – an asteroid impacting the earth; the environmental impact of climate change; two paranormal entities crashing into one another in combat; the impact an action by an individual can have as it ripples through society. Heck, even an impacted wisdom tooth can work, as long as you sell it. It’s up to you.
We’ll be accepting stories from across the queer spectrum, and would love to see more entries including lesbian, trans, bi, intersex and ace protagonists, as well as gay men. We also welcome diversity in ability and in race.
We’d also love to see more fantasy and horror stories, though we’re still happy to get sci fi and paranormal too.
Try for something unique – take the road less traveled. We guarantee we’ll get fifty stories this year about meteor impacts, so if you choose to write one, it had better be unique – and damned good.
The stories can also fall anywhere across the spectrum romance-wise – romance is fine, but stories can also be genre driven with no romance at all.
We have four main criteria by which each story will be judged:
- Is there at least one queer character and obvious queer content?
- How well does the story incorporate speculative fiction (sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror) tropes and concepts?
- Is the story well-crafted, with a plot, a beginning, a middle, and an end?
- How well/cleverly is the theme used in the story?
We’ll announce the first batch of winners – the stories selected for the anthology – after the judging is complete.
Next we’ll announce the judges’ choices – five stories that didn’t quite make the top three, but that each judge thought deserved special mention.
We’ll also tease you with the honorable mention winners for this year’s book.
But the biggest event will be the launch of the book, when the top three winners will be announced.
So break out your writing pencil or laptop or whatever you use, and get ready to write.
Here are a few things that may help you if you are struggling with how to write a flash fiction story for the contest:
- Our 2018 Seminar Chat – past winners and judges talk about how to write good flash
- Judge Samples – Stories written by the judges as examples for the 2017 theme “Renewal”
- 2016 Winners
- 2015 Winners
- 2014 Winners
- Other 2014 Entries
- The story must be no longer than 300 words long, not including the title/byline. Longer entries will be rejected. We use Microsoft Word for our official word count.
- The story must somehow embrace/explore the theme of “impact”.
- The story can be with or without a queer romance, HEA not required, but must have queer characters and content.
- The story should be speculative fiction – all flavors of sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror accepted.
- The story should be a standalone – not connected to any series or universe.
- The winners will be chosen by a panel of five judges.
- Whether a submitted story meets all the qualifications is at the discretion of the judges.
- One entry per person.
- The contest begins on 3/1/17. Entries are due by midnight Pacific on 4/1/17.
- Entries should be sent in Word format. We’re not picky about the spacing or indents, etc, but 12 pt. Times New Roman is appreciated. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the email subject line “QSF FLASH FICTION CONTEST: TITLE, AUTHOR”, replacing TITLE and AUTHOR with your own.
- The top three winners will receive cash prizes of $50, $30, and $20 respectively; everyone who is chosen for publication will receive a free copy of the eBook. No royalties will be paid.
- A group of runners-up will be chosen – stories with high point scores that may or may not also be winners. There is no monetary reward for this distinction.
- Each of the judges will also select one work for special recognition as a “Judge’s Choice”. There is no monetary reward for this distinction.
- Authors agree to first publication rights on the blog if chosen as a winner or as a “Judge’s Choice”. Authors agree to exclusive publication in QSF anthology for 12 months, with author’s right to publish elsewhere returned after the end of the 12 months after publication date. MCB/QSF retain the right to sell the work for 36 months after publication.
- The judging panel will choose works from all entries submitted to create an eBook and paperback for sale.
- We don’t have the resources to provide personalized commentary or critique for every story that is not chosen for the anthology, but rest assured, we appreciate every entry.
If you have any questions, you can email me at email@example.com.
We’ve now run the contest four times, and put out books showcasing the best stories from Discovery (now out of print), Flight and Renewal:
For our first year, the theme was “Endings“. To see the top three stories and the three honorable mentions from 2014, click here. (15 entries)
To see the rest of the submissions from 2014 (where the authors gave us the go-ahead to post them), click here.
For the second year, the theme was “Discovery“. To see the winners and honorable mentions from 2015, click here. (115 entries)
For the third year, the theme was “Flight“. To see the winners and honorable mentions from 2016, click here. (172 entries)