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January 27, 2009

Flash Fiction Contest Deadline Extended

Good news, writers! We're extending our flash fiction contest till February 6, 2009! Send us your very best flash fiction, along with a check for $10, and you could win our first prize of publication and $400!

But what is flash fiction, anyway? I hear all my friends talking about it.

Good question! The first association that comes to our minds is a camera flash―the object that in a burst of luminosity illuminates a subject in order to fix it, that freezes one moment in a flood of light. The flash, brief as it is, leaves one slightly dazzled, its intensity momentarily disorienting. Even as the flash reveals, it disorients, dislocates.

Flash fiction functions in a similar manner. Call it what you will―the short-short, micro-fiction, postcard fiction―flash's potent brevity allows the writer to unpack one moment, one idea, one singular tiny story, and to fix that moment of narrative in close, sharp focus. Flash suggests not only brevity, but clarity. Flash dislocates us as readers, surprises us, undoes us, delights us, by locating something we might otherwise miss in a longer narrative―the small, the fleeting, and the ephemeral.

Oh, so it's one of those genre-bending forms?

Flash is the wonderful threshold between poetry and the short-story, where, as in poetry, every word counts, and where, as in the short story, there's a narrative unfolding, a beginning, middle, and end, no matter how implicit or oblique. But flash works its magic not through expansion but through winnowing, compression, precision, and concision. Because flash dislocates both of its formal cousins, the poem and the short story, and occupies a strange, wild space all its own, we have a special affection for it.

So flash us! Whether it's the brief history of a love affair told through a series of movie ticket stubs, the acknowledgments to a book that exists only out there in the fictive world, or the voicemail of a particularly crazy boss, freeze a moment, fix a narrative, show us what we've been missing. Surprise us. Dazzle us. dislocate us.

Will do! What are those details again about how to submit?

$10 per entry. One entry per person. Entry should be under 1,000 words.

And what do I get?

First Prize: $400, publication, 5 contributor copies.
Second Prize: $150, publication, 4 contributor copies.
Third Prize: $50, publication, 4 contributor copies.

When do you need it?

Extended deadline: February 6, 2009.

Where do I send my flash fiction entry?

Send your manuscript, cover letter (name, mailing address, email address, phone number, title of piece, and brief bio), and check for $10 payable to dislocate Magazine to:
dislocate―Attn: dislocate Flash Fiction Contest
Department of English
222 Lind Hall
207 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0134

For more information, check out www.dislocate.org, or email us at susman@umn.edu.