Updated version of a post from back spring because it’s BACK. Also – good news re one of my earlier round entries is found here. To reiterate:
This is one of those rare contests where you can’t lose, even if you lose.
Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction (NPR’s flash fiction contest) has begun. Contestants submit an original work of fiction (600 words or less) that revolves around a president, fictional or real. Entry deadline is 11:59 ET on September 23.
Entrants wind up with a new original story, and it’s always fun to read the commentary as entries get posted on NPR. There’s even a Facebook page where participants and spectators can join in the fun.
I’ve found that it’s best not to try and ‘guess’ what the judge will like and write to the judge. Initial screening is typically done by writing students and/or faculty at various institutions (such as the Iowa Writers Workshop) and it sounds like they use a rigorous, careful method for considering each entry. New this round is use of Submittable for entering stories, which prevents some of the nasty formatting problems that cropped up with the text-based NPR form, as well as hopefully helping to manage the crush of applicants which tended to slow things down for the last minute submitters. Still, it’s best not to wait until the last minute.
My advice? Write the best story you can. None of my entries has been selected as a favorite by the judges, nor have I won NPR’s contest, but I’ve had successes placing stories elsewhere, after the contest ends. My round 6 entry got published here, and I earned $50 for it, plus read it at a local cafe, so that ain’t bad. And, as I noted above, another (a slightly expanded version of my round 5 entry) just got picked up by a prominent national magazine and I’ll be paid for that one, too and excited to have it published soon.
More info here: Three-Minute Fiction : NPR.