Serious Flash Fiction | A very short story

12 July 2021

Katie Clark, a first year BA (Hons) Creative Writing student, has been selected to appear in the 2021 Serious Flash Fiction Anthology, to be published later this year. Here she tells us more about her experience:

I entered the Serious Flash Fiction competition #SFFiction run on Twitter by writer Ben Warden, where I had 269 characters to try and tell a story. Unfortunately, my past self had no idea just how short 269 characters actually was, and reasoned that if the story could fit on a Post-It note or two, I’d be fine. I was off by 200 characters! But, after putting my first piece through five rounds of edits, I came up with something I was proud of.

I copied it into Twitter, added the competition tag, and hit the send button. After I finished the first one, it’s like I pulled the stopper out of a bottle and now all these ideas were flooding my mind. I kept Post-It notes with me at all times. My notes app was in constant use. I had a lot of fun crafting these extremely short stories, and submitted thirteen pieces in total.

When the competition closed, my stress skyrocketed for a while. I knew from engaging with the other writers that there were some phenomenal pieces, and as anyone would, I worried I wouldn’t get picked.

I kept writing though. A limerick here, another flash piece there. I like to say that submitting my first entry was the hardest part of the competition. But as an impatient writer, the waiting was by far the worst part of the whole ordeal for me. My patience paid off when I got the notification that I was one of the winners. At least one (and possibly two) of my submissions had been accepted into the anthology, and I was absolutely thrilled. I’m going to be published! This is huge for me.

Winning and participating in this competition has taught me a lot. I’ve found that audience is more than a theoretical entity looming in the distance (an entity that is very shadowy and has entirely too many eyes). It’s a community of people who wish to read and engage with me and my work. And even though my mind’s eye still pictures my audience as a looming figure with loads of eyes, it’s a lot less shadowy and a lot less scary!