2017 Flash Fiction Challenge Rule Updates

flash fiction contest gavelBack in January 2015, we instituted new rules for the flash fiction challenge because a number of people had complained that the voting was a “popularity contest” and that the “best entries” weren’t winning. So, we got together a panel of judges and only let the best entries make it through to public voting. Meanwhile, those who had complained never entered the challenge anyway, and we did triple the amount of work while watching the traffic for this feature plummet over 80%. Why do we care about traffic? Because part of the reason for doing this challenge is to get exposure for all the participating authors.

So, starting with the January 2, 2016 flash fiction prompt, Indies Unlimited will be reverted back to the original rules for winner selection. However, now each entrant has double the opportunity to win. One winner, who will receive a spotlight post on Saturdays, will be selected by popular vote. All entrants will be eligible (if they follow the rules). Another winner will be selected by the admins/editors for the anthology. Those entries will be referred to as the “Editors’ Choice” winners and will be announced once a month in a post. That way, whoever ends up in the anthology does not get there by “popularity contest” means. This also means that if none of the entries meet the editors’ criteria, there may be no “Editors’ Choice” winner that week – or – there is a chance that the popular vote winner could also be the Editors’ Choice pick. Please see the italicized text in the bullet points below for the new rules. All the other rules and scheduling remain unchanged.

Here are the parameters for the 2016 Flash Fiction Challenge:

  • Each Saturday, we will post a challenge, consisting of a picture. There will be no written prompt. Award-winning author and photographer K.S. Brooks has graciously extended permission for the use of her photos for this purpose. You are welcome to post your entry with the photograph on your blog, but please make sure to give attribution to K. S. Brooks.
  • Authors can participate by writing their entries in the comment section. The word limit for entries is 250 words. The word limit will be strictly enforced.
  • Each weekly exercise will accept entries until 5:00 PM Pacific time the following Tuesday.
  • Tuesday night, the admins/editors will choose the best entry based on a) the quality of writing (grammar, punctuation, and style); and b) relevance to the written and photo prompts. This story will be featured in the IU Anthology published at year-end and the winners will be announced at the end of each month in a separate blog post.
  • On Wednesday, we will open voting on all entries to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. If you have entered the challenge, it’s fine to ask people to vote for you! Don’t be shy. That’s how you get your writing out there.
  • Each week, the admins/editors have the right NOT to choose a Editors’ Choice pick if they do not feel it meets the quality standards for the anthology. There is the possibility that the Editors’ Choice and the popular vote may select the same entry on any given week.
  • ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. Results displayed in the poll are unofficial until verified by administration.
  • Each Saturday, the popular vote winner will be recognized as we post the the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.
  • In the event of a tie in the voting, the entry which posted earliest will be chosen as the winner.
  • At the beginning of the next year, Indies Unlimited will publish an eBook with all the photos and the “Editors’ Choice” winning expositions, adding one more credit to your portfolio.
  • By submitting an entry, the author agrees to these terms and grants Indies Unlimited the nonexclusive rights to publish the material submitted and waives any and all further consideration in return for acknowledgement as a contributing author to the final anthology.
  • Reprinting: if you would like to use your entry elsewhere, please give us the courtesy of full disclosure with the statement “originally posted at Indies Unlimited.” If you would like to include the link to the page with the entry, even better and much appreciated. Should you use the photograph that goes with the entry, make sure to give photographer’s credit to K. S. Brooks. She already works for free here, and bad things happen to people who don’t do right by her. And she WILL find out. Trust us on that one!

We hope you will have fun, hone your chops, and call in all kinds of favors from your friends to get them to vote for your entry. Most of all, we hope to offer you one more way to reach a wider audience.

2016 Flash Fiction Challenge Rule Changes

flash fiction contest gavelBack in January 2015, we instituted new rules for the flash fiction challenge because a number of people had complained that the voting was a “popularity contest” and that the “best entries” weren’t winning. So, we got together a panel of judges and only let the best entries make it through to public voting. Meanwhile, those who had complained never entered the challenge anyway, and we did triple the amount of work while watching the traffic for this feature plummet over 80%. Why do we care about traffic? Because part of the reason for doing this challenge is to get exposure for all the participating authors.

So, starting with the January 2, 2016 flash fiction prompt, Indies Unlimited will be reverting to the original rules for winner selection. However, now each entrant will have double the opportunity to win. One winner, who will receive a spotlight post on Saturday mornings, will be selected by popular vote. All entrants will be eligible (if they follow the rules). Another winner will be selected by the admins/editors for the anthology. Those entries will be referred to as the “Editors’ Choice” winners and will be announced once a month in a post. That way, whoever ends up in the anthology does not get there by “popularity contest” means. This also means that if none of the entries meet the editors’ criteria, there may be no “Editors’ Choice” winner that week – or – there is a chance that the popular vote winner could also be the Editors’ Choice pick. Please see the italicized text in the bullet points below for the new rules. All the other rules and scheduling remain unchanged.

Here are the parameters for the 2016 Flash Fiction Challenge:

  • Each Saturday, we will post a challenge, consisting of a picture and a  written prompt. Award-winning author and photographer K.S. Brooks has graciously extended permission for the use of her photos for this purpose. You are welcome to post your entry with the photograph on your blog, but please make sure to give attribution to K. S. Brooks.
  • Authors can participate by writing their entries in the comment section. The word limit for entries is 250 words. The word limit will be strictly enforced.
  • Each weekly exercise will accept entries until 5:00 PM Pacific time the following Tuesday.
  • Tuesday night, the admins/editors will choose the best entry based on a) the quality of writing (grammar, punctuation, and style); and b) relevance to the written and photo prompts. This story will be featured in the IU Anthology published at year-end and the winners will be announced at the end of each month in a separate blog post.
  • On Wednesday, we will open voting on all entries to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.
  • Each week, the admins/editors have the right NOT to choose a Editors’ Choice pick if they do not feel it meets the quality standards for the anthology. There is the possibility that the Editors’ Choice and the popular vote may select the same entry on any given week.
  • ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. Results displayed in the poll are unofficial until verified by administration.
  • Each Saturday, the popular vote winner will be recognized as we post the the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.
  • In the event of a tie in the voting, the entry which posted earliest will be chosen as the winner.
  • At the end of the year Indies Unlimited will publish an eBook with all the photos and the “Editors’ Choice” winning expositions, adding one more credit to your portfolio.
  • By submitting an entry, the author agrees to these terms and grants Indies Unlimited the nonexclusive rights to publish the material submitted and waives any and all further consideration in return for acknowledgement as a contributing author to the final anthology.
  • Reprinting: if you would like to use your entry elsewhere, please give us the courtesy of full disclosure with the statement “originally posted at Indies Unlimited.” If you would like to include the link to the page with the entry, even better and much appreciated. Should you use the photograph that goes with the entry, make sure to give photographer’s credit to K. S. Brooks. She already works for free here, and bad things happen to people who don’t do right by her. And she WILL find out. Trust us on that one!

We hope you will have fun, hone your chops, and call in all kinds of favors from your friends to get them to vote for your entry. Most of all, we hope to offer you one more way to reach a wider audience.

Use Short Fiction to Help Your Novel Writing

Typewriter - Once upon a timeI don’t know about other novel writers, but something happens to my brain between drafts. It’s tired, but it’s too revved up to stop. The state reminds me of my brief long-distance running career. After a major race, lying around “resting” was anything but restful. My body preferred short jogs for a few days, to recover and refresh for the next goal. So when I was going a little stir-crazy waiting to begin the second draft of one of my novels, a friend suggested I try writing a few short stories to keep myself out of trouble. I’ve always found the form intimidating—novel writing gives me the luxury to delve deep into characters and story, and many of my attempts earned me the same response from critique groups: “That sounds like the beginning of a novel.” Sigh. Also, when the subject comes up among writers, you always hear examples of such-and-such author who is better at one length than another. Continue reading “Use Short Fiction to Help Your Novel Writing”

2015 Flash Fiction Challenge Rule Changes

flash fiction contest gavelStarting with the January 10, 2015 flash fiction prompt, Indies Unlimited will be instituting some changes as to how the winning entries will be selected. Please see the italicized text in the bullet points below for the new rules. All the other rules remain unchanged.

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Here are the parameters for the 2015 Flash Fiction Challenge:

  • Each Saturday, we will post a challenge, consisting of a picture and a  written prompt. Award-winning author and photographer K.S. Brooks has graciously extended permission for the use of her photos for this purpose.
  • Authors can participate by writing their entries in the comment section. The word limit for entries is 250 words. The word limit will be strictly enforced.
  • Each weekly exercise will accept entries until 5:00 PM the following Tuesday.
  • Tuesday night, a panel of judges will choose the top entries based on a) the quality of writing (grammar, punctuation, and style); and b) relevance to the written and photo prompts. Only the stories chosen by the judges will be included in the public voting.
  • On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.
  • ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. Results displayed in the poll are unofficial until verified by administration.
  • Each Saturday, the winner will be recognized as we post the the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.
  • In the event of a tie in the voting, the entry which posted earliest will be chosen as the winner.
  • At the end of the year Indies Unlimited will publish an eBook with all the photos and the winning expositions, adding one more credit to your portfolio.
  • By submitting an entry, the author agrees to these terms and grants Indies Unlimited the nonexclusive rights to publish the material submitted and waives any and all further consideration in return for acknowledgement as a contributing author to the final anthology.

We hope you will have fun, hone your chops, and call in all kinds of favors from your friends to get them to vote for your entry. Most of all, we hope to offer you one more way to reach a wider audience.