Though some call the art form embattled, for centuries, the written word was one of the most popular forms of entertainment available for the masses. Families in Victorian England would gather round the fire to read the latest Charles Dickens installment (he wrote most of his novels one chapter at a time), and Dickens fans in America reportedly besieged the sailors on the ships carrying his novels, crying, “Is Little Nell dead?” Dickens, paid by the installment, had financial incentive for his loquacity, and many other academically lauded works of literature, from War and Peace to Les Misérables to Remembrance Rock, have page counts in the thousands.
But who says literature needs to be long? Ernest Hemingway once allegedly wrote a story in just six words and supposedly called it one of his best works. (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”) And who can say those words don’t evoke the same passion and emotion provided by more verbose works? Fact is, you don’t need a valley to grow a blade of grass, and you don’t need chapters to tell a story. All you need, as Hemingway attests, are the right words.
That said, I’d like to introduce the first ever Boulder Weekly Flash Fiction Contest. From now until June 17, send in your (very) short story of 700 words or less to buzz at boulderweekly.com with “Boulder Weekly Flash Fiction Contest” in the subject title , and we’ll publish the one we like best on June 24 and send the winner a small cash prize. Any submission with more than 700 words (not including the title) will be disqualified with extreme prejudice. Now get writing, creative Boulderites, and keep it short.
Flash Fiction Contest Rules
1) All entries must contain no less than 600 words and no more than 700 words, not including the title. Any submission of more than 700 words will be immediately disqualified.
2) All entries must be sent to buzz at boulderweekly.com and received by 11:59 p.m. on June 17, 2010. Any entries received past the deadline will be immediately disqualified.
3) Friends and family of Boulder Weekly staff members may not enter the contest. Boulder Weekly freelance writers who have written for Boulder Weekly at least once since January 1, 2009, may also not enter.
4) All submitted work must be an original work by the author and must not have been published elsewhere.
5) Boulder Weekly may not respond to all submissions.
6) Priority will be given to writers living in Colorado.
7) Only one entry per person.