This is the WASTED BLOG. For my main author website, click this link.

Awards: WASTED won the Read it or Else category in the Coventry Award and was runner-up in the North East Book Award. It is longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Manchester, Grampian, Angus, and RED Awards.

Monday, 26 April 2010


This for all the writers amongst you - young or not young, published and unpublished. A flash fiction competition. Flash fiction is a very very very short story.  I wrote about this on my other blog here.

Stories can be told in a tiny number of words. Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story in six words which he considered to be his best ever:
"For sale: baby shoes, never used."
I wrote one once, in four words:
"Certainly," said the inn-keeper.
These stories are obviously not very satisfying for readers. But they open your mind to ideas and possibilities. How would history have changed if there'd been room at the inn? What is the story behind Hemingway's unworn baby shoes?

My challenge to you is to write a story in not more than 50 words, inspired by any one of these three words:
Luck, Chance or Fate.

Two age categories:
A - school pupil (at today's date: April 26th 2010)
B - left school (however long ago!)
  1. Closing date 15th June 2010 - winners announced before end of UK school term.
  2. Prizes sent to UK address only - if you're overseas, do enter but nominate a UK resident to receive the prize. You'll still get the glory!!
  3. Category A entrants - please indicate the name of your school on your entry and ask permission from school or parent. Also please indicate your AGE.
  4. Email your entry to
  5. Put the words FLASH COMPETITION in the subject line.
  6. Give an email contact but not your postal address - I will ask you for that if you're a winner.
  7. 50 words max. Hyphenated words count as one. I will not disqualify a writer for writing 51 words accidentally. But I might for 52 or 53...
  8. I will use independent judges and their decision will be final.
  9. One prize in each category: the winner's choice of any of my in print books, signed. Runners-up will get honourable mentions on blogs.
  10. By entering, you give permission for me to publish your entry or part on my blogs.
Off you go! I will publish some of the best on this blog and on my other blog -  -  and I'll use Twitter to publicise them so loads of people could read your work. Take time to polish, polish and polish. In flash fiction, every word counts so make every one work really hard.

And as Wasted shows, you never know where any action might lead you. Your decision to enter this competition could have unpredictable effects and one thing is certain: you'll never know unless you try.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt the impossible: to explain quantum physics. For someone who was as useless at science as me (according to my teachers - thanks for the support anyway), that is a very difficult task.

I need coffee. And probably chocolate.


fairyhedgehog said...

This is a great competition. I love flash fiction!

I'm looking forward to hearing you on quantum physics, too.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww thanks for this competition!

May you find tons of chocolate and good coffee!

take care

Tanya Byrne said...

What a wonderful idea, Nicola. I really enjoy writing flash fiction so I hope to enter, muse willing.

Anonymous said...

Quantum Physics - I will come prepaired with pen and paper tomorrow :)

Clare said...

Quantum Physics?!

Dear Ms Crabbit Bat,
Those words brought me out in a cold sweat. I am allergic to science and logic so please excuse me from reading your blog tomorrow - already I feel the headache coming on.
I am sure I shall be well enough to return on Wednesday.

Tania Hershman said...

Oooh, a flash comp AND a teaser about quantum physics? Don't get me too excited, all the things I love....

Stroppy Author said...

Dear Crabbit, will you pls write my quantum physics book for me? I don't want to. 60K words, deadline 1 Dec. I will give your hammer back if you say yes. Love, Stroppy

fairyhedgehog said...

So far I've got twenty words and it's a complete story.

I'm not good at writing long!