Updated 12/21/2013

Flash Fiction Online is currently OPEN to all submission categories.

 

NOTE 1: Flash Fiction Online is a Science Fiction Writers of America qualifying market. For more details on SFWA membership, follow THIS LINK: http://www.sfwa.org/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/#shortfiction

 

NOTE 2: We're always looking for great stories related to important events and holidays.  Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's and Father's Day, Election Day, Veteran's Day, Boxing Day, D-Day, Ramadan, Hannukah.  The list goes on.  If you have something appropro, drop it into our 'Seasonal' submission category.  Please give us at least a couple of months leeway, ie. submit for Valentine's Day by December 14th.  Thanks!


THE IMPORTANT STUFF:

1. WORD LENGTH: We publish very short fiction, consisting of 500 to 1000 words (story only) in length. Authors may submit previously unpublished, original stories up to 1100 words with the caveat that if accepted the story will have to be cut to 1000 words.

Submissions of fewer than 500 words or more than 1100 words WILL be returned unread.

Please include an exact word count.

We do not publish poetry, nor do we publish fiction with poetry-like formatting.

2. FORMAT:

We accept doc., rtf., or txt. files only. No docx.

Please omit all author information (including your name) from the text body, headers, and text file name. Include author information in the cover letter only. Do not include your  name in the title box.  This allows anonymity in our selection process, and ensures that stories are selected entirely on merit - not previous publication credits. 

Submit in Times New Roman or Courier New font, 12 pt. Double spacing, left alignment, and one-inch margins give you brownie points.  Please place a # or other marker to denote scene breaks.

Please submit using the appropriate Category (genre). If you aren’t sure which genre category your story belongs in, don’t sweat it. Just drop it in the ‘Other’ box.

3. SUBMITTING:

We DO accept multiple submissions (you submit more than one story at a time to us). Please submit multiple submissions as a SEPARATE submission for each story—DO NOT submit multiple stories in one Submishmash submission form or in one text document.  Please DO NOT submit more than 3 stories at once.

We DO NOT accept simultaneous submissions (you submit your story to us and another market at the same time).

4. GENRE: We accept most genres.

Please no erotica, porn, gore, graphic sex or violence, or heavy-handed profanity. We’re PG-13 at most. We’d rather see such situations handled obliquely—enough so that it could appear on prime-time network television. If the story is amazing but the content questionable, in any way we deem it to be so, be prepared to make modifications if we accept the story.

If in doubt, send it anyway. The worst we can do is say “no.”

We do not publish fan-fiction.

5.  RESUBMISSIONS:

As is true with most markets, we do NOT accept rewrites or resubmissions of a rejected story unless specifically requested by the Editor-in-chief.




If you’ve read this far, you’ve got the meat of our guidelines. To see what might help push your story to the top of the slushpile, read on:

HELPFUL STUFF:

5. ON STORY: Flash fiction is very short but still a story, complete with a resolved plot and strong, interesting characters. Flash fiction is not a story synopsis or a scene from a novel. For a pretty good article (if I do say so myself) on writing flash fiction, follow THIS LINK to my blog, The Slushpile Avalanche: http://slusheditor.blogspot.com/2010/01/managing-story-length.html

6. ON HARD SELLS:

2nd POV: We’re all writers around here. We understand about the desire to push the envelope, to experiment with form or structure or point of view. We’ve also seen some pretty amazing results from authors doing just that. However, after the thousands of stories we’ve read, second-person point of view is not only hard to write well, it’s hard to read. I’m not saying ‘do not send’ 2nd POV stories. I’m just saying it’s not likely to be well-received here.

POLEMICAL FICTION: We don’t have anything against a story having a message, but we prefer stories with a message, rather than messages told as a story. Does that make any sense? In other words, if you have an agenda to vent in the form of a story, it’s probably not for us. If you are talented enough to hide your agenda in a really well-written story, well, we’ll see.

EVIL HUMAN RACE: I’m afraid this is fast becoming the most trite and overdone of all fiction trends—evil humans (or worse, evil white males) are responsible for a) all the world’s ills, and/or b) the destruction of the world. Or, related to it, vastly superior aliens justify their complete destruction of the evil, wasteful human race. Sorry for being an optimist, but I have more faith in the human race than that. And more faith in aliens, for that matter.

SURPRISE!: Surprise! The hero is actually a _____________________ (Fill in the blank with any one of a number of potential choices—the villain, a vampire, a cat. Use your imagination. No, actually, don’t.) In reality, any story in which the ending is an unsupported surprise isn’t going to be received with much enthusiasm.

DIVERSITY?: Characters with differing religious and/or political beliefs from the author are lampooned, stupid, crazy, evil, etc. Ugh.

WHO??: We're not hugely keen on stories with unnamed main characters. Hiding your main character's name is not a new idea. It just isn't a frequently published idea because, to be frank, it doesn't work. Simply giving your main character a name, an identity, in the first line or two of a story will do more to draw your reader into the story than just about anything else.  If you're writing in first person POV, it's not always possible to identify your character by name, and that's fine.  But it would be nice to at least have a clear identify--gender/species/age, etc.  

DOWNERS: Call it a sign of the times, but we're seeing a lot of stories about downtrodden characters and depressing, hopeless situations these days. While many of them are very good, even worthy of publication, we're tiring of the hopeless. Don't get me wrong. A good portion of our staff, including yours truly, have a place in those shadowy recesses of our psyches for well-done dark fiction. But there's dark, and then there's just plain downer for downer's sake. At any rate, during the Great Depression/war the popular media made a concerted effort to produce hopeful and uplifting books, films, and radio shows to encourage a downhearted public. After reading hundreds of unhappy stories, we're sort of wishing for something like that to happen now.

BLOOD and VIOLENCE: Hopefully NOT a sign of the times, we're also seeing a lot of stories concerning suicide, serial killers, and violence against children. Again, I'm not saying I wouldn't ever publish such stories, but the odds are stacked heavily against it.

PLAYBOY: We've grown more than weary of stories in which women are objectified, little more than buxom prizes to be won or the targets of sexual victory or violence.  The same would also be true if we happened to receive a plethora of stories in which men are objectified in a similar manner.  But we don't.  Come on, guys.  Take a leap into the 21st century.




OTHER STUFF:

7. ON RESPONSE TIME AND QUERIES: We are an open submission market.  Please do not send a query prior to submitting a story; just submit it.  Query only to ask about the status of already-submitted stories.  Currently our response time is running 2 to 10 weeks. Please do not query about submitted stories until at least 8 weeks. Please check your Spam filter before querying.  Send queries to editor@flashfictiononline.com. Include QUERY in the subject line.

8. ON PAYMENT AND RIGHTS: A sample copy of our publication contract can be found at our website. As a synopsis, we pay sixty dollars US ($60) per story. This payment provides us with first electronic publication rights, including HTML, PDF, Plain text, and MP3 (Podcast) formats, as well as inclusion in a FFO anthology (print or electronic) after the original publication. Your story may be distributed through a variety of electronic means, including email, our Web site, podcast, Kindle or other similar electronic publication, and RSS feed. All other rights remain with the author, including the right to republish at will following the privilege he/she allows us to be the first to do so anywhere in the world.

9. ON US: Want to know more about us? Visit our website at www.flashfictiononline.com, meet us on our staff page, read our stories, sign up for a free subscription. We’re also on Twitter and FB. Look us up, Like us, Tweet us.


Suzanne Vincent
Editor-In-Chief
Flash Fiction Online

Home
View Your Submissions

SCIENCE FICTION: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting

+ Show Guidelines

Submit

FANTASY AND SLIPSTREAM: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting.

+ Show Guidelines

Submit

HORROR: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting.

+ Show Guidelines

Submit

MAINSTREAM: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting.

+ Show Guidelines

Submit

LITERARY: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting.

+ Show Guidelines

Submit

HUMOR: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting.

+ Show Guidelines

Submit

SEASONAL: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting.

+ Show Guidelines

Submit

OTHER: Please read and heed our guidelines before submitting.

+ Show Guidelines

Submit