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Stone Soup holds a Flash Contest during the first week of every month. The month’s first Weekly Creativity prompt provides the contest challenge. Submissions are due by midnight on Sunday of the same week. Up to five winners are chosen for publication on our blog. The winners, along with up to five honorable mentions, are announced in the following Saturday Newsletter. Submit via our Submittable site.

The December Flash Contest is now open! Use the Atlas of Emotions to choose an emotion you've never heard of, and write a story/poem in which your protagonist feels and describes that emotion.

Every contest has its own winners' page, where you can read all the winning entries for the month. You can find the links to all of those pages below. Note that the first Monthly Flash Contest is #23. For previous Flash Contest results, please check the Weekly Flash Contest Winner page.

We are proud of everyone who takes part in the contest. Thank you for trusting us with your work!

Eyes of Fear
Our November Flash Contest was based on Prompt #228 (provided by Stone Soup contributor Sage Millen), which asked that participants write stories (or poems) in which their characters confronted their worst fears. I'm particularly fond of this prompt as it is not only generative of new work, but it is also an extremely helpful exercise in revision. This month's crop of submitters and submissions was particularly diverse, with pieces ranging from a story told from the perspective of a migratory bird to a poem from the perspective of a murderer to a love letter to baseball—just to name a few—and with three out of five of our selected winners being first-time winners! As always, we thank all who submitted and encourage you to submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners “The Trick up Sam's Sleeve" by Kyle Chinchio, 9 “I'm Sorry" by Eiaa Dev, 13 “Baseball Spirit" by Miles Koegler, 11 “Icarus" by Nova Macknik-Conde, 11 “A Long Journey" by Jack Ryan, 9 Honorable Mentions “Because of the Dog" by Sofia Grandis-Oliveira, 9 “Esmera's Wish" by Kimberly Hu, 10 “Fear" by Yuqing Li, 11 “At Home with the Music" by Madeline Male, 14 “Wild Waters" by Natalie Yue, 10 The Trick up Sam's Sleeve Kyle Chinchio, 9 Hi, I’m Sam and this, the story I’m about to tell you, is the scariest thing that’s ever happened — well at least to me. I’m a pretty ordinary kid ...
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A photograph of a coral reef.
Our October Flash Contest was based on Prompt #223 (provided by Stone Soup contributor Molly Torinus), which asked that participants randomly choose a word from the dictionary and use that word to start their story or poem. A welcome change from some of our more specific prompts, this open-ended prompt led to far and away the most submissions we've ever received for a Flash Contest: 62! As such, it felt fitting to select six winners and six honorable mentions instead of the usual five. Among the plethora of submissions was a poem that plumbed the depths of mythological oceanic lore, a story written from the perspective of a creature who claimed to live inside of computers, and a story featuring a race against time in which the dwindling hours punctuated every section of the narrative. As always, we thank all who submitted and encourage you to submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners “Ghost Ash" by Josie Barrer, 11 “Finding Permanence" by Joshua Gordon, 13 “Uranomancy" by Emma Hoff, 10 “The Dream" by Mika Lim, 12 “Bittersweet Star" by Vanaja Raju, 11 “Plum" by Melody You, 12 Honorable Mentions “Reunited" by Wenonah Brewer-Nyborg, 12 “The Countdown" by Sophie Li, 11 “Football" by Jeremy Lim, 10 “Orange" by Lui Lung, 13 “Fathom the Depths" by Nova Macknik-Conde, 11 “Into Your Computer" by Aryaman Majumder, 11 Ghost Ash Josie Barrer, 11 Hypnotized by the alluring mountains before me, I ...
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Signals
Our September Flash Contest was based on Prompt #219 (provided by Stone Soup intern Sage Millen), which asked that participants simply write a scene in which two people are lying to each other. This straight forward prompt led to some brilliant writing, all of which was structured in distinct, fascinating ways. One story focused on two characters running together with the dramatic irony that neither character actually wanted to be running. Another story pitted a man and a woman fated to be married against each other, both of them lying about their happiness. And another story told a cautionary tale about a pair of wily friends in a magic forest, and the escalation of trickery. As always, we thank all who submitted and encourage you to submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners “The Job Offer" by Dev Agarwal, 13 “Coyote Falls" by Elise Buck, 11 “The King's Plan" by Eiaa Dev, 13 “Running in Circles" by Marin Hamory, 11 “Happiness" by Lui Lung, 13 Honorable Mentions “Liar" by Asha Akkinepally, 12 “Saving of Rabbitland" by Claire Chen, 11 “Exchange of Power" by Sophie Li, 11 “The Two Explorers of Gorklin" by Aryaman Majumder, 11" “Lying" by June Schaffer, 9 The Job Offer Dev Agarwal, 13 Tuesday, 5:03 pm A prolonged silence spread through the room like a poisonous gas. It diseased the two people, a man and a woman, sitting on opposite ends of a sofa ...
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A very vivid photograph of colourful flowers.
Our August Flash Contest was based on Prompt #214 (provided by Stone Soup intern Sage Millen), which asked that participants channel their inner Dickens and write about two cities—utopian and dystopian—that were right next to each other. We received a wide breadth of submissions (including a couple poems), all with brilliant world-building. Two of the winning submissions were epistolary, though their plots were completely different; one was a letter from a condemned father to his saved daughter and the other was a series of letters between strangers turned friends. Many submissions decided to flip the trope of "utopia," crafting utopian cities with sinister motives, while others stuck to the literal definition. Others took their cities into space as well as the future. As always, we thank all who submitted and encourage you to submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners "Tend to My Grave" by Sophie Li, 11 "The Unknown War" by Evan Lu, 13 "The Oasis" by Lui Lung, 13 "Magic Wands" by Pranjoli Sadhukha, 12 "Crimson Messenger" by Olivia Yu, 13 Honorable Mentions "The Peacemakers and the Jupiters" by Arnav Bansal, 12 "A Glimmer of Hope" by Reena Bao, 12 "The Light in the Darkness" by Samantha Lee, 12 "Where the Utopian Meets the Dystopian" by Aryaman Majumder, 11 "Two Worlds" by Madeline Male, 14 Tend to my Grave Sophie Li, 11 Dear Amelia:  I am your father. You may not remember this, but ...
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Imprisoning the Manatees black goggles
Our July Flash Contest was based on Prompt #210 (provided by Stone Soup intern Sage Millen), which asked that participants write a story about glasses that did more than just improve vision. As of late, Sage has set a precedent for uniquely specific, wacky prompts that allow writers to focus largely on storytelling. Unsurprisingly, we received a wide breadth of submissions (including one poem), with fleshed out, vivid plots that ranged from the all-too-real consequences brought on by lie-detecting glasses to an exploration of the ramifications of glasses that hide what the wearer wishes not to see to a heartwarming tale brought on by glasses that can resurrect any memory into the physical realm. As always, we thank all who submitted and encourage you to submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners "A Memory" by Hayden Carroll, 10 "More, or Less?" by Peri Gordon, 12 "Liar" by Sophie Li, 11 "Memories through the Lenses" by Audrey Ren, 11 "Numb" by Eliana Wang, 13 Honorable Mentions "The Passing Lens" by Natalie Jong, 9 "The Things We Don't See" by Lui Lung, 13 "A Strange Gift" by Bela Harini Ramesh, 10 "Defining Deeds" by Emily Tang, 13 "Eccentric Eyeglasses" by Melody You, 11 A Memory Hayden Carroll, 10 Feel the frame  Dip in the middle,  Are you brave enough to put them on?  Do it.  Do it.  Look through the delicate glass,   That can be broken with the slightest ...
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Join the Fun looking in the mirror
Our June Flash Contest was based on Prompt #207 (provided by contributor Molly Torinus), which asked that participants write a scene (as a story, a poem, or a play) in which the author met their past or future selves. This prompt, a creative reimagining of the classic "write a letter to your future self," resonated deeply with our participants as we received over 40 submissions! The participants' brilliant work ranged from a semi-fictional origin story for the author's pet guinea pigs to a time-bending competition over the homework of the author's past, present, and future selves to a heart wrenching letter asking that the author's future self be kinder to their soon-to-be-dead brother. If I may inject myself into this short summary, in all the time I've been judging the Flash Contest—since September 2020—I have never seen such a crop of brilliant writing. It took me over two days to ultimately decide the winners and honorable mentions, of which there are six each—one more than the usual five—and even then two more pieces were selected for the regular and Covid blogs. I distinctly remember being blown away by the quality of writing and artwork the first time I encountered Stone Soup—better and more robust than that of my college peers—and my admiration and awe for you contributors has only increased since I became an employee. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all who submitted and have submitted their work in the past, and please submit again ...
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Midnight’s Song raccoon
Our May Flash Contest was based on Prompt #202 (provided by intern Sage Millen), which, like her last contest prompt from February, dealt with food in a remarkably whimsical way. This time the food was pizza rather than tomato soup, as participants were asked to write a story where somebody betrays their best friend for a slice of slightly stale pizza. Once again, the submissions matched the sheer creativity and ingenuity of the prompt as submissions ranged from a direct address story in verse to a story set in an interrogation room to a piece of historical fiction set during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. We were also so impressed with the work of Ellis Yang in their story "An Unsent Letter" that we decided to publish it separately on the blog at a future date. As always, we thank all who submitted, and encourage you to submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners "The Stale Pizza Slice" by Suanne Li, 8 (San Jose, CA) "The Perils of Pizza" by Lui Lung, 12 (Danville, CA) "The Triad Trials" by Emily Tang, 13 (Winterville, NC) "The Trash Pandas and the Pizza" by Michael Wilkinson, 12 (San Carlos, CA) "Would You Like a Slice?" by Joycelyn Zhang, 12 (San Diego, CA) Honorable Mentions "Hope" by Jeremy Lim, 9 (Portland, OR) "The Tale of the Raccoon" by Anushi Mittai, 10 (Beaverton, OR) "The Last Slice" by Arshia Ramesh, 12 ...
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A collage of a woman, using magazine clippings arranged on a tree stump.
Our April Flash Contest was based on Prompt #198 (provided by intern Sim Ling Thee), which challenged participants to write a story in which the protagonist failed at everything and ultimately didn't succeed in the end. Unsurprisingly, this subverting prompt led to some the most inspired writing we've seen yet! Submissions ranged from a violin recital from the perspective of a snooty child to an unreliable narrator's laundry list of past failures to an old woman's battle with growing tomatoes. In one story, the unlikeable protagonist even smeared butter on their nemesis' lawn! As always, thank you to all who submitted, and please submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners "Curses!" by Lui Lung, 12 (Danville, CA) "Beatrice" by Olivia Owens, 13 (Jacksonville, FL) "A Failing Success" by Emily Tang, 13 (Winterville, NC) "Cypress Woman" by Ellis Yang, 12 (Los Altos, CA) "You Win Some, You Lose Some" by Savarna Yang, 13 (Outram, New Zealand) Honorable Mentions "Dangly Necklaces" by Victoria Gong, 10 (Scarsdale, NY) "Learning to Fly" by Marin Hamory, 10 (Wellesley, MA) "The Last Leaf" by Kimberly Hu, 9 (Lake Oswego, OR) "The Performance" by Elizabeth Sabaev, 11 (Forest Hills, NY) "Gray" by Alex Zigoneanu, 11 (Portland, OR) Curses! Lui Lung, 12 “'When people heard his name, breathed reverently in hushed tones, it was fear that swiftly rooted in their veins.' Curses! That doesn’t make sense. No, how about… 'It was fear that blasted ...
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Mirrored
Our March Flash Contest was based on Prompt #194 (provided by contributor Molly Torinus), which challenged participants to craft a frame narrative—like a story within a story—for their submissions. This delightful prompt readily invited experimentation with form, and we weren't disappointed—one story went "Behind the Scenes" to show the editing processes and inner workings of the story itself! Others ranged from riffs on creation myths to campground misadventures to conferences wherein time travelers presented on their unique eras. As always, thank you to all who submitted, and please submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners "The Element" by Kimberly Hu, 9 (Lake Oswego, OR) "Speakers of the Past" by Sophie Li, 11 (Palo Alto, CA) "A Way Out" by Lui Lung, 12 (Danville, CA) "The Last Chapter" by Savarna Yang, 13 (Outram, New Zealand) "Nightbear" by Melody You, 11 (Lake Oswego, OR) Honorable Mentions "Useless Sidekick" by Dalia Figatner, 11 (Mercer Island, WA) "Hope and Amelia" by Noelle Kolmin, 10 (New York, NY) "How the Skunk Got Her Stripe and the Kangaroo Her Pouch" by Nova Macknik-Conde, 10 (Brooklyn, NY) "Behind the Scenes" by Emily Tang, 12 (Winterville, NC) "Earthquake in a Book" by Karuna Yang, 11 (Outram, New Zealand) The Element Kimberly Hu, 9 Xi smiled at Ari. The Story begins once upon a time, a long, long time ago. “Isn’t that how all stories start?” Ari asked curiously. Yes, Xi minded softly. But this ...
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Cream of Tomato Soup
Our February Flash Contest was based on Prompt #190 (provided by intern Sage Millen), which asked that participants write a story about a character who falls into a bowl of tomato soup and into a magical land. The whimsical yet specific prompt served as the perfect vehicle of creativity for our participants as we received more submissions—43!—than we ever had before! While every story was naturally based upon the same premise, these stories could not have had more variety. Submissions ranged from an epistolary story addressing a corrupt king to the origin story for a pet rabbit to a story surrounding the subsequent events of the eerie, dystopian "Orange Day." As we received a record number of submissions, we found it extra difficult to choose only ten stories worthy of mention, so we added a sixth story to our honorable mentions. As always, thank you to all who submitted, and please submit again next month! In particular, we congratulate our Winners and our Honorable Mentions, whose work you can appreciate below. Winners "The Magic of Tomato Soup" by Ananya Cronin, 9 (Fishers, IN) "Dear King Solanum" by Sophie Li, 11 (Palo Alto, CA) "Tomato Island" by Nova Macknik-Conde, 10 (Brooklyn, NY) "The King Who Fell into a Bowl of Tomato Soup" by David Yu, 11 (Hong Kong) "Ten Times" by Natalie Yue, 10 (San Carlos, CA) Honorable Mentions "It Started with the Tomatoes" by Lui Lung, 12 (Danville, CA) To"Clara and Whiskers" by Elizabeth Sabaev, 11 (Forest Hills, NY) "Reality ...
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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Hi! I know that the November Flash Contest has ended, but I just wanted to ask: Do you have to write a story that matches the prompt if you submit?

    Thanks!

  2. We logged on this morning to get the December writing prompt but we don’t see it yet. What time will it be posted and what time zone?

  3. Are flash fiction submissions for a fee, and, if so, how much? Also, just checking, but the next available submission date is January, right? And, since I already have a bout of questions flung around haphazardly, here is one more: If you win a flash fiction contest, can you still win the annual novel contest, or are you exempt? Thank you!

    • Hi Lola,

      1) The Flash Contest costs two dollars to enter. 2) Yes, January third. And 3) You are absolutely not exempt! You can also be selected as a Flash Contest winner multiple times. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Jaylen,

      The results for this February’s Flash Contest will be posted either Thursday night or Friday morning. The rest of the Flash Contest results for previous months are included in this page. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Sabriah,

      It is now up, apologies for the wait! In the future, even if the prompt might not yet say it is up on this page the prompt is likely to have been posted to the blog.

  4. P.S.
    It is April 4th right now and I have been checking for a bit, for me, it is 11:08 eastern time and I still don’t see it.
    – Thank you for your answer 🙂

    • Hi Ryan,

      The contest is now up on this page. In the future if you do not yet see the prompt listed on this page you can find it as its own post on the blog.

  5. Hello,

    It’s Wednesday, August third, and the flash contest still isn’t up. I’m wondering – is something wrong on my end or has it not been posted?

    Thanks,
    Caroline

  6. Hello,
    It’s August ninth and it says to come back in September, but there was no prompt. Did I miss it or was there an issue?

    Thanks,
    Wenjing

    • Hi Eiaa,

      Apologies that it took so long for them to go up this week! The winners and their work have just been published.

  7. Is the next contest 5th 2022, because I have been looking through the comments and have seen that they we’re sent in 2021

  8. I don’t believe that the atlas of emotions has a list of emotions. Once I tried to click on the bubbles, there were only a couple listed. Can I use a different emotion that I have never heard of, even if it’s not listed on the atlas?

    • Hi Elise,

      I didn’t realize! Yes, you can absolutely use a different emotion you haven’t heard of. I’m sure you can just look up a list of emotions on other sites.

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