I am so delighted that my story, Everything After Now, has won Flash 500 for the fourth quarter in 2016. Flash 500 is, unsurprisingly, a flash fiction competition with a word limit of 500. It runs every quarter and has been going for eight years, which means they regularly receive hundreds of entries every quarter from across the world. And I won!
This was an incredibly special win for me. I spent almost all of last year slogging away at the second draft of my next novel, snatching moments to write during my boys' nap-times or between putting them to bed and doing the housework in the evening. I didn't have time to write anything else and I really missed short fiction. By mid-December I was done with my novel but we were fast approaching Christmas with the all the time-sapping chaos (and joy!) that comes with it. Eventually, I managed to snatch a few hours in the week between Christmas and New Year to write Everything After Now. I probably spent no more than about three hours on it from first word of the first draft to final submission - definitely the quickest piece I've written. To have won such a big competition feels incredible. I'm very grateful!
Everything After Now is written in the future tense. It's something I've never done before and I've been meaning to experiment with it for years. I didn't want it to be a gimmick, however. I only want to write in the future tense if the story demanded it or I knew it wouldn't work. One day while I was walking with my one year-old asleep on my back the first line, "Tomorrow they will laugh about this." came into my head. Almost instantly the whole premise of the story appeared with it. That's rare for me. Maybe even unique - I certainly can't remember having such a clear idea come so fully-formed before. Which is why I was able to write it so fast!
I have entered Flash 500 three times. First time I was shortlisted. Second time I came second. Now this. I guess I should stop entering now!
If you have five minutes to read my story, I'd be glad to know what you think of it. You can find it here.