Elemental Flash

“Move swift as the Wind
and closely-formed as the Wood.
Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”

— Sun Tzu

Submit to Elemental Flash

In our previous contest, we focused on reality as an illusion, so it’s only fitting that we now get back to the basics. The prompt for this contest is simple. We want to see stories that involve some of the basic building blocks (and destructive forces) in the natural world. Earth, water, fire, wind—all necessary parts of life and also essential tools for crafting a winning story in Elemental Flash.

Now, this doesn’t mean that your entry must focus on realism. Quite the contrary. We still want to see you take us to the far reaches of imagination, and there’s perhaps even more room for magical realism than ever before. Your entry simply must involve something elemental.

You don’t have to stick to the traditional understood elements. You can go all periodic table with it, Heisenberg. Got a conjuring or alchemist streak in you? Create some amalgam we’ve never seen before. Wanna mess with DNA or fuck shit up on the subatomic level? More power to you. Get creative and think outside of the Schrödinger’s cat-containing box.

Your entry could involve:

– Earth, wind, or fire (the elements)
– Earth, Wind & Fire (the band)
– Birth, death, and/or rebirth
– Science
– Mad science
– Witchy magick
– Muddy blacksmiths drinking water while the wind blows through their hair.
– Underwater basket-weavers
– The ravages of age
– Dirt farmers

– Wicker-man construction workers
– Thoreau playing with Lincoln logs at the groundbreaking for a Waldenbooks
– Dehydrated arsonists
– Evolution of a new species

– Clean-freak gravediggers
– A planet revolting against conquest-minded industrialists
– Kevin Costner in virtually any ’90s action role
– Anthropomorphized celestial bodies baking space cookies
– Mole people
– Old men yelling at clouds
– Firestarters, twisted firestarters

Go macro or micro with this. Set your story throughout the whole planet (or universe) or go all too small for the naked eye.  Send us stuff that focuses primarily on the elemental aspects, or just have them hanging out on the periphery.

We like literary-adjacent approaches, but we also dig full-on genre and pulpy takes as well. The sweet spot is often somewhere in the middle.

The top three entries will win cash money (USD).

$300 for Elemental Flash winner

$200 for 2nd place

$100 for 3rd place

We also give mad respect to 4th-10th place,
publishing them in our Elemental Flash mega-issue
and in a future print anthology, with contributor copy included.

Submit to Elemental Flash

Follow these guidelines, and your story could break on through to the other side.

– All submissions must absolutely be under 1,000 words, and we tend to look more kindly on 750 or fewer because… (combination of atoms that constitute what we call) SQUIRREL!

– All contest submissions will be read blind, so we won’t be playing favorites.

– Please paste your entry into the corresponding field. Do not list your name anywhere or we’ll assume you don’t know to read.

– Entry fee is $8 USD. (Sorry, no refunds.)

– We reserve the right to extend deadlines if necessary (and you can expect our usual Procrastinator Special with corresponding increase in entry fee for you slackers).

– Submissions must be previously unpublished work, and you will retain copyright (duh). By entering this contest, you give us permission to publish your work (if selected for our Top 10) both online and in a future print anthology.

– No limit on how many entries you can submit, but you must submit them one at a time. Don’t just mash them all in there.

Contest deadline is end of day (PST) Monday, August 30th, 2021. Winners announced on September 13th and we’ll unleash the Elemental Flash mega-issue shortly thereafter.

– And, most importantly, this is a ELEMENTAL FLASH contest, so you must reference to natural elements, natural processes, patterns, or building blocks of some kind. But again, this can be in almost any form imaginable.

So that means you can do something like this…

or this…

or this…

or this…

or even this…

The roof is on fire…

Submit to Elemental Flash

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