Halloween Flash Fiction Winner & Strong Contest Advice

Happy Halloween to all!!! Special edition Halloween post today announcing the 2015 Halloween Flash Fiction Contest winner and I’ll also discuss the secret benefits of online story contests. Grab your hot chocolate and come on in for a slice of Halloween fun!

Real pic of a 1950's clown. No wonder people are still terrified!
Real pic of a 1950’s clown. No wonder people are still terrified!

This (just in case you haven’t already guessed it) is my FAVORITE holiday!  As a kid Halloween trumped my birthday and quite often Christmas even came in second.

I gave this years Halloween contest a theme; somewhere in the story contestants had to use It was a dark and storm night based on a well-known line from the novel, Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Without further ado, announcing the winner of the 2015 Flash Fiction Halloween contest:

FINALIST – Laura Rose Cardona
Keep Your Enemies Closer

It was a dark and stormy night. A bolt of thunder crept into my room and shocked me awake.

“Mom!” I yelled, bolting from my bed. My chest rose and fell in rapid succession; I made my way toward the door of my room. I was always afraid of storms. Lightning’s electric current only existed within the night, and within the night existed the dark, and I was always afraid of the dark. Anything could be lurking.

FOR THE FULL STORY READ HERE

I was not going to do this, but I was so impressed by these other authors that I simply had to give mention:

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Editor’s Choice – “The Model Child” by Carolyne Faulkner

SEMIFINALISTS – These were stories that passed through two rounds of readings and were considered by the editor.

Semifinalist – “(Un)Welcome Visitor” by Kami Dimitrova

Semifinalist – “Fedora” by Reena Bhojwani

HONORABLE MENTION’S

Honorable Mention
The Chorus of Bells” by Natalie Walker

Honorable Mention
A Halloween Road Trip” by Patti McQuillen

Honorable Mention
The Furry and the Damned” by Elizabeth Eve King

Honorable Mention
Cookie Fortunes” by Brenda Marie

Honorable Mention
A Desk Fit For Purpose” by Madeleine McDonald

A wonderful congratulations to my outstanding Finalist, Laura Rose Cardona! And a hearty Cheers! to my Semifinalists and Honorable Mentions!

ALL OF YOU – Don’t miss the 2015 Holiday Anagram Short Story Contest! Guidelines and contest rules will be posted right here at FBI and BIC on Saturday November 7th. Free to join – More prize money offered – $100 First Place – just in time for the holidays!

I want to congratulate ALL contest participants. I’ll admit to you all – judging this contest was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life! I’m not exaggerating in the least. There were soooo many good stories; soooo much talent. It was almost impossible for me to pick one, and in fact I couldn’t pick just one which is why I segued into an Editor’s Choice, two Semifinalist and five Honorable Mentions. Regardless if you were selected for any of the above, you all really did a fabulous job. Thank you for entering!

Halloween Blog Picture - Creepy Kid pic

As a contest entrant myself I know the gumption it takes to get your story composed and then hit that submit button. At the end of this blog post I’m going to discuss the #1 reason why I think authors get rejected from contests and publishing at large.

First – the secret benefits of online contests.

WRITING CONTESTS – ARE THEY WORTH IT?
Yes! Writing contests (and most especially winning them) are definitely worth it!

Fan Story Picture

I’ve long been a proponent of qualified published writing as the content of your Author Bio when one queries.

My Finalist, Semifinalists and Honorable Mentions can now mention their achievement referencing this contest win when they move into agenting a manuscript. Blogs and contests sites such as Fictional Black Ink and Black Ink Contests are the birth place of many a great author and writer.

Getting published, in ANY venue, is extremely competitive. For fun, competitive creative writing contests, check out Fan Story.

HERE ARE THE SECRET BENEFITS OF ONLINE CONTESTS

  • You are published! Congratulations! Your name might not be on the NY Times best seller list (yet), but you can honestly say your work was published by a party not related by blood or friendship.
  • You can reference your publication in your Author Bio if and when you query an agent
  • Your work is being read by strangers…this is the start of a following! Whenever you get published, always try including a brief bio with links to your blog/website/or other online social media related to your creative writing
  • Name recognition. Your name is your signature. The more often people see it, the more they’ll start to recognize it. Tie your name to a good story and you’ve got publication gold!

WORD TO THE WISE AUTHOR
Sometimes being the best isn’t about being the best writer…its about being the best researcher (have you investigated the agent to whom you intend on submitting?)…its about being the best creative (have you Creatively Targeted your agent in writing a story tailored to him or her?)…finally, its about being the most PERSISTENT.

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

So many authors give up after several rejections – – it’s that turtle author who clings to their dreams, stays in the game for the long haul, and follows every possible publication avenue – – that is the author who wins the ultimate prize.

FINALLY – THINGS I LEARNED AS A CONTEST JUDGE
I received over 100 submissions and I want to thank each and every one of you who entered! I also want to say that I was completely floored by the amount of talent some of you packed into 1000 words or less!  Unbelievable talent!

There were a few, however, that did not adhere to the guidelines. At all. I was a little surprised by this. As a flash fiction contest with a fraction of the money that can be made in big publishing, I would have thought the guidelines would be as easy-breezy as following a quick road map from one’s living room to one’s kitchen. If people couldn’t follow these guidelines, I thought, how in the world will they make it when they start to query the big guys?

Follow the rules picture for blog

Folks, make sure you read submissions pages with a fine tooth comb! Print it out, check off each instructional, and make sure you have their submission rules down to every I dotted and T crossed.

For my contest, not following the guidelines was an immediate disqualification for entry.

I can say with almost 100% certainty that this is the #1 reason why a lot of newbie authors never even get read!

Again, I want to thank all of my 2015 Halloween Flash Fiction contestants. You were all wonderful to work with.

Congratulations, again, to my finalist Laura Rose Cardona! And to all of my talented contest participants – thank you for joining the fun!

Please stay tuned for the 2015 Anagram Holiday Short Fiction contest. Guidelines, contest rules and all the other goodies will be announced at Black Ink Contests on Saturday, November 7th.

ANAGRAM:
Anagram flash fiction contest picture 4 blog

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
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Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

“If human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.”
– Douglas Coupland

AND….

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.”
– Erma Bombeck

Have a safe and Happy Halloween everyone!!!

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