One-Hour Flash Success Stories

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, then you might have seen a series of posts called One-Hour Flash. These are flash fiction stories I’ve written in one hour as part of a writing exercise. The basic gist is that you get a prompt and then try to bang out the best story you can on that prompt in one hour. It’s a great little exercise/contest to do with your (closed) writing group, as it really forces you out of your comfort zone (always good for a writer). The One-Hour Flash series on this blog features stories that weren’t good enough (in my opinion) to submit to publishers. I could call them Flash Failures, but I try not to be too negative. So, have I ever actually published any of these one-hour flash stories? Yes I have.

The latest one-hour flash story to be published went live this morning. It’s called “Simulacra” and you can read it right now over at Ellipsis Zine. 

“Simulacra” is my twenty-third publication (acceptance) of a story that began life as a one-hour flash piece. Here’s the rest, with links to read some if you are so inclined.

Title Publisher Length
A Man of Many Hats The Molotov Cocktail Flash
An Incident on Dover Street The Molotov Cocktail Flash
At the Seams The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Beyond the Block The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Big Problems Havok Magzine Flash
Caroline Red Sun Magazine Short Story
Cowtown The Arcanist Flash
Little Sister The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Luck Be a Bullet* Spinetingler Mag Short Story
Masks The Molotov Cocktail Flash
New Arrivals Havok Magzine Flash
Night Walk The Molotov Cocktail Flash
One Last Spell, My Love Allegory Short Story
Paper Cut Red Sun Magazine Short Story
Reunion The Arcanist Flash
Scare Tactics* Flame Tree Publishing Short Story
Shadow Can The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Side Effects The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Simulacra Ellipsis Zine Flash
The Father of Terror The Molotov Cocktail Flash
The Rarest Cut Evil Girlfriend Media Flash
The Sitting Room The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Where They Belong DarkFuse Magazine Flash

*Forthcoming

As you can see, The Molotov Cocktail has been very good to me, and many of these stories have placed in their various themed contests. Most of the stories I kept as flash fiction with a little (or a lot) of revision and polish. A few, though, I expanded into longer pieces, and one of them, “Scare Tactics,” is on it’s third publication.

So, what am I trying to say with all this other than showing off a bunch of publications? Basically, when you force yourself to write outside of your comfort zone (by setting a clock), you are likely to write something you normally wouldn’t out of sheer desperation and less likely fall back on concepts and tropes you might overuse. I know that’s the case for me. Of course, you can get out of your comfort zone in a lot of ways. Putting yourself on a clock and writing to a random prompt is just one way to do it. Still, I urge you to give the one-hour flash challenge a try and see where it takes you.

Submission Statement: April 2018

Although not as good as March, April was a solid month that featured a little but of everything. Lots of submissions, some rejections, an acceptance, and a few other bits and pieces.

April 2018 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 13
  • Rejections: 10
  • Acceptances: 3
  • Publications: 2

Thirteen submissions in April, and that’s very good production. It more than keeps me on pace for my goal of one hundred submissions for the year. I’m currently at forty-eight, so almost half-way there with eight months to go.

Rejections

Ten rejections in on the high side, but I’ve been consistently sending out submissions, so more rejections just comes with that particular territory. Here’s how the rejections break down.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 4
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 5
  • Personal Rejections: 1

Mostly “good” rejections in April, and I think the stories I have out there are pretty strong and will find a home eventually. Here are some of the highlight rejections for the month.

Highlight Rejection 1: Sent 2/18/2018; Rejected 4/8/2018

Thanks for submitting [story title] but I’m going to pass on it. It’s nicely written and I enjoyed reading it, but overall it didn’t quite win me over, I’m afraid. Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it my way. I look forward to seeing your next submission.

This is a higher-tier rejection from one of the premier science fiction markets. This was my first submission to this publisher, and though I would have loved an acceptance, a higher-tier rejection is not too bad right out of the gate. I’ll definitely submit to them again during their next submission window.

Highlight Rejection 2: Sent 3/24/2018; Rejected 4/30/2018

Thank you for sending us [story title]. We appreciate your taking the time to send it in for our consideration. The editors have read the story but feel that it will not be a good fit for our publication. We wish you luck with placing it elsewhere. 

Please send something new when we reopen to new submissions.

Another higher-tier rejection from a new market (for me). Again, I will definitely submit here again when they reopen to submissions.

Highlight Rejection 3: Sent 6/24/2017; Rejected 4/30/2018

Thank you again for allowing us to consider your story, but it’s not a match for [anthology title].

Your story made it to the final round. It was ranked among the best of the best. We had thousands of submissions from writers all over the world. Even some of our favorites, like your story, didn’t make it through.

Most of the time we don’t move forward with a story because it’s similar to another story in a different word slot. We’re striving for a diversity of sub-genres, writing styles and plot lines, in addition to stories of different lengths.

So that’s the bad news: Your story wasn’t selected for [anthology title]. The good news is that there will be many more opportunities to submit to [publisher] in the future. Even though your work was not selected, you are a talented writer. We hope you will consider submitting to our future editions. 

And the heart-breaker. This is a personal rejection from a horror anthology I submitted to last year. Now, I knew this was going to be a long wait because I checked Duotrope for their last anthology and saw it was taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 250+ days for a response. But they were open to simultaneous submissions, and I submitted a reprint, so, basically, I was fine with the long wait. That said, to wait 310 days and get so close is disappointing, but that’s part of the gig, and I certainly don’t hold that against the publisher (I knew what I was getting into). I do appreciate the very nice rejection letter the editors sent, and I will submit work to their future anthologies.

Acceptances

Thought not the record-breaking month I experienced in March, any month with an acceptance is a good month in my book.

Acceptance 1: Sent 1/18/2018; Accepted 4/22/2018

I am delighted to inform you that we would like to publish your story ’Scare Tactics’ in our Lost Souls Short Story Anthology. 

Since I’ve already announced this acceptance pretty much everywhere, I’m fine naming names here. When the Lost Souls anthology is released in September, I’ll let you all know. There is more to this acceptance letter, but it’s just the contract and legal stuff standard with any publication.

Publications

Two publications this month, both repeat customers. 🙂

Publication 1: “New Arrivals” in Havok

My story “New Arrivals” was published in the April issue of Havok magazine. This is my second publication with Havok, and you can check out that story and bunch of other great flash pieces by clicking the link below.

Publication 2: “The Food Bank” in The Arcanist

My third publication with The Arcanist, “The Food Bank” is a post-apocalyptic flash piece. You can read the whole thing by clicking the praying mantis below.


 

And that’s April. How was yours?