One-Hour Flash Success Stories (2021 Update)

Many of the stories I write begin life as part of a prompted bi-weekly one-hour flash fiction writing contest. I’ve been doing this contest with my writing group for years, and some of the stories produced during these sprints turn out good enough to publish (a lot more don’t). I first published a list of my one-hour successes back in 2018. At that time, I’d managed to place 23 one-hour flash fiction stories. Since then, I’ve published 27 more. Not too shabby. If you’re curious, my success rate is about 37%. I’ve written 135 one-hour flashes and 50 of them have been accepted. I think that’s a solid ratio, and I expect it might even improve.

The updated table below lists the story title, where it was FIRST published (many of these stories have been sold again as reprints), and the length it was published at (some of these tales were expanded considerably). You’ll see a lot of repeat offenders in the publisher column, of course. The Arcanist and The Molotov Cocktail have published me a lot, for example. A few publishers listed below have closed their doors, but most are still in operation, so tracking down these tales shouldn’t be difficult if you’re so inclined. Of course, you can read most of these stories in my flash fiction collection Night Walk & Other Dark Paths, so, you know, go do that. 🙂

Story Publisher Length
A Man of Many Hats The Molotov Cocktail Flash
A Small Evil The Arcanist 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 Flash
Burning Man Havok Flash
Caroline Red Sun Magazine Short Story
Cowtown The Arcanist Flash
Ditchers Aphotic Realm Flash
Do Me a Favor The Arcanist Flash
Fair Pay Flash Fiction Magazine Flash
Far Shores and Ancient Graves Flash
Giving Up the Ghost Flash Point SF Flash
Grave Concerns Metastellar Flash
His Favorite Tune Flame Tree Fiction Newsletter Flash
Just Knock* Ellipsis Zine Flash
Liquid Courage The Arcanist Flash
Little Sister The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Luck Be a Bullet EconoClash Review Short Story
Masks The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Mixed Signals* Flash Point SF Flash
New Arrivals Havok Flash
Night Walk The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Old as the Trees Ellipsis Zine Flash
One Last Spell, My Love Allegory e-Zine Short Story
Outdoor Space The Arcanist Flash
Paint-Eater The Arcanist Short Story
Paper Cut Red Sun Magazine Short Story
Proxima B Wyldblood Magazine Flash
Reunion The Arcanist Flash
Scare Tactics Devilfish Review Short Story
Shadow Can The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Side Effects The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Simulacra Ellipsis Zine Flash
Stall Number Two Ellipsis Zine Flash
The Father of Terror The Molotov Cocktail Flash
The Food Bank The Arcanist Flash
The Grove The Molotov Cocktail Flash
The Rarest Cut EGM Shorts CLOSED Flash
The Sitting Room The Molotov Cocktail Flash
The Thing that Came With the Storm The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Things That Grow Flame Tree Fiction Newsletter Flash
Time Waits for One Man Factor Four Magazine Flash
Toward the Sun The Molotov Cocktail Flash
Two Legs The Molotov Cocktail Flash
What Kind of Hero Ellipsis Zine Flash
When the Lights Go On The Arcanist Flash
Where They Belong DarkFuse Magazine Flash
Wish You Well The Arcanist Flash


The point of all this is that the one-hour flash contest, and more so, the limitations it imposes, has been and continue to be very good for me from a creative standpoint. Some of my best work has come out of these one-hour mad dashes. Basically, when I force myself to write outside my comfort zone (with a clock and a weird prompt), I am likely to write something I normally wouldn’t out of sheer desperation and less likely to fall back on overused concepts and tropes. In other words, the contest keeps me on my creative toes, and that’s a good thing.

If you’re in a bit of a creative rut, I wholeheartedly recommend giving the one-hour flash fiction contest a shot with your writing group. It’s fun, a little bit terrifying, and, who knows? You might just end up starting a one hour success list of your own. 🙂

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