Monthly Micro Fiction Competition

Our monthly micro fiction writing competition has great prompts and prizes.

All reading and voting is done anonymously so no putting your name on your story or telling people which is yours if you’re shortlisted. We’ve recently had an issue with a shortlisted writer ignoring this rule and revealing her story title and lobbying for votes, which is why we have now changed the prizes and judging structure. Any writers found doing this in the future will be banned from taking part in all of the Retreat West competitions. Please honour the spirit of the competition and your fellow writers.

How does it work?

On the first Monday of each month (apart from December when we have a month off) we post the prompt and you get a week to write and submit a story based on it. Four days after submissions close we announce the longlist and on the third Monday of the month we publish a shortlist of 10 stories in a blog.

Winners of the cash prize are decided by our panel of judges and the shortlist of 10 goes to public vote to win the People’s Prize. Voting remains open for one week and then the writer with the most votes wins the mystery prize, which will change each month and be announced at the same time as the results.

The prompts will be posted here each month.  We’re hoping to see some different takes on the prompts so don’t always go for the first thing it brings to mind…

Word count: 100 words exactly – the title is not included in the word count. We use MS Word to count for us and will give leeway of a word or two each way. Hyphenated words are counted as one but don’t use loads to increase the words available to you!

Entry fee: £5 or £25 with detailed feedback on the story you submit

1st Prize: 30% of the entry fees received for the competition, one free entry to our annual Flash Fiction Prize (top prize £350) and your story published in our Flash Fiction area of the website.

2nd Prize: 20% of the entry fees received for the competition, one free entry to our annual Flash Fiction Prize and your story published in our Flash Fiction area of the website.

People’s Prize: It’s a secret! This will change each month and be revealed with the results.

Shortlisted: Free entry to the next Monthly Micro Fiction Competition.

Once the deadline for the competition closes, we’ll confirm how many entries we received and what the cash prize will be.

Please read all the competition rules at the bottom of the page before you submit. We get messaged with a lot of questions about this competition and the answers to all of them are already detailed in the rules section below.


July 2021 Micro Fiction Competition

Opens: 5th July

Deadline: 23.59 UK time 11th July

Longlist published: 15th July

Shortlist published and voting begins: 19th July

Voting closes: 26th July

Winners announced: 27th July

This month’s prompt comes from Ian O’Brien. Ian won second prize in our 2020 Novelette-in-Flash Prize and his winning novelette, What The Fox Brings In Its Jaw, was published in the Homemade Weather anthology in June 2021.

Ian O’Brien writes fiction and poetry and is from Manchester, UK. You can read his work in print and online in publications such as Neon, Prole, Fictive Dream, Storgy and others. In 2020 he was shortlisted for the Cambridge Prize for Flash Fiction and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Neon Literary Magazine.

Prompt: Ian’s prompt is:

For your inspiration here’s a small selection of the many definitions in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of BLOOM…

  • to mature into achievement of one’s potential
  • a large aggregation of free-swimming organisms
  • the flowering state
  • to flourish in youthful beauty, freshness, or excellence
  • a mass of wrought iron from the forge or puddling furnace

Can’t wait to read your stories!

Competition Rules

  • The competition is open to writers worldwide but stories must be written in English.
  • Submit stories through Submittable using the button above (only shows when submissions are open) by 23.59 GMT on the deadline date. You will have to create a free Submittable account to enter. No email entries will be accepted.
  • Do not include your name on the story or submission title but provide a short bio in the body of the message in Submittable as we can’t see this until shortlists are chosen. All stories are read anonymously so any showing the author’s name will be automatically disqualified.
  • Stories must be your own original work and not have been published online or in print, or have won any other competitions (longlisted and shortlisted places in other competitions is fine).
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine but if your story is accepted elsewhere you must withdraw it from this competition and your entry fee will be forfeited.
  • By entering the competition you agree to your story being published on the website.
  • Stories can be in any genre apart from children’s fiction. Please no racism, sexism, or any kind of hate.
  • You can enter as many times as you like but all entries must be made separately and the entry fee paid each time.
  • The judge’s decision is final.
  • Cash prize payments will be made through PayPal or BACS. Submittable payments are received in the first week of the month for the previous month so winner’s payments will be paid as soon as the funds are received from Submittable.
  • In the case of a draw for first or second place, the writers will share the prize.
  • In the case of a draw for the People’s Prize, both writers will receive the prize.
  • There is no alternative to the cash prizes or the People’s Prize.