The words of Christopher Marlowe aptly sum up the genre of Flash Fiction: ‘Infinite riches in a little room’.
Compression and brevity make these small narratives sharp, intense snapshots of time that are as comfortable with the surreal and poetic as they are crossing genre boundaries and pushing out into experimental modes of writing. This flexibility has meant that the short-short has been able to embrace a variety of hybrid forms including the graphic, the lyric essay, and has also expanded to create larger formats like the novella-in-flash.
Here at Retreat West we are big fans of all these genres but we think that there is still room, a micro-gap, that could be filled – we are calling it the Novelette-in-Flash.
The novelette has not always had great press. In times gone by it was a term coined to mean a novel with trivial and sentimental themes, so we think it’s time to take it back…but with a twist. We believe the novelette-in-flash is the perfect medium to straddle the intensity of the short story and the emotional sustenance of the novella.
With this in mind, the maximum word count for this competition is 8000 words. The narrative arc should be made up of standalone flash fiction chapters of up to 500 words each.
We hope you find there is enough space to play, experiment and investigate character and themes and yet enough constraint to deliver on Marlowe’s vision.
We’re delighted to welcome Sophie Van Llewyn as our first judge of this new competition and can’t wait to read your novelettes-in-flash!
Sophie van Llewyn loves reading and writing prose in all its forms, from flash fiction to full-length novels. Her debut ‘Bottled Goods’ has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019. She is co-editing the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology in 2020. Sophie was born in Romania, but currently lives in Germany.
31st May 2020
3000 to 8000 words for Novelette-in-Flash
Up to 500 words for each flash within (no minimum)