Writing Winning Flash for Apparition Lit

Greetings and salutations, readers!

It’s time to get real about our reality show themed flash competitions. This year, we have decided to stretch your imagination by sending you down the television trope whirlpool, and we are excited for what you have in store. 

January was our first month, and we had a whole range of stunning entries. As the Flash Editor, I also noticed a handful of trends. In the spirit of sharing success, I wanted to take this time to tell you all what I am looking for in 2023. 

Here are some hard and fast rules, and also some wishes, that will help your piece rise to the top month after month.

  • These are reality shows, but we don’t want reality: turn the mundane into the speculative. The shows we reference in the prompt? Yeah, those are bound to our modern realm of existence. We want to see worlds beyond anything we would ever see on cable. Also, we only accept speculative fiction. 
  • Be inspired, but not ekphrastic: last year, we asked our writers to use the images as prompts. This year, we are decidedly not. You don’t need to tell me about something you have seen on the show; the inspiration is just a starting point to spring you into other realms. Take us there! 
  • Think beyond the screen: the shows we reference have so many layers. What we end up with as consumers is just the icing on the cake. We want the underbelly; what stories are there, beyond what can be seen on tv? 
  • Do not use the name of the shows: you just don’t need to! 
  • Do not include actual elements (people, places, things) from the shows: while you may be a fan, we do not accept fan fiction. By including show specifics, you are limiting your own possibilities, and you will find yourself counted out. 
  • Don’t be limited by the shows’ format: it can be tempting to think that because we reference a specific show, that’s how we want to see the narrative and dialogue. Not true! A format that works on tv does not always translate to fiction. So while it may be a lofty challenge for you to replicate a show in writing, it will likely feel like a mismatch for us. 

TL:DR: Do be creative and get us away from the reality of the reality show prompt. Don’t be literal. 

You should know our January winner, The Treachery of Objects by Dylan Kingsley does – or does not do- all of these things well! Check it out for inspiration and for any lingering questions about what we want from our writers.  

Until next time, friends!

Blog Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash    

  • Marie Baca Villa
    Marie Baca Villa Blogger/Submission Reader

    Marie Baca Villa is a Chicana writer and artist in California. She has a master’s degree in psychology and used her education to build a long career in crime victim advocacy. As a fan of speculative fiction, she loves anything involving strange worlds, complex characters, and unexplained phenomenon. She’s a bonified cat lady, covered in tattoos, and she loves cussing, beer, and flaming hot cheetos. You can find Marie on Twitter @okay_its_marie

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