Flash Fiction Contest – Summer 2018

We’re thrilled to announce our annual Flash Fiction Contest for summer 2018! (You can read all of our winners from 2015, 2016, and 2017 here.)

What is it? This is a collaboration between photography and writing. We’ll supply a compelling image from our photo archive, and invite writers to respond by writing short fiction inspired by the photo of up to 500 words. Each image will stay up for about one week and the top (2) entries (winner and runner-up) we feel best represent the photo in question will be published on the Midwestern Gothic website.

We will be doing this throughout the summer—which nets out to (3) rounds of images (three submission periods). The schedule will look like this:

Round 1:
Monday, July 9 – Round 1 prompt submissions open
Saturday, July  14 – Due date to submit (before midnight EST)

Round 2:
Monday, July 16 – Round 2 prompt submissions open
Saturday, July 21 – Due date to submit (before midnight EST)

Round 3: 
Monday, July 23 – Round 3 prompt submissions open
Saturday, July 28 – Due date to submit (before midnight EST)

Posting Schedule for Winning Pieces:
Monday, August 13 – Winning piece + runner-up from Round 1
Wednesday, August 15 – Winning piece + runner-up from Round 2
Friday, August 17 – Winning piece + runner-up from Round 3

We can’t wait to read what you submit!

*Prompt #3 is now closed – check out our finalists below!*
Round 1 Finalists

Winner: “Uncle Soot” by Joshua Jones
Runner-up: “Perseids” by Madeline Anthes

Round 2 Finalists 
Winner: “Transport” by Jeffrey Ricker
Runner-up: “Spam Can” by Kate Garklavs

Round 3 Finalists 

Winner: “Spirals” by Steve Fox
Runner-up: “Coasting” by Izabela Babinska


  1. Send submissions/questions to Ariel at ariel@midwestgothic.com
  2. Use the subject line Summer 2018 Flash Round X – Author Name – Name of Piece. For example: Summer 2018 Flash Round 1 – Joan Smith – “Eyes of the Wild”
  3. Include a third-person bio of up to 150 words with your submission.
  4. Either the author or the piece itself should have a Midwest connection.
  5. Submissions should be no longer than 500 words—but can be as short as you deem necessary.
  6. The submission period for each round is approximately one week, and winners will be announced once all rounds have ended; winners will be notified privately before publicly. We will post the winning pieces (winner + runner-up) after the submission periods for all three rounds are finished. Please note: We will only be notifying the winning entries for each round due to time constraints. Apologies in advance for any inconvenience.
  7. It may seem obvious, but while you have free reign in your writing, your piece should, in some way, be clearly inspired by the round’s image. If we find pieces ignore this fact, they will be subject to immediate disqualification.
  8. Images will be posted at the top of this post, and in separate blog posts as well. When the submission period for a round is ceased, the image will be taken down until the next round begins.

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