Zero Flash is a competition and magazine that publishes flash fiction in any genre up to 300 words. Submissions are prompt driven. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
David J. Wing: I began Zero Flash because I felt strongly about the medium. Flash fiction is a wonderful way to either start your creative juices flowing or to simply get that pesky little idea out - the one you can’t shake but can’t imagine or push it past that invisible flash fiction threshold. Flash fiction is more than a short-short-short story, it’s your imagination, skillfully condensed into a number.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
DJW: Character, adherence to the prompt and atmosphere. I’m a big believer in character led work. Without it, the story falls flat and lifeless. Following the prompt sounds obvious, but many times random submissions are sent in that have little or no relevance. Most writers have a drawer full of stories not published and simply waiting around. It’s easy to attach a story and press SEND, regardless of the criteria. We all want our work out there, but you need to find the right market. Atmosphere is key. If you’re not feeling it, it’s not working. Write a horror, remove the dark, remove the tension, remove the abandoned mansion and what do you have?
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
DJW: As above. Not reading, watching, and or listening to the prompt. Our prompts take 2-3 minutes, depending on the medium. Don’t forget, you can twist a prompt, it’s just a suggestion at the end of the day.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
DJW: I don’t provide feedback on the site itself, but when authors email in to ask, I’m very happy to tell them. When I’ve received feedback in the past, it’s the constructive feedback that helps and that’s what I’m willing to offer.
SQF: Who are some of your favourite flash fiction authors?
DJW: Bob Thurber. Probably goes without saying and yes, there are many famous authors that have turned their hand to the medium, but it’s writers like you, all of you that are my favourite. You take the time to think, fashion and craft your words. You submit to the will of the judges and hope. I’m your fan.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? How would you answer it?
DJW: Why is Zero Flash different?
Zero Flash is multi-media in its approach. The first prompt was a video from YouTube of a man playing his trumpet to a field…low and behold, over the hill comes a herd of cows. The song is by Katy Perry. Other prompts have been images, links to news stories and some self-taken photographs or Smart Phone recordings.
Zero Flash is not the only site out there, but we do all we can to promote flash and flash authors. We have a contributors page – if you enter, you’re on it. Sadly, I/we don’t pay. I’d love to, believe me. There’s nothing nicer than winning a competition or having a piece of writing accepted and then a PayPal email pops into your IN box. If/When we are so successful as to garner advertising funds, you can be sure that a good chunk of that is going to those talented people that dedicate a good portion of their time and minds to our site.
Thank David. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.