Deadline Fever

At Bath Flash Fiction, we love the buzz around the end of the Award on social media. We’ve never quite worked out the psychology around writers and deadlines, so if someone wants to try an explanation, let us know. For our Awards, the pattern is always the same, 80% of entries come in the last few weeks even though discounted entries are available in the Early Bird deals which end half way through the contest. Some people buy their Early Bird entries and submit much later but not that many. A very large number of writers enter on the final day. Those writers are members of the Last Minute Club. Last time we introduced a badge for them, pictured here. And there will be another one for avid collectors on Sunday 14th October, which is the last day for this award. K M Elkes, the winner of the June round told us he is an up-to the-wire kind of guy. He said he entered not long before midnight on the final day. Just the one story.

Many people, like our founder Jude Higgins, never dream of entering writing contests until the very last day. For her, it means the time to wait for results is much quicker. And the reason for our very quick turnaround in this contest, where results are posted around two weeks after the end of the Award, is partly to do with the way she thinks about time. Most other people, she thought, might like to enter knowing their stories are not tied up for too long. But people are all different of course. And think about time differently. There are still those who enter very early and other members of the Last Minute Crowd who don’t begin writing their fictions until the very last day. A high risk strategy. But one we know that can pay off for people, who might have had the a short-short fiction perfectly forming in their brains for several weeks.


So, don’t be like Douglas Adams, who famously said, he liked deadlines, “the wooshing noise as they go by.”  if you have a piece of work simmering, let it come to the boil. If something has just sparked your imagination, write it down. Nuala 0’Connor, writer of historical fiction both novel and flash length, is judging this round. Here’s an image of a vintage typewriter to inspire an historical fiction. There’s three days left, long enough to finish a micro of up to 300 words. You may be chosen for the long list of fifty and be published in the next year-end anthology to be published by Ad Hoc Fiction. And even if you don’t achieve a win or this list, you will have finished a new story. And made a deadline.

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