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BeaconFlash Story Competition
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BeaconFlash Story Competition

Welcome to our BeaconFlash page, home of our 500 word short story competition.

Details of our 2021/22 Competition, the rules and how to enter are below. You can check out the results of our 2020/21 Competition and read the first, second and third prizewinners by clicking BeaconFlash Results at the top of this page.

Enter BeaconFlash 2021/22

We are delighted to announce the details of the upcoming 2021/22 BeaconFlash competition for 500 word short stories, to be judged by journalist and writer Gareth Davies. There are eight prizes this year with a combined value of over £600.  Every penny of profit goes to the Beacon Villages Community Library.

The theme for October is 'Sourdough'. Results so far can be seen here.

How it works:

Entry: The competition is open for entries from August 2021 to May 2022, with a monthly deadline (see below) for entries. The top three stories (from three different authors) for each month will go through to the final shortlist (of 30 entries), from which eight prizewinners are selected (see ‘Prizes’ below).

You can enter as often as you like whenever you like. It doesn’t make any difference which month or months you enter because you won’t know who else is submitting that month. The more times you enter, the more chances you have  of going through to the shortlist. Even if you are selected in a particular month, do keep entering because you might find you have a stronger story in a subsequent month with a better chance of being amongst the prizes.

Any stories not written to the relevant month’s theme will be disqualified with no money refunded. You can write them whenever you like but if you submit them early or late or they will be disqualified.

The top three titles (not authors’ names – see ‘Judging’ below) for each month are announced the following month and, if your story doesn’t make it, you still have the story to send elsewhere.

To enter, paste your story into an email and make the message subjects 'BeaconFlash 500 Entry', followed by your title and then send it to beaconflash500@gmail.com. Then pay the fee using the PayPal buttons shown under ‘Fees’ below. We can only accept your entry if payment has been received.

Fee: £3 per entry via PayPal (click on the first (£3) ‘Buy Now’ PayPal link.

No limit to number of entries, but £3 per entry.

To pay an optional £10 fee for critique of the story you are submitting, choose the second (£13) PayPal link.


The Judging:
Gareth Davies is the judge for each round and for the final shortlist judging. Judging is blind (i.e. the judge will not know who wrote what story until the prizewinners are announced) and, for the final judging, the 30 shortlisted stories will be ranked by the judge. Please note though that no author can be awarded more than one prize so, if an author has more than one story ranked in in the top eight, then only the best story from that author will be selected and the best story by an author outside the eighth will be a winner. In effect, the best stories by each of the top eight authors will be awarded the prizes. The Judge’s decisions are final.

The 2021-22 Deadlines and themes: 

Round 1: First deadline: 31st August (theme = The Fourth Wave), results announced here.

Round 2: Second deadline: 30th September (theme = Upping Their Game), results announced here.

Round 3: Third deadline: 31st October (theme = Sourdough), results announced here.

Round 4: Fourth deadline: 30th November (theme = Dear Sir or Madam), results announced here.

Round 5: Fifth deadline: 31st December (theme = Miracle Worker), results announced here.

Round 6: Sixth deadline: 31st January 2021 (theme = Vacant Possession), results announced here.

Round 7: Seventh deadline: 28th February (theme = Swipe Right), results announced here.

Round 8: Eighth deadline: 31st March (theme = Born on a Monday), results announced here.

Round 9: Ninth deadline: 30th April (theme = How Do You Like Your Eggs?), results announced here.

Round 10: Tenth and final deadline: 31st May (theme = Still Out There), results announced here.

The final judging will then take place in June and the eight winners (see ‘Prizes’ below) announced in July on this website, and the top 3 stories published here.

The Prizes: A total of eight prizes will be awarded, including eight free passes to the following year’s BeaconLit Festival (worth £26.50 in 2019 when we held our last full festival). Prizes are as follows:

First prize: £75 plus up to 5,000 words critique* from the competition’s judge Gareth Davies (worth £100) and free entry to the following year’s BeaconLit fest festival in July 2020 with publication on the BeaconLit website.

Second prize: £50 plus up to 4,000 words critique* (worth £80) and free entry to the following year’s BeaconLit festival, plus publication on the BeaconLit website.

Third prize: £25 plus up to 3,000 words critique* (worth £60) and free entry to the following year’s BeaconLit festival, plus publication on the BeaconLit website.

Five further prizes of free entry to the following year’s BeaconLit festival.

*the critique offered as prizes can made up of one or more short stories and / or a novel extract. This year the prize critiques (not the monthly optional critiques) will be provided in audio file form, recorded by the judge, for a more personal experience.

The Rules:

Previously unpublished stories.

No genre restrictions but must be fiction.

No age limits.

Open worldwide but written in English only. BeaconFlash will not meet any additional costs associated with paying out prize money to overseas entrants.

No minimum word count but no more than 500 words excluding the title. Stories over 500 words will be disqualified without being read and no refund will be given.

The theme for each month can be interpreted however suits but any story not following that theme will be disqualified and no refund will be given.

Future or past months’ entries in the incorrect month will be disqualified, with no refund given, and you won’t be able to enter it in the correct month.

Only the first version of a submitted story will be accepted. Further ‘revisions’ will ignored.

Please do not make the theme for the month the title of your story. A good title should be part of the entry and carry some creative weight where the judging is tight. Several anonymised stories with the same title also carry a risk of confusion and administrative error.

Please read your stories carefully as any spelling or careless mistakes will be marked down.

No author will win more than one prize (see ‘How it Works’).

The Judge’s decisions are final and no correspondence regarding specific entries will be entered into with the Judge.

The top three prizewinning stories will be published on the BeaconLit website. The other five winning stories can be sent elsewhere immediately, and the top three winning stories can be re-used six months after publication here (but note you will need to tell the prospective market that the stories have already been published).

The Judge:

Gareth Davies is a journalist and a writer. He spent 30 years as a freelance for the Sunday Times. He first worked there on the Scene pages as a feature writer – reporting on nature, landscape, travel and conservation, when these subjects were little covered – and as a copy editor. He later worked in the Sunday Times News Room, and on the Sunday Times Magazine, in the Business section, and on the Property and Public Sector pages.

Gareth also spent twelve years as a feature writer at Radio Times. Another outlet was the Melbourne Age in Australia. Over the years he was one of the regular writers in the travel sections of The Times, Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday.

His interests include the environment, nature, climate change and renewable energy. His other writing takes in two hardback books (one on the river Thames) and five e-books, variously on Turkey, cricket, and a Welsh journalist from the 1930s.

For more details about Gareth’s writing, see his website here http://www.garethhuwdavies.com  and his Amazon page here http://amazon.com/author/garethhuwdavies.

Questions?: If you have any general queries about the competition, please email us at beaconflash500@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you.



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