Micro Fiction Contest Notes



We would like to thank everyone who participated for making Melic’s Micro Fiction Contest such a resounding success. We received 410 stories from writers all over the globe.

Our judges (whose bios appear below) undertook to read and assess all of these stories in under two weeks. For this we all owe them an extreme debt of gratitude. What’s more, they each admitted to having a very good time in the process. According to Blickley, “I was more than a bit apprehensive about the quality of the submissions. This apprehension quickly turned into pleasure.”

What They Looked For

“I looked for story!” said Blickley. Story, story, story figures largely in all the judges’ decisions.

“Just how much can you omit and still tell a complete story?” asked Cantrell. “I looked for a captured moment, tinged with allusions to an entire life or experience. And ultimately I looked for humor, which was quite apparent in many of these stories.”

Moore elaborated, “I sought out story, an element that eluded the vast majority of works submitted. I do not mean plot. No, 300 words does not leave room for plot. . . . The best pieces implied a whole world of story that was not presented, but one you put your trust in, your faith that this world existed somewhere beyond the page.”

Smith concurred. Contrary to other literary forms, successful micro-fiction “does not show development of a plot or character in the conventional prose sense. In micro-fiction, the plot and characters must have developed on their own time, and the narrative voice must take us on a tour of a given moment . . . .”

What tactics work best? According to Piette, “Brilliant, strong verbs do work. An original situation does too. A tight scene that suggests a larger story works. So do staccato sentences that don't include the words staccato or ‘tattoo of heels.’ Proper use of language like ‘irony’ works. A strong, non-corny ending is a must.”

The Judges (in alphabetic order):

Mark Blickley is a playwright with eleven New York production credits. He has published stories, plays, and essays in books, magazines, and journals across the country. A collection of his short fiction, The World’s Greatest Saxophone Player, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. His latest play, Beauty Knows No Pain, which opened in New York last June, was selected for this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

Karen J. Cantrell teaches writing and critical thinking at too many institutions of higher learning in New York City. When she's not grading papers, supervising her children's homework, or reading micro-fiction, she works on her own short stories and her novel in progress. Her story, "Clink!" was first published by The Melic Review last September.

In addition to two "light mysteries" published under a pen-name known only to her closest writing friends, Carolyn Moore writes the occasional short story and short-short. One appears as a co-winner in a special anniversary collection from The Spirit That Moves Us Press. In the past dozen years, her writing in several genres has garnered sixty awards and honors, chiefly for poetry, next for fiction. She is currently working on a poetry collection, for which she was the recipient of the C. Hamilton Bailey Fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts, Inc.

Laurie Piette is currently writing a play under the auspices of The Institute at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She read at the In Our Own Write emerging writers program of the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center. She is a co-editor of Girls: An Anthology, published by Global City Press (1997). She has won writing prizes from Wellesley and City Colleges. She also teaches high school and dabbles in advising the education department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a Rhode Island expatriate currently living in Washington Heights.

Gary Smith lives in the central Alabama area with his wife, cats, and sons (in order of chronological seniority): Diane, Macavity, Shadow, George, and Nathan. He is bemused by the fact that, having recently become a moderator for the Zeugma Poetry Workshop and having accepted this guest-shot as a contest judge, he is rapidly becoming part of the mysterious “they” whom writers routinely curse.

Special Thanks

Melic is grateful to the following websites for their support of the Micro Fiction Contest:

Preditors and Editors
Vestal Review