SmokeLong Quarterly
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30-Word Story Contest

In December 2010, SmokeLong Quarterly will publish its 30th issue. We thought that nice, round, pretty number deserved some kind of celebration, and so it is so.

In honor of our 30th issue, we are holding a 30-word story contest.

From November 1 to November 30 ("Thirty days hast September, April, June and NOVEMBER!" Get it?), we will be accepting submissions of 30-word stories on any topic.

The rules are simple:
  • Thirty words exactly—no less, no more.
  • You MUST have a title for your story, though the title does not count toward the word count.
  • You can submit up to three stories, but please submit each story SEPARATELY.
  • No entry fee.
  • Submissions open from November 1 to November 30.
Robert Swartwood

And here's the really exciting part: The final judge for this hint fiction contest is Robert Swartwood, who is the editor of the brand-new book, Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer, published by W. W. Norton in November 2010.

Hint Fiction features 125 stories in 25 words or fewer from best-selling and award-winning authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Ha Jin, Peter Straub, and James Frey, as well as emerging writers. Swartwood was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's possibly apocryphal six-word story—"For Sale: baby shoes, never worn"—to foster the writing of these incredibly short-short stories. He termed them "hint fiction" because the few chosen words suggest a larger, more complex chain of events.

This is what we'll be looking for in the stories submitted for our contest—very short gems that are sparse, yet evocative.

The top 5 stories will be published in our 30th issue due out at the end of December, and each winning author will receive a copy of Hint Fiction!

Get to it! Help us celebrate our 30th issue in style.

We're looking forward to reading your pieces.

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