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And now, the results of our Young Writers Flash Fiction Contest!

Wowzas! We read over 1,100 flash fiction stories, making this our biggest contest yet. You all took wildly different approaches to our balloon prompt, but one thing your stories shared was the amount of hard work and talent that went into them. Well done! 

Our special guest judge Claire Kann (and all of us at NaNoWriMo) had an exciting, surprising, sometimes scary, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious time reading them. Thank you for sharing your work with us!

And now, the winning stories! Find them linked below, and in the NaNoWriMo blog.

Grand Prize (14-18 Division)

"Fate" by Lainey T. 

Claire Kann said this about "Fate": What a fun, creative, and intriguing story! Beatrice, the world she lives in, and her goals are established quickly and masterfully. Immediately after finishing, all I could think was: where is the rest? I hope I get to read about Beatrice and her adventures someday.” 

Grand Prize (13 and Under Division)

"The Sacrifice" by Miriam G.

Claire Kann said this about "The Sacrifice": “The tension in this story was spectacular! I loved the sparse but effective world-building, the sharp, clean prose, and the compelling imagery. The main character, Shana, was daring, scrappy, and resourceful—my favorite kind of protagonist." 

Honorable Mentions

Our guest judge selected these stories from a group of 32 Official Finalists. Their authors crafted unique characters and rich worlds, and found the way to move us, even in such a short space. Congratulations!

Official Finalists

These stories stood out from hundreds of others, and we sent them on to our guest judge to choose from. 

  • "The Moon's Egg" by Hannah S., "The Man in the Balloon" by Serena J., "Sorry for Your Loss" by Sophia R., "Half-Deflated Memories" by Cait D., "Get Well Soon" by Julia P., "Defeated and Deflated" by Briar W., "Dead Loss" by Austin W., "Le Père Lévesque" by Joshua K., "The Wish Queen" by Lana G., "The Zombie Passover" by Samuel E., "Run Away" by Amanda G., "Rise" by Alex M., "Friday the 13th" by Sophie M., "Pierre-François Pilâtre and the Balloon Eiffel Tower" by Shalom G., "Alien Attic" by Klara H., "White Wall" by Hannah M., "The Red Balloon" by Shivali D., "The HoD" by Kavya B., "Sky High" by Aditi W., "Indestructible Balloon" by Rayana H. 

Finally, something we always say because it's always true: it was sooooo hard to choose just a few winners. Like, bite your fingernails, pull your hair out hard. If your story wasn't picked, it doesn't mean it was bad or that we didn't like it. Submitting stories to a contest is kind of like entering a lottery: at a certain point, it really comes down to luck. All writers—even professional ones, even famous ones—get rejected tens or hundreds of times before they get accepted. 

We encourage you to post your story and read others in this dedicated forum thread, and most importantly, to keep writing and revising your work! Being a writer takes guts, and you've got them.

Claire Kann

Special guest Judge Claire Kann is the author of Let's Talk About Love and an award-winning online storyteller. In her other life, she works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she's paid to do it. Find out more by visiting her website: (and while you're there, tell her about your cats. She loves cats. A lot.) Her next YA novel, If It Makes You Happy, releases June 4th, 2019.

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