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Announcing our 2020 Flash Fiction Contest winners!

It took us longer than we expected, but (*drumroll*) we finished reading the 1,100+ flash fiction stories you submitted to our contest one month ago, and... We. Are. So. Impressed. You all took wildly different approaches to our spider, cake, and rainbow prompt (assassins, dragons, and queens, oh my!), but one thing your stories shared was the amount of hard work and talent that went into them. Well done! 

Our special guest judge Amy Spalding (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! Look for them in Breaking News and the NaNoWriMo blog.

Grand Prize (14-18 Division)

"Difficult Training" by Jacqueline C.

Amy Spalding said this about "Difficult Training": "I loved how this story managed deliberate pacing in such a short amount of time. The twist of the ending delighted me."

Grand Prize (13 and Under Division)

"Ama Dablam" by Lana B.

Amy Spalding said this about "Ama Dablam": “This story sparkled with vibrant details, rich hints of backstory, and a twisty conclusion."


Our guest judge selected these stories from a group of 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 one thousand others, and we sent them on to our guest judge to choose from:

  • "A Mother's Secret" by Rebekah M; "An Infinitesimally Small Detail In My Great Long Life" by Jordan D; "Born for Trouble" by Janhavi J; "Mission Monster" by Angela B; "The Clockwork Heist" by Abigail E; "The Dark Fairy" by Pavani D; "The Flight" by Hadassah K; "The Grave" by Nova S; "The Healer's Apprentice" by Rosa J;  "The Queen's Cake" by Clea L; "Youth Unbroken" by Maneesh J

Honorable Mentions

There were just so many great stories to read! Here are a few more we loved and kept thinking about:

  • "Autobiography of a Spider" by Leah G; "A Glitch in Reality" by Claire O; "A Spider's Web" by Julia P; "Birthday Wish" by Elaina P; "But You Won't Believe Me" by Shannon M; "Dreams" by Kriti M; "Finding Forever" by Sophia D; "Running in the Rain" by Lily M; "The Face on the Wall," by Jayden; "The Fear Witch" by Emily O; "The Lost Olympians" by Patrick W; "The Quest of Spider and Woman" by Grace G; "Through the Rainbow" by Tara K; "Unearthed" by Trini F

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. We turned down dozens of stories we really loved! 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.

Amy Spalding

Special Guest Judge

Amy Spalding is the bestselling author of several novels for teens, including Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys); The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) which was named a best book of 2018 by NPR, The Boston Globe, Kirkus, and more; and her latest, We Used to Be Friends. She lives in Los Angeles.

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