Lyrical Beginnings: Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Woman writing music on the grass

In this year’s One Read selection, author M.O. Walsh uses John Prine lyrics and song titles for many of the book’s chapter titles, as well as for the name of the book itself. Taking inspiration from Walsh’s naming convention in the “The Big Door Prize,” we invite you to tell a tale in 250 words or less, and we ask that you title your story using a chapter heading from the book. You can choose any chapter title for your flash fiction. Your story can be about anything and anyone, but it should harmonize with your chosen title. The tone can be joyful, pessimistic or anywhere in between. Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published online and in the Columbia Missourian, and the winners will receive bookstore gift cards.

Starting September 1, entries may be submitted online, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian, and winners will receive a $25 book store gift card.

Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

Contest Rules

Eligibility

  • The contest is open to those 16 years of age and older.
  • Participants must reside within the DBRL service area (Boone or Callaway County, Missouri).

Contest Deadline

Entries will be accepted from September 1-24. (Mailed entries must be postmarked by September 24.)

Submission Requirements and Guidelines

  • One entry per individual.
  • Submissions must be 250 words or less in length.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Submission’s title must be a chapter heading from “The Big Door Prize.”
  • Submissions must include writer’s name, age, address and email address or phone number for eligibility verification and contact purposes.
  • Entries must be in text format and typed.
  • Entries may be submitted through the online form or by mail (DBRL, ATTN: Kat/One Read Writing Contest, PO Box 1267, Columbia, MO 65205), or dropped off at a DBRL location.
  • Submissions must be original, unpublished works.
  • Each participant must be the sole author and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in and to their submission.
  • DBRL’s publication and use of the submission in accordance with the terms set out herein will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party (including copyright), or require any payment to or consent/permission from any third party.

Content Restrictions

  • The submission must not contain any material that is inappropriate, indecent, profane, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous.
  • The submission must not contain any material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • The submission must not contain any material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the submission is created.
  • The submission must not contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service of the sponsor or any third party.

Judging

  • Entries will be evaluated and the winners chosen based on creativity, grammar and emotion evoked by the writing, as well as adherence to the guidelines outlined above.
  • Two winners will be announced by October 15.
  • Winning entries and those receiving honorable mentions will appear on the One Read website and in the Columbia Missourian.
  • Winners will be notified by phone or email and will each receive a $25 bookstore gift certificate.