BHC Short Story Contest, 2022: Deadline: May 31, 2022

Found this via Reddit late last week and thought there might be some interest here. I’m definitely putting something together for this.

Details and submission info

Black Hole Comics and Entertainment is running a free-to-enter short story contest.

Max length: 3,000 words.

No genre stipulations.

International entries allowed.

Must follow BHC on Instagram or Twitter to enter. (See above link for details)

Deadline: May 31st


Thanks for sharing this, Deborah. It’s so wide open, I’ve got to give this a go! I’ve entered Flash fiction contests before wutg under 300 words and under 1000 words, but never 3000 words … gives the writer space to breath. And why wouldn’t you, with it being free?! :writing_hand:


I’ve never attempted anything under 2k before, but at some point, I’d like to see what I could come up with for a Flash or Micro contest/challenge.

I’m using this as an opportunity to get some lore established for my original fantasy work. I’m trying to get at least the first two pages this entry polished before the 7th so I can submit it to a writing group for critique before the deadline. So far, it’s going pretty well.

I saw in another thread you’re pretty booked until May, so I wish you the best with your entry.


I like the concept of novels being fractals. A way of thinking about stories that I first read about in John Yorke’s book Into the Woods although I’ve since heard about it elsewhere. But essentially a book is made up of sentences, that form paragraphs, that form scenes, that form chapters, that form acts, that form the whole and each of those elements (perhaps not the individual sentences and paragraphs), but certainly scenes, chapters acts and the whole, should have the same structure. In reverse, a tree trunk, dividing into branches, dividing into twigs, dividing into leaves. Of course he describes it so much better than I, but the concept is sound. If you think of a scene or chapter as being a mini novel, the idea of writing flash fiction is just that - a mini novel! So using the competition to establish some lore for your fantasy sounds like an excellent approach to this.

I saw in another thread you’re pretty booked until May, so I wish you the best with your entry.

Yup - you’re right! Not going to get a chance to start this before May, but it’s still worth giving it a go since it’s a free entry. I can’t lose anything, but the experience is worth the effort.


Structure is one of my weak points, so I like to read craft books/articles/etc. on it whenever I get the chance. I’ve always loved fractals. I have a whole picture folder on my desktop dedicated to them. I think it’s the eternality that caught me when I first found out about them in a math class about twenty years ago. I also love the variety of colors (always been in love with rich color).

I’m reading K.M. Weiland’s “Structuring Your Novel” on and off and leaned on it heavily for the last fanfic contest piece I turned in a couple weeks back, and she uses tree metaphor in her work on occasion.

Interacting with short stories over the past few years has really challenged me to reframe how I look at story in general. I see/read so many novels out there that ramble (and not the good/interesting/relevant ramble like Sanderson and Rothfuss). Even many short stories fail to encapsulate a story readers can connect with. They fail to find the balance between the necessary and the irrelevant.

If you’d asked me nine years ago if I wanted to write short fiction, I’d have given an adamant “No.” But it’s helped me work toward finding that balance–not just in shorter works, but in my novel-length endeavors too.

All writing experience is worth it. :cherry_blossom:


Ahhhh … that’s what we’re all about. :wink:


So, in the end I used a micro-flash fiction story that I’d written, but wasn’t happy with so never sent it in, and expanded it slightly (from 300 words or less to the BHE comp rules of 3000 words or less). It still has a tragic end (I seem stuck on tragic ends lately, though that’s no reflection on my mood which is upbeat), but I was quite happy with it. I only gave it to my husband to read, so perhaps it’s c**p, but since entry was free for the compettion, I sent it in anyway.

Most frustrating was that all my formatting was stripped when I uploaded it. I went back through and added line breaks for each paragraph and asterisks before and after italicized print (where I had a dog thinking dialogue), but it’s done, regardless of whether it’s any good or not.

How about you Deborah? Have you submitted anything yet? Still intending to?

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Mine’s pretty much finished, but I have it out to a couple last minute betas. If they all give it a thumbs up, I’ll submit it at the end of the week.

Thanks for the heads up on the possible formatting trouble when submitting. Best of luck to you. :smiley:

Edited to add:

Just got the green light from the last beta I’m likely to hear back from in time, so Friday I’ll give it another once-over and get it turned in. :smiley:

This one’s that short story I mentioned in my newsletter–“Strings.” I’ll have to wait to hear back from the judges in June, but after that, it might be something my e-mail subscribers get to see before everyone else. :smirk:

Just turned mine in. I got a chance to hear back from two more readers who I wasn’t sure would be able to look at it in time.

:smiley: I love this story! It turned out so much better than I ever thought it would. Yay for hard-hitting betas! :tada:

Think you’ll do anything with yours after the judging’s finished?

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Sorry for my belated reply.

No I don’t think I will do anything with mine afterwards. In fact, I regret ever sending it in. It’s REALLY dark, with a horrible, horrible ending. I don’t know how I could have been pleased with it when I first finished. Oh well - we live and learn.

Good luck - I hope yours wins. $500 could be really useful.

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You’re good. I’ve been pretty busy lately myself, so I understand the reply gap completely. :blush:

I’m sorry. :neutral_face: Mine was actually a bit dark too, but I knew going in that it would be. (With the premise of one person hunting another, it was kind of a given.) But one of my goals as a writer is to never write darkness for darkness’ sake. I’ve got plenty of it in my work (original and fanfiction alike), but there’s always a reason for it–something that you can learn from. Even if things end badly (as they did in my entry), readers aren’t left with a tone of hopelessness or feeling pointless.

Based on our forum interactions and having read some of the snippets you’ve posted, I have a feeling there could be more heart in your entry than you might think. :gift_heart:

Thank you. I’m actually more interested in the win than the money. It would be huge to have something like this to put in my bio when I pitch my YA fantasy project to agents in a month or two. :smiley:

Despite your misgivings about your entry, I hope it wows the judges (apparently at least one of them really likes horror). Maybe we can take spots 1 & 2. :smirk:

Well, I didn’t place, but I loved this story, and I got it posted on my site for everyone to read ( Also got on Artbreeder and made a couple portraits of the main characters, so I’m considering this a win. :smiley:

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Good world-build and sense of place. And a nice twist ending.

Not sure I’d want to spend a lot of time in this world, tho! :smile:

Thanks. :grin:

Yeah, the Dark Times weren’t an especially great time in Eschtalon’s history. :grimacing: Things eventually got better, but it took a minute–and costed a lot of lives.

I’m in the closing Happy Hour session of Daniel’s Find Your Readers Summit just now.

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And a good ‘soft’ magic system! Really good magical duel.

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Thank you. I was wondering what another speculative fiction writer might think of it. :hugs:

Well it’s taken me long enough to get back to the community and see this post. I just read Strings on your website. Fantastic. I really enjoyed your unique world that you built up so quickly. As Robin said – I really wouldn’t want to visit that world (Eschtalon, I assume). And the story got my heart racing – well done. Great concept for the song magic. I liked how you tied it in with the physical reality of needing to breathe versus singing the magic … and the quash! Great concept that it “squashed/quashed” all connections to both the external world and internal access to magic. Shame you didn’t win the BHC, but perhaps it was because it came from another, bigger work rather than being stand-alone? No idea, but you made it work well without reading the larger piece.

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Summer has been a pain, but compared to everyone else in my IRL writers group, I’ve actually got something finished (ish).

If anyone wants to look over Beta copy of The Ghost and the Vipers, I’d appreciate the feedback. I’m too close to it to judge if its any good or not. I need to stop tinkering and get outside opinion.

Drop me a line to proactivitypress(at)gmail I’ll send you a link.

Hey @Kas. :smiley:

Thanks for taking time to read and for your comments. :blue_heart:

Eh. :woman_shrugging: I think it might just have been stylistic differences on the judging front. Based on the winners, it looks like they were wanting something a bit more macabre/bizarre than I usually care for. But I got a great short story out of it and discovered some fascinating things about Eschtalon along the way. :tiger: I’m working on another short story to use as a lead magnet within the next month or two.


Summer’s been packed for me too, though I’ve gotten a lot done, writing, social media stuff, and a couple house projects.

I’ll send you an e-mail for The Ghost and the Vipers.