KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
“Flash isn’t a fad, it’s an art; and while I hope people can have fun with it, its pursuit should still be taken seriously.”
— Tara L. Masih, editor of Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction

Writing Competition Now Closed

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Logo trademarked 2015-2018

Online journal KYSO Flash (Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature) seeks to publish memorable literature and visual arts. Celebrates short forms (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrids), up to 1,000 words each, including title. Original, unpublished works only. “One Life, One Earth” writing competition with cash prizes and publication, online and print. Entry Period: 15 November 2016 thru 31 January 2017. Entry fee (USD): $5 per piece, or $10 for three pieces. Multiple entries allowed. See guidelines below...


“One Life, One Earth” [OLOE] Writing
Competition: 15 November 2016 thru 31 January 2017

“The snow is melting into music.”
—John Muir

John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (1938, page 107)

The Editors of KYSO Flash literary journal are deeply concerned about climate change and its threat to life on Earth. The people of Senegal no longer have enough water to grow food for their families and are among the first climate refugees. The oceans are now so warm that our coral reefs are bleaching, decimating the populations of fish and other sea-life that spawn there. North American forest species are dying in their southern range due to heat and lack of rain. The ice caps are melting, methane gas is streaming from the tundra, and entire islands in the Pacific are disappearing underwater. Even the Baltimore oriole can no longer survive in Baltimore.

It’s clear that we must move with urgency if any hope prevails to stop the environmental crises we face from over-consumption, habitat destruction, and continued reliance on fossil fuels. Yes, we can conserve, boycott, plant, engineer, donate, march, and vote. We can also sing, paint, dance, and write. If we don’t succeed in stopping the climate avalanche entirely, perhaps our music will make the snow melt more slowly.

Thus, we offer a writing competition whose theme is climate change, “One Life, One Earth,” in recognition of the written word’s unique role in celebrating and nourishing our little blue planet. We want to know what cries out inside of you, our artists, our most sensitive chroniclers of civilization and wilderness, as this crisis looms. The best, original works of 1,000 words or fewer in any literary genre of prose or poetry (as listed below) will win cash prizes (US dollars), plus publication online and in print.

$300 First Prize
$200 Second Prize
$100 Third Prize

A number of Honorable Mentions and Finalists will also be selected for publication. All authors and artists whose works appear in our print anthology will receive a copy. Multiple works by the same author or artist may be included, but only one complimentary copy is available per contributor.

Entry Fee (in USD): $5 (five dollars) per piece entered, or $10 (ten dollars) for three pieces.

While there is no limit on the total number of entries allowed from each competitor, each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry fee. For example, if you want to enter four pieces, then the entry fee would be $10 for the first entry of three pieces, plus $5 for the second entry of one piece.

Portion of Entry Fee Donated: To raise the stakes of our own commitment, KYSO Flash pledges to donate a minimum of ten percent of each entry fee received, to Earthjustice, the USA’s original and largest nonprofit environmental law organization. Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a successful track record on behalf of our precious biosphere, to include keeping sensitive land and water out of development, halting the spread of fracking, and restoring damaged ecosystems worldwide.

Submission Period: From 15 November 2016 through 31 January 2017. (Submissions will close at midnight PST on 31 January.)

Electronic Submissions Only: Entries in the English language will be accepted from writers worldwide, via Submittable.

No Simultaneous Submissions, Please.

Original Works Only: Entries must be unpublished, and must not have been chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest. Works that have appeared on an author’s website or blog, and/or on social media sites, are considered published.

Submissions Must Be “Anonymous”: Please do NOT include your name, or any identifying information, on any page of your document; nor in the headers or footers of the document; nor in the file name itself. This contest will be judged “blind.”

Contact Info should be entered in the boxes provided at Submittable.

No Cover Letters: If you have specific questions about the competition that are not addressed in these guidelines, please contact us via Submittable.


  1. flash fiction (501–1,000 words)
  2. micro-fiction (up to 500 words)
  3. literary nonfiction (essays, CNF, memoir)
  4. poetry (structured as well as free verse)
  5. prose poetry
  6. poetic hybrids such as haibun, tanka prose, and haiga

We welcome a range of literary and artistic works, from traditional to unconventional. We appreciate hybrid, experimental, innovative, and/or ekphrastic works, too.

Tip: As we consider submissions to our journal, awards such as the Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net loom over the decisions we make. We look for works that Knock Your Socks Off, that is, prize-worthy material. Regardless of the genre, we cherish a unique voice, fresh language, and the sly use of literary devices such as metaphor and irony. We hope to be side-swiped, poked in the ribs, and otherwise smitten by an arresting idea, a compelling narrative, an exquisite lyric, or a moving account, all of which thread the perfect line between the personal and the universal.

Mixing It Up: An entry of multiple works may be all one genre, such as micro-fiction, or (for example) may include an essay, a poem, and a hybrid piece, etc.

Word Count: No more than 1,000 words per piece, including a mandatory title which is at least one word in length, and any footnotes from the author. The thousand-word max per piece applies to all genres, including hybrids and poetic works, as we count words only, not individual lines.


  1. No gratuitous violence
  2. No gratuitous obscenities; judicious usage is acceptable.
  3. No children’s stories, but we will consider fables or fairy tales for adults.
  4. No pornography, although literary erotica and works containing sexual themes will be considered.
  5. No political screeds and/or religious rants—however, literary works from all spiritual traditions are welcomed.

Formatting: 11- or 12-point, easy-to-read font such as Verdana. Entries may be double- or single-spaced. Please single space lineated poems, with line and stanza breaks as you wish them to appear on-screen and in print.

Publication Rights: Authors and artists whose works are selected will be asked to sign an agreement electronically which grants exclusive first-time worldwide publication rights to KYSO Flash, as well as non-exclusive reprint rights to KYSO Flash Press.

Print Anthology: All entries submitted will be considered for publication, both in KYSO Flash online (Issue 7, Spring 2017), and in our print anthology scheduled for release in December 2017. (Click on the image at right to learn about our special-edition anthology from November 2015.)

While we cannot offer cash payment for rights to publish beyond the cash prizes listed above, all authors and artists whose works are selected for reprinting will receive a copy of the forthcoming book. Although multiple works by a single author or artist may appear in the anthology, only one complimentary copy is available per contributor.

Cover of KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015
Click image for details...

Results: Winners of the KYSO Flash “One Life, One Earth” Writing Challenge will be notified by email just before results are announced officially, which will be in late March 2017. All decisions made by the judges are final.

Payment of Prizes: Winners residing in countries other than the United States will receive electronic payment via PayPal in USD (United States Dollars). Winners in the US may choose payment via bank check or PayPal. Any taxes due on contest winnings are the sole responsibility of the prize winners.

Individuals may receive only one cash prize; however, multiple entries by the same author or artist may be selected as finalists and published.

Please note: This competition is void where prohibited by law.

We look forward to reading your entries.

Thanks so much for considering KYSO Flash, and all best wishes!

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