National Flash Fiction Day and #OUATWriting WINNARS!


Although this is a UK based website, National Flash Fiction Day (#NFFD on Twitter) has gained traction worldwide. You can click here to find international recognition of the winners.

To celebrate NFFD, I teamed up with renowned British Flash Fiction writer SJI Holliday to bring you the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction contest.

To be a winner is pleasant, but a WINNAR is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

To select the WINNARS of the Once Upon a Time Writing Contest was akin to finding your favorite puppy in a kennel. Some of them bark loudly to get your attention, some nip at you, some have big puppy eyes and…okay, enough with the simile. It was tough.

After a great deal of consultation with my lovely co-host, SJI Holliday, we FINALLY narrowed it down to three authors.

To see the full and magnificent details of the prizes offered, go here. Thanks again to the generosity of Jessica Gray and Diane J. Reed!

And without further ado, here are the WINNARS of the Once Upon a Time Writing Contest!

* The winner of the AWAKE Prize Package (Best Adaptation of an Existing Fairytale)


You can read Angela’s reboot of The Little Mermaid, entitled A Mermaid in Texas.

* The winner of the TWIXT Prize Package (Best Original Fairytale)


You can read Mackenzie’s original tale here.

* The winner of the Grand Prize Package


You can read Oliver’s story, Pink Bells.

Much thanks and congratulations to all who entered, who made it impossible for us to decide!

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Phuong Nguyen

I once thought that once upon a time meant that I would get a happily ever after. That no matter what happens—that whatever crap lands in my hellhole of a life— somehow things will all turn out for the better.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

“It’s too bad you couldn’t come to the ball, Cinderella,” Anastasia said with a triumphant sneer. “The prince couldn’t keep his eyes off of me.”

Stepmother pinched her thin cheek and beamed with pride. “I just know he’ll come calling on you soon.”

“Of course. He has to return my shoe after all.”

I stumbled backwards in a blurry haze. “I’ll get you your tea.”

No, this wasn’t supposed to happy. I was supposed to go to the ball and meet the prince. To fall in love. This was supposed to be my reward for being kind all my life. She wasn’t supposed to charm the prince. She wasn’t supposed to live out my dream.

Yet somehow, in some way, she did. She will.

It wasn’t until then that I knew happily ever’s don’t come for free. I’d have to work for my dream, my future.

It took me a few minutes to prepare their tea. Only a second to pour in the arsenic.

Later, I hummed a little tune to myself as I washed the dishes. A dream is a wish your heart makes. When you’re fast asleep…

Thud. The first thump came from the directly above my head. I didn’t even look up, still continuing with my chores. After I wiped my hands on my tattered apron, I picked up Anastasia’s sparkling blue mask and brushed at the invisible dust. Thud. Another one. This time from the bedroom above the dining hall. Barely noticing, I fastened the mask on and brushed a few blond tendrils off my face. It fit perfectly.

Thud. The final thump was the loudest of them all.

Finally I allowed myself to smile and settled on the wooden with the glass slipper in my lap. Now I’d just have to wait for my prince to come.

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Eleanor Capaldi

This entry is by Eleanor Capaldi (@brightstarshine on Twitter)

Just the Ticket

‘Are you sure this is your ticket?’ the cloakroom attendant asked me. Of course I was sure, I’d only been given it a couple of hours earlier. But my pal had pulled, and seeing as we were a two woman team, that left me decidedly on my own. Not that I wasn’t happy for her, but it did take the fun out of dancing. Having no-one to dance with.

So, he asks me again, ‘Are you sure?’ Completely. My bag therefore missing, the hunt begins. While mindfully musing the practicality of a sweep of the building, I saw a flash of white heading out beyond the cloakroom and down towards the dance floor. A glance over the shoulder vaguely in my direction. Bitch had my bag.

I forgot my usual feeble approach in the face of danger and set off in hot pursuit. Within a couple of minutes I could just see the back of the person disappear into the civilisation of the crowd. Under the lights, white showed up in a sort of ghoulish glow, as if UV paint had been spilt all over the enthusiastic club goer. I began to weave my way in and out of the maze, searching for spaces; under an elbow here, round a waist there.

Timidity began to grow. The flush of ‘no fear!’ faded as I steeled myself to meet my thief. I hoped they weren’t bigger than me. Long legs poked out the edge of an alcove.

So she was bigger than me. Damn.

Dark jeans to slim body, encased in white shirt. Charm of necklace resting low. I followed the chain and it led to glinting hazel eyes, dark hair pinned back. Oh god she might be Mediterranean. Suddenly my head is imagining beaches and vegan paella and coffee on the veranda.

But I must stop. This is my thief. And there is her loot. My bag. Sitting quite peacefully beside her. Matching ticket number still attached.

She studies me in the eye, and before I can launch into any tirade,

“I knew I had to get your attention somehow.”