With great delight and many hours of poring over the work entered in the 2022 SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction competition (The Smokey), we are thrilled to announce our long list. We’ve been busy.
Why run a competition? And what is the difference between The Smokey and general submissions at SmokeLong? I am so glad you asked, and I have so much to tell you. The basic difference is that we cannot enter into an editing process with competition entries. Beyond a bit of comma reallocation and typo elimination, we need to present the entry the way it was entered. This is not the case with general submissions. But there are other reasons to run a competition. The one closest to our hearts at SmokeLong is to promote excellence, providing a large prize opportunity in the flash community.
We run The Smokey also to promote flash to a wider audience, and we are always amazed by the writers we meet. Is there a special species of writer who enters competitions? Yes. Is there a special type of writer who spurns the competition, preferring the general (free) submissions form? Yes. When we opened for general submissions on November 16, we received forty submissions almost immediately–and every day afterward.
During the competition reading period we received 1476 entries*. To put this into perspective, in the same reading period if we’d been open to general submissions, we would have read over 3000 submissions. Seventeen SmokeLong editors judged the entries, following our usual editorial process: Two readers were assigned to each entry. If one of the readers voted MAYBE on the entry, the entry was sent to the second round of judging. At this point the senior editors discussed the entry and made a decision: long list or rejection. If any of the seventeen judges recognized the story/writer, they recused themselves. If the writer’s name appeared on the entry itself (including filenames), the story was disqualified.
The list below represents a wealth of very good writing. If you see your title on this list, please feel free to express your elation wildly, but please do so without identifying your title. Blind judging is ongoing.
The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction Long List
A Ghost in 5 Stages
Beneath the Sway of Crossed Palms
Digging a Hole
Drowning on Main Street
Eddie, in Three Parts
Edna St. Vincent Millay Covers the Mirrors
Eulogy of the Divine
Killing the Rooster
Love at the Rodeo
Museum of Natural History
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
Some Unseen Hand
Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a Tiger Hides in a Puffy Jacket
Superheroes and Roses
The Properties of H20
The Resident in Room 402
The Starling Acquisition
The Violence of Grape Popsicles in the Fall
The Way the Cookie Crumbles
We are Janet Jackson
What a Lion is
What Fits in a Mason Jar
What We Always Carry With Us
*113 of which were free, 94 1/2 price