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News: The final group of the Podcastle Flash Fiction contest is live! Voting lasts through July 13th.
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Author Topic: Escape Pod flash contest - rules and regulations  (Read 6480 times)
Posts: 6109

« on: July 18, 2012, 10:24:05 AM »

The Escape Artists forum is proud to present the third official flash story contest!

Twice before the forum has hosted flash story contests to a resounding success. The last flash contest, which was divided into three sub-contests, one for each forum, lasted nearly six months from announcement until completion and featured over 300 story submissions between the three podcasts. It was a great experience for all but by the end people were clearly getting a bit fatigued. So, this time round, we decided to space things up a bit more, and we will be running separate contests for each podcast, with a few months for everyone to recharge their writing/voting batteries between.

So, without further ado, here are the official rules and regulations for the third Escape Pod flash story contest:


1. Stories will be posted anonymously, with the identity of the author revealed only after a story is knocked out or wins the competition. Any real attempt to identify authors prior to the story losing or winning shall be deleted. While we cannot stop authors from trying to rally support from third party sites (blogs, livejournal, twitter, etc.), we discourage it and ask that they just point to the contest in general. We reserve the right to take action against stories where support is clearly being rallied. This contest is to be won on the merits of the relative stories, not the reputation of the author.

2. This contest is being run by myself (eytanz), as moderator of the Escape Pod forums, with the support of the Escape Pod editors. If necessary, other moderators and/or editorial staff will be called on for assistance; if this happens it will be announced publically. No one involved in the running of the contest is eligible to submit.

3. We encourage constructive discussion about the stories posted in this contest — it's good for the community, and helpful to the authors, especially new ones. Normal forum rules remain in place. Please keep your commentary honest but constructive.  "I didn't like this story at all; the characters were flat and nothing really happened" is a fair comment.  "This story was a piece of crap; I had to fumigate my computer to get the stink out" is just a flame and will be deleted.  Don't be insulting, and please attempt to explain why you liked or didn't like a story. If you can't, it may be better to not comment at all.

4. Creating multiple accounts to vote for a story will get you banned from the forums.

5. In order to encourage more people to participate, the contest forum is currently visible to everyone, including non-forum members. However, once the submissions are closed the contest forum will be hidden and available only to registered members of the forum, and will remain so. This will ensure that the entries are not available to a general audience and prevent them as being considered as published by most markets.


Submissions for the contest have opened on August 1st and will close on September 15th. The stories will become available for judging on September 20th.


In order to be a valid submission to the contest, each story must adhere to the following rules:

1. It must be not more than 750 words long, including the story's title. Word count will be determined using Microsoft Word 2010.  

2. The story must adhere to the general Escape Pod submission guidelines as far as content goes. Most importantly, it needs to be a science fiction story; other genres, including fantasy and horror, are discouraged. As a general rule, we will take a very liberal view of what consists science fiction, but authors should note that past experience shows that stories that attempt to skirt the genre restriction tend to fare badly in the voting.

3. The story must be original and previously unpublished. The person submitting the story must be the story's author (or acting for the author with express permission) and hold full publishing rights to the story. A story that is derived from a previous published work in another format (i.e. not a short story) is fine (assuming doing so isn't in violation of copyright, obviously).

If you are not sure whether your story counts as published or not (for example, if an earlier version has appeared on your blog but nowhere else), please write (PM or send a query to with the subjectline "QUERY") and ask before submitting. Please do not submit stories that have been entries in a previous contest on this forums.

4. The story should be submitted in its final form, as the author intends it to be read by the voting public. We may or may not allow minor typo corrections if those slip in, but as a general rule, we will not allow authors to submit changes to stories, especially not after submissions are closed.

5. Each author may submit up to two stories.

Send submissions to with "EP FLASH SUBMISSION: Title of Story" in the subjectline. I will be using automatic filters in the account so there's a good chance stories submitted with improperly formatted subject lines will be lost.

Included the body of the submission email should be the title, byline (your legal and proper name), an email address we will be able to contact you at in the next few months, and, of course, the text of your story.  DO NOT SEND THE STORY IN AN ATTACHMENT.  The byline will be stripped when the stories are posted in the contest, and will be revealed when either the story fails to advance, or ultimately wins. Feel free to request a pseudonym for the byline, but we will need a legal name if you win for prize purposes.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will receive a contract and audio produced version of their story aired on Escape Pod for the current flash story rate.

Further details regarding the voting process will become available as the voting phase grows closer, determined partially by the amount of submissions.

And one last bit of boilerplate: We reserve the right to change the rules depending on circumstances and with notice in this thread, though the democratic intent of the contest shall remain intact.

Please blog, tweet, email, send postcards, telephone, and otherwise get the word out.


In each voting round, a sub-forum will be created for that round which includes a thread for each story, and a poll thread. The voting forums will be visible only to registered forum members. Forum members are welcome, and indeed encouraged, to post discussion in the story threads and the poll threads, as long as they follow the following guidelines:

1. There should be no discussion of the stories in areas of the forum visible to non-members, including the contest rule board (this one). This is done to protect the ability of story authors to later submit the stories elsewhere as unpublished.

2. Throughout the voting process, stories up for voting will be anonymous. Any discussion of a story's authorship before it is officially revealed - either by the author him/herself, or speculation by voters, is strictly forbidden, and will be deleted immediately. If we discover that an author has revealed their authorship of a story before it is allowed (in the contest threads or elsewhere), that is grounds for disqualification of the story.

3. While we cannot stop authors from trying to rally support from third party sites (blogs, livejournal, twitter, etc.), we discourage it and ask that they just point to the contest in general. We reserve the right to take action against stories where support is clearly being rallied. This contest is to be won on the merits of the relative stories, not the reputation of the author.

4. As mentioned above, throughout all contest discussion, normal forum rules remain in place. Please keep your commentary honest but constructive. If you can't keep the discussion civil, don't join it. Unlike in normal forum discussions, I will be actively moderating and may edit out or delete abusive posts without posting warnings.


If there is a tie such that it's not clear which stories need to go up to the next round, there will be a tie-breaker poll, where voters will need to decide which of the tied stories will move up. If there is again a tie, then I (as contest runner) will cast the deciding vote. This will be the only circumstance in which I vote.

Note that if there is a tie for fourth place, we will not have a tiebreaker to decide which story goes up to the second chance round, we'll just send all of the tied stories up.

18/9/2012 - Added voting, discussion and tiebreaking rules
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 04:20:36 PM by eytanz » Logged
Posts: 6109

« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 10:30:42 AM »

Note - in order to make sure the rules are always easily accessible, I will be locking this thread. Please use the official discussion thread for any comments or questions!
Posts: 6109

« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2012, 04:21:18 PM »

Rules for voting and discussion are now up!
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