Word Sculptures: a Flash Fiction Contest

Sculptures come in all sizes, shapes and materials!

Thai Child Reading-Modeled in Terracotta Clay

Writing a story is like an artist creating a fine sculpture.

One has a lump of raw material to start with, the basic tools, and from there on it’s all a matter of shaping it, chipping away the parts that aren’t necessary, re-forming it, smoothing it and finally, when its almost done, giving it that last polish.

What part of the granite, marble or clay is being carved out to reveal your characters? What will emerge from the raw matter?  Only you get to decide! And after its done, what are you going to do with it? Show it off by entering it in a contest!

 Word Sculptures, a Flash Fiction Contest

The Pikes Peak Branch of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) is announcing their annual  Word Sculptures, a Flash Fiction Contest. This is our organization’s  fifth year in a row to host this contest. In years past, we limited our writers to the challenging 100 words only. This year we have extended that word count.

The ‘lump of clay’ each writer must begin with is just 500 words—500 amazing words to craft any kind of short, short story you envision–from any genre. So short it can be read in a flash! The variety of our submissions each year is unlimited. AND the talent and skill of each artisan is put to the test as they hone their craft to create a work of art chiseled in words.

Word Sculptures, a Flash Fiction Contest started accepting entries

March 31 and will be closing submissions at midnight, August 15, 2018.

We challenge writers to tell a complete short story using no more than five hundred words. Entries MUST be narrative in form and pertain to this year’s theme: Secrets.



This contest is open to everyone. You do not need to be a Colorado resident nor an NLAPW member (http://www.nlapw.com/) to submit. Men and teens are welcome. All genres are encouraged, but no poetry will be accepted. Multiple submissions are acceptable. Blind judging — entries identified only by number until judging is completed.


First Place–$125

Second Place–$75

Third Place–$50


Thank you for dropping by our site. We hope to see you again and again!

Linda Bridges, Vice President for the Pikes Peak Branch of NLAPW

Linda at her writing desk.

Read First Place winner, Pamela Jessen’s entry from 2017!


by Pamela J. Jessen–(100 words of amazing writing!)

She lashed the squirming infant to her with what was left of her scarf, wind-driven snow a flensing knife against her bare face and hands.  Freezing to death, she’d decided, was worth the chance to be free of him.

“Mama keep you warm, baby.”

She staggered in deepening snow and ice-clogged gutters, her breath ragged, baby’s cries muffled as the storm howled around them.  Tears froze in the corners of her eyes, conscious thought whipped away by the lash of wind.  She moved on instinct now, almost feral in intensity.

Survival . . . safety . . . freedom.