Not Quite Write Prize Frequently Asked Questions

The Not Quite Write Prize is a quarterly flash fiction writing competition.

The competition commences on the third Friday of the month in January, April, July and October. Relevant dates for 2024 are shown below.

It is your sole responsibility to mark relevant dates and times in your calendar, noting the time zone, and ensure that you have all the information necessary to enter the competition before the deadline.

Unless otherwise specified, all dates and times associated with the competition are based on Sydney, Australia time (AEST or AEDT as applicable).

We reserve the right to modify any of these planned dates at our discretion.

Round 1 January 2024

Prompts releasedMidday Friday 19 January 2024 AEDT
Deadline for entryMidnight Sunday 21 January 2024 AEDT
Judging window22 January 2024 – 2 March 2024 AEDT
Results announcedApprox. 5PM Sunday 3 March 2024 AEDT

Round 2 April 2024

Prompts releasedMidday Friday 19 April 2024 AEST
Deadline for entryMidnight Sunday 21 April 2024 AEST
Judging window22 April 2024 – 1 June 2024 AEST
Results announcedApprox. 5PM Sunday 2 June 2024 AEST

Round 3 July 2024

Prompts releasedMidday Friday 19 July 2024 AEST
Deadline for entryMidnight Sunday 21 July 2024 AEST
Judging window22 July 2024 – 31 August 2024 AEST
Results announcedApprox. 5PM Sunday 1 September 2024 AEST

Round 4 October 2024

Prompts releasedMidday Friday 18 October 2024 AEDT
Deadline for entryMidnight Sunday 20 October 2024 AEDT
Judging window21 October 2024 – 30 November 2024 AEDT
Results announcedApprox. 5PM Sunday 1 December 2024 AEDT

Flash fiction is a very short story, typically no more than 1500 words and, in the case of this competition, no more than 500 words. The category is defined by its word count rather than its genre or narrative style.

Anyone in the world can enter the competition. Entry is subject to a fee.

The competition is open to all ages. Parents and guardians should note however that entries are not
censored and children may be exposed to themes and language deemed inappropriate for their age.

Because judging is blind, the competition remains open to friends and family of the judges.

You don’t need to have any specific skills or experience to enter this competition beyond the basic ability to write in the English language. Flash fiction offers the opportunity for all people to freely express their creativity. This competition is unique in that it offers open critique via the podcast, meaning all participants have the chance to gain from the experience regardless of whether they win. We warmly welcome those new to the world of writing competitions to enter, and we wish you well in your new unhealthy addiction to writing competitions.

Ticket sales for the current quarter will open when the previous competition closes. You may purchase a ticket to enter a current round of the competition at any time before the deadline. In addition to entry to the competition, your ticket buys you access to the exclusive Not Quite Write Participant Lounge and Forum.

You must submit your entry using the entry form accessed via the Participant Lounge. The entry form will be available to current ticket holders only within the competition window (after the release of the prompts and before the deadline of the current round). Email entries will not be accepted.

It is your sole responsibility to ensure we receive your entry by the deadline.

The entry form will ask you for some basic personal information as well as a pen name if you use one. You will also have the option to briefly explain your entry, should you feel the need to do so.

The judges will only access information entered in the Title, Entry, and Brief Explanation fields during the judging window. For this reason, you must not include any information in these fields which could reasonably identify you as the entrant. This includes characters, themes and settings that may identify a writer known to Ed and/or Amanda. We will exclude identifiable entries from consideration for monetary prizes in the interests of fairness.

All entrants must accept the Competition Rules before submitting their entry.

(Yes, even a competition that breaks the rules must have rules. It’s a little bit ironic, don’t you think?)

There is a total prize pool of AU$2,000 up for grabs in each round of the competition.

  • 1st place
    2nd place
    3rd place
    4th place
    Honourable mention
    Honourable mention
    Wildcard
    Wildcard
  • AU$1,000
    AU$500
    AU$200
    AU$100
    AU$50
    AU$50
    AU$50
    AU$50

In the unlikely event of a tie, prize monies will be split evenly between the affected entries.

In addition to receiving prize money, the winner will receive a trophy. The winner and all shortlisted entries will be published on the Not Quite Write website and read in full on the Not Quite Write podcast.

The two Wildcard prizes are also judged blind and may be awarded to any two entries which the judges wish to recognise, but which were otherwise not selected for the shortlist. The possible reasons for awarding a Wildcard prize are unlimited, and the reasons will be determined during the judging window in response to the entries received.

The Participant Lounge is an exclusive online space available to ticket holders and acts as your portal to the Not Quite Write Forum and competition entry form. From time-to-time, the Participant Lounge may also provide access to exclusive content and discounts.

Access to the Participant Lounge begins as soon as you purchase your ticket and continues into future rounds regardless of whether you purchase a ticket for those rounds. Note that access to the competition entry form is restricted to current ticket holders.

The Not Quite Write Forum is an exclusive online space for current ticket holders to share work, give and receive feedback on their writing, and chat with other Not-Quite-Writers.

Current ticket holders also have access to the forum archive from all previous rounds.

This competition would not be possible without your financial contribution.

In addition to the prize money, there are many hidden costs associated with running a competition. Think of it like a fun run: it’s free to run around town, but if you’d like to compete, you’ll need to contribute to the costs of hosting the event, regardless of whether you win a prize at the end.

If you’re concerned about the cost of entry, we recommend choosing one of the many free competitions available online.

Absolutely! We support writerly peer pressure.

Purchase a gift card.

Yes. Refer to our Refund Policy for details about how and when we offer refunds.

We do not currently offer fee waivers. Not Quite Write is a private business, and your entry fee helps offset the substantial running costs of the competition.

If you’re concerned about the cost of entry, we recommend choosing one of the many free competitions available online.

If you’re interested in sponsoring a place for young writers or writers on low income, please email us at contact@notquitewrite.com

Yes. We welcome you to email us in advance of the competition to determine reasonable accommodation for a relevant disability.

To be considered reasonable, any accommodations must allow for us to consider your entry without being able to identify you. For this reason, we will be unable to offer accommodations after the deadline has passed.

The competition closes at midnight, however entrants who are already in the submission form by midnight are offered a few minutes’ grace to finalise their submission.

Late entries will not be accepted except in the event of a technology failure on the part of Not Quite Write and at our sole discretion.

Unfortunately, we cannot consider entries received after the deadline unless agreed as a reasonable accommodation for a relevant disability. The only exception to this would be in the event of some catastrophic technical failure on our part (for example, the website being offline for an extended period during the competition window). In that case, we reserve the right to extend the deadline for all entrants. We cannot, however, accommodate late entries for reasons outside our control.

We strongly recommend allowing yourself enough time to account for any last-minute technical difficulties. It is your sole responsibility to ensure we receive your entry via the entry form by the deadline. This extends to ensuring you are aware of the correct time difference relevant to your respective time zone.

If you still have time before the deadline, you may resubmit your entry within the competition window using the word RESUBMITTING before the title in the Title field. We will accept your most recent entry.

If you’ve missed the deadline, don’t fret. We’ve all been there, and a typo won’t rule your entry out of consideration. If you win a cash prize, we may seek your permission to fix the typo before publishing your entry.

Yes. Your entry may contain fewer than, but no more than, 500 words. The official word count is determined by the entry form.

The word counter uses spaces to count words, so hyphenated words will be counted as one word, but standalone punctuation – like spaced en dashes – will also be counted as words.

Your title is not included in the word count.

For each round of the competition, we will release a new set of three prompts which you must address in your entry.

The prompts will be in the following form:

  • Word prompt: You will be given a word which you must use somewhere in the main body of your entry. This word must be used in full, with no spaces or interrupting punctuation, however it may be included within a longer word provided the original spelling is retained. For example, if the word was “ice,” we would accept “iced,” “splice” and “jaundice” but we would not accept “I.C.E.”, “icicle” or “icy.”
  • Action prompt: You will be given an action which must feature somewhere in the main body of your entry. You don’t need to use the exact wording of the action provided, and you can feature the action prominently or simply as an aside. It may occur before the beginning of your story or after it ends provided it is clearly referenced either directly or by implication within the main body of your entry.
  • Anti-prompt: The anti-prompt will challenge you to break a traditionally accepted “rule” of writing. More information about the anti-prompt can be found on the Not Quite Write podcast and website.

You must address ALL THREE prompts. Entries which do not address all three prompts will be disqualified at the sole discretion of the judges.

The judges will consider all entries written genuinely “in the spirit of” the prompts. We take a relaxed approach to how you interpret the prompts and encourage you to get creative. Where necessary, you will have the opportunity to explain your interpretation of the prompts in the Brief Explanation field of the entry form.

Your entry must be written in response to ALL THREE prompts. Entries that do not include all three prompts will be excluded from consideration at the judges’ sole discretion.

Each set of three prompts will include one “anti-prompt”. The anti-prompt challenges entrants to break a traditionally accepted writing “rule” or piece of writing “wisdom”.

Previous anti-prompts include “Break the rule: avoid all adverbs” and “Break the rule: avoid clichés.”

More information about the anti-prompt can be found on the Not Quite Write podcast and website.

At the commencement of each round of the competition, we will email the prompts to current ticket holders and publish them in the Participant Lounge.

Entry is via a simple text form which removes all formatting.

We understand the importance of some basic formatting for context-setting, so we provide the option of manually indicating *bold* and /italic/ text.

Detailed information about how to format your entry can be found in the Participant Lounge.

No. Your entry must be written substantially in the English language to allow us to judge it effectively. You may use individual words and phrases from other languages provided the meaning is clear in the context of your entry.

No. Provided your entry is substantially in the English language, alternative spellings are acceptable. The competition is judged by Australians who are accustomed to reading a mix of Australian, British and American English.

Fuck oath. Sometimes there’s just no better option.

Yes. There is no limit to your creativity beyond the judging criteria.

Yes. There is no limit to your creativity beyond the judging criteria. Ultimately, your goal should be to tell the best story possible.

In the interests of transparency, the judges have publicly expressed their bias against rhyming stories and “hermit crab fiction” when used as a crutch to disguise poor writing.

We nevertheless encourage you to honour your own creative expression and challenge these biases. It is worth noting that well-executed non-traditional pieces have placed highly in previous rounds of the competition.

Your Entry Ticket entitles you to a single entry to the current round of the Not Quite Write Prize. If you wish to enter more than once, you will need to purchase multiple tickets linked to different email addresses. Honestly? You are better off putting your effort into telling the best story possible.

Yes. Provided the “someone else” is another human being (or human beings) and not A.I., we welcome you to submit a joint entry. You will need to choose one person to be the main contact and recipient of any prize money, however you may enter all authors’ names in the Pen Name field. You should only submit the entry once.

We encourage you to share your entry privately with others during the competition window for the purpose of giving and receiving feedback (also known as “beta reading”). This includes sharing on the Not Quite Write Forum.

You may not publish or discuss any part of your entry (including the title, extracts or key themes) on any public platform until after the final results are announced. This is to ensure that we are not able to identify your entry.

When discussing the competition on social media during the competition window and judging window, we invite you to use the hashtag #NotQuiteWritePrize. Make sure that you do not share any detail that would allow the judges to identify your entry.

Note that we will exclude identifiable entries from consideration for monetary prizes in the interests of fairness.

Yes! However, you must wait until the results are announced to protect your anonymity during the judging process.

If you win a cash prize, you agree to allow Not Quite Write to publish your entry and your pen name in perpetuity in writing and audio on all Not Quite Write public platforms and social media. You retain all other rights to your work and may publish your stories anywhere else you choose after the results are announced.

Even if your story doesn’t win, it may gain a new lease on life outside the competition. We strongly encourage you to publish your previous entries on your personal websites or blogs and to seek publication across a range of paid and unpaid markets.

If you end up finding a “forever home” for a Not Quite Write Prize entry, let us know! We’d love to share the news of your success with our followers.

At Not Quite Write, we welcome our new A.I. overlords. Having said that, this competition rewards human talent, not technological prowess. We recognise that A.I. tools have a place in researching and workshopping ideas as well as editing of grammar and basic syntax, so we allow you to use the available technology in this way. However, by entering this competition, you agree that your work is your own creation and not generated in whole or part by A.I. or similar means.

Entrants found to have generated any part of their entry by A.I. or similar means will be disqualified.

No. Listeners to the podcast may have the advantage of additional or early information however it is not essential to listen to the podcast to enter and win the competition. Relevant details will be published on our website and communicated via email and on social media.

We strongly advise those considering entering the competition to register for email updates.

If you have a question about the Not Quite Write Prize, please check this F.A.Q. and the Competition Rules before contacting us.

We welcome your feedback to make this competition the best it can be. You can email us at contact@notquitewrite.com. When discussing the competition, make sure you don’t include any information that would allow us to identify your entry (for example the title or plot of your entry). Note that we will exclude identifiable entries from consideration for monetary prizes in the interests of fairness.