- What is Microcosms?
Microcosms is a weekly, microfiction contest, the primary goals of which are to inspire creativity, get writers in the habit of writing, and entertain readers!
- Is this contest for sci-fi only?
Not at all! Although we’re stretching the definition just a tad, a mini universe can be whatever you make it. What we’re looking for is a sense of completeness. Does it feel like a real world? Plus, the genre may change every week.
- What are the content guidelines?
We don’t want to censor someone’s art, but violence and sexuality should serve a purpose and not be merely gratuitous. Please keep in mind that this is a public site, and there is always a chance younger people could come across it. With that being said, if it’s appropriate for your story, don’t limit yourself just for that reason.
- How much does it cost to enter?
Microcosms is completely free of charge! We do not charge fees of any kind and have no plans ever to do so.
- What can I win?
In addition to accolades and the well-earned respect of your fellow writers, we may have actual prizes that we will give away for winning. In addition, an anthology (to benefit charity) — to include all of the winning stories — may be .
- What else do I get?
Winners MAY also be given the chance to promote their work on our site with free ad space, provided it falls within our guidelines (specifics TBD).
- How do I win?
All entries must fall within the posted contest guidelines for the day and the contest rules (see below). The contest judge will select a winner — the Judge’s Pick.
An additional winner — the Community Pick — will be selected by the Microcosms community, based upon the number of votes received, so don’t forget to vote for your favorites! Public voting will never be turned off (feel free to show your support on older stories), but we do ask that you stop voting for the current contest on Sunday and Monday. Votes will be counted for contest purposes through Saturday at midnight, NY time. Please note: We will do our best to adhere to these times, although it may not be an exact science, depending upon who is running the contest that week and their schedule. Please keep in mind that this contest is run by volunteers, and all is done in good fun and faith. All results are final. However, if you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to us privately via the contact us page.
Additional anthology entries may be offered at the discretion of the judge(s) and/or website admin. (Sometimes, there are just too many good stories!)
- When does the contest take place?
The contest runs for 24 hours only every Friday, although certain exceptions may be made.
Since there are flash writers all around the globe who might like to contribute, the contest will be run on EST/EDT (New York time), which is as close to the middle as possible between the US (West Coast) and the UK, as the majority of contestants are from either of these two countries. So the contest will be
00:00 – 23:59 on FRIDAY (New York time – EST/EDT)
- How many entries can I submit?
We aim to inspire and entertain, and limiting the number of entries per person seems contradictory to that goal. If this policy causes any unforeseen issues in the future, we may change our minds on this, but for now, submit as many as you like!
- What are the contest rules?
The contest may change slightly occasionally, but will essentially follow these rules:
1. Entries must be no more than 300 words (excluding the title).
2. The prompt will (usually) consist of three elements: character, location and genre. Writers who do not choose to use the ones selected by the host may press the Spin! button to run the ‘slot machine’ of different provided elements until they find a combination that inspires them. Only elements which are in the ‘slot machine’ are valid.
3. An optional photo prompt MAY be provided.
4. Entries are submitted as a comment on the contest post.
5. Authors MUST include the following information — in the order specified — before each entry:
(a) Twitter username, if they have one and are happy to share it (we highly recommend it!)
(b) Word count – excluding title (in the format ‘xxx words’)
(c) The three elements used (each separated by a semicolon and a space – ‘xxx; xxx; xxx’)
(d) A blank line
(e) Entry title (All major words with an initial capital letter; no period/full stop at the end)
(f) A blank line
6. Entries must be submitted by the deadline specified in the contest (usually Friday at midnight, New York time).
7. Authors may request amendments to be made to their entries – before the closing deadline – by leaving a reply for the administrator, with details of the required amendments.
8. Anyone accessing the contest post is encouraged to vote for favourite entries. You may vote for as many entries as you like. You may also leave feedback on entries — positive comments and constructive criticisms are welcome, but NOT full-blown critiques. (This is a friendly community: it should go without saying that rude, obnoxious or abusive comments will not be tolerated.)
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- What is all of this I see about points?
Points are a way to track who is participating and giving back to the community. It is also a fun way to engage everyone and encourage contributions. You can earn points by registering on the site, logging in, commenting (posting entries and commenting on others), and more.
Badges can also be earned for participating. 🙂
- I see a Members page. Do I need to register with the site to participate?
Nope! You are more than welcome to register, which will allow you to earn points and badges, etc., as well as participate in any community-based aspects of the site. But to submit a story, you just need to reply to the post as a comment. The Members page is a way to say thanks to those who support us but is mostly reserved for potential future use. (See below.) You can log in to comment using your e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account. 🙂
- Is anything else in the works?
We have some cool ideas, but we’ll pose them after we get the contest up and running and let the community decide what they want.
- When I register, it asks if I want a website. What’s all that about?
Zwoodle.com also offers free websites to artists and writers. You are under no obligation to sign up for one, but you are more than welcome to, if you like!