Processing the Deluge
 by Mr FlashFlood – Calum Kerr

Posted: July 6, 2013 in Flash Fiction, Friday Guest
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

ckerr1smAs I’m here on Susan Howe’s blog today (Hi, Sue!) I thought I’d write about the thing that has bonded us as comrades in flash, the editing of the FlashFlood journal.

For those of you who don’t know, this was an online journal which had its first issue to coincide with the first National Flash-Fiction Day, last year. Since then, we did another issue in October and one in April, and then the most recent issue was for this year’s NFFD a couple of weeks ago.

I had the idea for the journal after taking part in the 24 Hour Project. This was a journal which opened for submissions for only 24 hours, promoted itself through all the social media outlets, and then, as submissions closed, it immediately started to publish through a Tmblr account. It published a piece – story, flash, poem, whatever – every twenty minutes for the next 24 hours, stayed live for another 24 hours, and then disappeared. It was a bold and exciting project and led to my quickest publication ever, with a story that I finished at 11.00pm on the day of submissions, being accepted by 11.30pm then published at about 3am – just four hours from completion to publication!

I thought this would be great idea for NFFD, but with a few changes. And so FlashFlood was born. The idea was to open submissions for a whole week, using seven editors (one a day) and then to publish to a blog as often as the number of acceptances allowed (with a cut off point of 144 pieces = one every 10 minutes over 24 hours). And the stories would also stay up after the initial publication period, rather than being taken down again.

I put a call out for editors and quickly assembled a wonderful team including Susan Howe (of course), Susi Holliday, Nettie Thomson, Shirley Golden, Cassandra Jane Parkin and Caroline Kelly. Oh, and me! And I’m pleased to say that the team has remained the same for all the issues so far.

It is a lot of work, even spread between seven people, as when you open the doors for people to send up to three flash-fictions, but only give them a week, they do so in huge numbers. Just looking over the figures for the most recent issue, we published 140 pieces during this year’s NFFD. However, we received over 600 pieces in those seven days, from which those final ones were selected. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried reading a hundred flash-fictions in a day, and try to judge their quality and how they will fit with other pieces to try and create a coherent journal, but it’s quite a job!

This is one of the reasons why, whether you are accepted or rejected, you will receive a form-reply. We would love to be able to provide feedback on each piece, but there are just too many and too little time in which to do it. It is one of the drawbacks of the ‘pop-up’ nature of the journal.

However, I think that small problem is more than offset by the wonder that is FlashFlood in full spate. It posts directly to National Flash-Fiction Day’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and if you follow either of those, watching the stories appear one after the other is quite an amazing thing to see. And the diversity and quality is outstanding. Now, you may think that as an editor I have to say that. But I only edit one day, and only get to see one seventh of the stories before they go live. So that makes me just as excited a reader of the journal I edit as anyone else!

lostpropertyfrontsmAnyway, if you haven’t caught up with FlashFlood yet (and why not?) then you can read all the issues of the journal here. It now has nearly 500 flash-fictions on it and is rapidly becoming a wonderful resource as well as an interesting journal/project.

We haven’t yet worked out when the next issue will be. Our attitude to it is very much in the ‘pop-up’ spirit in that it happens when we decide to do it. But I think I am quite safe in saying that there will be another issue, so keep your eyes peeled.

And, just to give you an example, here’s my story for this year’s NFFD issue. It was written especially and features the origin story of a character I have revisited a number of times. Enjoy!


Calum Kerr is a writer, editor, lecturer and director of National Flash-Fiction Day in the UK. He lives in Southampton with his wife –  the writer, Kath Kerr –  their son and a menagerie of animals. His new collection of flash-fictions, Lost Property, is now available from Amazon  or direct from the publisher, Cinder House.

  1. […] For more information about the Flash Flood Journal you can read Calum Kerr’s article here […]

  2. […] For more information about the Flash Flood Journal you can read Calum Kerr’s article here […]

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