2024 Lovecraftian MicroFiction Contest is open for entries

An Annual Festival Tradition

Each year since 2014 we have held a Lovecraftian MicroFiction Contest, taking entries from authors from all over the world! The winning entries are published in a small book with the Challenge From Beyond for that year. We began this as a way to engage and include more creators in the Cosmic Horror genre, and the proceeds support the Festival directly. 

What is it?

Micro Fiction is very short prose fiction. Smaller than Flash Fiction but bigger than a haiku. Usually 500 words or less. There are some famous short short stories, including Hemingway’s - For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

For our Lovecraftian Micro Fiction contest, we look for Cosmic Horror, Weird Fiction, or Speculative or Science Fiction with a Horror twist, as well as horror or ghost stories with an uncanny tone.

According to Lovecraft, “The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule. A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain--a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.”

Lovecraft himself wrote some extremely short fiction. "Memory," "What the Moon Brings," and "Ex Oblivione" are examples. Micro Fiction is a fun way to explore a genre or topic in a challenging way.

Can you write a complete story in this limited amount of space? By complete story, we mean a character, situation, beginning, middle, and end. Not a vignette, not a character study, but a story.

What do I get if I win?

  • The winning authors will be published in a book with the current year's Challenge From Beyond! Winning authors will receive 2 complimentary copies of the book.
  • The overall winner will be invited to participate in the 2024 Challenge From Beyond round robin story project with some of the finest modern Lovecraftian Authors! (Past authors include Molly Tanzer, Joseph Pulver, Sr., Wilum Pugmire, Nick Mamatas, Ross Lockhart, Cody Goodfellow, Pete Rawlik, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, Gemma Files, Lee Zumpe, Selena Chambers, Nadia Bulkin, Angela Yuriko Smith, and Tim Pratt.) Participation is not mandatory if you win.
  • The overall winner, if planning to attend this year's H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR, will have an author reading slot reserved for them so they can read their story at the festival! (this is optional)

How to Submit

You can submit up to 5 entries by going to the contest entry page on ArkhamBazaar.com

Rules, Terms and Conditions

  • Stories must be 500 words or less. Entries of more than 500 words will be disqualified with no refund and will not be read. Please check your word count before submitting! Most word processing programs have a built in word counter. There are also web sites for this, like wordcounter.net
  • All entries must be English language.
  • Stories should not require any special formatting besides normal paragraph breaks. We're looking for content, not visual formatting.
  • All entries must be written by you. You may not submit another author’s work. Your original stories only, please.
  • Your entry must contain your legal name, your author name (if different), and story title.
  • FILE FORMAT should be a text file (.txt) or rich text format (.rtf)
  • Your file name should be "your name-MFC2024-#of entries". For example if you submit 2 stories, your file name should look like this: JaneDoe-MFC2024-2.rtf
  • Deadline for entries is AUGUST 9, 2024. Winning entries will be notified no later than SEPTEMBER 4, 2024
  • The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival® & CthulhuConTM reserves the right to publish the winning entries in a limited edition book with the current year's Challenge From Beyond, which may be sold to cover printing costs. All submissions may be used for promotional purposes. Authors of the top 10 entries will receive 2 complimentary copies of the book, for which shipping in the US is free, and outside the US may incur a small shipping fee. Additional copies will be available for purchase.
  • Overall winner will be invited to participate in the 2025 Challenge From Beyond round robin story project, which will take place in summer 2025.