$500 Flash Contest Open Now

Subscribers make our ❤️ pound

Check out the latest issue & download the ebook 

Full guidelines & FAQ

☛ Seeking unpublished, amazing writing and art — we'd love to see more photos, paintings, drawings, diagrams, graphic narratives, &c. Artists/photographers may email thumbs or portfolio links if the Art category is closed.

☛ We are actively prioritizing work by under-represented people: Indigenous, Black, people of color, lgbtqia+, disabled, fat, poor, border-straddling, neuroatypical, and more. If you choose, you can put demographic info right in the cover letter. (We are not seeking performances of suffering aimed at a middle-class, cis-het, white audience.)

☛ NEW No AI-generated works/LLM-assisted texts, unless both (1) created as part of an experimental-literature project, and (2) prominently described in a note, footnote, or cover letter, on the first page of the uploaded file.

☛ NEW Those who support the state of Israel in its ethnic cleansing (as its officials have stated it is doing) should go elsewhere.

☛ Our taste is best gauged by reading an issue or at least our archive. This is a journal of safety and danger, in every sense. We want what we have not seen before

One submission at a time, except contests. Up to four (4) free subs per year per author.

☛ Be respectful of other writers and do not withdraw+resubmit to correct typos, cover letters, make revisions to one paragraph, etc. We can receive only a limited number of free submissions each month.

☛ By submitting you agree to join our (infrequent) mailing list.

Storm Cellar requires first serial rights and non-exclusive, perpetual electronic rights, per our guidelines. Serial rights revert to author upon publication. Contributors receive $10 honorarium by PayPal or Venmo, the ebook, two complimentary copies of the print edition, and a discount on further print copies; plus, we love you forever ❤️

Force Majeure: a great and unexpected power. We're looking for the best small things, any form, any content, any fine and wonderful creation.

Enter between Jan. 1st and Apr 30th.


Prizes, for a single flash: 1st place $300; two runners-up $100 each. Honorable mentions receive a small honorarium.

Two ways to enter:

  1. Upload 1 flash (you'll receive an ebook of the prize issue) - $6
  2. Upload 1–3 flashes in a single file (receive a print copy and an ebook) - $15
  • DEADLINE: 11:59 p.m. CDT, 30 April 2024.
  • Enter as many times as you wish. Entries do not count toward our regular submissions limits. 
  • Winning flash must not be (scheduled to be) published in print, ebook, or internet/app format, nor posted online, before December 2024.

All entries considered for publication in Storm Cellar. Open to everyone (except as noted below).

What is a flash?

  • Shorter than 1000 words
  • Not more than 5 pages
  • May contain fiction, nonfiction, hybrids, marks, or images, in any combination*
  • May bend genre, form, brains

We encourage entries by Indigenous, Black, and POC, LGBTQIA+, enby, and trans, disabled, fat, morphologically atypical, and neurodivergent, migrant, border-straddling, and poor authors, as well as members of other under-represented groups. (We are not interested in performances of suffering intended for a hypothetical straight, middle-class, culturally christian, white audience.)

Authors who cannot pay the entry fee, because of financial hardship or lack of online payment in their country, should email the editors with the brief statement that they have need (explanation not requested), from the email address associated with their Submittable account, and attach one flash as a .txt or .docx or .pdf file; our email: StormCellar [dot] editor [at] gmail [dot] com.

Incarcerated authors may mail one entry, with short author bio, postmarked by the deadline, to Storm Cellar FMFC 2024, 310 Fourth Ave. S. Suite 5010, PMB 98580, Minneapolis, MN 55415, USA; no entry fee required; for response, someone's email address must be included on the submission itself (such as at the top near the author's name); we cannot return paper, SASEs, nor postcards this year.

Simultaneous submissions allowed; if a flash accepted elsewhere, notify us via a Message within the submission on Submittable, or withdraw. 

NO: entries by agents on clients' behalf, poetry, works that promote supremacist views or are by supremacists, texts <25% English (except experimental/text-art), entries that are AI/LLM-generated or -assisted unless explicitly experimental (place a clear, explanatory note on the first page of the uploaded file).

Others who may not enter: (1) Close friends, family, employers, and students within the last four years of the editors of Storm Cellar or the contest judge(s). (2) Minors without approval from a parent or guardian, where that approval legalizes their writing and reading of certain materials; consider that the magazine may contain offensive, explicit, blasphemous, or otherwise legally prohibited material in some locations.

Contest judged by the editors. All prizes will be awarded. Contest receipts go to prizes, production costs, and to pay contributing artists/writers. No fees may be refunded. "Extra" flashes within uploaded files will not be read. We may disqualify any entrant for any reason. Entrants will be notified of their contest outcome by email, on or before June 30 in the contest year.

Handy link to examples of flash we've printed. Surprise us!


* The magazine interior prints in grayscale, images not wider than 5" and not taller than 7".


Response time 7 days or fewer.
Don't want to wait? Send anything, all in one file.* Use the cover letter space to note mixed-, no-, and other-genre submissions.
Artists may email thumbnails or a link to a portfolio site/dropbox/wetransfer/etc. — stormcellar.editor@gmail.com — but when doing so, tell us in the cover letter field! If you prefer, drop your images into a PDF or .docx and upload them here.

* We're unlikely to print more than 20 magazine pages (6000 wd./600 ll.) of anything.


You're awesome. The cabbage you're sending will keep us in pencils and rubber for another year.

Also, if you want, upload anything* and we'll consider it for publication.

Add-on purchases include a year's print subscription beginning with the next issue. If you prefer PDF-only, EPUB-only, or no subscription, write your preference in the "Notes" field. 

Tips are anonymous by default. Friendship gifts may be credited in the next issue; gifts at the Uplifting, Sustaining, and Sponsor levels may be credited for one year. Gifts to Storm Cellar are not tax-deductible, but they are charitable donations that help cover our production, distribution, and web hosting costs, allowing us to bring this magazine into the world.

* We're unlikely to print more than 20 magazine pages (6000 wd./600 ll.) of anything, but if you're convinced a longer (group of) work(s) is perfect for us, go ahead.


Yes, we can send the issue as a gift!

Submit anything (or nothing).* We'll send you the issue of your choice, print and/or ebook. Choose the appropriate add-on to receive the print edition; check "no ebook" for print-only delivery. ( Current issue info | archive.

  • Ebook arrives by email attachment (up to 10MB) from stormcellar.orders@gmail.com.
  • Artists choosing this option may email us a flickr/portfolio/WeTransfer/Google Docs/etc. link, instead of creating a single file for their submission.

Multiple copies? Our store is over here.

* We're unlikely to print more than 20 magazine pages (6000 wd./600 ll.) of anything, but if you're convinced a longer (group of) work(s) is perfect for us, go ahead.

Yes, we send gift subscriptions!

The print and ebook editions of Storm Cellar delivered anywhere. Print subscribers outside the USA, MEX, and CAN should choose the Overseas fee. Ebook-only subscriptions are delivered via email.

  • Print subscription free add-on: the ebook sent to your inbox.
  • We publish about 2–3 issues per year; subscriptions are by-the-issue.
  • Shipping is included.

Just want to read a back issue after you submit? Click this.

  • Up to 20 images (files), any medium, subject, style.
  • Print edition interior is grayscale on uncoated paper, no larger than 5"x7".
  • Ebook edition is color, and larger where appropriate.

Though we want to see things different from what we've published so far, our main criterion is whether we dig what you're laying down. We tend to prefer striking compositions and contrasty texture. We like, but by no means require, series and projects.

We suggest you use the title of the image (if any) as the filename. We can handle most common file formats, but see below about file types.

Friendly advice about file size: Whatever size/format you upload, we suggest having originals available at 300dpi/1800px wide minimum (we prefer at least 600dpi/3000px wide for covers), in a lossless format like .tiff, uncompressed .png, or .ai. If your originals are smaller or .jpeg, that's fine: don't blow them up unless your Photoshop fu is strong.

• 1 item, up to 5,000 words. We lean toward the swift/compact. 

Lyric(-al) and narrative(-ish) essay, form-blending & genre-bending, idea collisions, personal-ized history/journalism and memoir-that-expands-to-larger-issues: we're talking creative nonfiction. No academic studies, no lit crit. The internet's filled with short nonfiction, so surprise us.

We'll consider reviews/“reviews” of pretty much anything (including a Sweet Corn Festival or new talking-robot-toilet model), if they're funny, bizarre, and/or actually an essay.

*New for 2023   We cannot overstate how little taste we have for straight anecdote nor performances of suffering in the therapeutic-autobiographical mode. For heavy topics (DV, CSA, queer-bashing, racist abuse, self harm, famine, war trauma, etc.) we like when they're addressed through a highly crafted text—plenty of examples in our archive.* 

Things we've seen too much: cancer specifically, addiction, break-ups, "my coming-out story," grampaw's war diary, mi-ma's cookies, "that time kids at school were jerks to me," white savior-ism.

Things we've not seen enough: formal invention, adventures, minority perspectives, collective action/mutual aid, things from the Midwest, things outside the USA, truly weird crime, environmental disaster/success, tales from Turtle Island, puzzles & labyrinths, signs & portents.

Interpret these suggestions as loosely as you see fit.

• 1 fiction up to 5,000 words. More-compact stories tend to do better (compact =/= short). This is not the category for flash or micro.

We like it hot, we like it cold, we like it hard and fast, we like it slow and gentle, we like it traditional,* we like it experimental.

We like it anonymous, don't care about a title page. We like it 12pt Times New Roman, double spaced.

* Traditional: 1. not experimental; 2. ignorance, thanatos, octopodes, standing stones, sex rites, MRIs, cavaliers, Cadillacs, rude boys, buried toys, gold fever, war fever, bone fever, baby fever, submarines, pipe dreams, cigarettes & rock music, sign vs. signifier, prairie fire, smugglers, dice sharps, kissing cousins, "here there be monsters," border crossing, Amazons, apocalyptics, analytics, riding tigers, tiny islands, hackers, holograms, embezzlement, graffiti, hot zones, outer space….

  • Up to 5 poems, 400 lines/15 pages total.
  • All poems in one document, each beginning a new page.

We're open to anything. We like surprises.

We're not super in love with greeting card sentiments/prosody, nor these topics: cats, coffee, booze, birds. Of course, a poem is its own best case for its awesomeness.

Storm Cellar