For some, the best summer reading comes in short bursts. If you are looking for a blast of color this summer, check out 52/250, a site that features flash fiction from a variety of authors, some published, some entirely new to the scene. It began in late May and already has a small following – devoted writers and readers both.
The story of 52/250
The whole thing started when one writer decided to set herself a goal of writing one piece of fiction each week for a year. She planned to post the stories on her blog under the heading 52/250 – 52 weeks, 250 words each week. She mentioned the idea to an old friend who, wanting to unsheath his own rusty pen, declared: “I’m in!” So they built a website, fixed it up nice with the help of a third writer whose html is as pretty as his prose, called it 52/250: A Year of Flash, and invited other writers to participate.
Each week follows a theme, which is unlike a prompt in that the words do not have to appear in the stories. The stories must simply be inspired by the themes offered. The process begins and ends in a democratic fashion, in that the editors of 52/250 choose the weekly themes from ideas suggested by writers and readers. They also welcome all writers – submitted stories generally make the cut, so long as they do not exceed the 250 word limit. In addition, each week features one piece of art, and thus far the pieces have come from architects, amateur and professional photographers, and students of art.
52 themes + more than 40 authors so far
The first week opened in May with 17 different stories about Breadfruit. Who knew you could find that many perspectives on a spongy, bland thing packed with nutritional value but more likely found in books than on the shelves of supermarkets? Writers turned out for the challenge put to them that week, and they’ve been doing so ever since. Several writers have met the challenge every week, but everyone is free to come and go. On average, twenty new stories are posted each week, some from new authors and some from old hats. Since writing about breadfruit, authors have contributed stories about fancy me, little worlds, cartography, lovelies on the beach, the balance of terror, broken camera, and corrected vision.
“This site is a little gem,” says Susan Tepper, one of the regular contributors. “I really look forward to the mini-challenges each week!” Other writers agree. Jane Hammons should be writing her novel but instead found herself writing flash back in May. Even poets have tried their hand at flash over at 52/250. You can read poems by Sam Rasnake, Darryl Price, and Peter Larsen at 52/250, and stories by writers as diverse as Beate Siggriddaughter, Sheldon Lee Compton and Linda Simoni-Wastila. And alongside those experienced hands, you'll find other writers such as Ajay Nair, Matthew Hamilton and Martha Williams making their mark, as well as newcomers like student Eddie Kirsch, scientist Michelle Fuller and horsetrainer Liz Irvine.
About 52/25052/250: A Year of Flash is edited by Michelle Elvy, with the help of John Wentworth Chapin and Walter Bjorkman. You can find also find Elvy and Bjorkman at Voices, and, if she's not flashing at 52/250 or listening at Voices, Michelle is sailing on Momo.
Writers, artists, and readers are all welcome at 52/250.