'These darkly comic tales place the author snugly between Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Be sure: Chris Fielden is one funny feller.' Allen Ashley, British Fantasy Award winner.
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Short Stories by Christopher Fielden

Quick links on this page:

Short Stories

About My Short Stories

The short stories listed in the left hand menu are a small selection of the tales I've had published in magazines and online. Some have been shortlisted or won prizes in short story competitions. Beneath each story you’ll find any comments I’ve received (and been given permission to use) from competition judges, editors and publishers. I’ve also provided information about the various competitions and the pros and cons of entering them. I hope the information will help new writers learn how to write a short story with a marketplace in mind, making it more appealing to editors and competition judges and aiding the likelihood of publication.

Or, if you’re just looking for free short stories to read online, I hope you enjoy the tales I’ve made available here :-)

short story writing pen on paper

Here are some links to short stories I've had published elsewhere on the internet.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Any comments or constructive criticism (good, bad or ugly) is always welcome as long as it’s not abusive. If you want to be credited as the author of the comment you write, please provide your name.

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Short Stories by Other Writers

I now feature previously published short stories by other writers on my site, alongside useful information about their experiences on the path to publishing success. If you would like to be featured on my website, please read my submission guidelines.

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Is the Short Story Dead?

No. I've heard some people say that the popularity of the short story is waning, but they are definitely wrong. In my experience, the short story is seeing a resurgence and is more popular than ever. You just have to know where to look.

To prove the point, I've created lists of publishing opportunities for short stories. Take a look at the short story competitions list and the short story magazines list on this site. You'll see that there is LOADS of interest in short stories, and plenty of opportunity for writers to see their work published.

Admittedly, publishers tend to favour publishing full length novels, so selling a collection of short stories through traditional means might be difficult, especially if you're a new writer. But if you change your approach and write for the markets that are out there, you can see your tales in print. That's what I've done. It's worked.

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Some Wise Words From Stephen King

Below is a video of Stephen King being interviewed by Rich Fahle. In it, SK talks about the short story and how many writers start novels before they are ready for a project of that size.

Stephen King talking about the art of writing short stories

Short stories are a great way to learn and develop your writing before, and alongside, writing a novel. If you're new to writing, I'd strongly advise you trying a couple of short stories before starting a full length book - you can learn a lot from the process.

Short Story Pictures

I'm always looking for original images to use on the site, espeically on the story pages. If you feel inspired to create any artwork based on my short stories, or any of the other content on the site, I will always be interested to see it and, with your permission, consider using it. It doesn't matter how old you are - I'll consider any work from any age group.

If you are looking for a short story with pictures, I have written one for kids that my Mum kindly illustrated for me - take a look at Hummingbee Bumblebird Meadow. I'd love to see pictures of the fairies drawn by children. Please send them to me!!

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The Legal Bit

Sorry, but it has to be done...

Christopher Fielden has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of his short stories. The stories on this site are provided for you to read free of charge subject to the condition that they are not, by way of trade or otherwise, copied, lent, sold, hired out, printed or otherwise circulated in any format without the author’s prior consent.

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This page may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Leave your comments

Please use the form below to leave your comments. All comments will be reviewed so won't appear on the page instantly. I will not share your details with anyone else. Most recent comments appear at the bottom of the page, oldest at the top.

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Your comments:

I suggest adding a facebook like button for the blog!

Chris Fielden

Hi Dorothy - there is one on every page, at the top of each page!

Ralph M
Hi Chris

Just enjoyed your Devil's Crush and Mr Kill. Admired your very unique style that covers so much detail in so few words,  leaving much to the reader\'s imagination -- a rare bonus!.  I have written 31 short stories appearing in my novel, 'The Red Cheong-sam... And Other Old Tales Of Malaya and Singapore'...
...I wish to enter some of my short stories/books for the competitions (mentioned in your most helpful website)  that accepted 'previously published work.' I shall be most grateful if you would advise me accordingly...

Best wishes, Ralph

Chris Fielden

Hi Ralph, thanks for getting in touch. 
I'm glad you've found my website helpful!
There are only a few competitions that accept previously published work. Most insist on unpublished material. I know the BBC accept these kind of entries, but you have to be published in the UK through a magazine with an ISBN number. Off hand, I'm unsure of which of the other competitions that I list accept previously published work. If you follow the links from this page https://www.christopherfielden.com/short-story-tips-and-writing-advice/short-story-competitions.php and read the rules for each competition you will find out which will accept published work. Sorry, this will be time consuming, but I just can't remember which ones do!!
Best of luck with your writing.
Cheers, Chris

Very very helpful!! Thanks

Caroline R
Hi Chris, just thought I would give you a quick message to say hello and 'thanks.' I am a writer / freelance journalist and have had several short stories and news stories published previously and I have also self published my own book (called Sex Life of a Virgin) and I know what a struggle it is to 'make it' as a writer - your website / blog is really helpful and has inspired me to start submitting short stories again - I am also planning on re-visiting a book series I wrote years ago which has been gathering dust. It is nice to know that there are people like you out there to share ideas etc. Hope to keep in touch! 

Chris Fielden
Thanks Emma :-)

Caroline - excellent, I'm glad you feel inspired to write again. Best of luck with the writing!

Jennifer U
'God bless you' is all I can say. In just an hour or two of navigating through your website, I've gotten more encouragement than I'd have gotten in 2 years! (The prizes to be won in the competitions listed helped too!) Thank you. A lot! And your work is amazing :)

Chris Fielden
Thank you very much Jennifer :-)

Trenten M
Hi, just wanted to say I enjoy the site and found the list of magazines that publish short stories helpful.

Chris Fielden
Thanks very much Trenten :-)

Annette T
I write short stories because it's hard for me to write a novel, which I'd like to eventually. After 27 years of writing I never seem to get any better. I did sell one recently, but that was three years ago.

I'm working on a short story now and hope to write a short story collection from an article I cut from the newspaper and by studying a collection on a suject similar to the one I'm writing about.

Chris Fielden
Best of luck with your writing Annette!

Janine C
Really loving the website Christopher! It's so helpful for a beginner writer like me. I want to post some short stories I have written on my blog but I may want to try to submit them for publication at some point so I wasn't sure if I needed to copyright them. Could you offer any advice on this and if it is necessary, I have no idea how to go about copyrighting! Thanks in advance.

Chris Fielden
Janine, you automatically own the copyright for a story once you've written it. You can put a copyright notification on the page you publish the story on if you want to, but I don't think you need to worry too much :-)

It's worth bearing in mind that if you publish your stories on your blog that some competitions and magazines might not accept them as submissions as they will class them as previously published work.

Best of luck with your writing.

Janine C
Thanks Chris for the info. I have entered the InkTears short story competition with a previously unpublished story but would now like to post this on my personal blog.

I'm not sure if this is allowed and I don't want to be disqualified! I've just emailed them to check if this would be OK. If I remember rightly, they did accept previously published work, you just needed to tell them where it had been published, although I'm technically publishing it after so got myself a bit confused!!

Thanks for the advice, I love your website - it's so helpful. I am planning to enter your short story comp too. Loved the letter of complaint to Richard Branson that you linked-very funny and clever!

Janine :-)

Chris Fielden
Janine, InkTears accept previously published work, I believe, so you should be fine with that one. It's just worth checking submission guidelines for that sort of thing before you put stories on your own blog :-)

I'll look forward to reading your submission to my comp.

Annabel C
Hey Chris! I really enjoyed Devil's Crush, and am about to read the rest of your short stories. I am currently doing my A Level coursework and as a part of this I am going to be writing a short story. In order to do this I need to provide 'style models' of pieces in a similar medium. I was wondering if I could please use one of your short stories for this. The text will not be reproduced as mine, but will be used to analyse and learn from. As they are your work I'll understand if you do not want me to use them. Thanks, Annabel

Chris Fielden
Annabel, glad you enjoyed the story. Yes, please feel free to use one of my stories to analyse as part of your A level. And best of luck with writing your own story :-)

Harry P
Hi. Perhaps you might be able to help please? Do you know of any writing competitions in which you can send hardcopy rather than digital versions? I facilitate (and write) with people who do not have internet access.

If you can help or advise - that would be great! I'm struggling!

Chris Fielden
Harry, quite a few of the competitions I list on my short story competitions page accept hard copy submissions - you'll just have to research the submission criteria for each one as they change all the time. I always submit digitally, so I'm not really up on which ones accept postal submissions I'm afraid.

It is becoming more common to have online submissions only now though, as it's so much easier to deal with from an admin point of view. And I guess it saves the trees too :-)

I hope that's helpful.

Cameron G
Hello Chris, I have not read everything on your site but I am working on it. Your Ninja Zombie Knitting Circle is a great short story. I agree with the helpful constructive criticism re the time, but it's still a corker. I have always written as a hobby but am slowly putting things out there so your list of competitions will be very useful. All in all an excellent site by someone (you) who is obviously an unselfish person happy to encourage others. Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Cameron :-)

And good luck with getting your work out there and seeing it in print.

Comment text to go here.
Hello, Chris. I feel less like an interloper each time I visit your website. Modest testimony to your hard work and thoughtfulness; thank you for each valuable feature.

Dialect.  Many of my most humorous, poignant, and edifying recollections have come from shared experiences with friends of different cultures. (I'm a pasty white Anglo. I stop short of admitting to be of Scottish descent.)

The degree of sensitivity about dialect varies.  In the United States, rural southerners OK, rednecks harbor an outspoken pride in their dialect and seem to appreciate exaggerated imitation of their peculiarities as a compliment. The greater the attempt to insult them, the more they love it.

In the US, though, a caution exists regarding anything that points to racial distinctions. It cramps conversations, even among friends. An informal poll of my black friends indicates that a written use of, say, ghetto slang is permissible to develop a unique character. My friends may, though, be speaking out of the kindness of friendship.

As a writing contest judge (and therefore exempt from any pretense of friendship), do you have advice on the use of dialect?  And do Scotsmen really say,"Hoots, mon"?

Again, thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Jerry. I think using local dialect adds to character, although I have never heard anyone of Scottish decent say 'Hoots mon'. These stereotypes often come from somewhere, but over time sayings like that can die out as language develops and evolves.

Some authors push the boundaries when dealing with matters of racial distinction and how they are handled in dialogue. Take Quentin Tarantino as an example. He often uses terms that could be regarded as racist in his film scripts, but they aren't ever insulting, they aren't ever used in a derogatory manner - they are used to develop character and conflict. I think that if used naturally, this type of approach can be very engaging. It's when the style is purposefully aimed at insulting race or is used in a gratuitous manner that it becomes a problem.

If in doubt, ask people to proofread anything you write. That way you can get outside opinions. And before submitting, read previous publications of the market you are submitting to. That way you can gage whether your stories and their content are suitable for the target audience.

I hope that's helpful :-)

Sophie P
I do not get how to write a story.

Chris Fielden
Hi Sophie. Try reading this page. There are lots of other resources in that section of the site.

You might also find my book useful. It uses lots of examples.

Betty H
Good afternoon, Chris. I just wanted to thank you for a brilliant web site and being you. You are so understanding with all aspects of the writing world. I have had many poems and stories published over the years but perhaps having too much of a bit of a laid back attitude. Not really taking it too seriously. Then I found your site and you. What encouragement you give to everyone and so kind. I love comedy and want to learn more about writing it. Once again thank you.  .

Chris Fielden
Thanks very much, Betty. I'm very happy to hear that you find the site so useful and encouraging :-)

Andrew K
Hi, is it worth doing a creative writing course , like the one offered by Writers Bureau ? Thanks in advance.

Chris Fielden
Hi Andy. Yes, I think so.

I did the Writers Bureau course and found it really helped my writing - money well spent.

It depends what you want from it, I guess. There's lots of information on their website about what they offer.

Correspondence courses don't suit everyone. I have some writing friends who prefer to attend workshops and courses they attend physically. I guess it's down to what suits you best.

I hope that helps :-)

Glynis D
Hi Chris, how are you?

Just wanted to ask what is the average length for a short story please.

Chris Fielden
Hi Glynis. I'm good, thank you. Hope you  are too.

I don't think there is an average, really. Publishers and competitions ask for all sorts of different lengths.

You can learn more on this page, which is all about different story lengths.

I hope that's helpful :-)

Barb P
Do you have a list of publishers/contests who want books of short stories? Not interested in vanity press. Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Hi Barb. There are a few on this page.

And 404 Ink sometimes ask for single author collections, so they're worth keeping an eye on.

It's actually quite hard to find publishers who want short story collections. If you hear of any, please do let me know.

Annette M
I'm looking to publish a short story (non fiction) and wondered if you could recommend a magazine as an initial platform.

I have an incredible life story to tell, as a memoir and would like to test the water with a short story, as a first step.  If you could offer any advice and share your wisdom and expertise, I would be incredibly grateful.

Chris Fielden
Hi Anette, I usually recommend Writers' Forum. They run a monthly short story competition with a 3,000 word limit and a £300 top prize. In the magazine, the judges discuss why they selected the winners, so by reading back issues, you can learn what they look for in a story - very useful :-)

Another good one to try is Scribble, by Park Publications. They publish quarterly and offer a writing community - the readers comment and vote for the winning stories in each magazine.

I hope that's helpful and wish you the best of luck with your submissions.

Annette M
Hi Chris. Thank you so much for those links.  I’ll definitely give them a go!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Annette :-)

Victoria R
Hi Christopher. I submitted a poem quite a few years back, and then I had alot of things get in the way of anything to do with writing, which, for me, is very unfortunate as it's a life long passion, but now I'm finding my way back and was enquiring of any upcoming competitions for poems, short stories, or absolutely anything else? As it's been a while, I find I'm suffering from writer's block.  Any information and tips would be gratefully welcomed. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Victoria. Thanks for your message.

I list hundreds of competitions on my website. You can find all the detailed lists here.

I'm fortunate as I don't really suffer from writers block. However, if I'm not in the mood to write and want to get some done, I clear my 'to do' list and go somewhere in my camper van with no internet or phone signal. I find that when there are no distractions I switch into a creative mind set and start writing.

You might find this post about writer's block useful as it gives some suggestions about how to overcome it.

I hope that's helpful and wish you the best of luck with your submissions.

Ihtisham S
Hi, I want to submit a short speculative fictional story that I wrote and want you to give it a look and, after meeting your criteria, publish it on your website.

How may I send it to you? Regards, Ihtisham S, Pakistan

Chris Fielden
Hi Ihtisham. Thanks for your interest in my website. I don't just publish short stories, I'm afraid.

If you want to get your story published, I'd recommend checking out all the magazines and competitions I list on my site. You can learn how to submit to my flash fiction writing challenges here, but they are themed. For blog posts, please review my submission guidelines.

I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Roger W
Hi all, I'm just half way through reading Sensorial Challenged Volume 3 and I've picked up on no fewer than 15 writing outlets for whatever takes your literary fancy; courtesy of  the contributors / authors bios. 

Keep up the good work Team CF, this site has me writing with serious intent.

(Got the drums out tomorrow Chris)

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your message, Roger, very much appreciated.

That's great news - another way the books can help writers.

Good news about the drums too, mate. Now we just need some gigs :)

Nimisha J
Hi! I am looking to submit in a junior level competition. Not able to submit. Please guide. Thank you

Chris Fielden
Hi Nimisha. Thanks for your message. If you're looking for competitions for young writers, please take a look at this resource, which lists lots of competitions for young writers, children and students.

I wish you the best of luck with your writing :-)

Kydman R
How would I be able to send in my short stories?

Chris Fielden
Hi Kydman, thank you for your message.

I do not publish short stories in this section of the site unless they are part of a publishing case study. You can learn more about that on my submissions guidelines page. If you are looking for competitions or magazines to submit your stories to, please check out my lists of writing competitions and publishing opportunities in this section of the website.

I hope that helps and wish you all the best with your writing :-)

Stormy W
Hello, I'm seeking to publish taboo erotica short stories. 

Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Stormy. Competitions for that kind of thing do come up from time to time, although many comps say they don't want to receive that type of story.

The best bet is to look through the lists on my site and see if you can find anything suitable. Also, keep an eye on Inkitt. They sometimes run comps that focus on romance and erotic fiction.

I hope that helps :)

Stormy W
Hello, I appreciate the information. Best.

Chris Fielden
No problem :)

Comment text to go here.
D gar Christopher,Good morning! First of all, I would like to commend the huge labour of love that has gone into your extensive website and its resources.

I am a new writer who has recently enrolled onto the Writers Bureau comprehensive writing course. I have chosen to write fiction because that is not my strength or at least I don't know if it is or not! My tendency is to write healthcare related fiction or something that is themed around mindfulness, being a doctor and mindfulness teacher. I wonder what your advice would be regarding suitable websites or publications that may accept my work I look forward to hearing from you and wish you a good day!

Kind regards, Sanjay

Chris Fielden
Dear Sanjay, thank you for your message. It's great to hear you find the site helpful :)

I don't know of any competitions or publications that work with that theme specifically, but I'm sure a lot of open themed contests would be open to stories themed around mindfulness. There are a few comps themed around nature, so you could look at those. There might be a bit of overlap there. You could try Walk Listen Create - they run a lot green themed contests. And the Moth (a well-regarded Irish magazine) also run a nature prize.

I hope that helps and wish you the very best with your course. I did the Writers Bureau course many years ago, and found it really helpful.

All the best to you. Chris :-)