Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CONTEST - FLASH FICTION - Write a story in 100 words or less - Prizes

We've been discussing putting together the elements of a story, beginning, middle and end. This week I'd like to have a short practice session involving those three parts and winning prizes, or what some would call a CONTEST!!

Contest details are below, but make sure to read the rest of the post first.

Flash Fiction is a type of writing that puts an entire story together in a very short format. Flash Fiction can be classed as ranging from less than 1000 words total to as few as, well...very few indeed.

Hemingway was once challenged to write a complete story in the fewest words possible. His response was:

"For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn"

In six words he was able to convey a complete picture. To the imaginative reader we can see the loss and tragedy of the parent who is writing this advertisement. We can picture the entire scene and fill in the blanks with the rest of the story from our imaginations.

One great way to start is to get a mental image of something either physical or a memory. Perhaps using a prompt like the image outside your window or a picture you see.

Here is an example of Flash Fiction I wrote a while back based on a picture I liked:

Sir William Longs For Home

I left my house of stone and cold to fight for glory in a land of sand and fire.
My skin is blistered and raw, Saracen scars now mar my face and arms and I’ll be damned if I ever think of the sun as an honest friend.
This cursed sun that bakes us in the day, and vanishes at night to let us freeze near to death.
God, I cannot wait to stand on cool grey stone, and be warmed at will by the fire in my hearth, and my wife’s soft skin.


The Gate
The old man looked him and pointed a bony finger to the massive round gate atop the hill.
"None who've climbed all the way have ever returned"
The young man stared in awe and said, "It must be like heaven on the other side, that they’d never return."
The old man nodded.
"That," he said, "or a slippery steep drop."


The trick of course is to make sure the story works without the reader seeing the picture.

So, without further adieu... THE CONTEST.

For the sake of this challenge we're going to make the word count goal very short, closer to Hemingway's story than the other end of the spectrum.

Contest rules:

Topic/Theme: Any
Rating: PG-13 or lower (no erotica or f-bombs or excessive judgement rules)
Length: 100 words or fewer (yes that's one hundred words or less). 
Challenge Ends: September 20th, 2013
Who: English Speaking World

And there are PRIZES as well.

Best Flash Fiction as voted on by me will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and your choice of either one (1) signed paperback, or two (2) ebooks, or two (2) audiobooks from any of my works. Second place receives choice of one (1) ebook or one (1) audiobook from any of my works.  If military thrillers aren't your preference, you are free to give them as gifts to someone else.

1st and 2nd place entries get posted on my Facebook and Website with credits to the winners. Who knows what agents, publishers, or other interested parties may see it there???

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  1. Basil, this is from the POV of Dover, my antagonist, a CIA agent gone bad. Circa 1969. I love these little 100-word challenges and find they're perfect for breaking writer's block or spawning new ideas. Dover doesn't have his own POV in my work-in-progress, but I enjoy being in his head. Probably too much.

    Driving monsoon winds stinking of jet fuel gusted across the airfield where the Caribou waited for its lone passenger; no questions asked. The crew turned a blind eye to their cargo, a man with the slow, measured gait of a battle-weary soldier. Dover knew better. Rivers’ rain-soaked fatigues lay over bruises so fresh they had yet to turn dark. Rivers turned to look through the endless Vientiane rain, seeking him, then raised his fist, one lone, defiant finger extended. His fury incited, Dover watched his quarry fly from his grasp and swore Rivers a solemn pact: vengeance.

    1. This is good. I get the whole feel of it. Being a military writer myself, it was easy to picture the whole scene. Very well done.

  2. Submitted by Terry Sands

    In one last act of desperation he searched the other side of the shop. To be fair, he had been subjected to an enormous amount of stress. The screaming had not only been distracting, but it had nearly driven him to madness. But he valiantly collected his wits, suppressing the panic that fought to overwhelm him. Even as the whirring sound of the table saw was dying away, a trail of red revealed its hiding place under the bench. A small moan escaped his lips, half despair, half overwhelming relief. Resolutely, he collected his thumb and rushed to the hospital.

    Thanks Basil! I had fun writing this.

    1. OUCH!! I pictured this one too well. Had a friend do that same thing, except he took the tips of three fingers. He didn't realize what had happened at first when he saw the fluff shoot out of his gloves. A second later the pain hit, and with it realization.

      Good job.

  3. Submitted by Ashtin Bennett

    Roars fell upon my ears as I ran. I was stupid and careless. Running from this monster would do me no good, and yet I still ran.

    I had wandered from my team and met her baby. I, being the foolish person I was, touched the cub and of course, the mother was right there.

    Now I shriek in fear as the mother chases me. As I feel sure that this would be the end, I hear a gun fire. The black beast runs off and I breathe in relief as my team came over the hill. I was safe.

    1. Very well done. Especially coming from a middle-schooler, I'm impressed.

      This sounds like a scene from a very good sci-fi story. I am intrigued, and have a feeling my sons (who love this stuff) would really love to read the rest of the story.

  4. Wow, these are all good. Sorry for the delay in my responses, but a very busy few days piled up on me. I will be posting results in a little bit. Hard choices, hard choices....

  5. And the first place winner is: .... drum roll please .... .... .... .... ...

    Susan Montgomery!!
    Her story was very vivid from the get go, and before we got to the end I could easily picture the whole scene, even felt like I had been rained on.

    Both of the others were very good as well and therefore tie for second place. Great job all of you.

    Send an email to me at basil (at) basilsands (dot) com and I will send you the information to download your choice of free audiobook or ebook.