Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Vacation flash fiction contest

I have an idea to torment you so much you start the New Year as weeping sodden pool of writer tears. In other words, just like always.

Here's what I thought of:

Round One
posted: 12/22
opens: 12/23
closes: 12/25

Prompt word/s:
Number of words: 30

Round two-building on or continuing what you wrote in R1
Posted: 12/26
Opens: 12/27
Closes: 12/28 (9am)

prompt word/s
Number of words: 25

Round Three-building on or continuing what you wrote in R1 &R2
Posted: 12/28 (noon)
Opens 12/29
Closes: 12/30 (9am)

prompt word/s
Number of words: 25

Round Four-building on or continuing what you wrote in R1, R2, and R3
Posted: 12/30 (noon)
Opens 12/31
Closes: 1/1/18 9am

prompt word/s
Number of words: 20

To be eligible for the Grand Prize, you have to write a story that is complete by the 4th round.
Each round will also have winners.

And of course, the prompt words will be utterly brutal.

So, let me know your thoughts and what questions you have.

That guffawing sound you hear in the distance is me chortling with glee. 



70 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

OMG if you come to my house, wrap the gifts, cook dinner, clean the bathrooms, change all the sheets, shovel the snow and bake cookies for Santa, I'll do it.

Kitty said...

Okay, I'll give it a go, but do we indent or tab?

Kitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kitty said...

As to this brevity mania, Dogbert says: I'm dreading writing the jacket flap.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

For the love of all things holy- flash stacking? Ok. Brilliant way to torment the living imagination out of us wee writers. Can’t wait.

Timothy Lowe said...

Oh...my...Lord...

I need something to distract me from the in-laws. This sounds like a pretty sure-fire distraction!

Theresa said...

Sharkian brilliance of epic proportion.

Julie Weathers said...

A brilliant man started a gofundme campaign to have a parade and get together for Browns fans at the Cleveland Browns stadium to celebrate a perfect losing 0-13 season. He was trying to raise $10,000. Excedrin donated $7,000 to get him over the $10,000 mark. Yay, Excedrin. If, perchance, they do win a game, the money will be donated to the local food bank.

In fear of breaking my perfect record, I'm going to sit this one out.

french sojourn said...


I absolutely love it. A 4 part exercise, where you start out with a sorta-plotted story of 100 words. Then throw in 3 more sets of prompt words, as you devolope and finish the story.

Is it 5 prompt words per section, or is that none of my business?

Cheers, and Ho, Ho, Ho!

Meg Leader said...

QOTKU took an Evil Pill!
QOTKU took an Evil Pill!

Now I know what sharks get for Xmas. Not lumps of coal. Oh, no. They get lifetime supplies of Evil Pills to keep their Evil Ways going.

And isn't she just having a wonderful time dreaming up new ways to torture her Reiders!

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Hoymalloy! What new devilry is this?

Le Sharque wants to blow our wee rodent wheels to light-year speed. With a potential side effect of some juicy creativity splattered all over her universe!

This'll be four interesting challenges...I think I'm game.

Kathy Joyce said...

I'm in, except I think that we should have to start each round with someone else's story. ;)

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

Is DOY behind this? Sounds like something only a Meezer could dream up.

S.D.King said...

I like it! I definitely have questions. First off - does the first round have to be a self contained story in itself?

BunnyBear said...

Is that calculus? Because it looks like calculus. I thought I'd left that in the rear view mirror decades ago.

Kregger said...

I'll have to do this from the ski lift, but...alright.

My secretary is an active Browns fan and season ticket holder. She will be in the parade if the Browns remain perfect(ly awful).

Last year the parade was planned and canceled because of the one team worse off on Christmas Eve than the Browns.

The irony of Excedrin contributing to the parade doesn't escape me.

Merry Holidays and Happy Christmas, y'all

Laurie Batzel said...

(To the tune of the Grinch song)

You're a mean one, Query Shark
To taunt us with this stuff.
I'm gonna need some booze because coffee won't be enough, Query Shark.
There will be so much cursing, my kids will need their earmuffs!

J/k, I'm jazzed, let's do this!


Claire Bobrow said...

I'm with Kathy Joyce :-)



Melanie Sue Bowles said...

The expression on my face upon first read through: Furrowed brow, narrowed eyes as I lean in closer to the computer screen because I can't quite grasp what I'm reading. I shake my head and mutter, "What the..."

Second read through: Enormous smile replaces look of terror filled confusion. I nod and say, "Hot damn."

CynthiaMc said...

Yep. That'll do it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Can't wait!

Melanie - Yes. Exactly. :)



Nathan Holland said...

*with tears and hands raised to the heavens* OH THE HUMANITY!

Janet Reid said...

and now for the prompt words!
(bwahahaahha!)

I'm thinking Snorkle, Farkle, MacSnappyPants, and HotDiggityDog.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Your majesty, you have out sharked yourself. Ouch.

roadkills-r-us said...

I assume that the Grand Prize here is guaranteed agenting for life?

I like the idea of starting each round with someone else's story, but prize distribution gets more complicated than the USA tax code.

Claire Bobrow said...

MacSnappyPants? Our pants are on MacFire!

Kathy Joyce said...

I'll snorkle and farkle all day long to beat the MacSnappyPants off my Reider friends. Bring it on. HotDiggityDog!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

This is TERRIBLE!!! Truly malign!

But....

I'm really excited to see how it turns out. There are some spectacular writers here and I cannot wait to see what they come up with.

RosannaM said...

And here I thought it was a ho hum, routine humpday Wednesday. Foolish me.

What insanity is this?

I'm in!

Julie Weathers said...

Totally off topic, all three of the Weathers boys are in Vegas this week. Let's truly hope what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Sherry Howard said...

This sounds like so much fun! I have my fourth eye surgery on the 26th, so may not be able to do this, but I hope to. I love writing to prompts! Even though this group’s talent with twists is hard to beat, I love the brain exercise that constraints impose!

But really, who thinks of these twisted evil things?
Oh, okay, she really does?
Sorry, didn’t mean to offend!

Kathy Joyce said...

Julie, this warms my heart. I have six brothers, and I just love when they get together (even if I'm not invited). I hope they have a fabulous time and a well-deserved vacation!

french sojourn said...

"Who knows the evil that lurks in the heart of Sharks?"

Well, evidently we all know now!

french sojourn said...


....who knows what evil....
crab!

Julie Weathers said...

Kathy,

The National Finals Rodeo is going on. A bunch of cowboys from Texas, plus the Weathers boys are heading out together to watch it for a few days. A good time to be had by all, I'm sure.

Last year the Midland, Texas crew ran the plane out of beer on the flight. sigh

Julie Weathers said...

Kathy, yes, even when you aren't part of it, it's fun when they get together.

Laurie Batzel said...

The Christmas lights glitter and sparkle.
But this year I don't give a farkle.

It's so cold I lay round like a log.
While Mickey sings Hot Diggity Dog.

Eating cookie dough up by the forkful,
Dreaming of warm oceans to snorkle.

Then Agent MacSnappypants gave me a reason
To be glad I'll be snowed in all winter season.


Kate Higgins said...

...next comes the one-arm-tied-behind-your-back caveat and the 'no booze' rule....sigh.

I'm in...

Did you notice Her Sharkiness did not even dangle what the grand prize is???

John Davis Frain said...

So, let me get this crooked...

We write a complete 30-word story. Then, new prompt words, we add another 25 words to the existing story and make it a new story. And so on? Well, who doesn't love more torment. Bring it on!

Also, Sherry Howard, I can't believe you have four eyes and never told us. Your peripheral vision must be amazing!

Kate Larkindale said...

Oh my! This does sound tricky. If my kids allow me time alone, I'm game. Maybe.

Colin Smith said...

Mr. Frain beat me to it. I was going to complain about Sherry having an advantage with her four eyes... :)

You know I'm in. Of course! Can't resist a juicy writing challenge. :D And I like the idea of us completing other people's stories, but that might get a little complicated. However you want to work it, Mighty QOTKU! I'm on board.

Dena Pawling said...


Life threw me a curveball last week and my batting average isn’t earning me any awards. I’ll try but no guarantees.

And I love roadkill’s idea for a grand prize. Count my vote for that

Beth Carpenter said...

Four tiny stories that add together to make a bigger story using the prompt words? No, it's too hard. And I'm busy. And it's too many days to commit. I should be concentrating all my writing time and energy on my WIP, because this huge word puzzle with only half the clues up front is bound to eat up a lot of time.

Yeah. I'm in.

kdjames.com said...

I didn't realize it was already April. :checks calendar: Dammit, she's serious?

Well, alrighty then.

I anticipate this will produce some very silly stories. Although it can't possibly be as silly (or chaotic) as that time I rounded up all my Imaginary Internet Friends and convinced them to go blog caroling on Christmas Eve . . . no one could keep all the words straight then, either.


Janice Grinyer said...

Sharkooge...Are you rubbing your fins together with anticipation of knowing that there will be people on Christmas eve & Christmas scribbling and revising instead of spending time with Tiny Tots & family???

Uh-oh...the Ghost of good Queries past, The Ghost of Slush piles present, and of course, the Ghost of "WHY DID I NOT SIGN THEM-ITS A BEST SELLER!!!" future may be coming to visit soon... :D

Lennon Faris said...

So do we lump all our stories together for each subsequent round, or make Janet go hunt for our previous parts like a huge digital jigsaw puzzle? I sorta like the idea of returning all this holiday anguish. *evil chuckle*

Karen McCoy said...

I anticipate a flash fiction about Sharkooge. Janice, that's inspired!

As for me: bring it. I love the practice. :)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I'll give it a shot (maybe)! I know my contest participation of late has been spotty.

But, Ms. Reid, farkle is already in my lexicon....so that one, at least, isn't a huge stretch! :D

Janet Reid said...

I had thought you'd build on your own story, BUT it would be fun to see what you did with another entry too! Example:

Writer 1's inital 30
Writer 2 uses Writer 1's initial 30 and tacks on his/her next 20.

Writer 3 can use the compound entry 1&2 and add on 3 OR use
#1 (entry one) and #4 (entry two) and add on his/her own #3.

And so on.

Each entry would have to include the source material.

In other words, total chaos.
Sort of like egg roulette on Jimmy Fallon, which I discovered today while hunting around for book trailer examples.

It's a glam life here in 2201.


Craig F said...

Are you going to be able to read that fast, my queen. Community fiction can be a blast but...

You have given yourself eight days to truly confuse us, you'll think of something.

One question: Can an ellipsis be used one day and removed the next?

Dena: good to see you again. I was starting to worry but saw that your blog was up to date.

On the home front: We have an infection of rabies in our neighborhood. Lost a cat to it is like we got invaded by state agencies and low flying helicopters.

Dena Pawling said...


Craig - I schedule blog posts in advance which has helped keep me sane. Thanks for noticing =)

Timothy Lowe said...

Holy shit - Merry Farking Christmas and Happy Harking Hanukkah, everyone! I don't know if I'll be able to keep up but even the eggnog won't be able to keep me away!

Steve Stubbs said...

This makes me wish I had an mp3 (audio) file of evil cackling to listen to when I read your blog. If you know of one, please post a link. Or better yet, if you know of a video (mp4 or mpg) file that has the cackling sound effect and a pair of painted lips like the ones at the beginning of the movie ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, post that for sure. Then we can make it audiovisual.

Mallory Love said...

So I had to double check the date just to be sure we hadn't timewarped to the beginning of April, because...holy shit! But this sounds cool. Very exciting, actually. I'm totally up for it.

Janice Grinyer said...

I'm still going to suggest that one of Sharkooge's many talented writers (or two, or three, or) sent her a case of Bourbon for Christmas (or two, or three, or)...

Colin Smith said...

Steve: I think the Jaws theme would suffice... :)

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

What a novel idea!

Cheryl said...

I LOVE THIS IDEA.

Megan V said...

I may have to change my screenname to 'Megan V for Vendetta' because this is just cruel, QOTKU.


flashfriday said...

I'm enjoying this entire thread SO. MUCH. that if the world imploded before December 22, I'd still die content. See y'all on the (mini) battlefield!

Ashes said...

I guess if someone misses a day they're out of the grand prize, but are they still eligible to win that round? Can you participate in days 1 and 3 and win on day 3, despite missing day 2? Would you have to fill in day 2 when doing your day 3 entry?

Do you have to end each entry on a complete sentence, or can we end mid-sentence?

Can I change the end piece of punctuation when I start the next round? Can I change any of the other punctuation as long as I keep the words in order?

I feel less confined by the prompt words and much more confined by the challenges this will pose to editing. For me the flash fic comes together in the edits.

AJ Blythe said...

My head hurts.

Christmas is a time of joy, a time to relax and recover from the year. Even so...I'm in.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Wowsers! This is brilliant!!!

Michael Seese said...

Of course I'm in.

But round 4 should be 21 words, just to break the mold and make this contest 101 words.

Gypmar said...

Carolynn expressed my feelings exactly in the very first comment. :)

Kitty said...

... it would be fun to see what you did with another entry too

I vote no on this idea.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm with Kitty on voting "no" on using another person's entry. Building on my own is going to be complicated enough!

Claire said...

I've been reading this blog for several years and am delurking to say I've never been more excited to read the contest entries :)

Beth Carpenter said...

Rule question: If we go under on one day, can we use the surplus on another entry?

Terri Lynn Coop said...

*flutter*