May '15 Flash Contest


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Post May 04, 2015, 09:18:40 PM

May '15 Flash Contest

APHELION FLASH FICTION CONTEST: May '15
The "I Am Invincible" Challenge: Redux- All Powerful or Omniscience

One year ago one of my favorites was held. I wrote one of my personal favorites for this 365 days ago.

THE PREMISE: The challenge this time is to write a flash story about a superhero. Thor, Loki, Phoenix; there are many ways to be almost invincible other than biceps and bullet proof, brains, other strange powers. Power is a relative thing and it doesn’t have to always be the irresistle force or the immovable object.


We have had superheroes appear in challenges here at Aphelion before. So if in your search for inspiration you'd like to check out some other flash stories about superheroes, check out stories from "The Reluctant Superhero" Challenge from August, 2008; "The Little Superhero" Challenge from August, 2011; or "The Superhero Bob" Challenge from March 2013 in the flash archive.


For this challenge I thought we'd look at a specific type of superhero character and the problems of writing that type of character. The character I'm referring to is the omniscient or all powerful superhero. They know more than any mortal should know and may seem all powerful in a multitude of ways. Whatever the mechanism, in the end, they are really in no danger from day to day harm. There are many examples of these types of superheroes.
So how do you, as a writer, write a story about a character who is almost a god? How do you make a superhero story about someone who seems like a god? Do you create a supervillain who is equally invincible? Do you contrive a weakness for the character, such as Superman's Kryptonite? As a comic book writer you wouldn't be able to use that trick in every story. Do you give the hero a moral code so strict that he or she will have difficulty defeating the villain even though they are physically superior? Do you make every encounter a battle of deities? Will you create tension in your story by putting the normal characters your invincible hero cares about in jeopardy? How many times can Lois Lane be the damsel in distress before the scenario becomes a boring cliche with an undercurrent of male chauvinism? I think it's an interesting problem, one that comic book writers of these types of characters have to tackle regularly. I leave it up to you to solve it in an interesting way just once in a flash story for this challenge.

One note: you do need to have a near divine superhero in your story, but you don't need to write your story from that character's perspective. The protagonist of your story can be someone other than the hero. You could write it from a villain's perspective if you like, or maybe a sidekick, or a love interest, or someone who is being rescued by the hero. But keep in mind that the challenge is to somehow address the invincible nature of your superhero in a creative way.

THE CHALLENGE: I challenge you to write a superhero fiction flash story about a character who is omniscient or all powerful. Good luck and good writing.

REQUIREMENTS: (1) Your story must be a superhero fiction story; (2) Your story must involve a character who is omniscient or all powerful; (3) 1,000 words or less, not counting title, byline, "The End," or punctuation such as #### used to separate sections; (4) The characters and story must be fictional; (5) One entry per author; (6) Give your story a title and a byline; and (7) Keep it clean. No worse than PG-13. When it comes to ratings, I'm going to use movie ratings as a guide from now on. But bear in mind that ratings are fairly subjective and applying a movie or television rating to a flash story is not the easiest thing to do. A lot depends on context. If you think something in your story may push it beyond PG-13, but you can give me an example of a PG-13 movie where the same thing was allowed, then I'll allow it.

LEGAL RESTRICTIONS: While you may reuse your own intellectual property in these challenges, stories that infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, or personality rights of others will not be accepted.

Yes, now you can write a sequel to one of your own previously published contest stories, but you cannot write a sequel to another writer’s story. Works of fan fiction will not be accepted. That means there is no use of copyrighted characters or settings, or references thereto. Even though the Wicked Witch and Dracula may be in the public domain, don't expect me to allow them. No person that was ever a "real life" human being may be used as a character, but can be referred to, as in "President Kennedy had declared it would be so." Character names may not be copied from fiction or real life, even if changed, i.e. Char-less Darween.

DISQUALIFICATIONS/REFUSALS: If, in my judgment, any requirement or rule is missed, I won't post the story for voting, but authors are free to resubmit with changes until the deadline. Should a story be initially accepted and posted in the challenge, but then later judged by me to be in violation, the story may be disqualified and removed from contention at any time before contest end. Authors who feel a story may be in violation should send me a PM and state their case.

REUSABLE STORY ELEMENTS: Reusable story elements are unique story elements introduced in these challenges which may be used over and over again in any Aphelion Flash Fiction Contest by any author. A given reusable story element will not be appropriate for every challenge, given genre or other challenge restrictions, but if you feel a reusable story element fits the current challenge and its use will enhance your story, then you are free to incorporate the element into your story. Other authors' use of a reusable story element in no way limits or affects your use of the element. Only the information included in the description of the reusable story element is usable. Any expansion of this information in other authors' stories is not usable. You may, however, build on elements from your own previous stories with the caveat that you may be sacrificing your anonymity for the contest voting.

The Libro di Sinistro: use anything from the pseudo-history of this sinister book in your story.

Scheherazade 7: use anything from the framing story of Scheherazade 7, including the premise, characters, and setting.

Campfire Games: In the beginning Light, in the end Darkness

(see the respective challenges in the index for inspiration)

HOW TO ENTER: Stories must be sent by PRIVATE MESSAGE to EddieSullivan, and NOT posted into a thread. Just click the 'PM' button at the bottom of this post and paste your story in the message. You are responsible for doing your own formatting, and leave an extra line between paragraphs, just like when you see them in the webzine. I will allow different colors, but not changed fonts or sizes, artwork, or any other embedded or external links.

DO NOT send a regular email to me.

Stories will be posted "blind"--without the author's name on them. They are placed in a random order. When the poll closes after the voting week, I'll post a list of the stories and who wrote them. All entries will then be reposted in the Flash Archive with the author's byline.

Entries from new authors are strongly encouraged. C'mon. Give it a try!

NOTE: ONLY REGISTERED MEMBERS of Aphelion's forum who have posted at least one message may submit a story. Without that one post, the system will not let you send a PM. Registration is easy though. Click the "Register" link at the top of this page to get started.

DEADLINE: Stories should be in by 8 p.m. East Coast Time (EST-5), Saturday MAy 16th, 2015. The stories will then be posted for voting at approximately 10 p.m. Voting will close on Saturday, June 6th, 2015 at approximately 8 p.m., East Coast Time.

VOTING: Voters will rank the stories by filling in a form that is posted by me immediately following the post containing the stories for this challenge. Voters will copy and paste the form into a PM and send it to me for tallying. One vote per user (that is, per ip address).

A challenge entrant who does not rank the stories will receive a deduction in their own score at the time of contest close.

If two or more stories are tied at the end of voting, there will be a succession of one-day runoff votes until a single winner is chosen.

WHAT YOU WIN: Bragging rights!

COPYRIGHTS: By entering this challenge you are granting Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy perpetual non-exclusive electronic rights to post and archive your contest entry. All other rights are retained by you, the author.



Example Story:


Watching the Children of the Gods


Surveillance notes: confirmed members of Ordo Papilionis
August 4th 2010
Perk It Up Coffee, 134 Main St Burlington VT
Subjects: Wainscot, Alistair/ Wainscot, Alexandra
Audio, Video, Close in agent monitoring


Alistair sat drumming the fingers of one hand, while picking his coffee up with the other. Immediately after each sip, he knocked twice on the table, looked left, then quickly right. The casual observer would think he seemed nervous or compulsive, althoughThere was no tension in his face. His countenance was as serene as still water at dawn. He was joined by a young woman who bore a striking resemblance to him. They had the same golden blonde hair and light blue eyes. She seemed as if she was communicating to an unseen person in American Sign Language. The effect was not as organized as that language though, perhaps more as if she were playing at a ridiculous pantomime of spell casting.

“Alex, nice to see you.” He gestured with his wrist and fingers but not apparently in her direction. “Sorry, just negating a flood in Bali.”

“Allistair, you look well.” She jumped from foot to foot then sat quickly. “That was dirty bomb not going off in Kabul.”

The waitress saw an additional customer and came to take an order. He shook his head back and forth so she assumed he did not want a refill. Alexandra stopped fidgeting long enough to make eye contact with the girl.

“Café Mocha extra light please.” The waitress turned away and she made extra frantic gestures as if she were catching up. “That was an avalanche in Kathmandu.”

“Wouldn’t you know that just as I need a refill I pick up a landslide in Mt Nebo, West Virginia!” He looked frustrated for the first time in the encounter. “Damn I needed another cup!”

“You can have some of mine when it comes.” His sister shook her head like she was starring in a shampoo commercial. “Whoa that one was close by. Seventeen car collision on Route 89 outside Lebanon, NH.”
The waitress brought the coffee. Alexandra transferred some of the contents to his cup. They continued talking and making seemingly random compulsive gestures for about forty five minutes. Agent Stan Harper was manning the camera across the street. His partner was monitoring the audio. They were in a crappy vacant apartment that had been commandeered for the occasion.

“Do you believe any of this Will? I never even saw stuff this odd working for 51.”

“I don’t know what to think, Stan. They seem to have some knowledge of remote events. The problem is they claim to be preventing things from happening. How do you prove they aren’t preventing something from happening?”

“Are they all from the same family?”

“Hell, they are all brothers and sisters!”

“How many are there?”

“We figure between two hundred fifty and three hundred. There are fifty one known family members outside the compound and one known in the compound. The rest are unknowns.”

“That is impossible. No one has that many kids.”
“Different mothers, same father. Augustus Wainscot should be about one hundred at least. Breeding and saving the world for seven and a half decades. The daddy of Ordo Papilionis. He dispatches his children to change the world. Each boy/girl pair is named with a different leading letter of the alphabet. They seem to exhibit different preternatural powers for each pair. These are the A’s. They claim that they make minute adjustments which prevent disasters all over the world. When one pair disappears another takes their place. There is always just the one pair for every letter.”

“That doesn’t add up. You said fifty one. Twenty six pairs would be fifty two. What gives?”

“Don’t concern yourself with the T’s. The T’s are no one’s problem but a guy named Finch.”

“What do the the T’s do?”

“Whatever they want! We have a T. The other T was KIA. You don’t want to talk about what killed a T, you need to trust me on that. The weird thing is, as long as we have the guy, Augustus won’t deploy anyother T’s. The one we have isn’t interested in going back, so the process is kind of in a holding pattern. You didn’t really read your files, did you?”

“Not really. I figured I was being put into a more mundane section when they asked me to leave Extraterrestrial branch. They threw me out here with you right after I arrived.”
“Yeah this department does that. We’re always on the move and attrition is high.”

“Why?”

“People die, sometimes they just see too much, or not enough, and walk away.”

“That seems odd.” Stan heard a strained buzzing out the window. He looked up and saw a small plane sputtering and losing altitude. It pitched from side to side painfully. The engine cut in and out. It was coming down for sure. It also seemed eerily likely that it was going to be coming straight in the window that he was standing at. He was going to die. There was no good explanation as to how he knew this, he just knew. There wasn’t even time to say anything to Will. The plane’s engine fired back to life strongly when it was about twenty feet from the window. The plane briefly occupied the space over the street just between the structures on either side. He looked into the pilot’s green eyes just as he jerked the stick and made the plane climb hard.

Stan turned to tell Will what had just happened. Will was looking at him laughing.

“I think she likes you.” Will pointed to the eye piece of the camera.

Stan looked into the aperture. The girl was looking right at him. She was smiling at him. Her brother was laughing. She waved and turned back to finish speaking with her brother. Will was chuckling behind him.

“Welcome to the Supernatural and Preternatural Section!”


(If you want more of this story and weren’t around last year- look for my entry in the archive for the story of the one of the T’s)
This story was previously edited by Iain Muir-Much thanks to him!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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Post May 05, 2015, 12:26:07 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

Eddie, your links aren't working. I found the August 2011:

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=3499#p22909

I won that one, BTW.

The other two need an archeologist's help. Maybe I'll get 'em tomorrow, if someone else doesn't beat me to it.
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Post May 05, 2015, 04:38:37 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

My idea is on the way, just some hours to complete it...eh,eh... :D
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Post May 06, 2015, 03:35:56 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

After the usual very useful suggestions and reviews, mine is already done...eh,eh :D

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Post May 07, 2015, 02:33:38 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

Okay,

I wanna make it into this one!

I've seen the darkness visible ...

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Post May 08, 2015, 09:44:02 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

I shouldn't have too much trouble with this one. At work I knew people who knew everything!!!!
Tesla Lives!!!

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Post May 18, 2015, 11:48:38 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

TaoPhoenix wrote:Okay,

I wanna make it into this one!

I've seen the darkness visible ...


... And I traded my story writing to enter a chess tournament!

But I am getting closer ... I'll get one in pretty soon!
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Post May 25, 2015, 10:25:37 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

NOT ENOUGH ENTRIES.......CONTEST WILL BE HELD OVER.......I WILL FIGURE OUT THE DETAILS LATER BUT FEEL FREE TO KEEP SUBMITTING
WON'T LIE I AM DISAPPOINTED!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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Post May 25, 2015, 10:48:54 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

I'll try to help you out Eddie, give me a day or so and I'll have something ready.
Write for yourself, there's no one else more worth writing for.
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Post May 28, 2015, 02:41:16 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

I am taking entries till 6/13/15. Voting will close 7/3/15 7pm EST.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post May 30, 2015, 09:40:11 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

EddieSullivan wrote:NOT ENOUGH ENTRIES.......CONTEST WILL BE HELD OVER.......I WILL FIGURE OUT THE DETAILS LATER BUT FEEL FREE TO KEEP SUBMITTING
WON'T LIE I AM DISAPPOINTED!


(Muttering to himself)
"Damnit, get a grip on yourself and write something!"
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Post May 31, 2015, 07:32:04 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

Far from just your fault. The contest takes up more time and effort on my part than the section does both administratively and creatively. If people don't participate it could be every other month very easily. I love the contest it is why I took this job. If folks don't play along though I can focus on other things. Please give me reason to continue on every month.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post June 13, 2015, 06:21:17 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

TaoPhoenix wrote:
EddieSullivan wrote:NOT ENOUGH ENTRIES.......CONTEST WILL BE HELD OVER.......I WILL FIGURE OUT THE DETAILS LATER BUT FEEL FREE TO KEEP SUBMITTING
WON'T LIE I AM DISAPPOINTED!


(Muttering to himself)
"Damnit, get a grip on yourself and write something!"


... and I think I barely did!

I plan to at least smash out one later today. Bumpy and all that, but it beats missing it entirely. Wright Brothers before Space Shuttles and all that!
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Post June 13, 2015, 03:36:54 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

crud I'm going to miss the deadline andI have a nice little story going. Going to go see Jurassic Park and theaters frown on using electronic devices during the movie. If the deadline was 10 or 11 I might have been able to make it...

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Post June 13, 2015, 07:45:10 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

And ... I got one in!
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Post June 13, 2015, 10:51:23 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

Deadline is when I wake up tomorrow. Was busy today. Got married and stuff!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post June 13, 2015, 11:16:03 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

EddieSullivan wrote:Deadline is when I wake up tomorrow. Was busy today. Got married and stuff!


Aphrodite visited!

Meanwhile, I'll do a late-late-night edit!
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Post June 13, 2015, 11:34:07 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

Congratulations Eddie!

Regarding the contest, I'm terribly sorry but I haven't been able to write anything for you besides a shabby rough draft, stupid life-stuff has made the past 2 weeks fly by. I do hope the others were able to help you out though.
Write for yourself, there's no one else more worth writing for.
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Post June 14, 2015, 07:42:11 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

EddieSullivan wrote:Deadline is when I wake up tomorrow. Was busy today. Got married and stuff!


Neat! I guess I made it then. Congrats Eddie. But dude, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! ;D

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Post June 14, 2015, 09:36:35 AM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

Wesson wrote:Congratulations Eddie!

Regarding the contest, I'm terribly sorry but I haven't been able to write anything for you besides a shabby rough draft, stupid life-stuff has made the past 2 weeks fly by. I do hope the others were able to help you out though.


Writing is a bumpy process for many of us!

I've been as dragged down as anyone for a long time! : (

But I went with a tip from Dan Hollifield a ways back - that sometimes you just have to break the tie between dismay at the shabbiness of a draft, and giving up on the whole thing for yet another month. So having first decided to live with "anything that comes out is better than giving up" yesterday, I can now recognize hints of my old process - that when I finally begin to get going, I start getting "two and a half stories and a couple mini essays (like this one!)".

One wants to be heavily researched and "taken seriously". The next is like a "filler in the same world-universe setting (or cosmetically changed). Or sometimes it's a humor idea sparked by suddenly discovering what happens when two characters show up at the same time. Then there's often at least one "throwaway chunk" that keeps drifting in and might work for a 4000-7000 story, but just won't make the cut for Flash. So I went with something lighter yesterday, and I'll edit it more in a few minutes to take it from 40% to maybe 65% or something.

But all of that is better than the giving up I've done for multi months now!

Edit - so, per all of this, the version Eddie has now is one of my off-shoots. I'll let it stand as is, and try to pre-work the writing mood for next time.
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Post June 14, 2015, 01:32:27 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

Congratulations EddieSullivan...!!!

As for me, about marriages, I've Always been saying "No rings, no chains... :mrgreen: ", but it's just a personal opinion, of course...eh,eh


So, congratulations again!!! :D 8)
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Post June 15, 2015, 12:25:44 PM

Re: May '15 Flash Contest

I will get stuff up tonight.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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