FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016


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Post July 01, 2016, 10:49:44 AM

FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Out a little early for the 4th of July holiday here in the US...

The "How Do I Love Thee?" Challenge:



I feel like we could use a change of pace, to try something a little more light-hearted…

I challenge you to write the story of a love-obsessed, bad poet. This character can be one who writes bad poetry, or, for twist, a poet who is evil. This prose story can be science fiction, fantasy, or horror--it's your choice.

What are the machinations in the mind of an evil poet? What plots would he loose upon the world? On the other hand, consider the tale of the rocket liner pilot who tries to woo the stewardess with bad poetry. Will his badly-done efforts to create iambic pentameter win her over, or will she run off with the guy from Betelgeuse instead?


C'mon, let's relax and have some fun with a story!


BONUS: I will award an extra 20 points to all stories I find to be humorous (or at least trying hard to be), but I will not give any extra points to myself, no matter how my entry turns out.


REQUIREMENTS: (1) Your science fiction, fantasy, or horror prose story must have a love-obsessed, bad poet as the main character; (2) You must have at least two characters that "talk" to each other in some fashion. (2) 1,000 words or less, not counting title, byline, or "The End"; (3) The characters and story must be fictional and not previously published, even in these challenges; (4) One entry per author; (5) Give your story a title and a byline; and (6) Keep it clean. Rated 'PG-13'. (Basically, think, "Could I see or say this on network television, even late at night?" That allows a lot, really.)

CHARACTERS & SETTING: No copyrighted characters or settings, or references thereto. Famous, non-copyrighted fictional characters like Santa Claus, or religious figures such as the Devil, named angels such as Gabriel, or gods like Thor, etc. as supporting characters at best and at my discretion. The Wicked Witch and Dracula may be in the public domain, but 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." Except as noted above under non-copyrighted fictional persons, character names may not be copied from fiction or real life, even if changed, i.e. Char-less Darween. All non-copyrighted settings are ok. Famous, unique sites like Stonehenge may be used over and again. No fan fiction or sequels, so don't bother putting your story in the Land of Oz or using that great character you thought up two challenges ago.

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.

HOW TO ENTER: Stories must be sent by PRIVATE MESSAGE, 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 'zine. 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. All tales are literally tossed into a pith helmet and chosen in 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 who have posted at least one message may submit a story. Without that one post, the system will not let you send a PM.

DEADLINE: Stories should be in by 9 p.m. Central Standard Time (GMT-6), Sunday, July 17, 2016. The stories will then be posted for voting at approximately 10 p.m. Voting will close on Sunday, July 24th at approximately 9 p.m., GMT-6.

VOTING: Stories are rated on a scale of 0-10 in whole numbers in 6 different categories by filling in scores in a form that is posted by me immediately following the post containing the stories for this challenge. Voters copy and paste the form into a PM and send it to me for tallying. One vote per user (that is, per ip address), and authors may not vote for their own story.

IF YOU WISH TO SCORE A ZERO FOR A STORY, YOU MUST ENTER A ZERO IN THAT POSITION ON THE VOTING FORM. A challenge entrant who does not vote for the other stories will receive a 10% deduction in their own score at the time of contest close, and the other stories will be given marks equaling whatever their story's average is at the time of contest close.

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

WHAT YOU WIN: Writers get improved short fiction skills, increasing their chances in the marketplace, without the lengthy investment in time a longer story would take. That, as well as bragging rights and pride--there is stiff competition each month amongst some great stories.

LEGAL STUFF: I'll try to do my best lawyer impersonation: By entering this challenge you are technically granting Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy perpetual electronic rights only to post and archive your challenge entry. Aphelion would rather not lay any claim on them at all, but by posting them on a public site, they'd legally count as being published no matter what.

Ok. A real lawyer would have been less interesting. I tried.


All the things I do to get Aphelion out each month (find the artwork, design the covers, correspond with submitting authors, read & format the short stories, format Dan's editorial, upload all the sections, and create the forum folders) do not allow me time to write an example. I will, however, write one right alongside the rest of you. Whatever I come up with, even if unfinished, will be posted for voting with the rest of the entries.

Good luck to all of us.
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Post July 04, 2016, 05:10:26 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

This is very easy, indeed...though, poetry is not precisely my favorite theme...eh,eh :D

And have a pleasing 4th of July, of course!!! :D :D
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Post July 04, 2016, 07:04:28 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Ok, already done...and now waiting for the usual useful reviews/suggestions before sendint it...eh,eh :D :D :D

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Post July 04, 2016, 09:25:29 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

I should have something this time. Got my new computer up and running to my liking. That takes time!
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Post July 05, 2016, 08:43:35 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Got to be honest. So far I got nothing. I will keep thinking though.
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Post July 06, 2016, 02:11:05 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

I sent mine today...eh,eh :D

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Post July 07, 2016, 08:32:17 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Well, got my story going! With a new computer it seems easier. I guess every five years or so we should get a new one. The old gateway is just sitting next to my desk, waiting until my computer man gets out of the hospital. He'll transfer my stories from the old one to the new one. I did have backup files, but there's always something that didn't get backed-up, like a story that I was working on.
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Post July 08, 2016, 03:10:08 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

I guess every five years or so we should get a new one.


If it was just up to me, I would have never changed my first computer...but I know that using a very old 286DX now would be out of fashion, and the hard disk of that time, twenty years ago, about 30 MB overall, would be not appropriate indeed...eh,eh :lol: :lol: :lol: And I changed more than 8 during the years...

But I also say that the continuous changes in software/hardware are not pleasing...not in terms of expense, but in terms of all the changes/data saves everyone has to do, that is time-consuming certainly...

Waiting for a computer that might remain the same at least for three years... :mrgreen: :D

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Post July 08, 2016, 08:18:11 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Just think some day when we evolve into computers we’ll be able to sit around and say: “My great-great granddaddy was a 286DX and my great-great grandmother was a commodore Vic 20!”

“My great-great granddaddy was a TRS-80 from England, and my great-great grandmother was a Commodore 128.”

I think there might be a story in there somewhere!
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Post July 10, 2016, 07:23:31 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

My first draft is done. Let's get this party started!


Also, just to clarify, since the rules call for science fiction, fantasy, or horror, I'm looking for just about any kind of speculative fiction here, in a really broad sense.

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Post July 12, 2016, 09:12:55 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Almost took me longer to get registered and ready to submit than it did to write my story! It is done now, about to submit, and next time it will be all ready to go.

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Post July 12, 2016, 09:25:40 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Got one----will be sending it in shortly!
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Post July 12, 2016, 10:05:17 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

LizMilne74 wrote:Almost took me longer to get registered and ready to submit than it did to write my story! It is done now, about to submit, and next time it will be all ready to go.

Welcome to the group, and good luck!
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Post July 14, 2016, 11:52:34 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Only three entries so far.

It's not crickets chirping, but it is awfully still out here...




Ominously still.




Too hard this time? Too easy?
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Post July 14, 2016, 01:54:39 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Okay...I'm crawling out of the woodwork. It's too interesting a prompt not to give it a try. Wouldn't want those crickets to start up.
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Post July 14, 2016, 03:05:06 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

chaddenbasnik wrote:Okay...I'm crawling out of the woodwork. It's too interesting a prompt not to give it a try. Wouldn't want those crickets to start up.

Excellent. Welcome to the fray.

Glad you're out of the woodwork. Scary in there. :)
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Post July 15, 2016, 01:01:53 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

I guess, 'ask and ye shall receive.'

Two more entries came in today.
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Post July 15, 2016, 08:59:31 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Oh wow. I'm seeing I can make it a thousand words. I was whittling it down to five hundred. Hmmm. Anyway, expect something from me soon. I'm a newbie here. This was fun though I don't know how speculative it is. A touch of unreality though for sure. Weird as per usual.
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Post July 15, 2016, 11:22:25 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

petal wrote:Oh wow. I'm seeing I can make it a thousand words. I was whittling it down to five hundred. Hmmm. Anyway, expect something from me soon. I'm a newbie here. This was fun though I don't know how speculative it is. A touch of unreality though for sure. Weird as per usual.

That's great. I'll be looking forward to seeing it, and welcome!
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Post July 15, 2016, 03:56:45 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Mine is in and accepted - if not acceptable - Soon I'll be famous - if not infamous...eh, eh
As for people evolving into computers, Elon Musk insists that humans need to have neuro implants in our brains so we can keep up with the computers. I bet he'd do the first 200 for free if anyone has a brain they don't need. We already are connected to our smartphones 24-7, now you too can have your smartphone stored inside your skull.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
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Post July 16, 2016, 09:08:23 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

bottomdweller wrote:Mine is in and accepted - if not acceptable - Soon I'll be famous - if not infamous...eh, .

Do you realize you've spent so much time working with Sergio that you've started to laugh like him? :D

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Post July 16, 2016, 10:31:17 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: July 2016

Well, got mine in. I see we have some new writers! Good. The more the better!
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