FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016


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Post October 02, 2016, 12:11:44 PM

FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

The "Campfire Ghost Stories II" Challenge



You and your family ring a campfire, your faces flickering in the firelight as you try to stave off Autumn's chill. Dark, willowy forms seem to dance in the shadows around you. A rustling wind whispers through the trees, or is it something more?

There! Out of the corner of your eye, was someone there?

This is the right time for telling a scary story as you sit around that fire. Will you fall back on an old horror favorite, like The Golden Arm or tell something lighter, like The Cat that Didn't Purr?

I hope you have your own great memories of hearing chilling tales by firelight from your childhood. Myself, I did not, and that's why we had the first Campfire Ghost Stories challenge back in '09 to try to come up with some new scary stories we could tell to our own friends and family, building some great, new memories of our own.

In that '09 challenge, I really enjoyed what we came up with, and it's still one of my favorite challenges. You can read those tales we created here. Since then, we've had a lot of turnover in writers, so I think it's time to visit the campfire ghost story once more... to see what new horrors lurk in the shadows of our lives.

I challenge you to write a spooky tale of the weird and unknown, the kind of "ghost" story you'd like to hear as you sit with your own friends and family around a campfire on a dark, moonless fall night (the story does not have to include a ghost).


Send shivers down our spines, I dare you!



REQUIREMENTS: (1) Your spooky, campfire "ghost" story must be composed as if you were telling it around a campfire as the narrator; (2) 1,000 words or less, not counting title, byline, or "The End"; (3) The characters and story must be original, 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 ABC 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 non-human religious figures such as the Devil, named angels such as Gabriel, or gods like Thor, etc. as minor 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. For the purposes of these challenges, all human (or born of man) individuals who appear in Greek or Roman mythology, the Bible, Torah, Quran, Mahayana Sutras--basically any major religious text--are considered real people, and therefore may not appear. One of the objects here is to practice creating fictional characters.

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, October 16, 2016. The stories will then be posted for voting at approximately 10 p.m. Voting will close on Sunday, October 23rd 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 (and/or per ip address). Authors may not vote for their own story, but must vote for all of the other stories in the contest. 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 YOU WISH TO SCORE A ZERO FOR A STORY, YOU MUST ENTER A ZERO IN THAT POSITION ON THE VOTING FORM.

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 flash section 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 October 02, 2016, 06:21:21 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Nate ... I just went and listened to "The Cat That Didn't Purr"—and now I want my four minutes and forty-two seconds back!
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Post October 02, 2016, 07:19:07 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Perhaps there are more things in heaven and earth than are deamt of in your philosophy.

I did say it was lighter in tone. I liked hearing that one when I was a little kid, and I still do today, over 40 years later. In fact, I still own the album. On vinyl.

You may like the previous campfire challenge stories instead. There are quite a few by Aphelion editors.

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Post October 03, 2016, 07:34:20 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

A Campfire setting! Great! We should get many stories on this one. A campfire is one of the oldest setting for story telling. Primitive man after developing the rudiments of language, told stories around the campfire. Good one!
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Post October 04, 2016, 05:18:42 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Mine is already done, and sent for the usual useful reviews/suggestions before sending/posting it...Though, being on vacation, I'll be able to send it in via PM to Kailhofer in the next days, when I'll be back... :D
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Post October 08, 2016, 11:04:49 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Two stories in so far. Plenty of room for more!

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Post October 08, 2016, 12:37:09 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Got mine in today. This story came easy for me. Usually they require some thought, but this one just jumped of the keyboard, so to speak!
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Post October 08, 2016, 03:50:04 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

I just came to the site for the first time. The Flash Challenge looks interesting. I want to read a few stories before I enter, so I will probably wait until next month to give it a try. Plus, I've never been good at telling ghost stories. :)
Jim
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Post October 08, 2016, 03:58:30 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

jpharrin wrote:I just came to the site for the first time. The Flash Challenge looks interesting. I want to read a few stories before I enter, so I will probably wait until next month to give it a try. Plus, I've never been good at telling ghost stories. :)

We'll, hi. Hope you can try it then, although tales of the weird and unknown are not all scary, so not every entry will be spooky this time. That's why I included the cat MP3 as an example.

Our Flash Index has over 500 stories in it for your reading pleasure, all written for these challenges over the last ten years. You should be able to see the 2 volumes if you navigate to the top level of Fun and Games.

Good luck to you, and welcome.
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Post October 08, 2016, 05:48:18 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Phew. I almost never write a story in one sitting. Not because I don't want to, it's more more that inspiration usually runs out before I'm done, or I don't know where I want to go with a story yet. Usually I have to think on it a while.

However, I just finished first drafting mine for this challenge, all in one, so to speak, so for sure we'll have at least three choices.

My brain is tired.
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Post October 10, 2016, 11:02:15 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Just checking... how many of you out there are thinking of giving it a try?

Back in '09 when we last tried this, we had a big turnout.



Hello?


[Crickets chirping]

Hmm...
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Post October 12, 2016, 11:18:47 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Where did everybody go?

Not a horror crowd?
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Post October 14, 2016, 03:40:13 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Lester Curtis wrote:Nate ... I just went and listened to "The Cat That Didn't Purr"—and now I want my four minutes and forty-two seconds back!


Oh! I loved "The Cat That Didn't Purr." It was so funny! And silly!

On a completely different note, I did try this challenge. It was fun writing a ghost story. Something new for me!

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Post October 14, 2016, 05:22:21 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Just checking... how many of you out there are thinking of giving it a try?


Just registered today and thought 'why not?' Hopefully it will quiet the crickets down a bit.
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Post October 15, 2016, 11:51:47 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

I hope it does, and welcome.
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Post October 15, 2016, 11:53:29 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Two more entries were received last night. Looking good!
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Post October 15, 2016, 06:38:45 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: October 2016

Another one in! There's a fair crop of stories to read for this.

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