August Flash Challenge, The Premise:


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Post August 19, 2017, 11:10:17 PM

August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

I know this is late. I had trouble thinking of something worth challenging you with.

The premise is to construct an ending plot twist out of left field. The kind of thing that takes readers by surprise, but yet adds to the story without ruining the story.

The requirements:

1000 words maximum, without counting the title, byline, or "The End." Any SF&F genre. The aim is to make your readers think you have one thing going on, then TWIST that to surprise them. The twist can be the final sentence, or the final paragraph, but it must make the readers shift the POV they had while reading the main body of your story. The twist has to change your story from one thing to another in your reader's minds.

The submissions stage will run for two weeks, the entries will be available for voting for two weeks, and then I have to think of a new one, LOL!

Example Story:

Those Who Learn From History, Are Dangerous
By Dan L. Hollifield

Thom stepped through the armored gates into the arena. The crash of drum and cymbal mixed with the shouting of the crowds clamoring for blood. His, or anyone’s, it didn’t matter. They wanted to be entertained. Blinking in the sudden noonday sunlight after the darkness of the cells he’d known for such a short number of days, he waited for his eyes to adjust, the tears from the glare to cease, and his heart to return to a more normal beat. With the stench of the animal cages he’d just been led past still burning his nostrils, and the crunch of the arena sand under his every step, Thom waited for mere moments, then strode further out into the light. The crowd noise became louder as more and more of the audience caught sight of him, walking bravely forward to meet, and challenge, his presumed fate.

Another ancient gate rattled open. Thom spun to his left to face the sound. He shaded his eyes as he watched the next contestant enter the arena. A giant, easily half-again Thom’s size, being prodded by soldiers holding spears, reluctantly crossed the dirty sand that covered the arena’s stone and wood floor. The giant had four arms. He wore the same sort of loincloth covering that made up Thom’s only allowed garment. Thom watched carefully, observing the newcomer’s every movement for any clue of his skills or habits or anything Thom might use to better his chances in the upcoming combat. Thom advanced further, himself. He carefully gaged his steps in the lighter gravity of this foreign world. Being clumsy and unused to the local conditions was how he’d gotten captured in the first place, he remembered. Shoving memories aside, Thom matched the giant stride for stride towards arming stations where their respective weapons were arrayed for the audience to see. This was part of the show. The crowds loved to see the combatants don whatever pitiful armor they were allowed, and choose from a selection of antiquated weapons from the arming stands. Thom’s back still had fresh scars from the whips the arena trainers used to teach fresh gladiators the complex ballet the arena demanded of its “entertainers.” As the giant stumbled, then partly turned to face the now-locked gate through which he’d entered, Thom saw much older scars crisscrossing the giant’s partly-exposed back.

“Been at this a while haven’t you,” Thom said to himself. “You’ve been a problem child. Your scars are healed, but you have more of them than I do. You’re a veteran, a survivor, and you’ll have skills that kept you alive through more than one of these little shows. Obviously, you don’t like rules. You may be the death of me, Big Man, but I’m going to go out fighting…”

Both reached the arming stations at the same time, in accordance with the arena choreography, and the crowd roared. Thom briefly examined his choices, all the while keeping an eye on his erstwhile opponent’s choices as well. Each was offered two helmets, two shields, two swords, three different lengths of spears, a metal mesh net, a mace tailored to their size, various clubs, several daggers of different lengths, and a few bits of body armor, and different harnesses to hold their secondary choices of weaponry. Thom donned his choice of harness, as did the giant. The giant chose the two smaller spears, the lighter helmet and smallest shield, the middle-sized sword, and two of the longer knives. He wordlessly positioned his selections about his harness and looked at Thom to observe his choices. Thom nodded, looked at his selection again, and reached to grasp the light helm, the larger shield, the longest dagger, the shortest sword, and a second harness made mostly of leather thongs. He cut away most of that second harness, and salvaged a single thong. It was two inches wide and almost as long as Thom was tall. Using a dagger, Thom cut a small, wider piece of leather about four inches square, pierced two of its sides, and threaded it to the center of his home-made sling. According to Thom’s understanding, the rules of this arena combat allowed improvisation. The roar of the crowd grew less as they tried to predict Thom’s strategy. The giant raised an eyebrow, as Thom bowed to him, secretly scanning the ground for rocks. A horn sounded. The giant moved to stand by Thom’s side.

“You aren’t my enemy?” Thom asked as the crowd roared again.

“Not this time,” the giant said. “Today, we are allies, against animals. Should we both survive this, we may yet face each other. First will come the smaller beast, then one larger, and more fierce, and if we survive that--there will come a truly dangerous predator.”

“The only predator I fear wears clothes and commands an army,” Thom replied.

“You are young. I thought as much,” said the giant. “That weapon you made, what is it? I’ve not seen the like in all my years.”

“Something from my world’s history,” Thom said.

Gates to the animal pens began to open, shouts came from behind the walls as the animal keepers herded their toys out into the arena. “It’s called a sling,” Thom added. “It uses centripetal force to propel a rock to a high energy impact on a target. Much more powerful than merely throwing one.”

“A ranged weapon, like a throwing spear, but more portable,” said the giant. “Interesting concept. My world has something similar, but with a fixed framework to better aim the projectile. An elastic material fitted to a fixed frame, but smaller than what you constructed.”

“Slingshot,” Thom said. “We have those too, but this version imparts more energy. Force equals mass multiplied by velocity. This has a higher velocity. One of our ancient kings once used one to kill an enemy and save his people.”

“The straps are too long for you,” said the giant.

“I made it for you, you could kill the tyrant from here.”

THE END
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom
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Post August 21, 2017, 06:45:14 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

I just had to figure out what "out of the left field" might mean...then I saw that it's North American way to say "unexpectedly..." in British English :D

Well, I'll be in soon with my entry...eh,eh
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Post August 21, 2017, 08:32:18 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

Mine is already completed, and now just waiting for the usual useful reviews/suggestions before sending it in...eh,eh
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Post August 21, 2017, 11:37:17 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

Sergio, you are the reason it's called 'flash' fiction. :lol:
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Post August 22, 2017, 02:49:06 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

Eh,eh...very funny indeed!!! :D

I must confess that I took my time on this occasion...first I completed a (longer )sort of Horror Short-Story about (bad) journalism set in a fictitious Florida...and then I wrote down the entry for the Flash Fiction Challenge of this month...

Anyway, I just sent my entry in today...

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Post August 22, 2017, 05:46:05 PM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

What is the actual deadline... two weeks to the Sunday?

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Post August 23, 2017, 09:02:26 PM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

We need to have more stories for this next challenge. This months challenge is a great one. I had fun with my entry and as far as this writing exercises go, it is fun to participate and let the creativity fly!

So, if you've never written a story for something like this, try it. It would be nice to overwhelm Dan's pm with great stories. I can hear him already all the way over here, when he gets the fortieth story... "Agggh! We need someone to take over the contests. Please. Anyone. I'll throw in my autographed shoebox signed by Leonard Nemoy (Spock). And I might even come and help re-roof your house...Anyone? Lester? Frank? Sally... and even... Hey, who are you?"

"Who, me?"

"Yeah. You've never entered a story or poem. Wanna be a flash editor?"

"Uh, why?"

"Because I'll give you an autographed shoebox and help re-roof your house."

"Uh, I live in a cardboard box so I don't need a shoebox or help."

(silence)

(awkward silence)

(more awkward silence)

(okay, now we're in the twilight zone of silence)

"But I would consider it if you had something to eat. You know, some stale bread, maybe some empty bean cans I can lick?"

"Sure. Sure. Yes. Would some old donuts suffice?"

"Yes."

"Good. You got the job. And your name is?"

"Mmfff... chew, chew, gobble... Excuse me, haven't eaten in a month. Anyway, you were saying?"

"I said, congrats, you got the job. What's your name?"

"You know Dan. I am you. You are now nutso crazy from all the submitted stories. This is the ending with a surprise to keep in line with this months challenge. You've been talking to yourself in the reflection of the mirror. Like it?"

"You're a (censored, censored, censored, censored, and censored) idiot...(censored)

***

See? It's easy to write a story with a twist at the end. Now, go for it.
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Post August 24, 2017, 11:26:17 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

:lol:
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Post August 24, 2017, 11:27:08 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

KVesi wrote:What is the actual deadline... two weeks to the Sunday?

Kathleen


That sounds about right. I usually put the challenge up, let people have two weeks, then post the submissions for two weeks for voting.

That said, I am usually late for every deadline, LOL!

Dan
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom

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Post August 26, 2017, 11:48:00 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

So far I have 250 words. Let's see if I can pull this off!

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Post August 26, 2017, 11:49:37 PM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

kvesi. as Rob Schneider says a lot in the many Adam Sandler movies, "You can do it!"

Good luck.

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Post August 27, 2017, 09:55:11 AM

Re: August Flash Challenge, The Premise:

Thanks!

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