Flash Contest Ideas


Writing challenges, flash fiction, interesting anecdotes, amusements, and general miscellanea.

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Post May 03, 2018, 04:16:52 PM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

This is a sticky now.
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Post May 04, 2018, 10:19:18 PM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

I'd say don't be afraid to really challenge the writers. Throw a sci-fi mystery, or fantasy romance, or even a magic realism superhero tale at them. Whatever you think would be a cool story to read, really. Those are the most fun to write as well.

They've pretty much always risen to the occasion. Push them.

But they might need a little more time for something so complex. Just a suggestion.
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Post May 05, 2018, 08:39:39 AM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

Ente per ente has a good idea. The more ideas that pop up, the better the contest.

We could have one with no constraints, no premise, just turn something in! Of course it must be sci-fi, horror or alternate even---stories if longer Aphelion would publish. Stories that are written under contraints give the writer a creative-problem solving exercise, while stories written with no constraints, let one's imagination run wild! Both are excellent challenges.
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Post May 05, 2018, 09:14:23 PM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

Jim Statton wrote:
kailhofer wrote:I'd say don't be afraid to really challenge the writers. Throw a sci-fi mystery, or fantasy romance, or even a magic realism superhero tale at them. Whatever you think would be a cool story to read, really. Those are the most fun to write as well.

They've pretty much always risen to the occasion. Push them.

But they might need a little more time for something so complex. Just a suggestion.

We get more writers involved, those mixed genres would be fun. I never even heard of mixing genres until I started following your challenges.

Every several months there is an extra week so we could have a two week writing time frame for a more complex writing premise.

Nate, what was the most rewarding challenge that you ever did over the 10 years you ran the challenges?

Remember that everyone should be writing a simple, human story every time. That it might be set in outer space or perhaps the only two characters are a pair of rocks, is of no consequence. The story should be simple, and human, because that's what an audience relates to. Boy meets girl, someone seeks revenge, etc. In fact, Robert Silverberg used to use what he called the Generic Plot of all Stories, which you can read up on in this forum thread here. But I digress.

Most rewarding? Oh, boy. That's a hard question because things can be rewarding many ways.

Not in any particular order, but...

Our second challenge, way back when, was The Sound of Silence, in which, the main character had to be deaf. The stories we wrote were shown to someone who was, in fact, hearing impared, and she just loved them. I got a very warm, fuzzy feeling from that.

I especially enjoyed both Campfire Ghost Stories challenges, especially the first one. I really liked what everyone came up with, and I hope someone, somewhere, actually tells those some of stories around a fire.

I really enjoyed writing my story for the "Picture's worth 1,000 Words" challenge that used a picture drawn by Lester. It was an über hard challenge, really, but I liked what we did with it.

There are so many really. Space-Based Mom and Pop Shop, Reluctant Superhero... I made a great friend during Museum Earth. Jeez, there are too many. It's all been rewarding. Plus, I certainly would not want to forget to mention the excellent work by John, Eddie, and Daniel in their challenges. That others, including yourself, keep things going, gives me a really warm feeling as well.

The warmest feeling of all comes from looking at Iain's new linked index of more than 700 stories that have been written for the challenges since they started. That's one hell of a resource of fiction, and it came from an idea I had more than 10 years ago. Hopefully without blowing my own horn too much, that's pretty cool. I liked my old indexes better for the feel of them, but Iain's is more practical, considering the number of entries in it.

I hope that answered your question.
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Post May 06, 2018, 10:03:03 PM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

Jim Statton wrote:So, his real name is Iain.

Yes, Wormtongue, with the title poetry editor under his name is really Iain Muir. Now you know his secret identity. According to the rules of superherodom, you may now either become his ally or his arch nemesis. :) Strange that there are no other choices than that...

For anyone who didn't know, a look at the "Contact Us" page in the main magazine would also have told you this. His name is listed there under Editor for Poetry, Flash, and Archives, as he is currently doing triple duty.
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Post May 06, 2018, 11:03:37 PM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

Idea:

"Did you read the instructions?"

Owner's manuals and instruction sheets come with all kinds of things we're familiar with, like toasters, Ikea furniture, bicycles, you name it ... and we can add unfamiliar things like spellcasting kits and alien medical devices as possible examples.

Take it away.
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Post May 08, 2018, 02:23:50 AM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

Steampunk can open up new and exciting reads generated by imagination coupled with history. I worked in an 1800 megawatt generating station---retired almost ten years ago by an early out--and can state emphatically that steam is powerful! The station I worked at had 3000 psi steam at 1000 degrees before it entered the turbine! That is power! All nuclear submarines and nuclear aircraft carriers are just steam boats.

I really don't know much about steampunk. I'm not sure if the Victorian age or the culture of the American wild west should be in a steampunk story. I know steam has to be the driving force of all motion whether train, ship, horseless carriage, balloon flight or a unique invention. Could someone further explain the requirement needed in a steampunk story?
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Post June 02, 2018, 03:05:59 PM

Re: Flash Contest Ideas

This might have been mentioned, but one time Lester drew a picture, and we had to write a flash fiction based on how the picture inspired us. It was an interesting take, and I enjoyed it. We created a story from a picture!
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