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PostPosted: December 09, 2011, 10:40:39 PM
by kailhofer
The Perfect Gift Challenge:

As we once again slide into the holiday season, many of us will face the age old question: What in the heck do I get my significant other for a present? If we were lucky, said person would have dropped so many hints throughout the year that it sank through our thick skulls. However, we're all obsessed writers, so we used all our spare brain processor time trying to think of good things to write and didn't pay attention to what kind of olive oil they said they wished they had more of back in March or whether or not the hand mixer worked right the last time they used it.

Since we are writers, it really isn't that easy to live with us. C'mon, admit it. You know you're high maintenance. If you weren't, he or she wouldn’t have had to ask you six times to stop writing and mow the lawn. And yet that person didn't leave you. For that reason, we all know that the special person deserves a really great present. And we're creative, too. It should be easy.

Except it isn't easy.

That gift carries symbolic weight far greater that any amount on a scale. It's important. You feel the need to get it right, because you love them.

This weighty feeling is at the heart of this challenge:

Your main character is a lunar colonist, one of 100 in the dome. No one really has much for luxury items and the gift you ordered that cost two month's pay didn't come on this month's supply ship. There are only three other domes on the whole lunar surface, and none of them are reachable in time, since the holiday is tomorrow.

Try to come up with that perfect gift and tell that in story form.

REQUIREMENTS: (1) Your SF tale must attempt to tell a story where a lunar colonist tries to find or create a perfect gift for their significant other using only things available in the colony; (2) 1,000 words or less, not counting title, byline, or "The End"; (3) The characters, setting, 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 this on CSI?" 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 that great place 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 the story titles are literally tossed into a pith helmet and chosen at 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), Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. The stories will then be posted for voting at 10 p.m. Voting will close on Sunday, Jan. 1 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.

Every effort will be made to keep the voting fair. In the past, some voters have abstained from voting for some of the stories while voting for the others. Since total points scored decides the winner, this put the stories that weren't voted on at a disadvantage. Should this happen again, the skipped stories will be given marks equaling whatever the 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. 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.

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: December '11

PostPosted: December 14, 2011, 03:26:05 AM
by ente per ente
That's really interesting, indeed :D :D,eh...I just found the right idea, but given the period- that is: three short tales in Italian to be completed soon within December- this time it will take me a bit longer than usual before being at work on this entry of,eh...but maybe within friday or next monday it could be done, who,eh :D

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: December '11

PostPosted: December 14, 2011, 10:39:45 AM
by ente per ente
Well, easier said than done, actually I couldn't I already completed my entry and sent,eh :P :D :D

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: December '11

PostPosted: December 14, 2011, 11:28:31 AM
by Lester Curtis
What took you so long? :lol:

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: December '11

PostPosted: December 14, 2011, 11:49:12 AM
by Mark Edgemon
Lester Curtis wrote:What took you so long? :lol:

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: December '11

PostPosted: December 15, 2011, 04:02:48 AM
by ente per ente
What took you so long?

At times I watch TV,,eh :lol: :lol: :lol: :wink:

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: December '11

PostPosted: December 18, 2011, 06:43:12 PM
by kailhofer
2 sent in and approved. Plenty of room for more!

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: December '11

PostPosted: December 21, 2011, 10:01:06 PM
by kailhofer
Now up to four!

The Friday night deadline is approaching fast. Don't wait!