FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016


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Post June 05, 2016, 06:21:34 PM

FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

The "I Feel Like a Monster" Challenge:


Did you ever wonder what it's really like to be a monster?

We all know a werewolf is strong, dangerous, and wreaks havoc--that's why they've been villains in fiction for more than a century--but we often forget that the werecreature is human when there is no moonlight.

That human must know that they will change, and that he or she could cause loved ones harm. If these significant persons are loved, then your monster in the making probably (well, hopefully) doesn't want them harmed. Imagine the worry, the guilt, or embarrassment that this were-person must carry as they try to go about their regular lives, and that's another fascinating aspect of "weres"--that they have to be semi-normal. They need jobs, maybe have families, a home...

What goes through the were-person's mind will be tantamount in this challenge, as it is a FIRST-PERSON point of view challenge, something I don't believe we've ever required before. That's right, your 1st person character must be someone who physically morphs into a monster in the moonlight.

Your character can be any unpleasant werecreature--even a weremouse--because not every werecreature is terrible, either, which is another interesting potential twist.

Sounds like an interesting study in characterization to me. Are you up for it?



REQUIREMENTS: (1) Your 1st-person story must be told from the point of view of a human who will transform later tonight under moonlight into an unpleasant or dangerous werecreature against their will; (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 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 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, June 19, 2016. The stories will then be posted for voting at approximately 10 p.m. Voting will close on Sunday, June 26th 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 June 06, 2016, 04:31:59 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

This is easy...it will be written down soon...eh,eh :D
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Post June 06, 2016, 05:58:58 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

Ok, done...and an interesting, good one, in my opinion...eh,eh...we'll see...

Now I am just waiting for the usual very useful reviews/suggestions before sending it... :D
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Post June 06, 2016, 03:55:13 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

I am in. Sent!
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Post June 06, 2016, 07:50:10 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

Might give this one a try, feeling a bit monstrous lately .... >:(
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Post June 06, 2016, 11:51:33 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

OK, sent off, that was fun. Looking forward to reading everyone's entries.

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Post June 07, 2016, 07:24:05 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

I'm working on one. Me and my other self!
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Post June 07, 2016, 10:26:06 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

Wow, 3 entries already. I'm so far behind.
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Post June 13, 2016, 07:28:47 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

My first draft is done (and made on old-fashioned, plain paper, too), so I can start reading the entries.
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Post June 15, 2016, 01:12:02 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

I seldom feel like my story is really done after I've reached this stage, like I should keep tweaking it some more. I probably will, right up to the last minute, but even then I'll have a nagging doubt. I'll feel that I could have done more, or done better. Will it move the reader? Will it flop? You never completely know, really.

What about you, and your story? How is it going? (Seems to me a few more people should be "bringing it.")
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Post June 15, 2016, 04:40:19 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

Actually, as for me, if it happens to me - in the few free moments I have...- to think again of an old story I previously wrote, some phrases come to my mind that might have been a good fit and should have been included appropriately...but now it's too late, and I rarely are into reprints, as this would mean that I should have to read the whole story again, when another one, a more recent one, is just calling to be written down... :lol:

So, the right time for that is gone, the same as it happens when someone does something in real life, until time machines to go back are available to all...no need to think of the contents of a good bottle of alcohol you could have differently used to make a good cocktail once you already emptied it and drank it all... :lol: :lol:
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Post June 16, 2016, 01:24:15 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

ente per ente wrote:Actually, as for me, if it happens to me - in the few free moments I have...- to think again of an old story I previously wrote, some phrases come to my mind that might have been a good fit and should have been included appropriately...but now it's too late, and I rarely are into reprints, as this would mean that I should have to read the whole story again, when another one, a more recent one, is just calling to be written down... :lol:

So, the right time for that is gone, the same as it happens when someone does something in real life, until time machines to go back are available to all...no need to think of the contents of a good bottle of alcohol you could have differently used to make a good cocktail once you already emptied it and drank it all... :lol: :lol:

Yes, but since your every-flowing creativity forces your fingers go so fast over the keys there must almost be a sonic boom, you never really get a chance to let your story simmer and perhaps bring out an even better flavor that rewrites and self-editing can create. Nothing against Michele of course, who helps tweak your English grammar, but it's not the same.

It would be very interesting to see you write a story, then turn around and write the same story again the next day (from scratch, without reusing much text). Surely your Muse would allow you to skip writing a completely new story for 1 day. I suspect the second one would be even better.

That, however, is only my opinion.
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Post June 16, 2016, 01:25:24 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

BTW, we are now up to 5 entries. Keep them coming!
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Post June 19, 2016, 03:47:24 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

Did I mention that Sergio did NOT have the first story in on this? TWO other stories came in ahead of his.

6 total stories in so far.
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Post June 19, 2016, 06:20:27 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

kailhofer wrote:Did I mention that Sergio did NOT have the first story in on this? TWO other stories came in ahead of his.

My brain just fractured.
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Post June 20, 2016, 05:45:54 AM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: June 2016

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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