FLASH CHALLENGE: February 2017

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

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Post February 06, 2017, 12:19:28 AM

FLASH CHALLENGE: February 2017

There is a technical glitch.

Aphelion's server migration has temporarily prevented us from being able to change the 'Flash Challenge' button in our NavBar so that it points to the right page.

If you would like to read this month's entries and/or vote, click here.

We'll have it fixed as soon as we can.


The "Undying Love" Challenge

February is the month of love in popular media, so it is fitting that this time out we take a look at a very special kind of love.

Everyone has heard of a love that lasts forever. Folks like you and me hope that means two people so love each other that their devoted bliss continues when they reach that giant party in the sky.

However, that's not the kind of love we're delving into this month.

Oh, one of our two lovers is dead all right, but they're not at that sky party. They're lurking in the shadows or digging the way out of their grave. They're sidling up the path to your house, or perhaps they're hiding in the basement, right now.

That's right, one of the loved pair is a zombie. (That's the undead zombie, not the plague zombie.)

It's not easy to love a zombie--or be loved by one--they have special needs.

Nevertheless, that's the challenge this month. Tell us a story of a zombie in love or someone loving a zombie.

(No one said it would be easy, but it may be great.)

Feel up to a challenge?

REQUIREMENTS: (1) Your story must be set on Earth and show love between two humans, one alive and one an undead zombie; (2) 1,000 words or less, not counting title, byline, or "The End"; (3) You must have at least two characters that "talk" to each other in some fashion. (4) The characters and story must be original, fictional, and not previously published, even in these challenges; (5) One entry per author; (6) Give your story a title and a byline; and (7) 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, February 19, 2017. The stories will then be posted for voting at approximately 10 p.m. Voting will close on Sunday, February 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 Private Message (PM) and send it to me through the forum 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 30% 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.

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Post February 06, 2017, 12:40:32 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: February 2017

Looks like a good one. I used to work shifts, so I know what a 'zombie' feeling feels like!
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Post February 11, 2017, 08:06:20 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: February 2017

Three in, one kicked back. So far, so good.
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Post February 19, 2017, 07:38:32 PM

Re: FLASH CHALLENGE: February 2017

February is a super busy month for me doing ice carvings on the side, so I haven't been able to post much lately.

Due to the server migration that ate a few days worth of posts from the forum, it is possible that a submission may have been lost for tonight's contest.

I have 3 entries. If you didn't receive a good luck notice from me, your story was lost. Please resend it ASAP.

Otherwise, I'll go with the three I have tonight, and that's ok, too.

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