Halloween 2015 Flash


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

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Post July 31, 2015, 08:28:07 AM

Halloween 2015 Flash

So given the success of last year’s October flash section I have decided to repeat the experiment.
Here are 16 candidates for this year’s flash fiction assignment along with last years 12.
I challenge anyone out there to write me something for October and submit it using the following monsters in their story.

Post here with the name and simply say mine and it will be yours to use and no one else’s. Please only pick one. If the month draws to a close and no one has taken a crack at something and you want a second then you may ask and I will probably let you have it.


This year’s additions to the list:
Thekhepri
Leshi
Blemmyes
Bahktak
Bonnacon
Hodag
Jikininki (X)
Ammit
Abarimon
Pooka
Hatuibwari
Squonk
Gajasimha
Onocentaur
Selkie (X)
Qilin

And last year’s are still eligible again this year if anyone wants a crack at them:
Kelpie
Jorōgumo
Makura-Gaeshi
Shirime (X)
Clurichaun
Mahaha
Anansi
Re’em
Dybbuk
Skinwalkers
Camazotz (X)
Teihiihan
Baykok



I will still love to see all other submissions , but come on it is the Halloween issue, write about monsters!


Camazotz is taken
Jikininki is taken
Selkie is taken
Shirime is taken
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Post August 04, 2015, 10:57:54 AM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

I think it would be useful/helpful if people picked two and submitted the best one for the contest. A few reasons:

Set 1 - for the writer
- It gives you a couple of choices to ponder for the next couple of months. This is August. The contest is in October. I for one never know what life brings, and I do subscribe to the notion that your writing draws "stuff" from your life. So it helps you feel not boxed in.
- It helps keep the mind looser so that if you have two stories going on, you can work on them both, and decide with some passage of time which story feels like the best. I am prone to blinding flashes of ... something... on a specific day, and then later go "uh ... oh. Um ... that was kinda neat, but not really the bee's knees ... maybe only the elbows". Then you don't get upset that you didn't pick that *other one*.

Set 2 - for Eddie
- When the writers have more chances, you can see that some characters are indeed worth writing about, and sorta "who is pondering what". It can run a couple different ways.
- Either you get a nice broad spread of all the characters being used (remember you added back last year's set!)
- Or suddenly a few of them become "runaway hits" and then later we can talk about what to do about it administratively. But to me the writer inspiration is more important, so their side comes first, and the selection process will be brewing like a stew for a long time. Then yet again, with the passage of time we let "September's problem be September's problem", but the writers get to ponder/mull/stew/write/pull out hair/play cards with Cthulhu this month.

My health is starting to get better, so I want to see how much you are trying to put some freshness into the classic Flash format of Aphelion, and then be the 'zine gadfly to throw out What-If's! After all, isn't What-If the *entire point* of Speculative Fiction?

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Post August 04, 2015, 11:07:26 AM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

A whole *other level* comes when ... two of them *meet each other*!!

I'm not sure how many of us can handle that, least of all me, but I know a few of us can. It always bothered me that for "Biz" reasons you rarely had cross-over characters on tv shows. Particularly in the ones with the Big Talent lead. But handled well, you could get some fantastic stories if Monk met Shawn Spencer from Psych. Or if Alphas showed up on Warehouse 13. (I can hear Artie now: "Damnit, is it the Artifact doing that, or the Alpha?! Or Both?!")

Aren't all of these characters "sorta" in this one world? If you mashed ALL of them into a story, it would be novel length like a version of Heroes in Hell.

Yep, I can tell I'm starting to power back up again! No idea is bad in a brainstorm!
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Post August 04, 2015, 06:36:30 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

Mash ups will remove neither monster from the list for others and are certainly allowed. If you want 2, take two under the understanding that neither is going to be removed from contention. If you pick one I remove it and you get exclusivity for the Oct section with your monster, otherwise have at it and let your freak flag fly. The reward you get for picking one assigned monster and promising me a story is the exclusivity, also there are plenty to go around with my 28 and God only knows how many don't appear here.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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Post August 04, 2015, 06:38:52 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

If you pick two and someone goes exclusive they get Oct slot and you get bumped to slush for another month. That way you are in if you are worth accepting but they get the advantage for accepting an assignment and deadline of the more laissez faire style of the other party.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post August 04, 2015, 07:14:38 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

EddieSullivan wrote:If you pick two and someone goes exclusive they get Oct slot and you get bumped to slush for another month. That way you are in if you are worth accepting but they get the advantage for accepting an assignment and deadline of the more laissez faire style of the other party.


This is actually kinda fascinating! It adds a strange game effect! (But let's hope it doesn't devolve into that!)

Before I thought of the Mashups I was just thinking of the creative process, where separate individual stories gurgle in your mind. But then maybe same idea, if I pick two intending to ponder two stories, we get a different element of friendly strategy! Because right now it's this big imposing list! But if people say "Hey, Tao went for A and B, Oh Wow! B! I gotta lock that in!" Then we get a whole meta level of writer interaction, in some kinda signal game!

So then what happens to my open slot? What if I pick a "second backup"!? And then someone wants *that one*? Then I'll get chills if word starts going around "Gee, Tao's on ... uh ... fire this month!"
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Post August 04, 2015, 07:22:04 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

That's it I have had enough. I want no less than 5 Onocentaur stories and multiple Pooka entries!

LOL
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Post August 04, 2015, 08:07:59 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

EddieSullivan wrote:That's it I have had enough. I want no less than 5 Onocentaur stories and multiple Pooka entries!

LOL


Well there's a couple places to start!

But again at the expense of the monthly, I am gonna use the rest of my fire day today to start looking at the candidate characters! Should I post preliminary rumblings, or keep it all private until I pick?

And just for sanity, I'm only gonna start with the new ones! I'm already half way to blowing out a fuse!

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Post August 04, 2015, 08:14:26 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

And that would be epic to have all of them at a party! (and probably terrifying!)
:shock:

Okay, which of you fellas/gals/it-s are calling to me for stories ... here I go...

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Post August 04, 2015, 08:33:06 PM

Spelling variants!

Watch out for some spelling variants gang!

Here's an example:
"Leshy" is "is the tutelary spirit of the woodlands in Slavic folklore." Wiki is here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leshy

Translations can come out in any of X ways. Chess players know this.

However, spelled with an i, you get
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leshi
"...a town in Naga Hills of Sagaing Division on the northwest frontier of Burma."

So that could confuse people!

So if you go across the net, we could be seeing 2-4 spellings of these names!

I think I remember being torn by this last time too. I get wrapped up in "canonical spellings" and I can't make up my mind which one to pick - a "possibly correct but rare one", or "the likely incorrect one that comes up in Wikipedia".

:shock:

Also, if you search the web, there's an entirely separate one that comes up about a sentient plant!
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Post August 04, 2015, 08:39:18 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

If you write about a Leshy terrorizing Leshi I promise you will have top spot and I will submit your name for the cover as long as it is a story which I accept
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Post August 04, 2015, 08:44:05 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

EddieSullivan wrote:If you write about a Leshy terrorizing Leshi I promise you will have top spot and I will submit your name for the cover as long as it is a story which I accept


Oho! ".. said the tempter..."
Are any of them temptors?

Will you be here for a bit longer Eddie? I'm having fun and this is great to jumpstart the thread!

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Post August 04, 2015, 09:06:18 PM

Pooka and Puca

The Wiki spelling on this one is
Púca

With the following strange link
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%BAca

"Disambiguating Pooka gives you"
Pooka may also refer to

Pooka (band), British pop duo
Pooka, a race of rabbit-like beings in Odin Sphere
Pooka, an enemy in Dig Dug
Pooka, a fictional dog in Anastasia
Pooka, a kith in Changeling: The Dreaming
Pooka, an invisible rabbit friend of Elwood P. Dowd, the principal character in the movie Harvey


So Eddie we need a rules update! Does that make any of those fair game?
I have other candidates brewing, but it's a useful rule clarification.

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Post August 04, 2015, 09:27:10 PM

Mashup! Jikininki and Ammit!

Oh my gawd I got it, and one that has potential to expand into a colossal world!

I will try for the first mashup and hope it sticks!

(Please! For once I have more than a month to work on a story and I have the library to back it up!)

I give you Jikininki, a variant of the Buddhist Hungry Ghost, and Ammit, the Egyptian Devourer of the Dead!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jikininki
into
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungry_ghost

and

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammit

China (and the concept was carried to Japan too so that's fair game for me culturally to look at.)

meets Egypt!

Just look at my screen name!

My entry last year was a 1-off sensitivity rights piece. This one could be epic if my strength holds out!

Edit 1:
More and more versions put Jikininki as Japanese, and that makes sense if you look at the name.

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Post August 04, 2015, 09:28:47 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

And with that I think I'm basically done for the night!

But the reading ... oh GAWD the reading!

:(
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Post August 04, 2015, 10:05:06 PM

Re: Mashup! Jikininki and Ammit!

(Please! For once I have more than a month to work on a story and I have the library to back it up!)

I give you Jikininki, a variant of the Buddhist Hungry Ghost, and Ammit, the Egyptian Devourer of the Dead!


So then, have them both. I won't protect them individually but they are protected as a pair. Fair enough?
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Post August 04, 2015, 10:38:09 PM

Jikininki it is!

EddieSullivan wrote:(Please! For once I have more than a month to work on a story and I have the library to back it up!)

I give you Jikininki, a variant of the Buddhist Hungry Ghost, and Ammit, the Egyptian Devourer of the Dead!


So then, have them both. I won't protect them individually but they are protected as a pair. Fair enough?


EDIT : Sorry to be indecisive! I just checked my library, and I'm gonna call it! Jikininki it is!

I am locking in Jikininki because I am way farther ahead in general background especially since it's coming out more and more Japanese (but the Japanese got much of their influence from China so both are fair game for me), and also for focus to keep it classical because I have half a singleton story for him already!

When I started talking about mashups it was with more of the lesser characters in mind. But I think I have it now!

A "Crossover" to meeting Ammit and Anubis is starting to feel more like a 'Zine big story.

(And Yikes! Talk about the urge to consume! I got greedy here!!)
:shock:
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Post August 04, 2015, 11:09:44 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

a lot of story potential with that one, very lot. Best of luck!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post August 04, 2015, 11:16:53 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

EddieSullivan wrote:a lot of story potential with that one, very lot. Best of luck!


Thank you! And now I better go to bed. But it's bed with a story to meditate on...but in peace!
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Post August 06, 2015, 01:05:57 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

I would like to tackle the Selkie (or Silkie) as just returned from a trip to the UK and it came up in discussion while there. Also more my style than some of the others. Need to do at least one Flash per year, always seems to be around October-December. Never seem to check the topics in time.
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Post August 06, 2015, 03:02:01 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

It is yours!
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

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Post August 07, 2015, 07:20:44 AM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

I am new to this...

Question: Word limit?
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Post August 07, 2015, 09:00:09 AM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

1000 words. It is for the flash section. My second annual monster section for October. It was awesome last year.
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Post August 20, 2015, 10:15:29 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

For me a medium problem with the flash contest is the desire for the blind voting which "hides" a writer's voice.

The Halloween one is "straight up". So I might try out a couple of drafts as I smash stuff together. I have some dark topics in mind so I might go over to Robin Lipinski's zone and ask him if I can thrash around over there.

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Post August 20, 2015, 11:21:50 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

Does the being who took on Shirime wish to be known? I am fascinated, because that is the one I worked with last year!

Did you, being, see my prior effort? Has that provided any small inspiration? Do you want to trade notes? Only four taken and *that one* from *last year* was one of them!? I picked it last year because I had an instant vision to do some three or four things with one story all at once. So for a being to pick that entity twice in a row out of all the choices... means something ...

In some of the fanzines and author's notes and general commentary from the 1960's, this was called a writer's "discussion".

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Post August 20, 2015, 11:31:10 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

EddieSullivan wrote:1000 words. It is for the flash section. My second annual monster section for October. It was awesome last year.


I have a "rules question", though I hope because it's not a contest but for the 'zine we might have a bit of leeway.

I am attempting a very compact story, "only attempting three levels" and "not four", in that much of certain Buddhist literature "no longer means what it used to" because the students of "the day" used to know basic concepts that now are extra opaque without extensive assistance. It is a Buddhist axiom that you cannot do all the work for a student / reader, but if my story doesn't quite implode from attempting too much, some basic explanations will change the experience for the student / reader. It is couched in a "1-line frame" of "written by a scribe". So below the story, which I can keep under 990 words, can footnotes be extra without penalizing the word count?

For inspiration, I am drawing on the notes and spirit of the tremendous "Unlocking the Zen Koan" which is a translation with phenomenal comemments by Thomas Cleary (who has GOT to be among the top translators in the world!). If I can hold it together, it is a story that can be read twice and mean something different the second time. (Once, straight up, then the second time with the comments).

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Post August 20, 2015, 11:33:44 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

EddieSullivan wrote:1000 words. It is for the flash section. My second annual monster section for October. It was awesome last year.


I have a "rules question", though I hope because it's not a contest but for the 'zine we might have a bit of leeway.

I am attempting a very compact story, "only attempting three levels" and "not four", in that much of certain Buddhist literature "no longer means what it used to" because the students of "the day" used to know basic concepts that now are extra opaque without extensive assistance.

(The "not four" and so on is my phrasing - not an exact quote of anything - it means that what's not at all obvious is that many old era Zen Buddhists in particular really developed a flair for packing meanings into simple looking phrases on purpose, but we no longer understand that teaching style. So in our "blog / executive summary age" I need to help "unpack it" a fair amount. But if I do it right, then what is given will also be more resilient than "read it once and move on.")

It is a Buddhist axiom that you cannot do all the work for a reader / student, but if my story doesn't quite implode from attempting too much, some basic explanations will change the experience for the reader / student. It is couched in a "1-line frame" of "written by a scribe". So below the story, which I can keep under 990 words, can footnotes be extra without penalizing the word count?

For inspiration, I am drawing on the notes and spirit of the tremendous "Unlocking the Zen Koan" which is a translation with phenomenal comemments by Thomas Cleary (who has GOT to be among the top translators in the world!). If I can hold it together, it is a story that can be read twice and mean something different the second time. (Once, straight up, then the second time with the comments. And I hope people do - because I think an additional level of surprise could be inspiring if it holds together like a story "out of context", and then the second time if someone digs into all the foot notes, if they go "Oh ... Wow..." then my vision will be satisfied!)

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Post August 21, 2015, 07:45:30 PM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

Plotting a Flash story is sometimes fascinating for me. It all depends on the initial scope. In other times, my natural length runs into the few-thousand word range. This time I can feel it "tighter", but it now just needs to be fit together properly.

Just to get the ideas out there I go over length maybe two or three fold. But I know it really will narrow back down if I tighten it up.

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Post August 22, 2015, 12:08:51 AM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

TaoPhoenix wrote:Does the being who took on Shirime wish to be known? I am fascinated, because that is the one I worked with last year!

Did you, being, see my prior effort? Has that provided any small inspiration? Do you want to trade notes? Only four taken and *that one* from *last year* was one of them!? I picked it last year because I had an instant vision to do some three or four things with one story all at once. So for a being to pick that entity twice in a row out of all the choices... means something ...

In some of the fanzines and author's notes and general commentary from the 1960's, this was called a writer's "discussion".


I selected Shirime.
I have not read any past Halloween issues.
If you are really keen for me to incorporate something from your story and the editor does not object, then please provide a link and I may consider it.
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Post August 22, 2015, 09:36:55 AM

Re: Halloween 2015 Flash

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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