Flashes of inspiration #4 – Entries and voting

Writing prompt: A parade of proud druids, dressed in bright Celtic garb, passing a mighty tree..

Morning all, and thank you for joining me again to read and vote on the Flashes of Inspiration contest. There’s some wonderful work coming in, tackling the topic in a variety of ways. I love it. Our voting system is slightly knackered at the moment – the company who provided the voting code now want to charge me to continue using it. Rather than delay things here on the site, I’ll ask you to cast your votes in the Comments section. Just jot down the titles of your two favourite pieces, and feel free to add any additional thoughts as to how or why they grabbed you. I’ll total up the votes on Thursday 28th Feb, reveal the authors, and announce the winner. Right – let’s read those Flashes…

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Flashes of inspiration #4 – Challenge

Writing prompt: A parade of proud druids, dressed in bright Celtic garb, passing a mighty tree..

Welcome back to the Flashes of Inspiration writing challenge. I’m sorry it’s late; yesterday was messy and frustrating on the work-front. Oh well, onwards and upwards! Previous winners are noted on each of the ‘Entries’ posts retrospectively but I feel like I haven’t been doing enough to big them up. I’ll be sure to do better in the future. Let’s start by formerly congratulating Penny Jones, who won the latest contest with a little belter called Boiler, and Alexandra Peel, our very first victor, who wrote The Weather Winder. If you fancy having a go at this next challenge, hop on over the line to get your key words.

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Flashes of inspiration #3 – Entries and voting

Writing prompt: A human skull resting on straw. Through an eye-socket weaves a buttery snake.

Morning all, the time is up and we have a new stash of flashes to read! The magic words to use this time were Huckster, Pilot, and Decoy. The word limit was 300. As ever, I’m posting them up anonymously and you’ll have one week to vote. I’ll reveal the names of the authors and announce the winner on Thursday 14th February. I should add that I’ve failed to join in again this week. Apologies. I’ve been knee-deep in editing. I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and writing again next time.

Read and enjoy.

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Flashes of inspiration #3 – Challenge

Hello all, and welcome back to my little flash fiction contest. For those of you new to it, I’ve set this up as a way to challenge myself to write creatively on a regular basis. It’s all very well for me to sit back as an editor and tell everyone else how they can improve they’re work, isn’t it? No – I need to get my hands dirty too. Do the groundwork. Feel what you feel. Not all on my own, of course. I’d love you to join in – professionals and amateurs alike. It’s a bit of fun, a bit of a competition, you can even treat it as a puzzle to solve.

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Flashes of inspiration #2 – Entries

Writing prompt: A wooden table. Slanted slats like prison bars. A flower blossoming, poking through.

Hello, lovelies. Time’s up on our second Flashes of Inspiration contest. A quiet one this time, with just two for you to read. A reminder – the challenge was to evoke wonder in just 400 words. The above image could be used in any way to help inspire, and the following words had to be used by the writers: Speckled, Fortune, Droplet. I shan’t ask you to vote this time around. It would seem odd, somehow. Just read and enjoy.

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Flashes of inspiration #2 – Challenge

Writing prompt: A wooden table. Slanted slats like prison bars. A flower blossoming, poking through.

Morning all, and welcome to the second of my Flash Fiction contests.

If you want to catch up on what flash fiction is, and why it might be fun to join in, check out my previous post about it. The last contest has been edited to reveal the authors and the winning piece.

On to the next one, then. Things are pretty precarious out there in the world at the moment and frankly I could do with a glimpse of something else. Something…wondrous.

Once again, the images I post can be used any way you like to spark some inspiration. However, each of the word prompts that I post must be used somewhere in your writing.

Oh, and the screws are slowly tightening. Can you evoke wonder in a mere 400 words? The submission deadline for this second flash is midnight on Wednesday 23rd Jan 2019. Please e-mail them to dion@thefinetoothed.co.uk as my main address is still playing up.

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Writing hard

Evocative image. Scuplture of miners, hard at work. Cramped. Struggling.

How do you earn trust?

The blog’s not been happening as regularly as I’d have liked. It stems from a number of issues but the root of it all is that writing is hard. Coming up with new things to say, or even forming fresh takes on old topics takes a lot of time and effort, and all the while there are voices in the back of your head saying things like ‘Who’s going to read this?’ or ‘Who’s going to care what I think?’

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Flashes of inspiration #1 – Entries and voting

Writing prompt: Night. A transparent umbrella. A girl sheltering within, silhouetted against a fire.

Time’s up on our first Flashes of Inspiration contest. (I say contest, but it’s all in good fun.) The rules were simple. All our intrepid writers had to do was produce an engaging piece of fiction, using no more than 500 words. Any genre, any format. The featured image was open to interpretation, but the piece must include the following three words:

Isolation / Bubbling / Tribal.

Let’s take a look at what came in:

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Flashes of inspiration #1 – Challenge

Writing prompt: Night. A transparent umbrella. A girl sheltering within, silhouetted against a fire.

Happy New Year to you all, and welcome to the first of my Flash Fiction competitions.

You can write in any genre, any format. Experimentation is fun so try to push your boundaries. The images I post might help to evoke a tone or a setting for you but they don’t have to be taken literally. However, each of the word prompts that I post must be used somewhere in your writing. I’d like your pieces to be no longer than 500 words, please.

The submission deadline for this first flash is midnight on Wednesday 9th Jan 2019. Email them to dion@thefinetoothed.co.uk please, as my main address is playing up.

Your image prompt is up at the top and here are your first batch of words, randomly snagged from the O.E.D.

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Flashes of inspiration

Evocative image. Vivid flashes of lightning in a purplish night sky.

As wiser and more articulate people before me have noted, creativity is muscular; you need to flex it regularly to build and maintain its strength. Writers use many different techniques to exercise their imaginations, from notebooks to role-playing. There is no right or wrong way to do it, only what you find useful and what …

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In the market

Evocative image: Strategic boardgame featuring a market. Complex. Full of people.

What was Sledge-Lit like?

There was an air of relaxed conviviality about the Derby Quad last weekend, but drive and purpose hummed beneath the surface. It seems there’s something about seeing people in the flesh, reconnecting with old acquaintances, and chewing the industry fat that inspires activity.

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It ain’t what you say

Evocative image: waves break over a rocky wall as the sun sets over the sea.

Reflections in a time of grief.

From my university days onwards, the distance between us meant I’d only see my parents three or four times a year, and then for just a few days at a time. That was usually enough because we tended to slip into old patterns of behaviour: the picky, argumentative parents and the touchy, truculent child. We loved each other best in small doses.

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Channelling the flow

Evocative image: multiple trickles of water, regimented, carefully controlled, emerging from a dam.

…and spreading the cost

Professional editing is vital but, taken in a single chunk, it represents a financial cost that many independent authors (and indeed some independent presses) balk at. This is a problem because – even if the core work is good – it can be undermined by plot inconsistencies, lacklustre characterisation, or simple technical errors. You may save money on the project but the cost of cutting corners can be huge.

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Hanging together 3/3

Bar talk. Andrew Freudenberg and Dion Winton-Polak.

What was it like at FantasyCon?

As a novice to the convention circuit, you study the schedule, make careful plans as to what panels and events you most want to attend, and then you spend all your time dashing around, assiduously writing notes, sweating, and occasionally weeping in the corner. It’s damned hard work. You wonder why people do this to themselves year on year and (looking around in despair and frustration) why everyone else seems to be just…hanging around in the bar.

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In the groove 2/3

Evocative image: the editor's feet stretched out, big windowed doors, a fresh, bright garden outside.

What was it like at FantasyCon?

If Friday was my busy day, Saturday was all about the mooching. I woke around 6.30. Not my plan, but the body gets used to certain routines; as far as it was concerned, this was just another day at the office. Had I been more organised and less ragged, I might have

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In the headlights 1/3

Statue of a lion.

What was it like at FantasyCon?

I’d had a late night playing darts for the local team. We didn’t exactly cover ourselves in glory, so I was a little tired and a little blue come Friday morning. I ended up missing my train by a single minute

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New horizons

Facing fears.

Last time I was here I talked about how I need to leave my comfort zone. Well, that’ll be happening sooner than you might have expected. Those who really know me are aware that I’m anything but comfortable in a room full of people, and I have a damned hard time pushing myself forward at the best of times. Well that’s got to change

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On the wind

Evocative image: soaring eagle.

Making choices.

There come certain points in every career where a person gets a bit too confident, a bit too settled. Gone are the days of winging it. They know their job, they’ve become proficient at it. Little routines have built up to make things easier and all the humiliating mistakes are in the past where they belong, sage lessons but distant milestones. And then a choice is made.

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