Hey there, here are the entries for the latest Flashes of Inspiration contest. I’ve been joined by the lovely Tabatha Wood, who interviewed me last week. In case you weren’t aware, she has a collection of short horror fiction out, called Dark Winds Over Wellington. You can check it out here. Okay, so the words this week were Seminal, Ferocity, Pyjamas. We had 400 words to play with and we were looking to evoke a bygone age with our writing. Let’s see what we’ve got…
Hi all, and welcome back to Flashes of Inspiration, my bi-weekly flash fiction contest here at The Fine-toothed Comb. It’s been a busy week for me. Right now I’m ploughing my way through several short stories and a chunky novel, all for structural review. A convention has been announced, which I’ll be taking part in in various different panelly and workshoppy ways like some kind of pro. Oh, and I’m gradually losing the war against yoghurt. (Don’t ask.)
Anyway, enough about me. This is my forum for bringing creative people together in friendly competition. All I’m after is 400 words of imaginative prose or poetry, using the above image for inspiration. Literal interpretations are fine, as are figurative, tonal, and thematic. Whatever floats your dream-boat. I’ve been setting some specific challenges of late to try to push my own writing a bit. This week, let’s try making our narratives sound like they were written in a bygone era.
In addition, I have 3 key words that must be used in your piece in some way, shape, or form. These are:
‘Dim ond fi,’ as they say in these parts. Only me this time, but I enjoyed the challenge. It feels good to be back in the saddle, so to speak. So what have I got here? A little vignette, flinging us back to past days of glory and tragedy, swords, sandals, and beating hooves. It didn’t quite do all that I’d hoped but I’m content with it.
From next week I’ll be getting some signal-boosting assistance from my good friends at the Ginger Nuts of Horror, so hopefully we’ll start seeing a bit more company and competition around here. I’m happy to keep plugging away for my own satisfaction but the frisson of competition definitely adds something. It drives us to do better each time, and I think it sharpens the mind, makes us more aware of the power and significance of each word, each line.
Anyway, here’s my nugget of creativity for this week…
The lightning has struck and here we are again, caught in the flash. A few more entries this time round. Glad I pushed the boat out one more time after last week’s wee wobble. You’ll recall there’s a prize up for grabs this time round – a copy of This Twisted Earth. Well stuff it, you’re all winners. A copy of the book will be winging its way to each of our entrants this week. Thank you for joining me. I’m thinking of shaking things up a bit for the next 10 contests. Similar set-ups but with some specific targets, encouraging us to flex some different writing muscles. Until then, why not have a read of this week’s entries?
Another week has flown. I almost didn’t make this one. It’s been a tricky time and I’ve been kind of overwhelmed. Back on track now. The last editing gig is almost done and the tangle of personal bits and bobs are starting to resolve themselves at last. Anyway, moving on. Just two of us taking part in the challenge, so no voting required. Not sure if the change of days has affected things or if the stars of creativity just failed to align for the folk who would usually appear. We shall have to see. In the meantime, here are the entries inspired by Jono Dry’s art.
Morning peeps, and welcome back to the Flashes of Inspiration challenge – my bi-weekly flash fiction competition thingy. I’m trying to get into the habit of writing, stirring the pot of my imagination in order to keep things fresh. I’m also giving myself the licence to experiment. Making it a shared challenge seems to hook me in more and helps me drive for quality. I hope you get something equally valuable out of it.
A reminder – the images we use each time don’t have to be taken literally and needn’t figure in your creative writing at all (though they can do so if you wish). The intention is to prick the subconscious, to prompt questions, to set a tone or evoke some feeling. Take them as you will. Your work can be in any genre, take any style or form. As usual these days, I’m looking for no more than 400 words. It seems to be a sweet spot. Oh yes, and the following three words must be used:
Time’s up. Just a couple of us this week, so no need to vote. It’s all about the exercise of writing, making inspiration a reflexive habit instead of an occasional experience. It’s funny, but my story twisted in my hands. I had thought to dive into madness and necrophilia, but those laughing eyes (and my protagonist’s wittering way) dragged things around to a different kind of darkness. And Tabby’s story? Yeah, that feels right. It’s a good ‘un. Well, why don’t I shut up and just let you read them, eh?
Evening all, I’m back from New Zealand and burning to write. Let’s get back to our Flashes of Inspiration then, shall we? A friend shared some pretty bizarre stock images on Facebook the other day, and this one grabbed me as being particularly provocative. It seems pretty clear that there’s a nasty connection between the corpse and the girl, but what’s the story behind it? Is evil looking us in the eye, does it lie in the coffin, or perhaps behind the camera? Is the body real, or is this part of an elaborate prank? There are so many possibilities whizzing through my brain. I hope you’ll join me in crafting some kind of narrative from it.
Morning all. These are strange and strained times for everyone at the moment, so it’s understandably hard to commit to anything non-essential. The lack of entrants to our little contest this week shows that people have other things on their minds, and that’s cool. It means a lot to me that people generally are taking part, engaging with the images and words, sharing their talents and growing their creativity. I’ll keep doing these contests because I want to challenge myself to keep writing as much as anything, even in these little snatches. It keeps the candle aflame and builds the muscles of the imagination.
That said, we are officially taking a month off because my family and I are heading off to New Zealand. The next contest will be posted up on Thursday 9th May. Until then, keep plugging with your own creative endeavours. Oh, and here are the entries for this week. (No voting.)
Morning all. First up, congratulations to Caroline Polley for her victory with When In Cyberia in the last contest. Her prize will be winging its way to her soon. The creativity train never stops though, so on we go to the next competition. We have another image to get the grey cells chugging but how will you take it? Will you come up with an anthropomorphic crime drama, a Planet of the Apes pastiche, some scathing satire on capitalism, or a somewhat subtler and more twisted tale? You’ve got 400 words to play with and they must include the following three…
Morning lovelies, I won’t badger you to enter this one again. It finished last night! Are you curious to see what our writers came up with? I certainly am. If you already know how this goes then slip straight on down to read them and then vote. If you’re a newcomer to the site then I’ll briefly explain. The image above was set last week as a prompt for our writers to play with. The only constraints were the word limit (just 400) and the fact that three key words had to be included in some way – Perdition, Transform, and Decorous. Up until now, we’ve always done the contest for fun. This time there’s a prize on offer: ‘A Warning About Your Future Enslavement That You Will Dismiss as a Collection of Short Fiction and Essays by Kit Power.’ Well, what are you waiting for? Read on…
The bell has struck, the hour has come, and all the entries are in. Thanks again for those who have submitted to Flashes of Inspiration. I realise time is short and you all have busy lives. What’s heartening is that I seem to be getting new people every time, which gives us a good variety of styles and mindsets. Who are the authors? I hear you ask. You’ll find out next week when I declare the winner. Winner? I hear you prompt – because there may be new readers here, ya know. Oh yeah, you can vote on your two favourite pieces. Take a read of the three submissions below then pick your two favourites. I hope you enjoy them.
Morning all, bit of admin first, and then we’ll get on to the new Flashes of Inspiration contest on the other side of the jump. First up, I’d like to congratulate Steve Toase for winning last week’s contest. I’ve gone back and updated all of the previous posts so the names of the authors appear next to their work, as well as declaring their status as (WINNER) or (RUNNER UP). Nice to have all the info together should folk want to revisit them.
Last time around I promised some clarification on the Key Word rule, so here it is: As alternatives to the given Key Words, writers may use plurals or any variants that appear on the same dictionary entry at dictionary.com (For example, the entry for maniac defines the noun but also lists the adjective, maniacal.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?’
This isn’t news. It’s certainly no revelation for the authors, journalists, and bloggers out there, who rock up to the word-face every day and hammer their heads against the wall in search those precious veins of truth, those glorious seams of poetic prose. Writing is hard. It takes determination to produce, effort to craft, and a real resilience to look at it objectively afterwards. My job is easy by comparison. I can see the whole story in front of me already, trace the arcs of the characters, feel the flow of the prose…and then I can step in to help my authors refine their work, molding it into its final, shining form.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.