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    Micro Fiction Challenge: The Plane to Lisbon

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 110 comments

    Discussion questions: In fifty (50) words or fewer, write a scene or story that includes the phrase “the plane to Lisbon.” Write or paste your story into the comments. The winner will get a free book, courtesy of your pals at WriteByNight. read more

    Micro Nonfiction Challenge: Movie/TV Adaptations of Your Favorite Books

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 19 comments

    It’s time to kick the winter blahs right in the snowpants with a fun exercise and contest! read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Musical Edition

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 33 comments

    It’s been an entire half a year since we last did a micro fiction contest! (See: The Excellent Gimmick.)

    A few weeks ago we talked about whether we listen to music while we read and/or write. That discussion coincided with a Yak Babies episode in which my personal pals and I talked about music and song lyrics in fiction: When it works, when it doesn’t, and why.

    Shortly after that I wrote a story in which a song features prominently, just to see if I could do it.

    Now it’s your turn!

    Your task: Write a short story in fifty words or fewer that includes a music reference: song title(s), artist(s), lyrics, whatever you want. read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: The Excellent Gimmick

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 40 comments

    The day after publishing a post about the winter writing doldrums, I became this season’s flu victim No. 286,372,469, which means I’ve spent most of this week incapacitated, and am writing this during the daily twenty-seven-minute window where I don’t feel like a zombie.

    But just because I’m incapable of writing doesn’t mean we can’t do something fun. And I remember that it’s been a while since we dug into the sp*m vault and played some Micro Fiction Challenge.

    So that’s what we’re gonna do, friends! It’s another micro fiction contest based on the absurd comments caught by our vigilant sp*m filter! read more

    Micro (Non)Fiction Challenge: Your Favorite TV Show

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 30 comments

    [Image courtesy of Shutterstock]

    This month’s Micro Fiction Challenge is all upside-down and ass-backwards.

    The prize is the same as last time: A SIGNED copy of Michael Ausiello’s wonderful memoir, Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, new from Simon & Schuster/Atria.

    But here’s the thing: Michael Ausiello himself will decide who wins his book!

    That’s right, friends, a fancy & famous guest judge right here at WriteByNight.

    Not only that, but this Micro Fiction Challenge is actually a Micro Nonfiction Challenge, and the subject matter is one that some of you might consider the writer’s worst enemy — televisionread more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: More Fun with Sp*m!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 22 comments

    TL;DR version: We’re going back to the sp*m well in this new Micro Fiction Challenge. Starting with one of the five sp*m comments below, write a fifty-word or shorter story. Type or paste your story in the comments. Get creative! Win books and fame!


    Let’s get our generative juices flowing by using some auto-generated gibberish.

    That’s right, gang: It’s another Micro Fiction Challenge based on the absurd comments our sp*m filter catches!

    Remember how much fun we had last time we did this? We had reality stars (“Kim who, Joey what”), athletic wind, people conveying other people. Jerry Schwartz won by using all five prompts in very funny fashion. One of you even emailed to say that this prompt led to a short story.

    This time around, the prize is a brand-new SIGNED copy of Michael Ausiello’s new memoir, Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies.

    But the real prize? Creating some new micro fiction, of course! read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Fun with Sp*m

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 46 comments

    TL;DR version: In this new Micro Fiction Challenge, we’ve bumped the word count to fifty(!) and are offering multiple prompts, rather than just one funky word. Using as your opening one of the five sp*m comments below, write a fifty-word or shorter story. Multiple prizes are up for grabs. Type or paste your story in the comments.


    I didn’t write much this week. It happens. I was even going to do another “Things I Did This Week Instead of Write,” so that those of you who also didn’t write would have a place to safely say so and tell us why.

    But I figure even better than that is to offer something to write, something low pressure, in case you’re just looking for any excuse, an exercise or prompt.

    And we’re due for a Micro Fiction Challenge anyway. read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Duende (Again-de)

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 21 comments

    tl;dr version: The Micro Fiction Contest is a writing prompt with prizes. This week’s: Write a story, in 25 or fewer words, using the word duende, defined below. Leave your story in the comments section to enter. Prizes include a brand-new hardcover copy of Amanda Eyre Ward’s new novel, The Nearness of You.


    I don’t know if it’s a result of some New Year’s resolutions or what, but here at WriteByNight we’re suddenly flooded with your writing. It’s as if you’ve all banded together to participate in National Novel-Sending to WriteByNight month.

    aka NaNo-Sendo-WriteByNighto. Mo.

    By the end of the month I will have handled almost 750,000 of your words in February alone. Three quarters of a million words! Granted, many of them are repeats. You all use the quite a lot, and it feels like I’ve seen literally dozens of uses of and. But still.

    And that’s just me. Others of our wonderful staff are hard at work, too.

    In other words, y’all are killing it lately. And what’s better: The work you’re sending us is great.

    Clearly y’all have been positively overflowing with literary duende. read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Zoilus

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 22 comments
    Not Zoilus.

    Not Zoilus.

    We haven’t had a micro fiction contest in quite some time, and we haven’t had a popular one since February. “Break of poop,” of course. What, it’s got to be gross to be worthy of your time?

    Maybe I’m just bad at this. That’s what my inner Zoilus would say.

    Let’s start with the prize: The top entry in this week’s micro fiction contest wins a brand-spankin’-new paperback copy of Yann Martel’s The High Mountains of Portugal. (Or, if you hate that guy — and I know for a fact that many of you do — we’ll send a different brand-spankin’-new book.)

    All you need to do to enter is write a short story of 25 (or fewer) words that includes zoilus, either as a proper noun (i.e., the dude himself) or a common noun. You may also use a different form of the word (zoilism, zoilist, etc.) read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Donkeyman & Donkeywoman

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 2 comments

    donkey-1342350_960_720Our latest Micro Fiction Challenge, “fizzle,” did just that. What happened, y’all? I picked a bad word? Nobody wanted to write about July Fourth fireworks fizzling out? You all think I’m some sort of donkeyman?

    Donkeyman. What a fun word to say. Try it out. Just one step away from assman. (Cosmo Kramer, anyone? The ASSMAN?)

    It sounds like a slur, but it’s actually a nautical term for someone who works in a ship’s engine room. Merriam-Webster says a donkeyman is responsible for running the donkey engine, also known as the steam donkey. From Joseph Conrad’s story “Typhoon”: “One of the stokers was disabled, the others had given in, the second engineer and the donkeyman were firing-up.”

    Oxford says donkeyman is “a man with responsibilities in a ship’s engine room.” A man. So if a woman were running (or manning) the steam donkey, would she be a donkeywoman? The only search results I get for “donkeywoman” are NSFW. Volumes have been written about the sexism in this here language.

    But in the Micro Fiction Challenge, succinctness reigns.

    read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Fizzle

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 1 comment

    FizzleFor this special Fourth of July edition of the Micro Fiction Challenge, I wanted to do something related to fireworks: sparkle or colors or pop or boom. But I also appreciate those moments when the firework screams up into the air and then … does nothing. It fizzles out. And the crowd lets out a collective groan of disappointment. Like, “Who the hell is responsible for this outrage!”

    Today, you are responsible for this outrage! Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a short story, in twenty-five words or fewer, that includes the word “fizzle.”

    Be funny, be creative, be bold. Make us laugh, make us cry. Make us do both, if you can. read more

    Micro Fiction Challenge: Callipygian

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 13 comments

    DavidI love learning new words. Especially new words that make me giggle and are totally unnecessary, like this month’s micro fiction challenge word, callipygian.

    Callipygian comes from Ancient Greek: “kalli,” meaning beautiful, and “pugḗ,” meaning buttocks.

    That’s right, gang. We have a word in the English language to define beautiful buttocks. Because why say “He/she/it has beautiful buttocks” when you can say “He/she/it is callipygian.”

    (Seems an appropriate choice, coming just a few short weeks after we took a (too-) deep look at break of poop.)

    Accepted alternative: callipygous, which you’re free to use instead for this challenge.

    The challenge being: Write a short story, in twenty-five words or fewer, that includes callipygian/callipygous. read more

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