• 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.


    To Have Duende

    Duende, or, in Spanish, to have duende (“tener duende”), means “the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm.” It’s used most often to refer to flamenco dancers. But the word/concept comes from a mythological Iberian fairy/troll.


    Duende can be used to describe artistic inspiration of any kind.

    That’s what made me think of it. You folks are inspired lately.


    Rules & Prizes

    So keep it up… by writing more! Specifically, a story of 25 words or fewer that includes the word duende.

    Leave your story in the comments section below. You can use a pseudonym if you’d like, but then make sure to tick “notify” to receive an email when someone replies to your comment. Otherwise you might win and never even know it!

    But win what? Books, of course! To fill you with even more delicious duende.

    The grand prize is a beautiful hardcover of Amanda Eyre Ward’s newest novel, The Nearness of You, which publishes on Tuesday. Some runners-up will receive runner-up books.

    As always, extra points for making us laugh.

    And perhaps you’re wondering why “Again” is in the title of this post. It’s because more than four years ago, we used duende for a previous Micro Fiction Challenge. I’m not going to link to it. No unfair advantages! But I figure if you guys can repeat the and and so much in your writing, I can repeat words in my blames. (blog + games = blames.)

    Good luck! And keep up the good work.


    P.S. Last week we had a frank discussion of our writing fears. That doesn’t have to end just because the week is over. The comments sections of every WBN post are open 24/7/365.


    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is copy editor and fiction editor at the Texas Observer and has written for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2016 writing project that you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coaching, private instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”


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    “I don’t have any duende,” she said to the writing guy. “But
    maybe you can send some?”

    “Can’t be bottled,” he said.


    David Duhr

    Thanks for entering, DSD. I liked it. You’re right, duende can’t be bottled. Or can it? Lots of writers have found duende in a bottle. Or so they’ve thought…

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    The butterfly hovered over the flower. Both swayed in a gentle breeze. The duende stayed in my heart long after the butterfly flew away.

    David Duhr

    Thanks, Marcia. What a sweet entry! It very much puts me in the mood for spring. Of course, where you are, butterflies are probably a year-round sight. No wonder you have so much duende!


    “Look, you cheapskate, I want a Mercedes or all this duende ends,” threatened the golddigger. “Add a tennis bracelet and I’ll duende your brains out.”

    David Duhr

    Appreciate the entry, E. Very nearly a winner. You have an unfair advantage, knowing what makes me giggle. Slightly better luck next time!

    Joe Giordano

    “I’m applying for the night job.”
    “We only take duende. You don’t look like a goblin”
    “My mother was an elf.”
    “Sorry. Only purebloods. Next.”

    David Duhr

    Thanks for the entry, Joe. I *love* that “duende” is your chosen plural form. A man after my own heart.

    Emily Martin

    Mrs. Prawda posts the class writing assignment, then bookmarks sites with examples to waylay plagiarism.

    One student replies, “Assignment lacks duende, teach. Copied from WriteByNight!”

    David Duhr

    Winner winner! Drop me a line to claim your book:

    David Duhr

    oops: david[at]writebynight[dot]net

    John Liebling

    Rachel wears her humanity on her sleeve. She hugs everyone. This high functioning Down Syndrome child, touches our heart strings, with angelic musical Duende harmonies.

    David Duhr

    Thanks for the entry, John. A sweet little tale in exactly 25 words. Good practice for a bit later on down the road? (Winky face.)

    Barbara Mealer

    The duende of the man created a circle of rampant jealousy from false friends while he attempted to entice the woman he wanted to bed.

    David Duhr

    Thanks Barbara. I always like seeing “bed” as a verb.

    Billy Shakespeare

    “Is that a duende in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?”
    “It’s a duende.”

    David Duhr

    I dunno know if this is really Billy Shakespeare or not; if so, welcome back! If not… plagiarism!

    For those who aren’t aware, this is the winning entry from last time we used “duende” in this contest.

    Jon Sommers

    “This flamenco dancer really has the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm,” she said.
    “That’s the textbook definition of DUENDE” he said.
    She ignored him and continued undressing the dancer with her eyes. He lost her then, and forever.

    Jon Sommers

    OOPs, can I have a do over? It’s longer than 26 words. Withdrawal, withdrawal! (Not that kind.) I need to read the not-so fine print.

    David Duhr

    It’s too bad, too, because I really liked this one. Particularly the “textbook definition” portion. If we ever bump the word-count max from 25 to 41, you’ll be in a strong position. Thanks, pal.

    David Duhr

    Thank you all for entering this duendeful contest! Winner coming in a day or two, just as soon as the judges can consult.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x