• Micro Fiction Challenge: Fun with Sp*m

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 46 comments
    Apr
    22

    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.

     

    The Challenge

    This time around, instead of giving you a funky word and asking you to include it in your story, we’re going to offer a few options and allow you to take this in whatever kind of direction you want.

    Every so often I’ll take a run through our site’s spam filter to see if any legit comments have slipped through the cracks, and sometimes I’ll get a giggle out of some of the more colorful spam comments. Today we’re going to use those.

    Your challenge: Choose one of the following five sp*m comments as the first line of your story, then continue writing the story.

    Your story should be no longer than fifty words, not including the opening line.

    In other words, you can write up to fifty of your own words. If you choose, for example, prompt No. 1, which is 16 words, your entry can be a total of 66 words.

    1. “At the very least it’s more illuminating than our reality Television stars, kim who, Joey what?”

    2. “Athletic wind is more popularly the main cause of this backside.”

    3. “And if you still use hate to match high, this planted the jeans, you can resemble a 7-inch tall chicken.”

    4. “However what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and not seem to get things done, imitation cartier braclets.”

    5. “Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to convey her.”

     

    Fine Print & Prizes

    You sharp-eyed members of the Micro Fiction Club will see that we’ve doubled the word count this time around. Twenty-five words is definitely a challenge, but maybe fifty words will be a challenge in a whole different way? Let’s find out together.

    Type or paste your story in the comments section below.

    Use a pseudonym if you’re shy, but make sure to tick “notify” so you’ll be alerted if someone — me, for example, telling you that you’ve won — responds to your comment. We’ve had MFC prizes go unclaimed in the past.

    As usual, extra points for making us laugh. And double extra points for making us laugh so hard that we cry.

    The contest will close Friday the 28th at midnight Eastern.

    The prize: Well, I don’t really have a specific prize to give away this time. No new hot-off-the-presses books. So let’s say this: The winner gets his/her choice of (mostly pristine, but not necessarily new new) books from the WBN library, or a $15 B&N gift card, or this really sharp-looking writing journal that someone gave me as a gift, not realizing that we writers are pretty loyal to our brand of writing journal.

    Of course, the real prize is that you exercised your creativity and sat down to write. Right? Right?!?!

     

    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is copy editor and fiction editor at the Texas Observer and writes about books 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.”

    0 0 votes
    Article Rating
    Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest
    46 Comments
    Oldest
    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Barbara Mealer

    At the very least it’s more illuminating than our reality Television stars, Kim who, Joey what? Yes, that self-published book about the ostrich hiding his head in the sand did it for me. It didn’t matter that there were no complete sentences and the punctuation was non-existent, and don’t get me started on the spelling. The author will make corrections based on reader feedback. Go figure! I had to do this after an indie author stated that they fixed errors in their books from reader feedback when I reviewed the book and told them that the book was filled with… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Thanks Barbara. I like this. And yeah, kind of an odd process; so this writer self-publishes some copies of his/her books, then makes edits based on reader feedback, and then re-publishes the books?! Oof.

    Joe Giordano

    “However what can I say … I procrastinate a lot and not seem to get things done, imitation Cartier bracelets. Not like yours. I’ll walk with you. From New York? Slow down, and I’ll release your sleeve. I contracted anorexic diarrhea. I shit more than I eat. I’m disappearing down the toilet like an hourglass. Food’s expensive. Have any spare change? Hey, Lady. Wait. Goddamn, I’m not running after you.”

    David Duhr

    Thanks Joe. Love this. Anorexic diarrhea! Ha.

    Lori Tenar

    “However what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and not seem to get things done, imitation Cartier bracelets.” Old man picks through the folded handkerchiefs.
    The young man lays his hand on old man’s shoulder. “Pop, you’re doing it again—inserting random words. Imitation Cartier bracelets?”
    The old man points to the handkerchief’s embroidered design. “Looks like Cartier’s double C logo. Sheesh! Now what are you babbling about?”

    David Duhr

    Thanks Lori. This is good. Better check yourself, “young man”!

    Michael K. Hill

    And if you still use hate to match high, this planted the jeans, you can resemble a 7-inch tall chicken. Stop being the flush tropic in dancing azaleas. Rusting apples are for the intrepid. Erase the sample dampness lurking in the stratosphere. Capture the leash of indemnity and tickle yourself.

    David Duhr

    A definite contender. Thanks, Michael. Good stuff.

    lagarto

    “And if you still use hate to match high, this planted the jeans, you can resemble a 7-inch tall chicken.” I must have read it three hundred times, couldn’t make heads or tails of what she was trying to tell me. She’d somehow had come back from the dead. Just yesterday she walked through the door, and now it seems she’s already become a millennial, texting me in code, my dead wife who died 15 years ago, yes, now resides somewhere in Lower Haight. Works for Uber now, go figure. Still 34 and gorgeous latina, from D.F. Why had she… Read more »

    David Duhr

    I love that we get an explanation of the opening line. Also, I had to look up “albur” and I’m glad I did. Thanks Jojo. You know I always appreciate anyone willing to flout the rules. Especially when it’s done in the name of creativity.

    David Duhr

    Multiple entries are allowed, by the way. A couple of you asked, and I forgot to mention it. Write as many as you want!

    Jerry Schwartz

    I’m aiming at one for each intro. Let’s see if I have the stamina.

    deb felio

    “However what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and not seem to get things done, imitation cartier bracelets. And as much as I love flashing people and flashy lights…wait..see…what I mean is flashy people and flashing lights, I probably shouldn’t have waited outside the jewelry store to see if they noticed something missing and left before I had these put on my wrists.

    David Duhr

    Thanks Deb. Seems like a fun crook. Well, except for the whole “flashing people” thing…

    Teresa

    “Athletic wind is more popularly the main cause of this backside.”

    “Yes” agreed the doctor. “I’ve seen this damage before. “If only it had the same etiquette as a Kachoo-Excuse-me-Bless You! Some die of pain before they bear the shame. Squeeze the buttocks too tight and risk a rupture. The most recommended is gentle pressure.”

    David Duhr

    Thanks Teresa. “Squeeze the buttocks too tight and risk a rupture” is definitely one of my favorite lines in this contest.

    Emily Martin

    “Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to convey her.”

    Adult: “Did you just say ‘convey’ her?”

    Teen: “Yes, don’t you think she should be conveyed? I’m doing it right now.”

    Adult: “What are you doing? How do you convey someone?”

    Teen (thumbing phone and shaking head): “Wow, you are so behind the times.”

    David Duhr

    My parents just started trying Uber, but they claim that the drivers “can never figure out how to get to our house.” Uh huh. I’m like, “Well then dial up into your AOL account and send them some electronic mail.” They’re like “But don’t they have a fax number?”

    Thanks Emily, this one’s fun.

    Jerry Schwartz

    “Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to convey her.”

    “To coach traffickers?”

    “Don’t need her anymore. Had writer’s block for years.”

    “But she’s your sister! They’ll pimp her out to hacks.”

    “Meh…sold my mother as an art critic, bought a car.”

    Jerry Schwartz

    [I realized that this entry suffers from the same defect as most of my fiction: no plot. Here’s what I hope is a better version.]

    “Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to convey her.”

    “To traffickers?”

    “Don’t need her anymore. Had writer’s block for years.”

    “They’ll pimp her out to hacks.”

    “Meh…sold mom to an art critic ring. Bought a car with that payoff.”

    “You bastard!”

    “Watch your mouth, Dad. You’d make a great voice coach.”

    Bang.

    “They sell shooting instructors too, sonny.”

    David Duhr

    What a difference a day makes. Thanks, Jerry. “Watch your mouth, Dad. You’d make a great voice coach” made me laugh out loud.

    Jerry Schwartz

    “Athletic wind is more popularly the main cause of this backside.”

    “The backside of a record is the flipside.”

    “Hard blowing makes many backsides. Sad sighing makes fewer.”

    “Jazz? Blues? What are you talking about?”

    “Jazz is more athletic, more popular.”

    “We prefer a more accessible style for our articles, but thank you for coming in.”

    Sad sighing. “Athletic wind of this backside to you.”

    David Duhr

    I knew “athletic wind” would lead to some fun stuff.

    Which of the five did you find most difficult?

    Jerry Schwartz

    I think the one about imitation Cartier was the hardest overall. The 7-inch chicken was probably the easiest.

    A tip of the hat to George Orwell for his help on the one with reality stars. To Big Brother, the first and still the best.

    David Thompson

    “Athletic wind is more popularly the main cause of this backside.”
    “Eh?” the surly biker says, turning around. “Say what mate?”
    “Flatulence at high-tide.”
    The biker frowns. “What ‘ave you bin drinkin’?”
    “Batman and the referee lied.”
    The biker pushes back his bar stool. Beer-belly. Tattoos. Brass-knuckles… and a pink tutu.
    “I like you mate – my kinda lunatic!”

    David Duhr

    Thanks David. This is lots of fun. You do a great job of building and then upending our expectations, and in such a quick manner.

    John Trundle

    “At the very least it’s more illuminating than our reality Television stars, kim who, Joey what?” she said after thumbing through a few pages of the Necronomicon.

    I feigned a sympathetic nod before quickly departing.

    When next I saw Lenore, she had ensconced herself in a prehistoric pit littered with animal bones intoning some inhuman garble about “Cthulhu” and “that guy on TV who sells ShamWow.”

    David Thompson

    Two thumbs-up John. I love the imagery.

    John Trundle

    Thank you, David t.! :)

    David Duhr

    Thanks John. I like this one.

    Re the ShamWow guy, he was once arrested for assaulting a sex worker. Per Wikipedia, he “contended that he struck the prostitute when she ‘bit his tongue and would not let go.'” I suppose Cthulhu told him to.

    David Thompson

    “And if you still use hate to match high, this planted the jeans, you can resemble a 7-inch tall chicken.”
    A nod. Multiple bolts slid aside. The heavily reinforced door cracked open. “So… you got the ‘stuff’?”
    “Yep.”
    “Everything?”
    “Yep.”
    The door swung wider. A face poked out into the night. A furtive glance down the alley. “Ok – hand it over.”
    The exchange.
    “What? Pepperoni and cheese? I ordered mushrooms!”

    David Duhr

    This is maybe my favorite approach to this chicken one. “F*** it, I’ll just use it as a password.” Haha!

    Jerry Schwartz

    “At the very least it’s more illuminating than our reality Television stars, kim who, Joey what?”

    “What a rotten thing to say.”

    “I thought he loved us, Joey.”

    “He doesn’t know we can hear him, Kim.”

    “They never do, until the nightmares start.”

    “Should we report him?”

    “Might as well. He isn’t much fun to toy with, anyways. Have the call traced and find out who he’s talking to.”

    David Duhr

    Someone’s always listening.

    Kenneth Harris

    Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to convey her and her gaggle of skinny beach bunnies to the city pool. Again. Which is only slightly less aggravating than trying to compose coherent sentences for the remedial English class I’m lashed to for the summer term. I’ll say this; what she lacks in ballast, she makes up for in brains.

    David Duhr

    Thanks Kenneth. It’s gonna be a long summer. But at least this character gets to leave the house now and again…

    Jerry Schwartz

    “However what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and not seem to get things done, imitation cartier braclets.”

    “Braclets? You mean raclettes?”

    “Yes. Aged cheese. Procrastinate, and it gets better.”

    “What’s that got to do with Cartier?”

    “Swiss smugglers hide jewelry in cheese wheels. Swap the cheeses, swap the imitation jewelry for real. Grill the cheese to get them out. Melt, scrape, melt, scrape, out they come. Hush, I’ve said too much.”

    David Duhr

    I had to look up “raclettes.” But now I must have it.

    Also, this one’s brilliant.

    Jerry Schwartz

    “And if you still use hate to match high, this planted the jeans, you can resemble a 7-inch tall chicken.”

    I was naked, my 7-inch tall chicken exposed. Slinking through the orchard, I plucked fruit from a jeans tree. Not quite ripe, zipper still lacking teeth, but they fit. Now I could face the pursuing haters with pants on. But what had the oracle meant by “match high?” Drugged up bitch. Aha! That’s the clue.

    [Whew! That’s five.]

    David Duhr

    Excellent. But who are these haters? Why is he naked? I think this one calls for about 5,000 more words.

    Jerry Schwartz

    Words are easy. Stories are hard.

    John Trundle

    “Athletic wind is more popularly the main cause of this backside,” my climbing partner blustered with the cheek of a television doctor.

    Indignation filled me like a newly hatched alien on John Hurt’s face.

    But he was right. And with more gymnastic breezes, my condition would infect him as well.

    This backside would get us all in the end.

    Jerry Schwartz

    Nice…you actually made some sense out of this.

    David Duhr

    And the winner is…. Jerry Schwartz! It’s got to be, right? Not just for using all five prompts, but for all five of them being of great quality. Jerry, drop me a line to claim your prize.

    Thanks to all of you for entering. I hope that if any of you were in a writing funk, this helped bust you out of it.

    Jerry Schwartz

    Thank you, David.

    Thanks to all the other contestants, whose entries were at least the equals of mine.

    […] how much fun we had last time we did this? We had reality stars (“Kim who, Joey what”), athletic wind, people conveying other […]




    Find WBN on Twitter


    46
    0
    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
    ()
    x