• 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!


    The Challenge

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

    Your story should be no longer than fifty wordsnot including the opening line.

    In other words, write a maximum of fifty of your own words. If you choose, for example, prompt No. 1, which is 13 words, your entry can be a total of 63 words.

    1. Perhaps Travis should throw out the tease to us guys (refines our sleuthing)

    2. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers

    3. Always go after your heart

    4. Before unleashing the mighty mighty thinkolator

    5. Damn we’re getting good at this


    Fine Print & Prize

    You may enter as many times as you wish. Bonus points for using all five of these silly prompts.

    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.)

    Extra points for making us laugh or cry. Double extra points for making us laugh and cry.

    The contest will close Saturday, October 7, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

    The prize: The winner gets, via USPS, a SIGNED copy of Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, the new memoir from WriteByNighter Michael Ausiello.


    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 coachingprivate 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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    Damn we’re getting good at this.

    The man in the car eyes the military name tag and uniform.


    “Uh. Yeah.”

    I toss the duffel in back.

    “You don’t look Mexican with that red hair and them freckles. Where you headed?”

    My knife clicks open.

    Should of killed the white boy. Won’t make that mistake again.

    Barbara Abolafia

    Machine Learning

    Before unleashing the mighty mighty thinkolater, Dan worried that there might be future consequences. After all, if he could program the computer to write one line of code, it could learn on its own. What could go wrong? Office pranksters gave it the nickname, but he knew it could be taught to write better jokes.

    Elissa Malcohn

    “The arena hopes for even more passionate writers,” murmured the emperor’s advisor. The emperor shrugged. Below, Pompilius bled out on the sand, still clutching his stilus, head dangling from masked Maximus’s hand. Even striking his triumphant pose, the victor looked bored. Citizens in the Coliseum yawned as, once again, the sword proved mightier than the pen.

    Lynn Jarrett

    “Damn we’re getting good at this.”

    “We – WE? It’s MY damn shovel, I’m digging the frickin’ hole in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere, and it’s MY damn car. Where is the WE?

    “We’re always there for each other, pal.”

    “The best thing for me is to chuck this damn shovel.”

    May Hill

    3. “Always go after your heart”
    My arms are fastened down. There are cardiac leads on my chest and appendages.
    I hear, “We can only shock it one more time”
    I feel my heart stop, it seems to take wings and leave for somewhere else.
    My brain follows quickly.

    Emily Martin

    “Damn we’re getting good at this,” Ray said, lifting the heavy bear mask off my head. “Got three wallets and a phone while you diverted those rich brats.”
    “Can’t do this no more,” I said.
    “That kid said, ‘I love you, Mr. Bear,’ ” my voice cracked. “She said . . . I love you.”

    Claire Harris

    “Damn we’re getting good at this.” she said as she filled out her hundredth anti-Trump petition in record time. I wonder if it will do any good?

    Bonnie West

    The Arena hopes for even more passionate writers.

    Hell yes. The last batch, piss poor: cute haikus, vague metaphors. Cliches, for god’s sake!

    The singers stifled them with solfeggio! Artists splattered them across the boards.

    This next bunch, huddled in the hypogeum, better be scribbling brilliance before clogging dancers demolish them.

    Marie Hammerling

    Before unleashing the mighty mighty thinkolator, Josh reread his English assignment. He had to write about the last drop of bathtub water. After he thought about a fluid essay, Josh compared the water drop to a last hamburger bite. In the end, the wet assignment whetted his appetite. He thought damn I’m getting good at this.


    Before unleashing the mighty mighty thinkolator pause. Plug that power into your heartsicord. Rip a few musical notes from life’s melody. Songs like Minuet in Love, Rhapsody of Blues, or Grief is a Freight Train will keep the thinkolator on track. Arriving at the station, it is skill at the heartsicord, not the mighty thinkolator that matters.

    Andrea Fewkes

    Damn, we’re getting good at this. He had already loaded the cooler with drinks for the game. Chairs were in the car and the kids were ready to go. Are we actually on time? I checked my phone again for the time and location of today’s game. Wait, is today Sunday? The game was yesterday.

    David Duhr

    Hey folks,

    I neglected to mention two things, which I’ll add to the post now:

    1. You can enter as many times as you want. Use all five prompts if you wish!



    Always go after your heart, because if, instead, you just watch it bounce down the sidewalk, away from you, and someone grabs it and takes off, or it gets run over by a UPS van, you’ll die. It’s the most major side effect of pop-out heart syndrome. (POHS)


    AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I can’t even type my name right. This is Mel. (It’s also me.)

    Patrick F

    Damn we’re getting good at this. Who needs even fifty words? The original twenty-five was already more than enough.

    Bonnie West

    “Damn we’re getting good at this,” she said, rolling over and lighting a cigarette.

    Joe Giordano

    Always go after your heart. I ripped Marlena’s picture. She’d cored my emotions with a dull knife. Falling in love was the problem. I’d hold women at arms-length, icing feelings, staying in charge. I picked up the pieces of Marlena’s photograph. Her smile reflected like a mirror in sunlight. I searched for the Scotch Tape.

    Jess Davis

    “Damn we’re getting good at this,” I said, seconds before unleashing the mighty mighty thinkolator. The thinkolator whirred.

    “Perhaps Travis should throw out the tease to us guys; refines our sleuthing,” John said.

    “Our sleuthing needs refinement?” I said.

    “Travis thinks so.”

    “Fuck Travis,” I said. “Always go after your heart.”

    The message tumbled out of the thinkolator. John unrolled it and read aloud: “‘The arena hopes for even more passionate writers.’ The hell’s that mean?”

    “If you were a writer,” I said, “you wouldn’t have to ask.”

    Andrea Fewkes

    Before unleashing the mighty, mighty thinkolator, it’s time for the percolator. Always go after your heart on the dance floor.

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