The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 13

August 30, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 25 stories in the Collector this week with 1 debut. Please welcome Russell Bowman, to the community.

FFDO founder JM Strother announces our Halloween Writing Contest in his post this week, Fall Is (Almost) In the Air. Click on over and give it a read (as soon as you’re done shopping for candy) and then post any questions or discussion in the comments.

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

Fall Is (Almost) In the Air

August 28, 2014 in Contests, Halloween, Submission Guidelines, Writing Fun by JM Strother

A blow up Frankenstein monster in a back yard.As summer begins to wind down our thoughts turn to autumn, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the arrival of autumn can only mean one thing – Halloween draws near.

Now if you think I’m jumping the gun just visit any nearby drugstore (I believe called Chemists in some parts of the world) and take a look at the Candy and Seasonal aisles.

OK, I’ve just lost half of you as you run out to the nearest pharmacy, but for those of you remaining, I want to let you know about our upcoming Halloween Writing Contest – Halloween Humor and Horror.

Halloween Humor and Horror will be a bit different from our previous contests in that it will be judged anonymously, the winner will receive $50US, to be paid via PayPal, Amazon gift card, money order or cashier’s check; whichever the winner prefers. We picked $50 as the prize as it reflects the pro rate of 5 cents a word for a 1000 word story. The winning story does not have to be 1000 words long, but will be compensated as if it is. In addition, the winning story will be published right here on FFDO on Halloween, which conveniently falls on a Friday.

Here’s how the contest works:

  • The contest begins on September 5th and will run through October 10th. That should give the judge(s) a few weeks to read the stories before choosing a winner.
  • Write a new original story of 1000 words or less with a Halloween appropriate theme. Sorry, no retreads. The story can be horror, paranormal, slice of life, or even humor, as long as it deals with typical Halloween tropes such as monsters (including the human variety), the supernatural, trick-or-treating, or even Halloween parties. Just remember, you are trying to make the judge think, “Now that’s a great Halloween story.”
  • Polish the story as best you can – spelling and grammar will matter.
  • Post your story to your blog as a regular #FridayFlash.
  • Add your story to the Collector.
  • Share it via your favorite social media with both the #FridayFlash and #HHH tags.
  • Submit your story for the contest no later than October 11th, via Submittable, sans any identifying personal information. Stories with author’s names or blog titles will not be considered. Upload the stories as either plain text(.txt), open text (.odt), or MS Word (.doc) format. Do not upload MS Word (.docx) files as they can be very problematic. Use Save As and change to the older format. Microsoft .docx files will not be considered.
  • Do not use fancy fonts or colors. The text must be back. Moderate use of bold and italics is acceptable. Please don’t hurt our judge’s eyes.
  • Members of the FridayFlash.org staff, judges, and their immediate families are not eligible to enter.
  • As always here at FFDO, there is no entry fee.
  • FFDO will be granted nonexclusive on-line rights and nonexclusive anthology rights, should we ever want to include the winning story in an anthology. That means you may place your winning story elsewhere, as long as it, too, has nonexclusive terms.

Please note, the Submittable site still needs to be set up, so you can’t enter your submission yet, but you can still post those stories. We will let you know when the submissions site is ready to go.

While you may only enter one story into the contest, you can write as many #HHH stories as you like in the run up to the deadline, post them on your blog, and enter them in the Collector. Just be sure to submit your best via Submittable on or before the deadline.

If you are interested in being a judge please let me know.

Have fun with this, folks. Happy Halloween. Now, pass the candy please.
~jon

NewsFlash – Vol. 6 #12/13

August 26, 2014 in Challenge, Contests, eBooks, Proofs by JM Strother

NewsFlash

We sort of missed last week’s News Flash, so this one should serve double duty and keep our issue numbers intact. Sorry for any confusion.

We found this via C. M. BrownParanormal Cravings has posted a Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge to read 10 books in either Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy genres featuring a dangerous hero as either a main or supporting character. While it is a reading, not a writing event, we tought it sounded like fun. The challenge runs from August 1st 2014 to December 31st. Visit the Dangerous Hero Challenge sign up page for the rules. Thanks for the tip, Carolyn.

Mathew Williams announced that he has received the proof for his Sci-Fi anthology, Flash Forward. The anthology is a collection of 19 short Sci-Fi stories mostly dating from April of 2013. A few older and more recent stories are also included. The book will run at 140 pages, and around 51,000 words. You can read more of his news on his blog Stories by Williams here. We look forward to its release.

Estrella Azul forwarded several opportunities for writers from The Lascaux Review.

The Lascaux Prize in Poetry contest is presently open for submissions. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in The Lascaux Review. Poets may enter more than once, and as many as five poems may be submitted per entry. Note: There is a $10 entry fee. The deadline is September 23rd. Visit lascauxreview.com/contests for more information.

The Christine E. Eldin Memorial Fellowship is also an inaugural contest intended for unpublished middle-grade fiction writers. It opens on September 1st, and features a $1,000 prize. Again, there is a $10 submission fee. Christine E. Eldin Memorial Fellowship will open for submissions 1 September. A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to an unpublished middle-grade fiction writer whose work-in-progress reveals potential for a successful writing career. Visit eldinfellowship.org for details and guidelines.

And the Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction opens October 1st. Worth note to members of Friday Flash, the stores may be previously published. They must not exceed 10,000 words. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in The Lascaux Review. Visit lascauxreview.com/contests for more information. The deadline is December 31st.

Debra Easterling is thrilled to announced the release of her latest ebook, “MOSHE’S WAR.” She gives us this brief synopsis:

The novel is about a Nazi hunter, 22 years after WWII, who is called out of retirement to hunt for the Demon of the Belzec Concentration Camp, whom they believe may be killing again. Ilsa, Moshe’s new landlady, is inexplicably drawn to the hunter, although she hides a secret that her German step-brother was once a Nazi guard. Fearing Moshe will soon be after her brother, she must now choose between protecting him or surrender him to the man she loves. As her brother hitchhikes across the country to return home, she’s unable to warn him. Every mile he travels, brings him closer to a man who could destroy him. As Ilsa and Moshe struggle with their faith and their attraction to each other, Moshe’s true prey, Horst Bress, a vile, freak of a prison guard, has decided to turn the tables on the famed Nazi hunter, and anyone close to him is fair game.

Cover of Moshe's War

Sounds exciting. It is now available via Amazon. Best of luck with the release, Debra. And, I might add, that’s a very nice cover.

Teaser Tuesday — Drop by FFDO on Thursday to read about our upcoming Halloween Contest. 

Congratulations to Debra and Mathew, and good luck to anyone entering the contests or participating in the challenge.

~jon

The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 12

August 23, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 28 stories in the Collector this week with no debuts.

Guest author Marc Nash deconstructs genre choices in What Is Experimental Flash? in our Thursday Writing series this week. Click on over and give it a read and then experiment with your thoughts in the comments.

FridayFlash.org is looking for a new News Editor for The News Hound. As previously announced our long-time News Editor, Angie Capozello, is stepping down in order to devote more time to other things. If you are interested please contact our founder, Jon Strother, at jmstro@gmail.com.

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

What Is Experimental Flash? by Marc Nash

August 21, 2014 in Guest post, Thursday Writing by Marc Nash

unspooled tape with words on itSo you’ve written your weekly flash story and go to the collector to post it. The title looks good, the link is a cut and paste job from your blog, your name, well your name is your name (unless like mine it’s actually your nom de plume) and thanks to your writing programme’s word count function even the length is pretty incontestable. So far so easy right? But then we get to the drop down menu for Genre’. It’s now the trouble begins…

I don’t write genre. Even when I might use a trope like the werewolf, what I do with it has nothing to do with long established werewolf literary tradition (I wrote a gruesome six line story about the physical symptoms of Lupus and transliterating it across to the supposed signs and powers of the werewolf). So that rules most of the possible options out at a stroke.

Next under consideration might very well be slice of life, since producing a story every week usually entails I’m taking something I’ve seen or experienced from real life, so that might fit… Only, where I take it has little to do with reportage or realism. Rather it starts as a metaphor, such as when I stepped off a bus and saw an abandoned lady’s flat shoe and ended up with a non-linear story that involved a pile of holocaust inmates’ shoes on display at Auschwitz and the Arab journalist who threw his shoe at a visiting US President. So slice of life didn’t make the cut either.

Marc Nash Reading

Marc Nash Reading

See the shoe became a metaphor for many things in that story and that’s what I tend to do in my flash. I take a central image or idea and then I turn it round through many different facets and see how the light and shades of meaning reflect off it. Flash is perfectly suited to that, 1000 words to deal with nuance and variegation, shades of light and dark. But metaphor is the meat and drink of literary fiction isn’t it? What I write therefore ought to be regarded as literary fiction, one of the only two labels left. Only I don’t even know what literary fiction means as a label. Why can’t genre books have literary values such as ornate language and depth of characterisation? Many do of course. Seems to me litfic is the dumping ground for when a book can’t be neatly pigeonholed & tagged with a genre label. And while that may very well apply to my work, it’s too much of a negative for me, that it’s only this because it’s not something else.

So that leaves us with just the final option. “Experimental”. Now, yes you guessed it, I have a problem with this label. What I write tends to be unconventional, in that it doesn’t readily conform to most of the ‘givens’ of story (sometimes it doesn’t even pretend to be a story at all). I do lots of things with language and words; words that mutate into other words, wrong words, single word sentences, lists as narrative… So it’s not really writing of the norm, but is it experimental? To me the word experimental has too many negative connotations. It suggests something undertaken without fully knowing how it would end up. It can imply something transitory, that’s not really meant to last. It conjures up notions of something not fully formed, incomplete, not wholly realised. I may not know the destination when I sit down to write one of my lesser conventional narratives, but I never feel it is not under my control and in my grasp. I absolutely declare them concluded when I decide to publish them, that they are fully realised within their own literary terms. And I demand of them to stand the test of time and persist, otherwise I have failed in their creation. So no, not experimental in those senses.

So what’s left? Now ‘unconventional’ isn’t really a useful delineation either. I don’t have any suggestion to petition the site designers with to add another category to the drop down menu. Rather it all just reinforces my notions that all literary labels are a tad reductive, diminishing the work in similar fashion to how a one-line pitch of our book diminishes a work of 60,000 words by boiling it down to 16 or so. Like Hemingway, if I wanted to tell a story in 6 words I would have done so, rather than opt to tell it in 60,000. So I leave it as unspecified in the genre box. I can appreciate that saying something is steampunk or erotica (is there an erotica category on the menu, I don’t even know) at least helps the reader have an idea of what they’re about to read. But most times I just can’t help them in advance I’m afraid. However, I did break with tradition a few weeks ago by putting out a little midweek flash and tagging it humour. Just to prompt the potential reader not to take it too seriously and because comedy is a label I get. Oh well, back to the unconventional, metaphorical and linguistic drawing board for me.

~Marc Nash

Editor’s note: Marc’s fourth flash fiction collection, “28 Far Cries,” is now available as an ebook from Amazon.

Guest Post (6 Posts)

We would love to have more guest posts! Will you write one? If you have any ideas or proposals that you think would improve the public presence of FFDO please don’t hesitate to send them to either editor Estrella Azul or founder Jon Strother. You can contact Estrella at estrella.azul@fridayflash.org, and Jon at jmstro@fridayflash.org with your questions, comments, or suggestions.


The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 11

August 16, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 23 stories in the Collector this week with 1 debut. Please welcome Renee Hills to the community.

FFDO contributor Helen A. Howell serves up Poetry— an aid to writing fiction in our Thursday Writing series this week. Click on over and give it a read and then wax poetic in the comments.

FridayFlash.org is looking for a new News Editor for The News Hound. As previously announced our long-time News Editor, Angie Capozello, is stepping down in order to devote more time to other things. If you are interested please contact our founder, Jon Strother at jmstro@gmail.com. If you have questions on just what is involved in the position you can ask Angie by contacting her at AngieC@fridayflash.org.

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

Poetry— an aid to writing fiction

August 14, 2014 in Poetry, Tips and Suggestions, Writing by Helen A. Howell

Poetry in cursiveEarlier this year I took part in National Poetry Month, whereby you were meant to write one poem a day for the whole month of April. I didn’t write one a day but I did show three a week, some of which were new and some which I had written before. I don’t consider myself as a poet, or even a good reflection of one, but I’ve never been one to not try a challenge and so poetry got added to my list of things to attempt to write.

Now a lot of people don’t like poetry, and that’s okay. But I’m here to share how poetry helps you improve your fiction writing. Yes it does, but how? That’s the question. When you write poetry, regardless of whether it rhymes or not, it does have to have metre. That really means one needs to be conscious of the syllables and the way they are used. You could be counting them or measuring the stresses as in da dum, da dum etc. (Not that I always manage to do this successfully myself – well, I did say I wasn’t even a good reflection of a poet didn’t I?) This helps you learn how words fit together, how they complement each other and, in writing fiction, that aids you in not writing awkward sentences and contributes to getting the flow right.

The other thing about poetry I found is that poems have a theme or tell a story. But they do this with an economical use of words that flow together in a rhythm, which allows readers to engage their senses and become part of that piece of writing. We all know William Wordswoth’s ‘I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud.’ I think that poem illustrates beautifully what I’m saying here.

So I’ve found writing, or at least attempting to write poetry, helps me as a writer become more aware of how words work together and what impact they can have on those who read my work. One of the challenges that I love to attempt in poetry is writing a pantoum. The challenge here is to write a poem composed of a series of quatrains whereby you take the second and fourth line of each stanza and repeat them as the first and third of the next stanza. The poem can be as long or as short as you like but the last stanza differs from the rest, in that the first and third lines of the last stanza are actually the second and fourth of the previous, while the second and third lines of the last stanza are the third and first lines of the first quatrain. Not only are you trying to keep the metre right, but you also have the repetition of lines and the task of keeping the poem making sense. Why not give writing poetry a go in its many forms. You may surprise yourself with what you can learn.

Here is an example of a Pantoum I wrote for the National Poetry Month.
GOBLINS!

I’ve seen them with my eyes,
there are goblins in my patch.
Trust me, I tell no lies,
a really nasty batch.

There are goblins in my patch,
they’re tricksy and they’re sly.
A really nasty batch,
from behind the wood they spy.

They’re tricksy and they’re sly,
‘cause deceit is their game.
From behind the wood they spy,
to bite you is their aim.

‘Cause deceit is their game,
Their stomachs must be filled.
To bite you is their aim,
your blood they plan to spill.

Their stomachs must be filled,
they’re greedy little blighters.
Your blood they plan to spill,
those nasty goblin biters.

They’re greedy little blighters,
but I know what they hate.
Those nasty goblin biters.
to my dog they’re just bait.

But I know what they hate,
The dog will sniff them out.
To my dog they’re just bait,
oh, how they’ll run and shout.

The dog will sniff them out,
trust me I tell no lies,
Oh, how they’ll run and shout,
I’ve seen them with my eyes.

©2014 Helen A. Howell

NewsFlash – Vol. 6 #11

August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized by JM Strother

NewsFlash

FridayFlash.org is looking for a new News Editor for The News Hound. As previously announced our long-time News Editor, Angie Capozello, is stepping down in order to devote more time to other things. If you are interested please contact me, jmstro@gmail.com. If you have questions on just what is involved in the position you can ask Angie by contacting her at AngieC@fridayflash.org.

Speaking of news, you may have noticed our community news has been a bit sparse of late. I’m sure you all are continuing to do great things. Please share them with us by feeding the News Hound. Give him a scratch behind the ears while you’re there. Thanks.

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf CoverNick Bryan announced that the first in his Hobson & Choi mystery series, The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf, is now available both in print via Amazon, and in digital form from many sources. Be sure to check it out by visiting the official Hobson and Choi webpage.

Teaser Tuesday — Drop by FFDO on Thursday for Helen Howell’s discussion of poetry as an aid to fiction writing. 

Keep on writing, and congrats, Nick!

~ jon

The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 6 Number 10

August 9, 2014 in FridayFlash Report by Tim VanSant

We had 25 stories in the Collector this week with no debuts.

FFDO NewsFlash Editor Emeritus Angie Capozello finds a disturbance in The Force in From Scene To Screen – When Collaborations Go Wrong for our Thursday Writing series this week. Click on over and give it a read and then collaborate a little in the comments.

FridayFlash.org is looking for a new News Editor for The News Hound. As previously announced our long-time News Editor, Angie Capozello, is stepping down in order to devote more time to other things. If you are interested please contact FFDO founder Jon Strother at jmstro@gmail.com. If you have questions on just what is involved in the position you can ask Angie by contacting her at AngieC@fridayflash.org. (We can even give you one of those spiffy fridayflash.org email addresses!)

It’s easier than ever to share your writing good news in our weekly News Flash with the form on our News Hound page.

As always, if your story is not in the listing below please go to the Collector and add the details. It will be in next week’s report. ~Tim

The Stories: Read the rest of this entry →

From Scene To Screen – When Collaborations Go Wrong

August 7, 2014 in From Scene to Screen, Thursday Writing by Angie Capozello

star-wars-episode-7-viiWelcome back to From Scene to Screen!  This week, I’m delving into the murky world of collaborative script writing.

There is a fine art to collaborative writing, whether it be for print or screen. There has to be a lot of give and take, and every bit as much chemistry between the writers as there is between the actors on the set. But what happens when a collaboration doesn’t work out?

I just read an article about that happening on the latest Star Wars movie. They have a script. They have started shooting and yet, the co-director Rian Johnson kept insisting that they focus the new movie on Jar Jar Binks. (Am I the only one that feels a disturbance in the force at the very thought of such an atrocity?) He argued for it so hard and so long that Disney ended up showing him the door. Yep, he got himself canned.

And sadly this happens all too often. Much as I love movies, I think we all realize that a disproportionate number of the folks out in Hollywood are a half bubble off of plumb. Some artiste gets an idea stuck in his head and won’t let it go, no matter how bad it is. I’m not sure whether it’s due to pride or epic cluelessness, but it happens. I remember seeing a speech by Kevin Smith where he talked about why he walked away from writing a Superman movie. The Director got hung up on the idea of a fight between a giant spider and a polar bear outside the Fortress of Solitude. Needless to say it didn’t happen, but what did I see in that Directors’ next movie, Wild Wild West? A giant steampunk spider. Sometimes you just can’t keep a bad idea down.

So what do you do when a collaboration goes bad? Honestly, as much as we all would like to get along and work things out, sometimes it’s just better to kill the collaboration. Let the dissenter go if you can, walk away yourself if you must, but do what you have to do. Yes, making money is important, but professional integrity is important too, both yours and that of the project. Which is why I am so glad Disney gave that Director the boot, no matter how harsh that sounds. If Episode VII had focused on Jar Jar, it would have been as if the hopes of millions of Star Wars fans had cried out in terror, and been silenced…

That’s my two cents, anyway ;)  What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions!

-Angie