Posts Tagged #HumpDayChallenge

#flashathon Early Details

If you’ve been paying attention to my Twitter account lately you may have seen me mention something called #flashathon, without any other real details.  Right now that’s because there aren’t a lot of details to give, but I’d like to start changing that.

Flashathon is a flash fiction marathon that I will be cohosting with Unleaded.  The goal was to create an event as a lead-in to Nanowrimo to get the creative juices flowing.  I had the idea a few weeks ago when I saw a blogger elsewhere do what she called a blogathon, a twenty-four hour sleep-deprived crazy blogging session that resulted in a new post every thirty minute.  Crazy things like that appeal to me, though our event will be half as long and half again as frequent.

So that’s all philosophical stuff, you want the actual meat and potatoes.  Flashathon will be a 12 hour flash fiction marathon running from noon until midnight eastern time (9am to 9pm pacific) on October 22nd, 2011.  That’s a Saturday.  The event will consist of 12 posts here in Writerly Words, each with a cue for that hour to give people a jumping off point for their creativity.  I’m going to be taking a lot of inspiration from #5MinuteFiction and the #HumpDayChallenge, so sometimes the cue will be one word, sometimes it will be an opening sentence, and sometimes it will be five words to include.

The idea is to create a drop-in-drop-out event.  We realize that we’ve picked a Saturday, and that some of our participants have lives, but we want to make it welcoming for someone who wasn’t able to do, say, 2pm and 3pm to come right back in at 4pm.  There will be badges, and we’re currently working out what the three success levels will be.

Also, in the spirit of Nanowrimo, the rules will be loose.  There will be cues every hour, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them.  There will be posts each hour so that stories can be left in the comments, you don’t have to post them.  As always, since this is a public medium, any story posted may be considered already published by a prospective editor, so if in any particular hour you want to just post that you did write a story and perhaps what it was generally about, or share any of the thought that went into it, you will still be considered a participant in that hour.

This will all be based on the honor system, because I tend to trust writers.  And really, all you’re winning in the end will be a PNG blog badge that we’ll be unveiling at a later date.

So those are the details thus far.  I’ll make more posts as we have major details, and I’ll be maintaining a Flashathon tab at the top of this page to keep details all in one place.  Come join us.  It’s going to be crazy, and we’re hoping to share the insanity!

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Why I #HumpDayChallenge

Anyone who reads this blog can tell you I tend to be wordy.  Anyone who has been a beta reader for my fiction can tell you that’s doubly true.  And you know what?  I’m not going to apologize for that.

But then a new challenge came along, the Hump Day Challenge, run on Tracy Hansen’s blog Will Write For Food.  The challenge?  Take 5 provided words, combine them with no more than 95 of your own words, and try to make the best damn story you can out of them, all genres and all writers welcome.  That’s not a lot of space, but that’s the power of the challenge.  Through practice, trial, and error the forced economy of words that comes out of the challenge is starting to bleed over into my fiction.

Clearly not everything should be written with such restriction in place.  100 words isn’t a lot of room for plot, nor does it allow for scene setting, characterization, or any of the other necessities of good fiction, but it is enough words to really set a strong scene, and with a few cheats and short cuts can be just enough words to assemble a full thought.  Even for someone as wordy as myself.

So if the idea of writing just 100 words of fiction terrifies the hell out of you, it might be just the right challenge for you to undertake.  Don’t expect to be able to tell a full story, but do expect to set a scene, tell a joke, make a point, and if you keep going, learn how best to use words economically both within the challenge and then within your longer stories.  The lessons are surprisingly transmutable.

Come on and join the fun this Wednesday!

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Still moving forward on Fornightcap collection

It’s still several months early, but I still also need to find little projects to squeeze into the gaps between two bigger affairs.  So my next step towards putting together a Fortnightcap collection has been to bring together all my entries for 5 Minute Fiction and Humpday Challenge into the same Scrivener file.  This isn’t to say I’m going to include all of them.  Oh no no no.  I may not even include most of them.  But I’m going to at least look at the finalists and winners I’ve had in each contest and determine whether they have a place in the collection, pending an okay from the organizers of the contests.

What’s more likely to happen is that I’ll use some of them as launching off points.  Especially in the case of 5 Minute, I’ve had a few stories that I really liked the concepts that I came up with on the fly but that feel like…well, stories that were conceived, plotted, and written all in a five minute window.  I’ve already given one such story, That was the Problem, a second life as a Fortnightcap, and there are a few others that I reread while assembling and felt could be stronger, and longer, stories.  This is all moving towards trying to provide some content other than content I’ve already made available for free online.

At the very least, it’s fun to revisit some stories that I really had just left behind.  Though in some cases that was well deserved.

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