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#1
Hey there writers of UG! This is for you. We've been hosting an ongoing competition for short stories! Unlike last round though, we're hoping that this thread will continue on. If you've any interest in writing, even if you've never tried, this is where to start! We will tell you how to do better

The first one went very well, with 25 entrants and three judges, and the winner was dann_blood. The second round went just as well, and Sir Anonymous was crowned victor. In the third, Neopowell the PUSO was first place finisher.


This third round will be Flash Fictions, just as the first round.

Quote by wikipedia

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Flash fiction is fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as 300, while others consider stories as long as 1000 words to be flash fiction.



The last two rounds we used 500 words, and to keep that tradition going we'll do 500 again. For reference, this post is about 250 words including the Wikipedia entry, and there are a lot of spaces, so it might appear shorter or longer to you, don't be discouraged.

There is no cap on entrances. Judges will be selected my myself for this round, with preference given to those who wrote stories in the last competition. Barring any better ideas I think this trend will continue.

Deadline is three weeks from today.
Last edited by captaincrunk at Jun 24, 2010,
#2
"Today" being the 23rd of June.
Quote by Vornik
Thanks for the advice. I'm going to put it, along with your other advice, into a book, the pages of which I will then use to wipe my ass.
#4
It adjusts for the timezone. It's almost 10am on the 24th where I am, so setting the deadline by your timezone will atleast get result in people getting their entries submitted on time instead of possibly a day late.
Quote by Vornik
Thanks for the advice. I'm going to put it, along with your other advice, into a book, the pages of which I will then use to wipe my ass.
#5
Quote by dann_blood
It adjusts for the timezone. It's almost 10am on the 24th where I am, so setting the deadline by your timezone will atleast get result in people getting their entries submitted on time instead of possibly a day late.

D'oh!
#6
What follows is exactly 500 words:

He propped his feet up on top of his desk in a futile attempt to ease the tension, attempting to show me that he was very much ‘my generation’- which is to say, not another uptight bastard who couldn’t emphasize with anyone but his own kind.

“I was hoping that we could find some common ground. On any issue at all.”

“I came to you because I knew you wouldn’t see things my way,” I said. “I don’t want people to understand me.”

He didn’t say anything, and we sat there in silence, avoiding having to acknowledge the other.

“You don’t understand,” I said, blankly. “No one does.”

“You won’t let anybody in. What do you expect?”

“Not this,” I said, beginning to feel angry. “What was I supposed to expect from you? You’ve spent your entire life judging others.”

He span around in his office chair, staring at the wall. “You feel as if you’re an exception. You believe that you possess a higher level of thought. You feel disillusioned. You want to share that disillusion with all others. They don’t understand. So because of this, you can’t relate to other people. You want a purpose or cause in life, but can’t find one. Am I incorrect in my assumptions?”

“Entirely.”

“I don’t think I am. However much you want to disassociate yourself from the ‘establishment,’ I think that I’ve struck a nerve with you. You don’t want to see yourself in me, but you do anyways. Doesn’t that bother you at all?”

“Who cares what you think?”

“And if I’m correct in assuming those things about you, what makes you any different from how you perceive me?”

The office chair creaked as he spun it around again to face me, but I was no longer there.

I stepped out of the Professor's office into the rain. Chalk drawings melted away from beneath my feet- all sorts of wonderful creatures and beings and forms and shapes and color- and I wondered if the children who had created them understood the futility of their efforts.

Surely they did. They understood, better than any other sentiment beings, that nothing ever stayed the same. But the children would be back in due time, prepared to create anew. I admired that. I couldn’t do it myself. My soul would wash away with the chalk, back into creation lake. That part of me would never come back.

Everything I will ever accomplish will crumble away. Others will take what I leave and leave their imprints on my memory until the imprints are all that are visible. I will fade into obscurity- or worse, I will not, and face the risk of being eternally misunderstood.

I bent over and picked up a soggy piece of chalk. I would never know who had created the chalk art, but if they were to all suddenly die, I would have something to know them by. If I were to die, would anyone remember me?

I began to draw.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE
#9
Hmm, I may give it a go. I don't really do any formal writing, and haven't done since GCSE English classes.

Still, it couldn't hurt.

You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.



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#10
Quote by SteveHouse
No theme?

No. But this one is going to last three weeks, even if we only get one submission. And if we don't think up a theme by then, we're doing it again without a theme. UG does well with pressure, if you guys want a theme I'm sure you can think of one in three weeks
#13
Anyone like the idea of the three 1st place finishers from the first three comps judging this? Obviously none of them could submit a story, and they're all top finishers in these... It would either be good for the rest or bad for the whole competition (too much talent drain).

Comments?
#15
I'd love to participate.

Out of curiosity, how strict is the guideline for narrative prose? Or is there one?
DOWN&OUT
#16
Quote by Jett Diamond
I'd love to participate.

Out of curiosity, how strict is the guideline for narrative prose? Or is there one?

500 words max is your only rule. The more developed stories (like, not just a character sketch) tend to do better.
#17
I'm taking a creative writing class right now, so I don't really have time to write short stuff. But I'd much rather be writing flash fiction. I've gotten so used to it that now I'm struggling carrying an idea for a couple thousand words.
*-)
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#18
Quote by captaincrunk
500 words max is your only rule. The more developed stories (like, not just a character sketch) tend to do better.

Fantastic! Thanks for clearing that up, grlfrend
DOWN&OUT
#20
Quote by element4433
I'm taking a creative writing class right now, so I don't really have time to write short stuff. But I'd much rather be writing flash fiction. I've gotten so used to it that now I'm struggling carrying an idea for a couple thousand words.

Lucky. I'm the complete opposite.
I really admire people who're good at flash fiction.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE
#21
I would love to help you judge and organize thoughts/critique.
If you rather not have me judge, I'll write an entry.
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LET'S GO BUCKS
#22
500 words exactly. Hope you enjoy. Criticism is always welcomed.

The wind rustled the gilded leaves on the trees overlooking a patch of concrete, then seconds later, brushed against my left cheek, as I slowly itched my chin and then made a minor adjustment on my scope. I drew my face away from my sight, and looked over the sea of rusted tree's which continued to wave back and forth. I lifted his picture, not sure if I was looking through it, trying to remember another face, or if I was truly studying the profile as to not make any mistakes. Highly doubting that it was the latter, I let out a large sigh followed by a swig of water from my canteen. Another breeze came through the window ruffling my papers and suit and then quickly left out the large hole blown in the wall behind me. The soft roar of engines began to appear from the distance. My heart rate rose as they grew closer. I lit a quick cigarette to ease my tension, letting the smoke trail out of my mouth and off, dissolving into the atmosphere. My Intel buzzed in, confirming arrival in less than a minute, followed by my short, “Copy”, and another inhale of smoke. Two jeeps rounded a bend leading up to the concrete, so I resumed staring down my sight, focusing on the license plate of the front jeep. They came to a stop, leaving dust slowly lifting into the air. Four men exited the jeeps, one being the man in the picture, another carrying a briefcase. I focused my sight once more, bringing up the suspects face clear as day. Taking my last puff, I flicked my cigarette aside, letting it burn on the cold, hard ground I’d been laying on for thirty two hours and sixteen minutes, confirmed by my watch. The men began to talk, about what, I hadn’t the slightest clue, nor did I care. All I cared about was ending that man’s life. I’ve decided that morals have nothing to do with my job, and as a consequence, I guess one could say I have none. I let another sigh out of my lungs. I do what my superiors tell me, and then I collect my pay, and return to my home, it’s as simple as that. Albeit, my pay is good, and I do get to travel like I always told myself I would, it has its negatives. The mental strain I went through to get to the point where I am today was more than many men can even fathom. This is why I was chosen to do what I do. When I’m on my death bed, surrounded by my family, I hope I can leave the same way my contacts do, quick and easy. Another gust blew over the trees and through the building, as the men were left running towards their jeeps. I crumpled up the picture and lit another cigarette. I let out one last sigh as I packed up my things.
Quote by darkstar2466
Don't fret man.
#23
554 words, I couldn't find anything I wouldn't mind omitting.

"Alexander."

I didn't realize until the sound left my lips that I sort of spat out my name as if it were a curse. She noticed this, her expression slightly taken aback. "What would you be?" She asked. I looked up, my eyes locking with her own. I noticed her taste for vague questions, but they only intrigued me. They only made me notice the way the light danced in the pools of her eyes.

"I would be the creator of music." I said, reflecting on what I loved more than anything in this world. I dream of escape, and music has taken me so close. Music has given me a taste for the release I can only think of. She looked down shyly, "You know, in a Greek myth, Orpheus used music in such a way that it echoed through the far reaches of the world, making the life around him feel his emotion." I could not help but allow a smile to tease at the edge of my lips. She smiled with me, her blue eyes sparkling.

"What's your name, then?" I asked. "Victoria." I examined her in a way I had never examined anyone else. I suppose with my eyes wide open, but I could not see past her. She was a mystery to me, which made me only want to find out who she really was. She flashed me a cat-like grin and turned to the road before us. She began walking down it, her eyes on the sky. I did not move, for I was paralyzed in wonder. She sensed my hesitation and turned to me, "This is the escape you've been waiting for, isn't it, Orpheus?"

The night waned as we walked and eventually we came to a spot to sleep; one so moon-blanched and quiet that everything became illuminated in a dull, white blanket of light, and I was able to hear her heartbeat sync with mine. We sat down to rest.

I closed my eyes and wished once more what I had only moments ago, allowing the words to form soundlessly at my lips. Victoria moved to her side, so she was facing me. I turned to her in recognition of her change in position. "Close your eyes again." I did as she had told me. Then, as gentle as a whisper, I felt her touch. First at my cheekbone, I felt her finger trace the side of my face, then to my lips. She brushed my hair from my eyes as I slowly opened them. She was looking at me with a soft smile. I looked at her questioningly and she merely said, "I wanted to see you." I felt my body relax with sudden weakness as the memory of her touch reverberated through my conscious. My fatigue caught up with me, my eyes growing heavy.

She returned to her previous position, our eyes on the stars once more. My tiredness washed my body, and starlight sung me to sleep. I felt as if I blinked, and I was awake with the dawn bleeding from the night. I immediately realized where I was and looked to the side. Victoria was gone with only a note left in her place. I picked it up slowly and read its contents, "Orpheus, I will find you".
Last edited by archerkoala at Jun 24, 2010,
#25
I think this time around I'll try something different. I'ma do my whole writing process ITT. I'll freewrite something up here as soon as I have a story idea, then I'll quote it when I make edits and stuff. Unless everyone thinks that would be annoying.

Obviously I'd say when my version is final (or at the three week mark you could take whatever I've got )

[IN PHIL WE TRUST]


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#26
Quote by captaincrunk
Anyone like the idea of the three 1st place finishers from the first three comps judging this? Obviously none of them could submit a story, and they're all top finishers in these... It would either be good for the rest or bad for the whole competition (too much talent drain).

Comments?


Sure. I'm happy to retire at the peak of my game and do a little judging.
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#28
I had my last exam yesterday, so I've got the time now.

I'll definately try and come up with something. Don't expect anything amazing though

Will be good to motivate me to get some writing done though.
#30
Da-da. 493 words.

There's something ever so amusing about the way you keep me here. Each and every day, I wake up, and in the few seconds before my consciousness remembers to work, I wonder whether I've woken up inside a brick. I'm effectively right, of course, I have – just on a bigger scale than I might have imagined, one which is planted in the middle of a moor, delimited into cells and patrolled by vulgar parasites. These parasites must take care of us, lock us away, shove some amorphous mess through food hatches once a day. When we misbehave, they beat us. How awfully telling that the guards are far more brutal and bloodthirsty than we, the prisoners, could ever hope to be.

When we committed our horrors, we didn't do so with anything approaching such a dispassionate air, such a sense of detachment, with the rabid glint in the eye I was so used to seeing up close dulled by repetition and habit. Your drones aren't a world away from us - we acted for personal gain, or for animal satisfaction; they act out of ugly habit and remuneration, are we really the ones who should be locked away? We had flair, we had ideas, we had passion! There's no passion in a man who beats, sneers and paces for the sake of petty cash! The only reason we are here, and that they are there, is that they can control their inner beast, restrain and release it at will for the supposed good of mankind. We have no inner beasts – we reasoned, we acted, and somewhere along the line somebody saw through our plans and disguises. I can see the man who captured me eye to eye, but not the man who keeps me captive. For us, there is no rehabilitation. There can be no rehabilitation for intelligence, an intelligence which you proles fear from the bottom of your beings.

Well, here I am, and there you are. I couldn't move if I tried, you couldn't move if you wanted, your hand fastened upon that lever as if it was your life which depended on it. I'd call it ironic, but I don't think you'd understand me. If I can be allowed one last wish, let it be that my end should be recorded, and shown to the family you feed from your miserable labour. Let your children be thankful for the comfort which you bring them, but let them know at what price. Do I deserve this? Oh, I don't know. Probably. But let me tell you this: have you ever read Shakespeare's sonnets? No? I thought not. He dreams of a legacy, that his work will allow him to live on; needless to say, he succeeded. Your purpose here is to abruptly end me, and yet you will make me immortal. Prepare yourself to become a footnote. I shall be a great man, and you shall be the murderer.
#31
Hell, I'll try and make a comeback.

I'm in.
Back to the classic avatar.

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#32
Quote by (1/f)=(1/p)+(1/q)
It’s the hallway glances that will always mean the most to me. The half or quarter second where she and I or he and I share our lives. It’s non-verbal, but pungent and tangible. His grimace, her faked smile, his busy schedule and over checking his watch to make sure that he’s still on time from when he checked it two seconds ago, her cell phone conversation that isn’t going as planned. For milliseconds, I get to step out of my life; out of my broken relationship. For as long as I can stare into passing eyes, I get to feel. God, it’s amazing. Feeling. Something I haven’t done for myself in twenty-one years. I remember being five and standing at my best friend’s casket, thinking about the flashcards at school that day and telling myself that Danny was bound to die eventually at least he did it fast enough that I wouldn’t have to beat him in flashcard races tomorrow. No tears. No emotion.

Oh, here comes one. Fishnets, black hoodie, short black skirt, black hair... brown eyes. She’s a whore. I can tell it, and she knows it. Her glance is still singing the praises of last nights random encounter. She liked that one, it made this morning good. He was handsome in a scary sort of way, and the way he pulled her close right before she came; oh the exhilaration. God, she lived for that. If she could feel like that…

The moment passes. She’s on to her next meeting and I’m still standing at the corner of the hallway, just looking. Pretending like I didn’t just get high off of her emotions. Trying to hide the fact that I just took a hit in public, and my mind is racing with all sorts of ideas that could have never been there without my drug.

Another specimen. He’s a professor; my physics professor actually. Typically a jolly fellow, but today his face is dark. Brows are furled, lips taught and poised to jump out and bite anyone who dares wander too close. He thinks his wife is having an affair. I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve tightened my lips and taken it out on friends but for different reasons than him. He’s hurt… bloodshot eyes tell me he was up all night thinking about it; he’s betrayed. I was never that, I was perplexed; but that’s a different story. He pauses, bald head gleaming in fluorescent lights, and he turns into a classroom; eyes never lifting from the floor below him; but I know. I know he wants to burn a hole through the door and punch through the cinder blocks beside it, but he never will; he doesn’t have the balls. I know how that feels too.

Cheerleader. You can always spot them. Their eyes have a fake gleam about them. Like they painted a reflective film on them… to make sure they're always sparkling, just like she painted her teeth white. It’s the cheeks that give her away, a missed make-up spot that shows tired lines and dying skin. It’s red and chapped and tired of being hidden underneath a fake beauty. Her cheek is singing BB King and she’s chanting the latest pop song. Her cheek sings prettier; I can feel it; it touches my soul, reminds me that I should give up living vicariously through strangers… that I’m hiding behind the emotional foliage of teenagers and old men that have seen too little or too much to be of any logical value.

“Ummmm, why do you always stand here and look at me as I walk to class?” Dear, if you could see what I just saw in your face, you’d kill to just stand here and gaze.


EDIT: Wow, longer than I thought. Just did a word count and its over 600. I'll either trim this up or get something new. Sorry about that.
#34
Word count: 473

After five minutes of hoping for more sleep, David swept aside the covers and committed himself to the day. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and set his feet to the floor, exhaling a bit at the sudden chill. His wife had already left for work, her side of the bed neatened and the sheets tucked in. He bet that if he looked in the children’s rooms the beds would all be made, everything picked up and orderly. An hour after school and toys would litter the floor, but everything would be pristine again by the next morning. Anna was obsessively tidy.

The clock read eight-forty-eight: the latest he had gotten up in months. He had decided to take a few days off to recuperate. He flexed his arm and felt his skin chafe against the inside of the cast. A broken arm and a few scrapes and cuts here and there wasn’t such a bad way to come out of a car accident.

On the bedside table sat a glass of water and a napkin with a few white pills. There was a small note scribbled on the napkin – Please remember to take. He smiled, imagining his wife’s frustration with his absentmindedness. He swallowed them down with a gulp of water and set about getting dressed.

He was a little stiff from lying in bed so he decided to go for a walk before he showered and had breakfast. Stepping outside he was almost immediately greeted by his neighbor. The man worked odd hours and appeared to be on his way just then to the hospital where he practiced. He wore a long white coat over a shirt and tie. A small brass pin bore his name in squat script: Dr. Lauren – Lauren being his last name, and not as many initially thought perhaps a joke of cruel parents.

“David, it’s good to see you up and about,” he said with a warm smile, and held out his hand to shake.

“Yeah, a little stiff, but I can’t complain. Car’s totaled, but all considering that isn’t really important.” He could see that Lauren was still concerned. He smiled, attempting to ease the man’s anxiety.

“I had wanted to ask you – if you don’t mind – what you remembered about the accident.”

“Well, not much really. The guy ran a red light, plowed into the corner of my car. We rolled – once I think. Kind of fuzzy. Paramedics came. Police.” He waved his hand dismissively. “Well, I have to get going. You too by the looks of it – heading to work?”

Lauren didn’t answer right away. He looked uncomfortable. He smiled wanly and shook David’s hand again. “Well, we’ll talk later I’m sure.”

“Of course. Take care.” David stepped around him and walked off, waving to people along the way.
Last edited by jfreyvogel at Jun 24, 2010,
#35
My submission, exactly 499 words (EDIT: I checked, and my Microsoft Word counts "&" as a word, so it is, exactly, 499 words):


RECORD OF A REVOLUTION

I
Whispers float through my ears, leaving traces of wine & honey, “the Queen is dead—“

She is dead & in the streets you can taste the travestis frolicking, flowers braided through their hair like crab legs, broken off & tangled in nets, slick with sea salt & sangria. There is no moment where the pulse of the sidewalks slackens—where it hesitates or stops ringing in my ears like fresh blood. Children wail like spayed banshees in dying light & watch priests crawl out from crates, their holy legs so long shackled they’ve all but withered. Drops of rain pierce the scene like sustained numbness & soak through skin until it prunes—air is so thick with blissful bewilderment that my lips froth & foam & fall free from my face—dissolving quietly
into the floorboards.

II
There is no calendar—we placed her squirming under the guillotine, watched her arteries burst like balloons & spray across the cheeks of children, their fresh eyes glowing with glee—& we scream this is the first year of history! this is a nation reborn: a nation bursting from the womb with placenta spread thick across its virgin limbs.
We bawl & cry—we course through the city sidewalks like deranged monkeys, our eyes on the prize, on the skies. & we break into the palace—beautiful marble gates crumbling like stale bread under boot heels. With anticipation smeared across their faces, eyes gleam from the crowd, insatiable & wild. Their stomachs gurgle with desire to watch the royals rot in cellars and tombs. & suddenly, I’m surrounded by horses—pounding & trampling, cribbing anything that falls beneath their feet. I begin to tremble—my brow wet as a mudslide—the throngs pulsing around me are wild & crude & I wish to watch their flesh peel away—gluttonous sick little lice! Your bellies swell with corrupt pregnancy & it disgusts me—it disgusts me & I crumple in the corner, a shell & a wreck of dust.

III
O cowards, pour out into the stations! How could the city survive without your heartbeats?

My fever has faded & I remain as sick as the day I was born, body riddled with impurities I never seem to sweat out. My fever has faded & from a window I watch the street pulsate with its mutinous progeny, eyes so milky & wild they can hardly feel their fingers brushing against shattered glass. Drink your wine from the rich man’s cask, cowards—drink until the mutant child within you melts. My skin has never felt so clammy as when I watch those jackals tearing through the streets below. It doesn’t matter how many planks I pile over my window—their howls always writhe through the cracks & circle me like vulture’s shadows on a fresh carcass—they can smell my fear, my rot—& they undulate in the streets—rabid—waiting for me to step through the door.
DOWN&OUT
Last edited by Jett Diamond at Jun 30, 2010,
#37
Quote by jfreyvogel
^ Did you use "&" in place of "and" just to reduce the word count?


No! As a matter of fact, I thought it picked them up AS words in word count. If it didn't, I'm really sorry!
I use ampersands in all my writing. There are pretentious literary reasons I could put forth, but mainly it's cause I like them and how they look.
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#38
Nice, I finish school tomorrow so I'll finally be able to enter one of these.
"If God exists, there's no way he is French" - Andrea Pirlo

S A D B O Y S
#39
Quote by Jett Diamond

No! As a matter of fact, I thought it picked them up AS words in word count. If it didn't, I'm really sorry!
I use ampersands in all my writing. There are pretentious literary reasons I could put forth, but mainly it's cause I like them and how they look.

Lol. It would have been great if it was 500 words exactly and there was just one ampersand instead of "and" in the last sentence.

Anyway, I liked it. A touch bombastic. Wasn't big on "eyes on the prize" or the usage of "mutant" - didn't think those flowed as well as the rest. Also, I think you meant "undulate", not "ungulate"?

I especially liked how it was arranged. The segmentation was a nice touch.
Last edited by jfreyvogel at Jun 24, 2010,
#40
Quote by jfreyvogel
Lol. It would have been great if it was 500 words exactly and there was just one ampersand instead of "and" in the last sentence.

Anyway, I liked it. A touch bombastic. Wasn't big on "eyes on the prize" or the usage of "mutant" - didn't think those flowed as well as the rest. Also, I think you meant "undulate", not "ungulate"?

I especially liked how it was arranged. The segmentation was a nice touch.

ahahhaha oh gawddd. Thanks for catching that typo! I'm at work at was finishing it while typing up a spread sheet. Absent mindedness FTW.

Yeah, bombastic, but eh, it's a prose poem. Not really meant to be a short story but I'm real happy with it and figured it fit the requirements well enough.
THANKS MAN! I really appreciate it
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