Hello and welcome. We’ve had seven Short Fiction contests so far, in May 2010, September 2010, over the holidays between 2010 and 2011, February 2011, April 2011, June 2011 and September 2011. They’ve been tremendously fun, and there has been interest expressed in doing another. I’d like to congratulate our past winners once again -
The Hamster King, May 2010, for Quarrantine
Spoons, September 2010 for Homeward By Polaris
Spoons, Holiday Edition 2010 for He Knows a Lot of People
Justin Credible, February 2011 for Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart!
MsWhatsit, April 2011 for The Brickites
Savannah, June 2011 for The Summer Place
jackdavinci, September 2011 for T-shirt Junction
So, I’d like to suggest the following - the contest will run from 9 AM EST, Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 until 10 PM EST, Sunday, January 8th, 2012. That’s an extra-long period which covers Christmas holidays and school break for most regions. Any writers interested in participating somewhere within that time can send an e-mail to sdmbpoetrysweatshop at gmail dot com - the required photo and the obligatory three words will be in an out-of-office auto reply. The writer will then have 60 (sixty) hours from the time and date of that auto-reply to submit a story of no more than 2,000 words.
The story can be any style or genre, but it must centre around 3 randomly selected words and one randomly selected photograph. (These requirements are partly to ensure no one dusts off a story they’ve been working on for months, and partly because it’s really interesting to compare what different writers do with the same source material.) No specific theme this time - let your imaginations run free.
Sorry, but the contest is open only to Dopers - Guests, Mods, Administrators, Members, Charter Members, Goats, Squids, people with funny titles - but contestants must have the right to post here.
I will start an Anthology Thread of all the stories I’ve received before the close of the contest - I can’t give an exact time, as I will be in and out of internet contact during the holidays. At 10 PM EDT, Sunday, January 8th, 2012, entries will be closed and I will establish a multiple-choice poll in the Anthology Thread. A week later, the poll will close and we will declare a winner.
A couple of editorial/logistics points to bring up. I will be doing some very minor editing - just for appearance on the computer screen, I will ensure that there are double returns between paragraphs. I would also strongly prefer that all the stories have a title, and if they don’t come with a title, I’ll refer to them as Untitled (First few words of the opening sentence.) If you use special text (italics in particular, but also bold face and underline.), please mention it in the return e-mail - the codes don’t always come through properly in gmail and I do try to respect writers’ conventions. Sometimes this means doing a search word by word to make sure the codes get written correctly.
Also for legibility and appearance, I would like to post the first ~ hundred words or first paragraph, whichever is most coherent, in the open reply. Then, I will put the rest of the story in a spoiler box. Then I’ll have another spoiler box with the author’s name. The reasoning here is to avoid the Gigantic Wall of Text effect. I’m open to other people’s suggestions here, though I thought this worked very well the last few times.
I quite like the multiple choice polls and I would like to keep that as a feature of the Short Fiction contests. Placing the writers’ names in spoiler boxes also seems to be a good compromise between giving credit where it is due and keeping the voting based on the merits of the individual stories, to the extent that is possible.
I think that’s everything - I’m hoping many of you will be interested in giving it a go sometime in the next few days.
Le Ministre de l’au-delà