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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Challenges » Sudden Fiction Contest (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Sudden Fiction Contest
TaleSpinner
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Contributors
=========

LAJD
annepin
InarticulateBabbler
Reagansgame
Unwritten
oliverhouse
billawaboy
Grant John
Devnal
TaleSpinner

If anyone else wants to join, please feel free to do so.

Triggers
========

The tallest tower on the planet
Merchant of rarities (rare goods or services)
A flowing together (confluence)

Your story would be inspired by one or more of the triggers, 2000 words max.

Using all the triggers gains kudos but isn't mandatory. The story does not have to mention the trigger's words specifically.

Rules
=====

Sudden fiction, 2000 words max.

Closing date for entries: 18.00 GMT Sat Oct 4th (about four weeks from now)

Closing date for crits and votes: 18:00 GMT Sat Oct 18th (about two weeks to read, crit and vote)

Usual Hatrack rules for content apply. Please, no fanfic, no use of copyright stuff.

Submission Guide
================

e-mail your story in .doc, .rtf or plain .txt format to me by 18.00 GMT on the closing date above.

Please do not put early drafts of your story through the regular F&F threads for first 13s, for that would destroy the annonymity of voting.

(If you use Word 2007 please save in .rtf or an earlier .doc format because we don't all have the format converters for earlier versions of Word.)

In the e-mail subject line please put "Hatrack Contest--Story name--author's Hatrack name" in order to get past my spam filters.

In the body of your email please put your Hatrack name and your e-mail address.

On the first page of the manuscript (and nowhere else) put your name and the word count.

Voting and Critting process
===========================

Voting and critting is anonymous.

I will delete names from manuscripts, assign them numbers, reformat them only to the extent necessary for ease of handling, combine them into one file and send it to all contestants. (If you can't read Word .doc files let me know.)

I'll create a fresh thread for first 13s and post them all there so we can vote on them.

Winner to be decided by vote. You vote for your top three first 13s and top three stories. I will tally the votes like this: three points for your first choice, two for your second, one for your third. You cannot vote for your own story.

I will not be voting myself.

In case someone doesn't vote, please include at the end of your 'vote-and-crit' e-mail your votes for the other stories, but not crits.

You must crit your first three choices and send the three crits together with your vote to me by 18.00 GMT on the voting due date above. (Votes without crits don't count.) If you don't vote I'll delete your story and redistribute the votes.

Please use this vote and crit format in your e-mail to make my administrative life easier:

--------------------------
Your hatrack name

First 13 1 -- story number
First 13 2 -- story number
First 13 3 -- story number

Story 1 -- story number
Your crit of story 1

Story 2 -- story number
Your crit of story 2

Story 3 -- story number
Your crit of story 3

Story 4 -- story number
Story 5 -- story number
Etc

---------------------------

You are honour-bound to crit the other stories within a week or two of the close of voting. If there are more than eight stories submitted you only have to crit eight max--your top three and your choice of another five.

If any stories don't get at least three crits, I'll crit them and request the three winners to help me, so everyone should get at least three or four crits.

If for some reason you're unable to submit your story or vote on time, please let me know and we'll make due allowance.

If I don't hear from you by the due voting date I'll delete your story and redistribute the votes received appropriately.

===============

How's that? Any comments, questions? Dates okay?

Please do share progress with your story in this thread ... me, although I suggested the triggers, I have no decent ideas yet ...

Cheers,
Pat


[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited September 09, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited September 09, 2008).]


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LAJD
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Progress update:
OK, I have an idea, a synopsis and the first 500 words that veer only a little bit from the synopsis.

I am assuming that I can interpret the trigger inspiration and do not have to keep to the letter. A metaphor is valid?

I've discovered new character while thinking about this. I like her a lot. Perhaps I will kill her.

Leslie


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TaleSpinner
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quote:

I am assuming that I can interpret the trigger inspiration and do not have to keep to the letter. A metaphor is valid?

You bet. Interpretation and metaphor unlimited.

To my surprise a story popped into my mind last night, and this morning I wrote around 800 words first draft--which ain't as good as it sounds, because my first drafts usually suck. However, I like the concept and am hoping I'll get to like the characters--so far, they're all grumpy, which isn't surprising given their situation ...

Cheers,
Pat

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited September 07, 2008).]


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Devnal
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I wouldnt mind giving this a shot, can I sign up here? I like what I have and it looks like it might be the first piece of finished work since I started writing again.

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TaleSpinner
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"can I sign up here?"

You just did, and welcome, Devnal.

Cheers,
Pat


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Devnal
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"Please do not put early drafts of your story through the regular F&F threads for first 13s, for that would destroy the annonymity of voting."

---

how bout just putting out a general request to read over? (without posting the first 13) or should these be sent in with only ME seeing and editing?


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TaleSpinner
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In the last contest someone did that, and we said it was okay. So let's allow it this time again--but please, those in the contest are honour-bound not offer to review stories written for the contest in order to maintain annonymity.

I haven't amde any progress since last time, distracted by other things. Anyone making progress?

Cheers, and happy writing,
Pat


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annepin
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Heh! As usual, I'm going to wait for inspiration to strike me at the last minute.
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Devnal
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I actually finished it in 2 sittings. first thing Ive finished in a year! Ive done some editing and still need to cut about 20 words.
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Unwritten
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No progress. On the up side though, I've finished several not-writing projects and I have high hopes that some time for writing is about to open up. Now I just need an idea.
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LAJD
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Alrighty! I have a first draft that I like and is comfortably under 2000 words.

I have a personal goal to have a completed final draft by 9/20 to share with my favorite around the house critics. Looks like I may make it. Who knew?

Leslie


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philocinemas
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Is it alright to submit something (under 2000 words) that I have already sent out to a publisher but on which have not heard back?
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TaleSpinner
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Was it written as a response to the triggers? If so, sure; if not, it's not quite in the spirit of the contest--you could though offer it to the next Ready For Market round, which will start at the beginning of October.

Cheers,
Pat


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philocinemas
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It was written before the triggers, but it would apply. It was really an afterthought in case the publisher would possibly want me to shorten it (it's about 130 words over the 2000 limit right now). I might offer another story for October's Ready For Market.

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited October 12, 2008).]


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TaleSpinner
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We'd love for you to join our contest, philocinemas.

Cheers,
Pat


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philocinemas
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Thanks - I'll start putting it on a diet immediately.
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TaleSpinner
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Zac chimed.

"What?"

"You haven't made any progress. Where's your story?"

"Well, Zac, here's the thing. You might be in my ear but you are not in my head--"

"Oh yeah? Well where's your ear then?"

"--and you do not know what I'm thinking. For your information, I've been mulling it over and I think it's all the stronger for having been mulled. You know, like wine by the fireplace on a cold winter's evening--"

"Spare me the purple stuff. So when are you going to commit it to paper?"

"At the last minute ...?"

"Well. I suppose it is supposed to be sudden ..."

#

Anyone else making progress? Slow progress? Any progress?

Pat


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Devnal
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Finished and letting it sit; will probably do a quick run through before submission
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LAJD
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Yes, making progress. Still have some work to do but its coming along, and I still like the idea.
Leslie


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annepin
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Had a flickering of an idea--here, then gone. The trouble is I can't see the end. And if I can't see the end I'm afraid the story is going to go on forever.
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philocinemas
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I've got a question for you guys. My story was out to a publisher and now has come back to me. I thought about just waiting to see how it is received in this challenge, and then deciding what to do with it. It's my first submission, and I didn't have anyone look at it before sending it. Am I wrong to wait to get feedback from this challenge?
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TaleSpinner
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annepin, I have the same challenge. Every time I think I know how the story will end, I realize it won't--but sooner or later it will, it will ...

philocinemas, just my opinion, but I find feedback from Hatrack people remarkably helpful in revising a story, or building my confidence that it's as good as I'm prepared to make it and I should submit it. So by all means, get some feedback from this challenge ... or offer it to the October Ready for Market challenge which I'll start up shortly, and write something new for the Sudden fiction challenge ;-)

Cheers,
Pat


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annepin
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Could it be... I finally have an idea?
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Reagansgame
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Excuse me, Tailspinner, what are the penalties for bailing out? I have an excuse, I'm sure.
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TaleSpinner
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Penalties? Not just one penalty, but penalties? The mind boggles--what do you think, Zac?

"There isn't a penalty, is there?"

"Well no, but, since there's an opportunity ..."

"Hmm ..." (You can't normally hear a pause while Zac thinks, 'cos he thinks at machine speed, but I put this one in anyway for dramatic effect.) "...You could re-imagine the ansible you un-imagined and get the Speaker from Afar to take away the bailing bucket. Or--wait, here's a better one--how about he contacts Reagansgame like, daily, by ansible (we all know what happens to e-mail messages from speakers from afar) until some sudden fiction is written ..."

"Zac, I don't think there should be a penality, even if someone asks for one. I mean, sh*t happens, right?"

"In your world of humans, yes." Zac sighed--hard for a machine, but he's a darned clever machine. "So, no penalties?"

Turning to an imaginary Reagansgame I said, "No penalties. And thanks, Reagansgame, for letting us know. Maybe next time, and good luck with your writing."

"Nice," said Zac. "But you forgot something."

"What?"

"To say that, if bailing out was something to do with the contest--triggers, deadlines, 2000 word limit, not liking you--to please say so in order that we might improve the appeal of the contest."

"Okay--consider it said."

Cheers,
Pat

p.s. Keep working that idea, Anne--and don't let it succumb to one of Toole's Rules!


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Unwritten
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I had just despaired of coming up with an idea also, when one hit me last night. The idea fairy must have been working overtime. It practically wrote itself, but it's 2500 words and refuses to make sense if I cut it any shorter.
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Reagansgame
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Imaginary Reagansgame says thank-you.

I came out with a short story that was only 3050 words over. (oops, don't ask me why I'm incapable of shutting up on a keyboard.) The word limit is a challenge, but that's what I was looking for and now I don't have time to go through and figure out how to make it work in under 2K. I was put under deadline for my latest 100,000 words, and that's been taking all of my spare time. I must say, I enjoyed the trigger thingy. I have never experimented with sci-fi before, but made it a point to do so with those.

(P.S. I like you -- er, both of you? -- just fine )


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InarticulateBabbler
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looks like I'm out. There's no way I'll have time, life's hammering me right now.
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TaleSpinner
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"It's me, isn't it," said Zac. "They don't like me. That's why they're quitting the contest."

"No, that's not it. They're busy--writing, and that's okay."

"You should bring back the Voice from Afar. He was much better at maintaining interest in the contest--"

"No. It's not you, Zac--Reagansgame even made a point of saying she likes you. It's just that, unlike you machines, we humans aren't so good at planning our time ahead and doing a million things at the same time and doing a thousand more when life doesn't go the way we thought it would."

"You can't multi-task? You don't run on Linux?"

"Well, women say they can multi-task, but it sure ain't Linux they're running on... Zac, gimme a status report on the contest, please."

"Okay. Well, we started with 10 or so takers. A couple seem to have dropped out--and we thank them for telling us--two or three are struggling with the idea-into-written-text step, several have gone suspiciously quiet ... and," Zac made the sound of a drum roll, "Devnal has completed and sent in his story."

"Hmm--"

"Your story, by the way, is still stuck somewhere in what you call a brain."

"I'm getting to it, okay? But that's not the point. What shall we do with the contest?"

"Here's what I think," said Zac. "Keep the deadline--18.00 GMT Sat Oct 4th--and the 2000 word limit, because we know the deadline helps productivity, at least for some, and to recognise the efforts of those who meet it. Kudos to all who do meet it. Vote for a winner from stories that meet the original criteria. Keep the thread open for two more weeks and accept stories that are either late, over the word limit or both, offer them to all participants for crits anyhow, crit them yourself if nobody else does. That way, the effort people have spent thus far isn't wasted."

"Good idea. Let's do that. Thanks Zac, what would I do without you?"

"Stop talking to yourself?"

#

"And," said the Voice from Afar, "I ain't coming back."


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Unwritten
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I cut it to 2000 words. I'll find out shortly if it makes ANY sense, and send it to you anyway.

By the way, I want you to know how much I like these contests. Right now, they fit just about perfectly into my life. Left to my own devices, I would spend my time writing huge novels that don't stand a chance of getting published. The way you structure these contests fits perfectly with where I am as a writer right now. I am slowly building up my stash of short stories and someday I may even get confident enough to send a few to some magazines. It's not about the contest for me. It's all about the deadline, the triggers and the critiques, and I hope you keep them coming!

Melanie


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Kin Castelmare
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Would it be permissible to submit a novel excerpt? I ran across this thread and spent a little time thinking about it since one of these triggers is a central idea for something I'm already working on. Now, with the deadline so close, I'm not certain I can whip it into a self-standing story. It does have a beginning, middle, and end of sorts. Is there a non-competing category? I'd still be happy to offer critiques on the other entries.

I'll have to keep a close eye on this area of the forum. Looks like fun!


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annepin
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Yes, TS, I think I've expressed in the past how much I love these contests, and I'll express it again! So yes, I love these contests! The Voice from Afar was more exotic than Zac, but I like Zac's grumpy and subtle digs.

I'm on-track to send my story in! I'll let you judges decide if it makes any sense.


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philocinemas
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Hey, what about mine? I worked hard to get those 130 words off; my computer was even sweating. I'm still in aren't I?

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited October 03, 2008).]


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Unwritten
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Whew! I just sent mine off.
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TaleSpinner
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Kin Castelmare, we'd be churlish to turn you down since the idea is to get us writing. If it's way off the short story concept, maybe we'll create an honourable mention category ...

I'm gald, Anne and Unwritten, that you're enjoying these cons--I have to say that I do too. (And I'm working on re-imagining the ansible so the VfA can come back, but don't tell Zac.)

philocinemas, yes, you're still in--I think it's true to say we've found a way of accomodating everyone who wants in, so far.

Cheers,
Pat

p.s. How often would be good for these? One every couple of months or so? Monthly? Quarterly?

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited October 03, 2008).]


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Devnal
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I agree,

These contests are great. I have a busy schedule so I need this amount of time to get anything ready and submitted.

I think monthly would work for myself, but others can decide since I cannot promise to be involved everytime


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annepin
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I think quarterly would work better for me. I don't have the time to commit monthly, and it seems better to try to get a critical mass of people, which I don't think will happen if the contests are monthly.
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Unwritten
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I like quarterly too. It gives me time to think about the trigger while I work on other projects.
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TaleSpinner
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Okay, quarterly, for quality over quantity. (For anyone who wants to do these more freqeuently, there's always Liberty Hall.)

I've received entries from Devnal and Unwritten so far.

If you've e-mailed an entry to me, please either send it again ensuring the subject line is something like 'Hatrack Contest--My Story Title--myHatrackHandle' to get past the spam filters, or post 'my story's lost in the internet; now what do I do?' here, taking care not to post the story itself.

We have until the end of today for entries.

If you're planning on sending something late, please tell me so we can keep a seat warm for you at the critiqueing table, even if it won't count for the contest itself.

"When are you going to finish yours?" asked Zac.

"After you quit interrupting me without chiming," I said.

Cheers,
Pat


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TaleSpinner
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"Zac," I said. "It's done. Would you e-mail it to TS for me please?"

"I'm going to call the Voice from Afar. See if I can get some tips on handling your so-called sense of humour," said Zac.

"Ask skadder if you can borrow his Magnum," I said helpfully.


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annepin
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Okay, sent mine in! I think it's before 18:00 GMT.
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Kin Castelmare
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Have sent an entry! May the spam filters be merciful.
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philocinemas
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I sent mine to you a while back. Do you still have it, or do I need to send it again?
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LAJD
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Sorry all, I am going to have to bail on this. I have been really sick the past week and just did not get in the last edits that I think it needs. I am way too freakish to send anything in that I am not okay with.

"Apologies all around," as she slinks back to bed. ugh.
Leslie

[This message has been edited by LAJD (edited October 04, 2008).]


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skadder
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-from the shadows, stage left-

Psssst, over here.

-Talespinner, and some freaky machine on his shoulder, sidle over to the edge of the shadows. A pale hand emerges from the darkness holding a nickle-plated .357 Magnum-

Here you go. Don't forget to wipe it for prints after you use it...

-The pale hand disappears back into the gloom-

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited October 05, 2008).]


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TaleSpinner
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I have entries from

philocinemas (thanks for the reminder)
Devnal
Unwritten
Annepin
Kin Castelmare

And one due from Oliver House, who has asked for an extra day--so if anyone else can use the extra day, please do.

LAJD, sorry to hear you've been unwell. If the extra day isn't enough, please do feel free to send it along when it's finished, I'm sure I won't be alone in offering to crit it anyhow.

I'll post the first 13s tomorrow, after having received Oliver House's entry--and any others that can use the extra day--together with instructions for voting and critting ...

A shot rang out.

"The heck with chiming," said Zac. "Do I have your attention?"

"Yes," I said.

"And where's your story?"

"I thought I asked you to e-mail it to me for me."

"E-mail it to yourself yourself," said Zac. "Go ahead--make my--"

"You can't say that," I said. "Copyright."

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited October 05, 2008).]


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LAJD
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There's an extra day? Really? If so, I can work on it now and send it out later today!
Yippee!

Getting right to it now.....
8)

Leslie


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LAJD
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Puff, Puff, Puff...just sent mine in....

Leslie


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billawaboy
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Well...I didn't make it in time. Last week and this week had/has a slew of exams, and well...same ol' story - maybe next contest. Sigh. I really liked these premises too.

Still, I'm glad many others were able to make submissions. If y'all need an extra reader (after Fri the 10th) I'll be glad to help out. I'm interested in what's people have come up with.

~bb~


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LAJD
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Did I miss the posting of the first 13? No worries if it is not up yet, but I wanted to be sure not to miss the posting- somehow I seem to lose postings on this site...LOL

thanks
Leslie

Nevermind..I see now, posting to come later....8)

[This message has been edited by LAJD (edited October 07, 2008).]


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