Flash Fiction Challenge: “The Lady And The Swordsman”

Last week’s challenge — “The Fourth Of July” — demands your reading eyes.

It’s another photo-based flash fiction challenge.

Look at that photo above.

Write 1000 words based off whatever that picture calls to mind inside the crazy teacup that is your skull.

Any genre will do.

As always: you’ve one week to complete this. Friday, 7/15, by noon EST.

Post at your blog.

Drop a link below.

Link back here if you’re so inclined.

And that’s that.

Get to writing.

Oh — wait.

One more thing.

Everybody still enjoying these challenges? Want to make sure that you’re all into them. Further, if you’ve any requests or suggestions, you know my ears are peeled back, the earholes ready to receive your wisdom.

(Further, I’ll add that above, “Swordsman” may be inaccurate — that masked individual looks to be wearing a woman’s blouse, so excuse any sexism implicit in the title. I just thought it had a nice flow. You don’t even need to cling to either of those ideas — just use the picture as your springboard toward awesome fiction.)

Go write, gods-damnit.

40 comments

  • I’ve never done one of these yet, but not for lack of interest. They always sound like fun. I just have too many other writing projects going on at the moment. But if I get some time in the next few weeks (and I think I will) then I’ll probably give it a shot.

  • I am always into these, Chuck.

    Lately I have been pumping out 4k words a night trying to finish this revision. I’d say I am a good 20 pages from finishing. With that in mind, I’ve been trying really hard to stay loyal to the novel and not be a word slut by dragging my gland all over another short story.

    This one, I am going to do my best to get to.

    I think the exercises are always good and healthy. Please keep them going.

  • I’ve only done a few of these but always love reading the entries. Lack of time is my excuse. Please keep these challenges going.
    I have a suggestion: “your mother”. Not yours Chuck, but the mother, a mother, the mother-in-law, ya know what I mean — I hope.

  • I don’t even know WHAT that thing beside the woman is. It reminds me of an alien.

    And I love these. But I’ll be honest and confess I only did the ones where I could get a prize.

    Though once I finally did one, I find them really good and helpful exercises. Suggestions? I don’t know. …More prizes? I’m horrible.

  • Well, I can’t speak for everyone else, but as for myself I enjoy them when I enjoy them. When I don’t enjoy them, I don’t write a story. Sometimes a challenge speaks to me and sometimes not. But if you stop doing them it’s gonna suck because checking to see what prompt you’ve come up with has become part of my weekly routine now.
    If you’re feeling like maybe you’re in a rut, perhaps you should give a contest on twitter for the best idea for a challenge. Or something.
    The important question is this: are YOU still having fun?

    • @Albert, Kate –

      Oh, I’m still enjoying them, and I assumed others were given the volume of stories produced. I can’t offer a prize every week, in part because I don’t want to sit in judgment every week over stories — it’s actually pretty damn hard to do that, given the quality of some of the tales. I just wanted to make sure there was nothing I could be doing better to keep everybody in the challenge. Further, I’d love to see lurkers de-lurk, or folks who don’t usually participate get in and participate.

      – c.

  • Pretty much everything Albert says. If the challenge speaks to me, I try to do it. Life being what it is right now doesn’t always mean I finish it and post it (*shakes fist in the general direction of everything*), but I enjoy popping in on Friday morning and seeing what the prompt is.

    Prizes are good, exposure is better. I liked your vacation horror challenge from last year. Another round of something similar would give you some time off, keep the blog churning out content, and probably scratch the backs of a lot of your fans. Or hell, you can take a favorite or two from the weekly challenges and repost them during the weekends.

    Or, should you offer up more critiques I could be persuaded to delurkify myself more often. *not-so-innocent whistle* (Provided, of course, you have the time and energy to do said critiques.)

  • That picture’s sent me off looking for a story fragment I wrote several years ago – I suddenly have an entirely different angle on one of the characters in it. She’s the one with the sword.

  • @Harry: Yeah, yeah, me, me. I’m sure I can find a 2 X 4 out in the garage. Then she can REALLY play the victim. But what will Bristles do to kick it up a notch?

    Just joking of course…

  • I did my first challenge because a prize was being offered to the winner (a critique). I also really enjoyed the idea of choosing two genres and writing a mash-up.

    I chose the fourth of July one because I had a dark idea that I wanted to get out.

    Like several people have said, time is my biggest problem. I’m revising a memoir — and I’m finding that revising is hard as hell.

    One thing I love, besides writing the stories, is the traffic and feedback I receive on my blog! That is enough to keep me going — when I have the time.

    Chuck, I guess one thing I would like to see is your chiming in; you know, a little “I like how the fox and the mongoose fell in love and mated in your story!” or “Good job describing the alien sex tourists that invade Omaha!”

    In other words, some nuggets of encouragement from time to time would be good; especially since we all idolize you! I do realize, however, that it would require extra time on your part; it’s just a suggestion, though.

    Beard the fuck on!

  • Same as Albert and Kate — if the prompt sets off a flare of inspiration, I go with it. If not, I come back and enjoy what other people submit. (For example, I’m not confident that I have a good ear for noir, so I don’t dare write it just yet. But I’ve dug the entries in the noir-themed challenges!)

    Oddly, I think I do better with the picture prompts or the “here’s a phrase/word/etc” ones.

    So yes please, keep ‘em coming!

  • Chuck,
    I love your challenges, although my day job has intruded on my ability to participate of late. Below, you’ll find the link to my entry with the following qualifications:
    1. It’s > 1000 words
    2. I wrote it two days before the challenge

    BUT, I think it works thematically and, hey, Margo’s home is ‘terribleminds’ – she was born on Flash Fiction Friday.

    “Margo Heats It Up” is at http://sittingindarkness.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/margo-heats-it-up/

  • I will be taking part in this challenge (albeit not yet, havn’t made my mind up about the story) and I would definitely, definitely say keep doing these challenges. Once a week is good, but I would say to do your best to walk a line between specific and general prompts. I would say the last few have been a little too general. If they’re too general, it won’t inspire/challenge. Imagine the writers like water that you want to form into a river. If you don’t make the cut into the earth deep or well defined enough, it won’t really create a fast moving current. Just a series of thoughts

  • For some reason, when I put a link on my site to here, it shows up as a comment. How do I make that stop? What am I doing wrong? Make all these voices in my head stop giving me bad advice on HTML!
    Speaking of which, the first draft of this that was in my head was about a woman who seeks out bad relationships because she is addicted to the pain of heartbreak. However, I’m just too much of a happy person to write a downer like that.

    Go Ax Alice

    (By the way, I may have figured it out. We’ll see, if no extra comment appears. I unchecked “allow trackbacks”.)

  • I’m new to these but I think they’re great. It’s always fun running with someone else’s thought soup. Obviously real life gets in the way some weeks but that’s to be expected.

    How hard would it be to set up a simple poll so the readers could vote on which entries they like? Then you could link to the winners at the start of next week’s challenge. I know as an author trying to find his audience that more eyeballs sent my way would be a fantastic prize.

  • I like Joseph Devon’s idea–i was just going to post something along those lines. And, like Lesann, I think I discovered this site about 2 months ago as well.
    All this time I thought I was writing for fame, fortune, and babes–and not necessarily in that order. As it turns out, I’m writing because I want people to read it and like it. I thought about joining narcissists anonymous–but Christ, who wants to be anonymous. Besides, if I joined that group they would all just talk about themselves.
    My point is, it fulfills a part of me that I didn’t realize needed fulfilling. It pleases me to no end to have you all come and read my stories. I am especially overjoyed with the fact that writers–real writers, published writers–leave a kind word and it’s not even condescending. Or, at least, I don’t think it is. Don’t correct me; I am perfectly happy in my oblivious naivete.
    And I do go and read every one else as well, but not until I’ve written mine, because I don’t want to taint my…whatchamacallit. Whether I leave a comment or not, I do read them, and I do enjoy them, and I am learning from all of you. Thanks a bazillion.
    BTW, I figured out recently that my own personal style is humor. For this challenge I stepped outside of that box and tried something different. Thanks to all who read and liked it.

  • I am kind of new the blog world, but I would love to submit an entry to your challenge. But, I just cannot figure out how to submit my piece. How about helping an old man out . . .

  • Chuck, I think that I solved my delimna. I posted my drabble entry on my blogsite. Please visit there to view my submission. If this is the incorrect method, please let me know. Thanks, Jackie.

  • http://penpalatable.blogspot.com

    Hey, Chuck . . . I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, dude. I posted my link here, but it seems inactive. Also, I just received notice of your Halloween Ball drabble yesterday on
    7-15-11 from Damyanti’s blog, wrote it late last night and posted it today.. I really want to participate in this weeks contest, so give me a senior citizen break and take my entry late . . .
    Your opinion is invaluable to me – love your website. Thanks . . .Jackie the Dinosaur!
    51 and gettin’ younger . . .LOL

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