Flash Fiction Challenge: Super-Ultra-Mega Game Of Aspects

Last week’s challenge: The Game Of Aspects, Redux

Get your d10.

Go to your random number generator.

It’s time to pick from five categories. All five! DO IT DO IT NOW.


This time, I’ll give you 2,000 words.

Post at your blog or online space.

Link back here.

Due by next Friday, March 8th, noon EST.


  1. Weird West
  2. Epic Fantasy
  3. Monster (Vampire, Werewolf, etc.) Erotica
  4. Southern Gothic
  5. Time Travel
  6. Lovecraftian
  7. Space Opera
  8. Psychological Thriller
  9. Hardboiled
  10. Sci-Fi Satire


  1. The Rainforest
  2. An Opium Den
  3. The Zoo
  4. Center of the Earth
  5. Inside Someone’s Mind
  6. The Devil’s Palace
  7. An Art Museum
  8. On A Form Of Public Transportation (Bus, Plane, Taxi, Etc.)
  9. The Villain’s Lair
  10. A Popular Nightclub on Friday Night


  1. Revenge!
  2. Haunted by Guilt!
  3. Love Triangle!
  4. Ecological Disaster!
  5. A Difficult Choice!
  6. Abduction!
  7. Political Maneuvering!
  8. A Ticking Clock!
  9. Betrayal!
  10. Temptation Versus Virtue!

Aspect To Include

  1. A mysterious locket
  2. A rare bird
  3. A bad dream
  4. A lever-action rifle
  5. A forbidden book
  6. A treasure map
  7. A piece of undiscovered technology
  8. A monkey
  9. A severed hand
  10. A small town


  1. Chaos always trumps order
  2. Love will save the day
  3. Love will fuck everything up
  4. Vanity is man’s downfall
  5. Nature is man’s greatest enemy
  6. Man’s greatest enemy is himself
  7. Sex is power
  8. Never make a deal with the devil
  9. Mankind’s imperative is to discover
  10. Innocence can never be regained


  • Sounds fun, but wow…I evidently roll dice like Wil Wheaton. I either got really lucky or really shafted with the conventional. Guess I’ll have to find a way to turn the result on its ear.
    6 – Lovecraftian, 1 – The Rainforest, 6 – Abduction, 1 – A mysterious locket, 8 – Never make a deal with the devil. And oddly enough, I’ve been writing some Lovecraftian works lately.

    • Hey, Wheaton may roll “fuck-all-bullshit” but he makes it entertaining when he does. I’m sure that what you’ll cook up will be awesome and can’t wait to see it. : )

  • 2, 1, 8, 7, 1.

    An epic fantasy set in the rainforest, featuring an impending deadline, undiscovered technology, and which contains the theme of chaos trumping order. Awwwww yeah.

    I don’t really want to approach this from a sword-and-sorcery perspective, so I checked out the definition of epic fantasy to see what my wiggle room was. Turns out that all it means is the story takes place in an imaginary world distinct from our own. I think I know exactly to whom I ought to turn for this one.

  • I’m evidently writing a space opera in the center of the earth (talk about opposites . . .), with political maneuvering (my favorite!), a severed hand (gore = one of my true loves as well), with the theme “love will fuck everything up”.

    This is going to be the weirdest space opera EVER.

  • Opium and Time Travel? I think Coleridge may make an appearance.

    SUBGENRE: Time Travel
    SETTING: An Opium Den
    CONFLICT: Love Triangle!
    ASPECT TO INCLUDE: A mysterious locket
    THEME: Mankind’s imperative is to discover

  • Good God, man … this is a LOT like the one-hour drama I have in development. I’m always calling it ‘magical realism’, but this is closer to the truth:

    Lovecraftian monster erotica (’cause all the cool kids are doing it?) time-travel space opera, hardboiled psychological thriller sci-fi satire. (And a few from the last challenge: erotic faerie-tale, superheroes, parallel universe, and technothriller; also, warring families and a lot of dreamstate craziness.)

    I love the themes, too: love will fuck everything up, man’s greatest enemy is himself, sex is power and never make a deal with the devil.

    Conflicts include: revenge, haunted by guilt, love triangle, a difficult choice, abduction, political manoeuvring, a ticking clock, betrayal, and a (smidge) of temptation versus virtue.

    Some aspects: forbidden books, undiscovered technology, bad dreams, and mysterious lockets / medallions. (But no monkeys. Clearly, we’re missing monkeys.)

    Just when I had that, ‘man, I hope we’re original enough’ feeling.

    … and that’s just the pilot.

    Thanks, Chuck. Doubt-crisis averted. If I’ve got time, I’ll definitely participate in this, too.

  • Parametres drawn. . .

    Subgenre: Monster Erotica
    Setting: An Art Museum
    Conflict: Betrayal!
    Aspect to include: A severed hand
    Theme: Innocence can never be regained

    Have just finished, and . . . it was a fun challenge, if a sad story. I’m pleased. (Even though I won’t be posting mine anywhere – haven’t anywhere to post it at the moment.)

    Thanks for the challenge!

  • Space Opera

    The Villain’s Lair

    Love Triangle!

    A lever-action rifle

    Vanity is man’s downfall

    …My random number generator obviously has a sense of humor…

  • This is my first time and look at what I got. Refund?

    SUBGENRE: Hardboiled
    SETTING: The Devils Palace
    CONFLICT: Haunted by Guilt!
    ASPECT TO INCLUDE: A Severed Hand
    THEME: Love will save the day

    Looking forward to a challenge!

    Star xx

  • Uh… Mine seems to be monster erotica that takes place in an opium den, whilst the players indulge in revenge! It all centers around a mysterious locket, and during the course of it all we will learn that Nature is most definitely mans greatest enemy.

    • LOL I would have traded my monster erotica for your psycho thriller. Maybe we need to make this into a card game where every week you are dealt x cards and then you can trade them back and forth! Although writing it was a challenge even if I don’t want my friends to read my blog this week HAHA

  • Chuck, I totally love your writing. I’ve bought “250 Things You Should Know About Writing” and read it, I’ve subscribed to your blog for every post and really enjoy it, and this one seemed intriguing and motivating, and I was getting inspired and excited as I read down the lists of choices and decided to to take the challenge, but then I read the last list and was gobsmacked. I really was honestly surprised that you would use such male-centric terminology, the kind of language you only hear with men who don’t understand about white male privilege.

    I can’t apologise, I had to say this. I’ll probably get a lot of flack for it from your fans, and I really don’t expect anything to change, but, yeah, I said it. I won’t do the challenge. You’re still an amazingly funny, intelligent, entertaining writer…

    • Are you talking about his use of the word “man” in the themes like “Man’s downfall,” etc.?
      Are you taking it to literally mean that gender-man is the one experiencing these things as opposed to mankind/human race/fate-of-humanity?

      “Love will save the day,” is not limited to a man saving a woman. You could write a woman saving a woman, man saving a man, alien saving a puppy, it’s not limited to traditional views like “saving the damsel in distress.” (If that was another issue you were having.)

      I’m honestly not sure where this is coming from; I’m trying to understand. I don’t know if you’ve noticed in his blog posts. When he is talking about a writer performing the task of writing, he refers to the writer as “she.”

      • Hi Paige,

        Yes, to the first:

        Vanity is man’s downfall
        Nature is man’s greatest enemy
        Man’s greatest enemy is himself
        Mankind’s imperative is to discover

        It was probably just an accident or oversight on Chuck’s part, because I have also noticed his alternating gender-address technique, which is excellent. I know it seems nitpicky on my part, but it is just as easy to use humankind or humanity instead of man…

        I still admire Mr Wendig. He is one of my personal writing heroes…

        So, maybe I will do the challenge…

    • It’s not because I am a ‘fan’ that I’m saying this, it’s because I am a woman. Sometimes its possible to take PC too far. While I totally respect your right to your own opinion I have to say that scolding someone for some perceived ‘male-centric’ terminology is silly. Good for you for standing up for what you believe in, although it is only your loss for having missed out on a challenging writing opportunity.

      I hope you will also see that it is my right to put forth my own opinion and say sometimes you have to put on your big girl panties, and live in the real world where sometimes someone may say something that was not meant to put you down, and that the way YOU process it may be the actual problem.

      • Of course, Onethemis, I respect your right to put forth your opinion, but if I am taking political correctness too far, then please tell me what is NOT taking it too far. Would it be okay if Chuck had written something like this?

        Vanity is womens’ downfall
        Nature is the Jews’ greatest enemy
        The black man’s greatest enemy is himself
        The Asian imperative is to discover


        Why not?

        If it’s not okay to make gross and disrespectful generalizations about particular segments of the population, then why is it okay and not disrespectful to look away at the exclusion of 56% of the US population? That looks worse than a gross generalization. Women make up that 56%, why should they be excluded? I’m sure there are quite a few women following Chuck’s blog, why would he exclude them?

        I have got my “big girl panties” on, Onethemis, and I still get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut when every person is referred to as a man. Would you be offended if people started calling you a man? Would Chuck be offended if people referred to him as a woman? What if everyone completely excluded all reference to men and used womankind as the moniker for all of humanity? Would men just brush that off as some kind of perceived female-centric language and feel that it was okay? Would they be called “silly” if they pointed it out as a misrepresentation?

        It’s really not that hard to use non-sexist language, words like humanity and humankind work just as well. So, when I read sentences like this, “Man’s greatest enemy is himself” I feeI it, because I’m not a “him”, I’m a her, and I’m not a man, I’m a woman. They’re just words, are they? They don’t have to be that accurate? Well, Chuck’s business is words, shouldn’t he be more accurate than your average letter scrawler? I believe he is a master craftsman, and if that is so, then he would have chosen those words carefully and deliberately. I say, writer beware. If half of your readers are women, then “accidental” sexism will not go unnoticed. If you address all of us with the same respect, you don’t risk losing our readership.

        Finally, Onethemis, I would really like to know if you’ve got a logical reason why you think I am “silly” to point this out, when all I want is to be respected enough to be included when the whole population is addressed? I just don’t think it’s too much to ask…

        • I am a person of personitude who believes that all persons are persons under a personification of divine personage. We are all people of persons, both parsons and persons that should be treated as persons and not objectified as persons or people.

          Thank the general personage.

        • “I believe he is a master craftsman…”


          Carry on, you seem to be doing God’s work. I’m sure it’s very proud.

          Edit: Changed God from “he’s” to “it’s.”

          • Regardless of context, that word is odious to my eyes. I can’t believe people in the past thought it was okay to qualify gender… it just makes everything too clear-cut, you know? Like, where’s the ambiguity? Sure, you can assume someone is a [hu]man or a wo[hu]man, but what if they identify otherwise? No thank you, person, I’ll continue to use words that don’t hint at either gender, ever. Don’t want to make anyone feel bad.

          • Good on you,, Mr Dorough. It’s excellent to see someone stick to their principles. Personally, I don’t mind using some gendered language, as long as it accurately refers to a person’s gender without exclusion or offensiveness. I am a women and I am happy to be a woman, so you can call me a craftswoman…

  • Subgenre: Lovecraftian
    Setting: Opium Den
    Conflict: Haunted by Guilt!
    Aspect to Include: A Rare Bird
    Theme: Never Make a Deal with the Devil

    I foresee a protagonist attempting to forget himself inside of an opium den near the Himalayas, wracked by atavistic guilt by the deal his great-grandfather made with the devil years ago, the details of which stipulated the delivery of a certain rare bird….

    Should be fun, hope I can do Lovecraft justice.

  • Here it is:

    Hardboiled/Villian’s Lair/Abduction/Small Town/Man’s Greatest Enemy Is Himself.

    I’ve written roughly about 3,500 words. I couldn’t make it any shorter, so I hope I haven’t rambled too much in it. I’ve picked through the finished article. I hope there aren’t too many mistakes I’ve missed. Please feel free to comment on it.

    I present to you Let The Season Turn


  • Lovecraftian – The Devil’s Palace – Haunted by Guilt! – A small town – Chaos always trumps order

    I don’t this is going to be a feel-good story.

  • March 3, 2013 at 1:21 PM // Reply

    Lovecraftian / Rainforest / A difficult choice / a treasure map / sex is power

    This will take some work to shoehorn everything in.

  • Rainforest seems to come up more. Psychological thriller in the rainforest with political maneuvering a small town and sex is power. Interesting. Also changing up how I do my flash fiction since I’m still writing last week’s.

  • I got Sci-Fi Satire/On A Form Of Public Transportation/Revenge/A mysterious locket/Sex is power. Here is the short and deeply silly story that resulted: andreaspeed.com/2013/flash-fic-challenge-the-empire-strikes-bus/

  • Time Travel – The Devil’s Palace – Political Manoeuvring – A Severed Hand – Vanity Is Man’s Downfall.

    Looking forward to doing this!

  • I’m working on my entry right now but could I get all impudent and please make a request? Could you blog something on how you plan i.e. how you, personally, b-smack the ideas in your brain into becoming words on a page? This input would be greatly appreciated. (grovels and backs out slowly)

      • I always write several ‘first’ paragraphs out and then decide which one moves the story forwards. I have several word documents with strange, odd and down right weird first paragraphs cluttering up the hard drive. Just think of the first thing in your head and go with it. If you feel it can’t be used, write out another one. You’d be surprised how effective this can be.

      • I use the method of a number of famous authors. Liquor. Kidding…somewhat, but I have used drink to help my head hone in on what I’m doing and stop being so analytical about it. Not saying you should crack open some Old Crow, but I guess, try to find a way to focus on the task without over-thinking it.

        Sometimes a full idea will plunk itself down on my head-couch and ask me to pass the chips, but more likely it will be a half formed idea, a scene, a character with a snippet of dialogue, much like this challenge, and that’s when I need to do some soul searching. I open a Word doc and brainstorm. What’s it about? What genre? Who are the main characters? The Protag? Antag? Sidekick? Secondary characters? Love interest, if any? I go through and fill in any info I can think of for them.

        Rico Mason – muscular jock – plays football in college – secretly likes that nerdy girl who thinks he’s a brainless wonder – has an ability – power to manipulate his density – how did he get it? Does anyone else know? Does he have enemies? – he and Toby Taylor were together in the woods when a meteorite splashed down in a pond – Toby was hurt – Rico ran – Is Toby the enemy or is a relative of Toby’s?

        And I keep going until I have a coherent start for the character. I do the same for all the characters I can think of. I don’t always know all of them, but that’s some of the fun of the journey.

        That done, I start writing down questions about the setting, story, theme, and such and answer them as best I can until I have the bare bones. I used to be much more of a pantser, but finally realized that I wasn’t getting a dang thing finished because I didn’t have the barest clue where I was going, so I will take those bones and flesh it out just enough with a synopsis, the length depending on the complexity of the story. Not as hard as it sounds, but there is the danger of going too far and losing the desire to flesh it out into much more. I know people who write a synopsis and then feel they’ve written the story and lose the desire to do more. If you’re more of a pantser, you may want to keep the synopsis to a minimum, a sentence or two each scene maybe just to keep it straight, and go from there.

        Yet, as with all things writerly, this is just how I do it. There’s no one right way to write and your mileage may vary.

  • I rolled:

    ► Southern Gothic
    ► Inside Someone’s Mind
    ► Ecological Disaster
    ► A piece of undiscovered technology
    ► Nature is Man’s greatest enemy

    The hell am I supposed to do with all that?! >.< And in three days?! I'm so screwed…

  • A perverse curiousity had me pushing the buttons on the random number thing at 10pm.

    The results?

    Psychological thriller/ Public transportation/ Betrayal/ A small town/ Chaos trumps order

    Damn it, Challenge accepted.

  • I rolled 1. Subgenre, Lovecraftian 2. Setting, The Zoo 3. Conflict, Revenge 4. Aspect to include, A Bad Dream 5. Theme, Nature is Man’s Greatest Enemy
    I was dismayed when I saw this combination, but it worked out well. A little over word count, I give you

    Helga http://wp.me/p1BAlV-4v

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