Flash Fiction Challenge: “Must Love Guns”

Do check out the stories from last week’s challenge, in which writers torment their protagonists.

This week? I’ve got a book to give away.

An actual, honest-to-Jeebus physical book.

I know! Those do still exist. I may even decide to send it in a package made of dodo bones.

Anyway, this week, I’ll pick one story that I do love oh so very much, and the writer of that story will earn the above book — CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA, stories by Frank Bill. Let me be clear when I say that these stories represent a ragged, saw-toothed collection of mean-ass crime fiction — country noir set in the Heartland. Frank’s prose is equally gnarly, and represents a very distinct voice. Writers this good don’t come around all that often, so trust me when I say, you want this collection.

This is an advanced copy, too. Isn’t out until next month.

That should juice your trousers.

(Though be advised, I can only send it to folks in the US of A. That’s not to say international peeps can’t still contribute fiction, only that they ain’t up for the book.)

One thing I noticed when reading this collection is, HOLY SHIT, GUNS. See, I’m a bit of a gun nut. Sure, sure, I may be socially liberal, but like it or no, I’m a gun guy. My father was a gun collector, a gunsmith, and a gunseller, and as a result I grew up around guns. Mostly long-arms with the occasional pistol. Hell, to clear out carpenter bees my father loaded CCI .22 shotshells into a piece of shit Italian .22 revolver and had me shoot the bees one at a time as they swarmed up around our barn. There I was, 12-years-old, executing bees with a .22 revolver in our driveway.

Probably not legal. But whatever. Those were good times.

Anyway, on damn near every page of Frank Bill’s collection: guns. 12 gauge. H&K .40. A .38 snubnose. Another 12 gauge. Again and again: gun porn. And I like me some gun porn.

So, that’s your job.


Well, really, all I ask is that you write a piece of crime fiction that features — and c’mon, this is so easy — guns as a feature. That’s like a present to you, from me. Mmmm. Guns.

You have 1000 words.

Short flash fiction. Not a vignette but a complete story.

Due by Friday, August 19th.

I’ll pick a favorite in the week after.

Post at your online space. Link back here. Direct us to your tale in the comments of this post.

Crime + Guns = Awesome.

Get to work.



We have our winner.

Some good stuff, here. Tricky, though, because some stuff a) wasn’t crime or b) was over the limit. Further, I’ll still note that it’s hard to read some stories because of the blogs — in particular, busy backdrops hiding behind white text. Had to copy/paste into a WORD doc just to read without getting headachey.

Anyway. Winner?

CM Stewart.

For this disturbing and well-written gem:


Kiss The Gun.

Or what I would call, “Harvey Gets The Shot.”


67 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: “Must Love Guns””

  1. Nice one! Definitely going to have to jump into this little turkey shoot! Guns=awesome. I think it has to do with where we grew up, in good ol’ Western PA. The first day of Buck Season is a school holiday, for chrissakes! Turning twelve was a *huge* deal, since that’s when you could finally get a license and carry a boomstick yourself.

  2. Okay, so I know I’m from good ol’ Ontario, so I can’t participate in the winning, but I can’t not participate in the challenge.

    I just spent a day last week doing gun research with my brother for my book, Dissecting Dallas… so it’s all fresh in my head.

    Chuck, your Vignette/Story phrase inspired me (if you want to know how, you just have to read it). I know I’m guilty of vignettes. What can you do, I’m not a short story writer 🙂

    Some sarcasm to start your morning.


  3. I have failed in this effort, and would certainly understand that this takes me out of the running for the prize (though know I’ll likely buy it on my own), but wanted to submit my story nonetheless:


    I went over 369 words. Couldn’t cut it down. Couldn’t do it. Could. Not. Do. It. But it was way too much fun to write not to submit.

    Thanks as always, Chuck.

    Yee-haw. Blammo! Blam! Blam! Bang! Ka-pow!

  4. This is a fun topic. Here’s Microchip which takes place in the Land of Smiles, Corruption, and Pederasts – Thailand!

    In the unlikely event that I win, I would like Mr. Wendig to send Crimes in Southern Indiana to my Grandma in Michigan, who probably knows some of the people the book is based on.

  5. […] I had four people volunteer to read my short story last week, and have had two people come back to me with their thoughts and feedback so far. They’ve both been a great help, and I’m looking forward to getting all the feedback in so I can get started on some reworking. Yay for feedback! I also wrote another flash fiction story for Chuck Wendig’s weekly competition. […]

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