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Writing Challenges

Quick links on this page:

about the challenges - submit - suggest a challenge - challenges run on other websites

Writing Challenge

Through the writing challenges, to date we have:

  • published 692 stories by 440 authors on this website
  • published 210 authors in 3 anthologies
  • sold 332 books
  • raised £747.05 for charity

These figures will be updated at the beginning of each month (last update 1st September 2017).

What Are The Flash Fiction Writing Challenges All About?

I'm developing these writing challenges for a variety of reasons.

Primarily, they:

  1. Guarantee publication (so you see your work published)
  2. Support some amazing charities

But there's more to it than that. Below is a little more detail.

The Fun Stuff

  • The flash fiction challenges get you thinking about different aspects of your writing
  • They encourage you to practice your writing and complete stories
  • Your submissions will be published (sometimes edited, but always published) on this website
  • Most of the submissions are published in anthologies:
    • Printed books (with registered ISBNs)
    • eBooks
    • All are sold through Amazon and raise money to support different charities
  • Submitting isn't too daunting and doesn't take long as the word count limits are so low (no more than 100 to 200 words) and the rules are very simple
  • In the future, we'll probably run book launches for all the anthologies we release, which is a great excuse to enjoy some fabulous story readings and a few bevvies

Book Launch

Martin Strike, Captain Beany, Chris Fielden and a copy of Nonsensically Challenged Volume 1, celebrating the book's release

By getting a lot of writers involved I hope to generate a nice lot of money for some very worthy causes. All the published books will contain 100 very short stories, so up to 100 different authors could be featured in each anthology. By submitting and spreading the word about the books your work is featured in, you will be helping raise money for charity at the same time as gaining exposure for your writing. Everyone's a winner.

Some writers like to take pictures of themselves in fabulous locations all over the globe, holding their copies of the writing challenge anthologies. You can see their photos here.

The Educational Stuff

  • Many of the challenges invite you to purposely make common writing mistakes (like using lots of adverbs or clichés, for example)
  • This will make you more aware of the mistakes and (I hope) will help you write better, more publishable stories in the future
  •  By participating, you gain the experience of working with an editor/publisher (me) and have your work edited into a professional format for release in a book
  • You obtain a publishing credit to add to your writing CV, often in a book with an ISBN
  • You will be involved in launching and marketing the books your stories are featured in

One of the aims of running these challenges is to raise awareness of common mistakes that fiction competition judges and magazine editors frequently highlight as reasons for rejecting stories.

Challenging you to purposefully make these 'errors' means you'll become more mindful of how to avoid them in the future. This means you're much more likely to see your stories published.

You'll also be involved in launching and selling the anthologies you're published in. This means you'll learn how to successfully publish and sell books all over the world. You can learn more about the book launch process here.

How The Challenges Support Charities

Each time 100 stories are submitted to each challenge, I will produce a professionally formatted book in print and eBook formats. The books will be distributed through Amazon and made available for sale all over the world. For every book sold, £1 will be donated to charity.

You can see how much money has been generated for charity by each individual challenge below, as part of the overview of each challenge. You can see the overall amount raised by all the challenges at the top of the page.

The books will be priced to generate an average profit of just over £1. I have to use an average because unit costs vary. This depends on the format the book is sold in (EG, print is more expensive because of the costs of printing a physical book) and many other factors including:

  • the country the book is sold in
  • current currency exchange rates
  • tax laws in different territories
  • the distribution channel the sale is made through (eg, if the book is sold by an independant book shop, the profit margin is lower as you have the print/production cost + Amazon's cut of profits + the book shop's cut of profits)
  • print costs (these vary, depending on the number of the pages in each book)
  • etc.

So, prices and profit margins do vary quite a bit.

As an example of price, Adverbially Challenged Volume 1 (the first anthology I released) retails at:

  • £5.69/$6.99 in print format
  • £2.49/$3.49 in eBook format
  • £1.49 in PDF format

I plan to ensure that every book produced through these challenges is always available for less than £10 in print format.

As I mentioned before, for every book sold, £1 will be donated to charity. The average profit per book is around £1.25. The 25p from each sale goes towards admin costs, so there is very little (if any) profit in it for me.

So why do I run the challenges? What IS in it for me?

The challenges are becoming increasingly popular, so more people are learning about my website. This means I gain more visitors/readers and brand recognition. I have adverts placed on my site (you can see them at the top and down the sides of the page). Each time someone clicks on an advert, I receive a small amount of money. Increasing the volume of website visits I receive means more people click on the adverts, so I generate more revenue from advertising.

I run my website full time and, currently, don't make enough money to live. But I want to be able to offer the content on the site for free, without having to put everything behind a payment wall. This creates a supportive community available to everyone to get involved in, even if they're totally skint. I hope to increase visits to my site over time and that will generate more money from advertising. So that's how running the challenges helps me.

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Challenge Sign

Get Involved With The Writing Challenges

Here you will find details of the micro fiction writing challenges that are currently running. Anyone of any age can submit from anywhere in the world. It doesn't matter how experienced you are - any level of capability is fine:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Professional
  • Literary genius (we all secretly hope we're one of those...)

The rules for each challenge are simple and the word count limits are short, so they're not too daunting.

I love to publish writers for the first time, so please get involved and see your work in print.

You can review the writing challenge terms and conditions here (they're very simple).

Here are the challenges that are currently open for submissions (listed in the order they were launched):

1. Adverb Writing Challenge

This challenge's full name is: Mike’s Not-Entirely-Serious Wantonly-Rule-Breaking Adverb Writing Challenge

Writers Mike Scott Thomson & Christopher Fielden

Mike & Chris & the Humber Bridge

The idea for this challenge was conceived by Mike Scott Thomson. It was launched in April 2016.

Many new writers overuse adverbs in their writing. To raise awareness of this, the Adverb Writing Challenge was born. All you have to do is write a story crammed with as many adverbs as you can.

Learn more about and submit to the Adverb Writing Challenge here.

The adverb writing challenge has been running since April 2016. We release a new book each time we receive 100 stories.

You can buy:

We are currently accepting submissions for Volume 3.

To date, we have sold 222 adverb-engorged books, raising £222 for charity.

Writing Improvement Software

 

2. N0nsense Writing Challenge

This challenge's full name is: Lesley's Nifty Nib-Nibbling Nonsensical Narrative Challenge

Chris Fielden & Lesley Truchet

Lesley & Chris hanging out on a Kawasaki, as you do...

The idea for this challenge was conceived by Lesley Truchet. It was launched in November 2016.

This challenge will highlight the need for a coherent plot and satisfying conclusion to a story. Leaving unanswered questions or having an incomplete story-arc can leave a reader feeling disappointed and unlikely to read any more of your work.

Learn more about and submit to the Nonsense Writing Challenge here.

You can buy:

We are currently accepting submissions for Volume 2.

To date, we have sold 110 nonsensical books, raising £110 for charity.

We also raised a further £335 at Martin & Jo's Nonsense Party.

Additional donations from attendees of M&J's party made directly to The Daisy Garland £60.

My nieces, Elspeth and Scarlett, also sold their doll's house on eBay and donated the profit (after postage and eBay fees) to The Daisy Garland, raising another £20.05.

Top Instruction on the Art of Writing

3. Sensory Writing Challenge

This challenge's full name is: Allen's Sensory Overload Challenge

Allen Ashley & Christopher Fielden

Allen & Chris, trapped in some sort of Photoshop-mirror-body-twin hellish nightmare

The idea for this challenge was conceived by Allen Ashley. It was launched in March 2017.

Many 'How To' books will tell you to be precise and careful when using sensory words. Here, we invite you to be profuse and bountiful in your use of purple prose.

Learn more about and submit to the Sensory Writing Challenge here.

The first anthology, Sensorially Challenged Volume 1, will be released when we've received 100 stories.

Earn $$ for your website traffic

 

4. 81 WordsWriting Challenge

81words Flash Fiction Writing Challenge

This challenge was launched in April 2017 due to unexpected circumstances - I took over the 81 words website.

I decided to use the challenge to try and set a Guinness World Record for publishing a book with the most contributing authors in history. The aim is publish 1,000 stories written by 1,000 authors in an anthology. Please get involved!

Writers Digest Shop

 

5. Cliché Writing Challenge

This challenge's full name is: Chris's Colossal Cliché Count Writing Challenge

Chris's Colossal Cliché Count Writing Challenge

Chris Writefear, talking clichés to someone who doesn't want to listen

A lot of writers overuse clichés in their prose. This detracts from the originality of their voice and can lead to a lot of rejection from publishers. The cliché challenge will focus on this common mistake.

Coming in June 2017 as part of Bath's Flash Fiction Festival. Come and see me in the Cliché Cabin on 24th/25th June at the New Oriel Hall in Bath.

Movie Magic Screenwriter

 

6. Preposition Writing Challenge

This challenge's full name is: Ville’s Preposterously Placed Prepositions Writing Challenge

Ville Nummenpää and Christopher Fielden

Chris and Ville, pictured in Portugal, at the same time, honest...

The idea for this challenge was conceived by Ville Nummenpää.

A common piece of writing advice is never to end a sentence with a preposition.

Ville says, "I have always resented that 'rule'. I keep hearing about it, and get the feeling it´s just a very snobbish, intellectual-bully sort of thing, and it wakes up the little anarchist in me."

So we've decided to wake up the anarchist in every writer across the planet, and invite them to misuse their prepostitions wantonly.

Coming winter 2017.

 

7. In The News Writing Challenge

The challenge's full name is: Alice's 'Trump This' News Writing Challenge

The idea for this challenge was conceived by Alice Creed.

When you're stuck for inspiration, you can use current events to spark your imagination. Fear, humour, exasperation, disbelief etc. are emotions often felt when hearing the news. Using a topical theme can inspire a writer, give a story focus and, therefore, interest the reader.

In this challenge we ask writers to use a current news story to inspire a work of fiction that has a clear theme.

Coming spring 2018.

 

8. Point of View Writing Challenge

The challenge's full name is: TBC

The idea for this challenge was conceived by Abbie Bennett.

Coming summer 2018.

 

9. 1 Sentence Story Challenge

The challenge's full name is: TBC

The idea for this challenge was conceived by Joseph Hancock.

Coming winter 2018.

 

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Challenges Run on Other Websites

Here, I will list links to other website that run writing challenges.

Prose.

A website running multiple flash fiction and short story writing challenges with tight deadlines.

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Suggest A Writing Challenge

Have you got an idea for a writing challenge? If so, please hold that thought...

I'm currently CLOSED to writing challenge suggestions.

Why?

Because I have enough challenges to see me through until 2019 (this update written March 2017). Blimey... what have I started?

I'll be accepting suggestions for new writing challenges in August 2018. If you have an idea, contact me AFTER THAT DATE PLEASE, and I'll consider launching the challenge on the website in the spring of 2019.

I'll also involve you with running the challenge. You can see how other writers have been involved with previous writing challenges by reviewing those that are currently running.

 

How to Write a Short Story, Christopher Fielden

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Leave your comments

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Comments:

Your comments:

Judith W
By the way, your challenges are very encouraging for new writers, whether they are young, or not-so-young.

Thank you for your continuing contests and support.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Judith.

It’s always nice to hear that people enjoy the website :-)

Lesley T
Great to know there are other challenges coming up.  I will keep my pen ready.

Chris Fielden
Fabulous.

I'm hoping to run 2 or 3 or 4 a year :-)

Lesley T
Lovely to see that the 2nd adverb challenge is reaching its target, the nonsense one too is over the half way mark. I can't wait for the forthcoming ones to appear.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Lesley. It's nice to see so many writers participating - makes it all worthwhile :-)

Shannon M
Good Day Chris, I am a very new writer, but was curious about the status of copyrights on your challenge. I don't see any notes on your site about authors retaining them, unless of course I missed it. And if it is there, would it be noted in any anthologies produced?

Chris Fielden
Hi Shannon. I keep the challenges simple, so there are no T&Cs.

However, all rights remain with the author. I add a note to the copyright section of the books confirming this.

By submitting, you just give me the right to publish the story. That’s it :-)

Shannon M
Thank you Chris. I might have a hundred word story that fits the nonsense challenge. Although there isn't nearly as much of a silliness factor as some of the others.

Chris Fielden
Hi Shannon. OK, great – I’ll look forward to reading it :-)

Judith W
Thank you for your site and your contests. I like to write and I've earned a paper back book and gotten one article published (for money). Your contests are really wonderful for all involved. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Judith. I'm glad to hear you enjoy the challenges. And that’s great about the book and article – congratulations :-)

Judith W
Thank you. There is just something special about seeing your words on the printed page!

Rachel T
Hi Chris. I hope you don't mind me asking some questions here! Just wondering, if we submit a story, can we use pseudonyms, and must we really purchase at least one book (e-book/paperback form) of the antologies?

I am too young to buy books at my own consent (:p), so I thought I could just write for charity.
If we want to submit entries, we just submit it in the COMMENTS FORM itself?

Chris Fielden
Hi Rachel. Yes, you can use a pseudonym if you want to.

You don't have to buy a book, but I do encourage authors featured in the book to do as much as they can to generate sales when the books are released. This gets all the authors more exposure and generates more money for charity.

Yes, you submit your stories using the comment forms. Or just send me an email with the story in it – whichever is easiest :-)

I hope that answers all your questions.