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Mike's Not-Entirely-Serious Wantonly-Rule-Breaking Adverb Writing Challenge

Quick links on this page:

rules & how to enter - what is an adverb - about the challenge - read adverb-riddled stories

Mike Scott Thomson & Christopher Fielden

Mike Scott Thomson & Chris Fielden, looking devilishly handsome (hmm...) after undertaking the long and arduous journey to Hull

Welcome to Mike's Not-Entirely-Serious Wantonly-Rule-Breaking Adverb Writing Challenge. Like its creator, it's very simple (sorry, Mike...). And fun too.

Writing Improvement Software

Rules & How To Enter

This is a flash fiction challenge. Here are the rules:

  • 100 words max
  • please include a title for your story (not included in word count)
  • try and use as many adverbs as you can
  • entry is FREE
  • anyone can enter
  • no more than 1 entry per person please
  • no profanity please - the competition has been shared with schools/children
  • your adverb-riddled tales will be published on this page
  • every time we receive 100 stories, we'll publish all of them in a book
  • any money made through anthology sales will go to charity
  • by submitting, you accept the terms and conditions
  • when anthologies are published, you will be involved in the book launch process
  • submit your story by filling in the comments form below
  • include a short biography (40 words max) for use in the published book - if you don't supply a bio, we will be unable to publish your story
  • include 1 link (optional) to your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.

So far, we're received 339 entries. We need 61 more to publish the next anthology.

The first anthology – Adverbially Challenged Volume 1 – was released in November 2016. It contains the first 100 stories submitted to the challenge.

Adverbially Challenged Volume 2 was released on 30th March 2017. It contains another 100 stories.

Adverbially Challenged Volume 3 will be released during spring 2018. It contains yet another 100 stories.

We will release Volume 4 when we have received 400 stories.

You can learn how to buy the books below.

Mike and I would like to thank everyone who has submitted stories for their support – it is very much appreciated :-)

Proceeds generated by anthology sales will be donated to First Story.

First Story Charity Logo

First Story supports and inspires creativity, literacy and confidence in UK secondary schools where over 50% of the pupils are considered deprived. The charity helps young people nurture and develop their creative writing skills.

Below is a letter we received from First Story after we made the first donation payment to them in January 2017. I'm sharing it here so that all the writers and readers who have contributed to this project can read it:

Dear Chris and Mike,

I am writing to thank you for your donation of £101 towards First Story’s programme, made following the impressive sale of 101 anthologies. It is incredibly generous of you to donate the proceeds of Adverbially Challenged Volume 1 sales to First Story, and we are delighted to hear that you have already received many entries for Volume 2. Your support will make a significant difference to our work with young people and we are truly grateful.

As you know, First Story aims to bridge the creativity gap by bringing writers into schools serving low-income communities.Through participating in writing residencies and other writing activities, our students are flourishing in confidence and creativity, developing key skills that will underpin their future success.We’re presently running 70 writing residencies, working with 1,500 students in the East Midlands, South West, London, Hull and West Yorkshire.

The impact First Story has on students is truly extraordinary and it can enhance the quality of their lives. Our work simply would not be possible without those, like you, who share our vision and ambition for young people.

Yours sincerely,

Mónica Parle

Executive Director, First Story

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What Is An Adverb?

An adverb is a word that is used to describe an adjective, verb or another adverb. They are commonly referred to as 'words ending in ly', although not all of them do.

Adverbs are often overused by amateur fiction writers. Hence, a common writing tip is 'don't overuse adverbs'. For example, Stephen King advises this in his book, On Writing, A Memoir Of The Craft.

I made the mistake of overusing them when I started out in writing and learnt the hard way that editing most of them out of your prose can vastly improve your writing. That said, don't feel you can't use them at all. You can, just don't over do it.

You can learn lots more about adverbs in this very useful resource by Your Dictionary.

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How The Adverb Writing Challenge Came To Be

Mike and I first met through the To Hull & Back humorous short story competition. Mike won the inaugural contest and travelled to Hull when I made the first winner's video.

Mike Thomson and Chris Fielden

Mike & Chris at the To Hull & Back anthology book launch

About a year later, Mike wrote a post for my blog, featuring his short story Me, Robot which was published by The Fiction Desk. Part of the post talks about the 'rules' of best practice for fiction writing, one of which is – you guessed it – don't use too many adverbs. While we were discussing this by email, we thought it might be fun to create a challenge that wantonly breaks this rule. We're such rebels geeks...

And so, the Adverb Writing Challenge was conceived and born. Originally, the challenge comprised part of Mike's post.

We decided that if we received 20 entries, we'd create a dedicated page to the challenge. We hit that milestone on 24th June 2016, hence this page exists.

We decided that if we received 1oo entries, we'd release an anthology. We hit that target on 3rd August 2016. The anthology – Adverbially Challenged Volume 1 –was released in November 2016 in print and eBook formats.

We decided that if we received 200 entries, we'd release a second anthology. We hit that target on 26th January 2017.

If we receive another 100 entries, we'll release Adverbially Challenged Volume 3. Again, all the proceeds will go to charity. If we don't receive another 100 entries, it's a bit of fun, you can read all the stories here on the site and you now know about the fabulous First Story charity and might donate to them in the future.

Win, win, win.

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Adverb Riddled Stories

Below are all the stories that have been submitted, crammed to exploding point with unnecessary adverbage. They are published in the order in which they were received.

Adverbially Challenged Volume 1

The first 100 stories submitted to the Adverb Challenge were removed from the site on 1st October 2016. They are now available to read in Adverbially Challenged Volume 1.

You can learn how to buy the book and support charity here.

Adverbially Challenged Anthology Volume 1

The book contains stories written by 91 different authors.

Profits from sales will be donated to the First Story charity every 3 to 6 months, depending on the volume of books sold. You can see how much has been raised by all the challenges run on this website on the main Writing Challenges page.

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Adverbially Challenged Volume 2

The second collection of 100 stories submitted to the Adverb Challenge were removed from the site on 1st February 2017. They are now available to read in Adverbially Challenged Volume 2.

You can learn how to buy the book and support charity here.

Adverbially Challenged Volume 2

The book contains stories written by 72 authors who reside all over the planet.

All future anothologies will contain stories by 100 writers as we are now limiting submissions to 1 per person.

For the sake of history, here are the opening notes Mike and I wrote when we opened submissions for the second anthology.

An opening note from Chris Fielden

Sadly, the legendary Allen Ashley regrettably missed out on the deliciously tempting target of submitting story number 100 to the Adverb Challenge. Ironically, his delightfully entitled story 'The Final Word' will open Adverbially Challenged Volume 2. Somehow, I feel this is fitting for this splendidly silly test of tantalisingly titillating adverb usage.

And from Mike Scott Thomson

So, we made it to 100 (and beyond)! Thanks so much to everyone for contributing to this undoubtedly daft, but indubitably satisfying challenge - and I'm sure First Story will be pleased too. Very much looking forward to Adverbially Challenged Vol 1 being released in November, just in time – hopefully – for the filling of stockings (Yulely).

And as for Volume 2, in the spirit of wantonly-rule-breaking, I couldn't think of a more appropriate story to kick things off than one called "The Final Word". Verily, I see great things ahead.


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Adverbially Challenged Volume 3

We received our 300th story on the 11th of November 2017. The third collection of stories were removed from the site on the 3rd of January 2018. Adverbially Challenged Volume 3 is currently in production and will be released in March/April 2018. You can see stories submitted to Volume 4 further down the page.

An opening note from Chris Fielden

Splendidly, we've received 200 adverb riddled stories. We're now carefully traversing the cobbly road towards 300 stories. Writers are still generously submitting their imaginatively conceived tales, so undoubtedly we'll acheive our goal. Thanking you all muchly.

And from Mike Scott Thomson

Gratifyingly, I sincerely wish to humbly and rapidly convey my...

Wait, I don't have to do that in this bit. Phew.

I would like to echo Chris's sentiments: a massive thank you to everyone who's submitted to our challenge, and/or bought a copy of Volume 1 so far. It's wonderful to see so many have got involved, and for such a good cause. Stay tuned for Adverbially Challenged Volume 2, coming soon.

Right now, I'm looking forward to seeing what entries we receive for volume 3. We live in interesting times; I doubt there'll be any lack of inspiration on that front. Although if you can't bear to turn on the news right now (and who could blame you), the Official Internet Default Option is also to be very much encouraged: cats. At the time of writing, we already have two feline-related stories out of five. More, please.

Thank you and meow.

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Adverbially Challenged Volume 4

You can read the current submissions for Adverbially Challenged Volume 4 below.

An opening note from Chris Fielden

Delightfully, our first tantalising trilogy of adverbially overloaded stories is complete. Onwards and, quite tritely, upwards - may Volume 4 bring more adverb infested joy to the planet.

And from Mike Scott Thomson

He says incredulously (but very gratefully): wow, we’ve made it to over 300 and a FOURTH book of adverb-stuffed stories? Heavens.

Well, thank you to everyone who’s made written contributions to - and generously bought the books resulting from - our not-entirely-serious literary project. Not only is it great to see First Story continue to be supported in this way, but also heartening to discover just how many writers there are out there more than willing to flout the so-called writing “rules”. Fun, isn’t it? Onwards we go, wantonly…

Story 301

If We Shadows Have Offended

by Mike Scott Thomson

On stage, my mobile rings, inconveniently.

"Can't talk now," I say, brusquely. "We're rehearsing…"

And I say its name, carelessly.

There's a gasp from the cast, audibly.

"Away with thee," cries Macduff. "Urgently."

I descend the stage, clumsily, tear down the aisles, rapidly, barge through the doors, forcefully, and tumble outside, haltingly.

I spin once, twice, three times, dizzyingly.

Spit over my shoulder, revoltingly.

Utter the foulest word I know (censored here: bowdlerizedly).

Declare, theatrically, "Angels and ministers of grace defend us."

Curse lifted, relievedly, I return, sheepishly.

I'm welcomed back, tentatively.

Should have just said, "The Scottish Play."


Story 302

Day At The Beach

by Joanna Shaw

She absent-mindedly rests her head elegantly back onto the sand. A faint smile fleetingly passes her wide mouth as she blissfully feels the cool sand soothingly caress her cheek. The sun, now fully awake, burns heartily above, swiftly sending its admirers peacefully into slumber. She lazily stretches her mouth astonishingly wide, slowly sucking in the salty air before nonchalantly preparing to doze.

Time passes pleasantly, until suddenly she is awoken by water, cruelly cold compared to the burning sun, that laps gently around her. She sighs grumpily, and begins tiredly to shift her speckled grey body skilfully with her flippers.

Story 303

Keep The Red Nose Flying

by Sandra Purdy

"Horizontally, vertically, diagonally – I wish he'd make his geographically-challenged mind up which direction to pull," said the first.

"It's all the jingly, twinkly, completely and utterly cheesy Christmassy songs he insistently bellows out that's doing my head in," said the second.

"Nah, lads, it's the way a normally lovely, crumbly mince pie, sits so nauseatingly unattractive in his  phenomenally tangly, grey beard that just makes me so shuddery," said three.

"Ho ho no..." shrieked a portly, scarlettly clad elderly chap, as he thudded heavily into the snow.

"Fatty's fallen off the roof again," laughed Rudy, Donny and Blitzey triumphantly.

Story 304

Man Pants Grenade

by Christopher Fielden

The band plays enigmatically, vigorously and, most importantly, loudly. Rock 'n' roll – a joy to my ringing ears – speaks to me, emotionally.

Vexingly, perplexingly, a strange feeling possesses me, aggressively. I feel compelled to remove my beautifully woven, copious Primark underpants. Holding them tightly, I wave them wantonly above my head.

Disturbingly, another feeling manifests, remarkably. Alarmingly, I launch my man-pants at the stage. Like a craftily created cotton-grenade, they fly fleetingly and, delightfully, hit the singer in the face, despicably.

I’m removed from the building, roughly. Embarrassedly, I walk home commando. I'm arrested immediately, for exposing myself indecently.

Story 305

Rapid Salaries

by Rene Astle

I was frantically waiting for the train to arrive when I was wildly worried about being late for work.

What I didn't know is that the boss of The New York Times was luckily granting another promotion with the salaries raising up to more than $34,000 a month for everybody, myself included.

Frequently, any writer, reporter and journalist can be well paid if they do the job right with rapidly growing rates in their professions.

Why I was always worriedly frantic about waiting for the train to arrive? Because I overslept, apparently, and I'm not going to do that anymore.

Story 306

Unconsciously Challenged

by Margaret Stokes

Maggie sat up rigidly in bed, having slept fitfully, dreaming intermittently. She trembled uncontrollably as she vividly recalled it all.

She had been running blindly, pursued relentlessly by heavily breathing monsters who were gradually gaining on her. She stumbled helplessly, doggedly determined to throw them off. She had only spotted them briefly but could feel their evil presence palpably. She couldn't feasibly outrun them and began to look eagerly for hiding places which might hopefully save her. As she squeezed awkwardly inside a hollow tree, something fleetingly touched her face.

She screamed piercingly, and that is what woke her, eventually.

Story 307

Things People Say

by Michael Rumsey

I heard him clearly, loudly, boldly.

"That's frightfully reassuring."

Surely that's hopelessly and frantically contradictory? Next we'll hear something is blandly exotic, visibly indiscernible or depressingly amusing.

Some things people say are painfully and obviously nonsensical. That, as those of us who courageously, cheerfully, cleverly and frequently subscribe to this enormously popular site know, is a refreshingly, wonderfully contrived, different, absorbingly, highly popular challenge.

Having been positively, courteously and kindly invited to contribute to Adverbially Challenged Volume 4, I happily and willingly acquiesce.

It would not occur to me, even momentarily, to upwardly decline.

Story 308

Dental Phobia

by Jan Brown

I seldom, virtually never, submit willingly to the ministrations of my dentist. I reluctantly and fearfully phone. How cowardly, how pusillanimously I contemplate a mere examination.

The receptionist brightly offers a cancellation. I calculate pessimistically and resentfully agree.

I sleep fitfully, waking to a nauseatingly bright morning. Gazing at the unexpectedly and unseasonably amazingly blue sky, my mind lurches uncontrollably to past horrendously unbearable experiences: cruelly slapped little legs, terrifyingly thoughtlessly-given advice not to choke, hauntingly and painfully administered treatments at the school clinic.

Resignedly, but unashamedly, I speedily pick up the phone and predictably cancel, apologising profusely, secretly relieved.

Story 309

Bunny And The Cat

by Arlene Everingham

Bunny is a very fluffy rabbit that really loves to boldly sneak into Mrs Murfin's unbelievably lush vegetable garden and gleefully munch her way through the incredibly delicious lettuce and carrots.

That is, until Mrs Murfin angrily deposited a cat in the garden. When it arrived, it selfishly and rudely stopped Bunny, by laying slothfully and serenely in the middle of the path, and nastily hissing when she usually appeared.

Bunny watched him hungrily and wickedly came up with a plan. She managed to innocently unlatch the garden gate, and watched victoriously as the cat coyly wove its way outside.

Story 310


by Alicia Sledge

The audience applauded loudly, rapturously as the final curtain fell silently, swiftly and dipped elegantly on the stage. It hesitated briefly before rising again slowly, languorously, heavily.

Divina stood proudly, dressed extravagantly, hair styled immaculately in the middle of the spot light. Excitedly, she gazed expectantly past the orchestra pit, trying desperately to see through the brilliantly, dazzlingly defined beams of light, searching enquiringly for her parents' faces in the maddeningly, crazily, blurred crowd. She nearly stumbled clumsily as she pointedly stepped forward, generously gesturing her thanks to the musical director, and finally took a bow.

She had definitely arrived.

Story 311

An Instantly Willing Step

by Sandra Orellana

I sadly sat wearily on a bench in the tranquillity of a Mexican town. I calmly thought of a terrible situation in my past, on a cold, endless Christmas night. Godly, lovely gifts were waiting for me. Stubbornly, I didn´t want to stop thinking about what once gave me stability of mind.

But immediately – mentally, spiritually and calmly – I stood up. Hoping that a kindly, smiley face of love would fully embrace me tonight. Slowly, I came to my senses – I must choose cheerfully to smile at what was around me. My blessedly healthy life was patiently waiting for me.

Story 312

Soft Sentences

by Allen Ashley

Guardedly or guardingly, three new penitents I see.

Obviously, I relate this quite old-fashionedly.

The first says: "I adverb frequently, repeatedly, incessantly, unnecessarily."

I answer: "Into the jail with thee."

The second says: "Why use one adverb when you can use three – triangularly, triolishly, thirdly?"

Again: "Into the jail with thee."

The last says: "I laughed so hard I died. Literally. My mother looked at me angrily. She did my head in. Literally..."

"Be quiet," I command, imperiously.

And when shall these three be set free to pollute our world mellifluously?

Well, maybe... maybe... eventually.

Story 313

Reach For The Stars

by David Wright

I gripped the pole tightly, nervously. I sweated profusely as I raised it slowly and carefully to the starting position. I focused intensely as I started to run – first slowly, then quickly, covering ground hastily.

I lowered the pole strategically into the ground and threw myself stealthily and upwardly into the air clearing the bar marginally, but gracefully, landing perfectly and safely and feeling wonderfully exhilarated.

Story 314

Ridiculously Tall Rob

by J.A. Palmer

Rather small Rob was a relatively tall man. Infact, he was so enormously tall that when he casually strolled down the street everybody stared inquisitively at him.

Not a single, solitary word was ever gently ushered in his general direction. Instead, he was constantly met with obnoxiously common stares that he soon discovered to be annoyingly rude.

That was until one hopelessly-bleak Monday afternoon, when he bellowed unexpectedly at the crowd, "Just because I'm a sharply dressed man, does not mean you have to hungrily undress me with your eyes."

The tediously annoying stares dramatically decreased after that.

Story 315

Prince Charmless

by Bridget Scrannage

Once upon a time, Prince Charmless lived wildly delinquently in a fairytale castle built extravagantly ornately.

Seducing women cringingly desperately, in rooms furnished magnificently sumptuously, he made love embarrassingly ineptly, finishing disastrously flatulently.

Drinking alarmingly voraciously, abruptly curtailed his womanising wantonly, most brewer's-droopingly.

Taking to gambling compulsively, regrettably usually unsuccessfully, he went utterly bankrupt, extremely spectacularly.

Now complaining profusely, he cleans public restrooms deplorably sloppily, peering perversely beneath toilet doors disturbingly frequently.

Story 316

It's Not Me, It's You

by Clare Tivey

Slowly and gracefully he wipes his mouth with the napkin. He looks coolly over at me, his eyes now vividly green. "That was undoubtedly the best meal I've had in years, almost with Asian undertones?"

How beautifully his dark lips and hair contrast his pale skin. It is this beauty I fiercely, foolishly wanted and that has unfortunately and devotedly stopped me from seeing the truth, until now. He's a monster.

Debs, my best friend, perfectly, lifelessly placed on the sofa, porcelain. She has no blood within her body. I will miss her; her favourite foods were Chinese and Thai.

Story 317

Red Riding Hood

by Claire Apps

Red Riding Hood was singing, "What will we do with the big bad wolf, the big bad wolf?" badly as she skipped down the road.

She was quite excited at the trip she was making, to her nan's.

"I'm not bad," a voice boomed out loudly.

"Oh yes you are," she cried. "You want to kill my nan and then eat me, so go away."

She continued on her laboriously long journey, thinking how well she had done, making the wolf cry.

Nan smacked her grandchild when she arrived. "You cost me my dinner, telling him he was notoriously bad."

Story 318

The Burnfoot Shops

by Robbie Porter

Tuesday was always early closing so Mum had to get down the shops in a timely manner. Otherwise there was no Family Allowance and absolutely nothing to eat.

Apart from the Post Office there was Charlie's, where you could get a bag of lovely broken biscuits. Then there was the chippy – easily my favourite was haggis and chips. We'd go in excitedly with all the old bottles we'd collected in carrier bags. There was 3p back on each one.

"A packet of Spangles and a Toffee Crisp, please."

Accidentally I fainted outside the chippy.

Some stupid idiot nicked my bottles.

Story 319

After Yeats, Sceptically

by Abigail Rowe

You are, analogously speaking, the heart of a sparrow, flutteringly beating, gently cupped within my hands.

One harshly spoken word will see you swiftly fly away. Soothingly addressed murmurs may yet keep you here.

I cautiously consider.

I have assiduously moulded myself to be small. Quietly lessened who I am. Kept you safely. Tenderly controlling the sum of our parts.

I  truly grieve for your fragility, yet definitively dislike whom I have inevitably become. Tread softly, spake the poet, unrequitedly, to his muse. Treading softly has palpably eroded our very selves.

I daringly open my hands. Finally free us both.

Story 320


by Malcolm Richardson

Susan sensuously made her way onto the dance floor. Red watched this heavenly creature move swiftly towards him.

"Let's dance," he yelled noisily.

He grabbed her hand; they waltzed across the floor erratically. Slowly they danced as one, painstakingly measuring their steps, unbelievably looking like a couple. The music stopped suddenly. Mistakenly, they carried on dancing, oblivious to their surroundings.

"Oh, Red," she whispered quietly, their eyes locked together magically.

Reciprocally, they stopped centrally on the dance floor.

"Oh Susan," Red exuberantly moaned.

Blissfully they fell into each other's arms, ineffably in love.

Story 321

Hillbilly Humour

by S. M. Chiles

The wantonly repudiated people of unusually western West Virginia were unceremoniously displeased with the sheer quantity of jokes vociferously made at their expense.

They went to their unsuspectingly sage counsel and undoubtedly should-be president, Hillary Clinton, and demanded definitively, "Do something about this joking."

Clinton gravely and unequivocally responded that all hillbilly quips be promptly assembled and cast into the Atlantic Ocean.

Obsequiously, military and public security officers speedily executed their duty only to find a serendipitously unsuspected response from the flounderingly funny fish: lengthily lingering laughter.

*indiscriminately appropriated from a colloquial jest in Levantine Arabic

Story 322

Bye, Bye Birdie

by Isabel Flynn

Dreamily I daringly darted directly over the street apologetically yet thankfully waving to the drivers who politely allowed my unexpectedly rapid emergence.

I had distinctly observed an unbelievably absurd yet alluringly rare bird.  The excitingly unusual sighting had my pulse erratically and nervously racing.

Shakily I silently stalked the gaudily painted tiny chap. Through the breathtakingly beautiful bush I solemnly stuck to his technically tangled trail.

As an obsessively diligent birder I tried to be dutifully ready for the impulsively unpredictable chase. Unfortunately I suddenly slid down the slimily sloping bank and noisily and freezingly landed in the lake.

Story 323

Cold Craving

by Dedra Tullison

There was a chilly stillness in the air. A coldness that reminded me of the lonliness caused by despair. My heart ached a thousand fold at the devastation laid in my wicked, obscure path.

All of a sudden, I saw a subdued, muted, diminished light shining increasingly brillantly, causing me to warm with predatorial intentions. Then, I saw what I'd been craving so bitterly. The words 'Press Start to Play' blinked rapidly across the screen. A miraculous intensity overcame me and I recovered from my dreary state.

Story 324

Back To The Drawing Board

by Kathryn Evans

On waking early, it suddenly hit me that interview day dawns imminently. I urgently need shoe polish to fully complete my outfit that was formulated artistically, so after cheffily cooking breakfast I'll speedily purchase some.

I completed my application painstakingly, returned it swiftly and have prepared conscientiously.

"Hello, I'm Miss Daly. I'm here enthusiastically for my interview."

"Let me quickly check... You have your dates mixed up quite idiotically; it's next month. Your application will be withdrawn immediately. You are not remotely suitable to work slavishly for this company. Goodbye, Miss Daly – please leave hastily and shut the door securely."

Story 325

A Hastily Passing Concern

by Martin Strike

I firmly grind the accelerator down, desperately eking out all possibly attained speed on this interminably long motorway.

My rapidly speeding car flashes dangerously past the other legally moving traffic. I'll undoubtedly trigger speed cameras and will totally warrant any ban keenly meted out by a gratuitously insensitive judge.

At last, I gratefully see the desperately awaited sign: Membury Services. I grit my teeth manfully in that last excruciatingly mile. I pointlessly waggle my legs to-and-fro, but it doesn’t ease my sharply felt pain. I park badly and run desperately to the gents to relieve my prostratedly affected bladder.

Story 326


by Josh Leeson

She lazed hedonistically on the meticulously made bed, blissfully unaware of the slowly shuffling shadow on the severely sloping staircase.

The television buzzed alluringly, the images zapped dartingly between the ringlets of her carefully coiffed head, but she remained unwittingly unconscious of the gradually approaching figure.

A curiously creaky floorboard did nothing to seriously stir the unrestrainedly relaxed lassie, even as fingers fondled heavily on the door.

He loomed lethargically before resolutely entering the bedroom.

She squeaked suddenly, turning tremulously to the door.

His shoulders fell pleasantly when witnessing his wife's wonderfully warming smile.

"I'm home, finally," he breathed lovingly.

Story 327

One's Meal

by Pat Hough

Ideally, I like to eat daintily. You know, slowly, elegantly, precisely.

The obese fellow opposite had, obviously, little idea of dining decorum. He slavered outrageously, gulped his soup unhesitatingly. He spluttered, festooning his table liberally with breadcrumbs.

A waiter mincingly approached this diner. Carefully removing the soup plate, he set the next course graciously before his client, then stepped back, rather obsequiously, I thought. Elbows up, napkin tucked, the diner plunged dramatically into gravy and beef. Sawing rapidly, he plugged his mouthful well, chewed manically and swallowed heartily.

I, naturally, was appalled, paid and vehemently vowed never to return.

Story 328

Dancing Through Life

by Meg Gain

The young sergeant had boldly asked her to dance. Peeping shyly from behind her fan, she extended her gloved hand delicately. They moved slowly to take their place amongst the dancers swirling majestically. Their eyes met. They instantly rebounded in surprise. They matched perfectly.

Dancing uninhibitedly, they were completely oblivious to the nudges and stares.

He felt his attraction intensely as he held his partner softly in his arms. She glanced demurely at his face. Their path together shone brightly, joyfully joined by their imperfection, for they both had one eye of blue and the other of green.

Story 329

The Day Before Christmas

by Jan Lister

I wasn't remotely prepared for Christmas this year – no turkey ordered early, no cake or mince pies lovingly made, no presents painfully bought.

Usually embarrassingly ahead, this year I was totally overcome with the stress of preparation, utterly sick of the materialism and immensely sad about the starving and dying kids in the world.

I boldly determined to opt out.

But when the cards inevitably started dropping noisily through the letterbox, I felt increasingly uneasy.

Fortunately, I found I could easily buy gift tokens and all the food  on Christmas Eve.

Stress-free Christmases stretch pleasantly ahead.

Story 330

Here Today – Embarrassingly – Not Tomorrow

by Emma Leeming

Yesterday, terribly flustered after – regretfully fairly absentmindedly and disgustingly eagerly – interrupting an incredibly stunned self-help group, I boldly, rashly announced, "Somewhere, anywhere, everywhere, now, then, and I don't know when else, we slowly but surely, quietly but ruthlessly, lazily and brutally, are mercilessly and recklessly destroying Earth. Where now from here?"

Unabashedly, people urgently suggest Mars. I then, soon after, quickly, hungrily berated them, before savagely, spitefully explaining really rather maniacally what a very sloppily, half-heartedly concocted idea it was too.

I arrived home, went inside, jogged upstairs, when, quite remarkably, a newsflash read, 'Self-help group effortlessly, briskly inhabit Mars.'

Story 331

Golf Swing

by Gavin Biddlecombe

Gripping the club tightly between incredibly tired, sweaty hands, Joe stood eagerly over the tiny, pimply white ball hidden snuggly in the long grass. Crazy eyes stared longingly at it as the club was drawn menacingly up high behind his head. Pausing momentarily at its peak, the club swung down in a sweepingly wide arc.

Joe gazed searchingly into the distance where a minutely, teeny round object would blend easily into the infinitely expansive sky. He turned smugly to his companion laughing heartily behind him.

"Nope, still there, mate," declared Andy, amusedly, highlighting his friend's hilariously failed attempt.

Story 332

Unwanted Guests

by Betty Hattersley

Amicably my husband and I decided on an early night. Unfortunately, I immediately became aware of a pulsating sound echoing in my ear.

"What's that din?" I whispered to him.

"Can you hear a faint buzzing hum?"

Hardly breathing, we listened intently.

The deep humming was definitely coming from the loft above.

Cautiously we slowly made our way to the loft hatch.

Hooking the hatch steadily, my husband unfolded the loft ladder.

Supporting him thoroughly, we began climbing the steps.

Nervously he switched on the light, then instantly shouted, "Let's go."

A large cocoon of wasps had taken up residence.

Story 333


by Maddy Hamley

The thief trembled violently as the officer's head slowly turned to fully face him. His accomplice, weeping pitifully, was kneeling demurely, bruises blossoming darkly around her eyes.

The pitilessly grimacing officer held up the softly glowing brand and pressed it into the thief's forehead forcefully, deliberately.

When he had finally stopped screaming violently, and fearfully finished listening to the devastatingly piteous screams of his accomplice, the thief looked up hesitantly. The officer was walking away briskly.

The thief tearfully called after him, "How are we supposed to properly make a living now?"

The officer paused thoughtfully.


Story 334

Slowly Does It

by David Silver

"Unhappily, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that you feel I'm under your feet," I grumbled despairingly to my wife as I wearily prepared to take out my pet for his third walk that day.

"Nonsense," she replied dismissively while smiling, seemingly sincerely and reassuringly. "Honestly, I purchased Fido solely in order to provide you with a leisure pursuit. I did so genuinely and selflessly."

"I'm still not completely convinced," I sighed resignedly. I bent down gingerly, and awkwardly attached the leash to my ageing, arthritic tortoise.

Story 335

Positively Strange

by Jade Robinson

She wondered gracefully along a formidably long and dangerous street, where cars drive slowly and the people walked quickly. Everything was strange and felt lovely at the same time.

She stopped sharply and carefully looked at an old pocket watch in an oddly looking shop. It was acting strangely. It was as if it had a different personality compared to other clocks. You had to read it anticlockwise while numerically the numbers ranged from twelve to one.

It was then that she noticed this world wasn't as ordinarily forward, compared to the world she once wandered.

Story 336

Buster’s Blatant Blunder

by Lesley Anne Truchet

I was contentedly walking my dog, Buster, and blissfully soaking up the warm sunshine when he turned into a large pub courtyard, sniffing excitedly.

People were eating and drinking al fresco and chatting amiably.

Buster behaved sociably and gleefully and scoffed several kindly offered titbits. He expressed his thanks thoughtfully, by squatting in the centre of the dining area and pooing wetly, noisily and copiously.

Everyone stopped eating and glared at ME accusingly.

We left hastily.

Buster skipped homewards unashamedly. ME guiltily.

Story 337


by Annalee Macfarlane

"Stop," I commanded loudly.

My prisoner had hurriedly dashed away from me, intending to quickly escape my clutches. "You police will never speedily catch me when I swiftly run," he fiercely shouted.

The man had sneakily slipped from our clutches as we slowly marched him from the court house. The man turned to hastily run again, but instead awkwardly spun to swiftly slam into my fellow officer. I had rapidly sent him to rush round and firmly stop our craftily escaped prisoner.

Our prisoner was forcibly dragged to jail and left to gradually rot... for three weeks.

Story 338


by Hannah Brown

Quickly. That was how fast she had to run.

Urgently. That was how much she needed to get inside her house and lock the door.

Tightly. That was how she wanted to hug her only child, pulling him close and ruffling his messy, brown hair.

Brightly. That was how the moonlight shone on the street, illuminating the figure on her tail, tall, broad and strong.

Adoringly. That was how she felt about her son.

Imploringly. That was how much she wished the man would go away.

When she turned and stopped, she saw that the man was her husband.


Story 339

Completely And Utterly Terrifying

by Tiarnán Murphy

"What on earth is that?" he cried, terrifiedly. "It is the most horrifyingly, terrifyingly, utterly pants-wettingly scary thing I've ever seen."

She had no idea what had him shout so frantically.

"Look at it, with it's fuzzily protruding limbs, its sickeningly green skin and its revoltingly, stomach churningly, pungent aroma, wafting invasively through the entire, unfortunately, cramped room."

"Honey," she said, wearily. "Do you think you might be slightly over reacting?"

"No," he howled, defensively. "It's so disgustingly squidgy too."

"For goodness sakes," she shouted, angrily. "It's only broccoli."

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Your comments:

Shirley M
Thanks Chris & Mike, splendidly compiled, beckoningly welcoming those who read avidly, who remain (pardon the brexitly unacceptable verb!) wilfully indifferent to the technically superb or creatively cracked.

A healthily-sprinkled selection of politically topical, tear-jerkingly-memorable June 2016 wormhole-suggesting international alternatives. Sally from stonily-cold Scotland is signing up for an apartment on the international space station so she can avoid the space-time censorship of European slagging and bloody-nosing that will surely stop sensible steps forward. Or is that backwards?

Joe H
Thank you, for everything about this challenge is phenomenally wonderfully and happily received. I especially and enthusiastically enjoy the dimensionally channelling of the money to charity. Yay!

Jerry W
Chris, congratulations on convincing twenty-one willing souls to join you and Mike in the not-so-serious challenge of using adverbs to banal excess. Appearing trite and foolish in order to benefit youth through First Story is not an embarrassment, but an honour. Well done, and wishes for the success of your proposed anthology.

Humbly, sincerely, and uh, OK, sanctimoniously, Jerry

Chris Fielden
Shirley, Joe & Jerry, thank you, unreservedly and many other words unceremoniously terminating in 'ly'.

Shaleen P
Really enjoyed story 24! XD very funny when you realise who they are at the end.

Sheila C
It's amazingly difficult to write fluently with lots of appropriately applied adverbs but all these stories make it look astonishingly easy. I'm nervously submitting mine. I hope it's meant to be in this box and there's not another one that I haven't noticed...

Chris Fielden
Sent successfully, Sheila. Received rapaciously. Published poetically.

Jerry W
Hello, Chris. I see that, to date, forty-four souls have responded to the Adverb Writing Challenge. Hardly the deluge of submissions expected for so noble a summons. Do you suppose that the absence of financial remuneration has caused a reluctance to take up the task? Sad testimony if writers are motivated only by the promise of sordid gain.

I am sure that, like other present contributors, I've recognized your cunning plan to offer us a life-changing opportunity. By wisely encouraging us to abandon restrictive rules of form, you and Mike have inspired a taste for liberation that extends beyond writing into broader areas of our lives. Personally, after writing only the first adverb-infested sentence, I shed my jacket. At the end of the first paragraph, I ripped off my tie. And the last few words found me completely naked. It was exhilarating. My dog, Spanky, did get up and walk out of the room in apparent disgust, but I felt released. It was profoundly fulfilling.

Writers, abandon your pursuit of filthy lucre. Ignore canine criticisms. Get on board Chris and Mike's Adverb Challenge. Wear the crown of success. If nothing else.

Just trying to help!

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your support, Jerry. Much appreciated, although I'm not sure Mike and I would want to take credit for inspiring nudism... :-)

I was quite pleased with 44 entries (now 45; they continue to arrive regularly). We received quite a few over the weekend, which is fabulous. Indeed, submissions have been equalling those of the To Hull & Back competition over the last few days, so I think money has little to do with it (one competition offers a huge monetary prize, the other a hugely rewarding charitably supportive prize). But, like you say, we do need more adverb engorged tales. And I'm sure, due to your motivational speech, more will follow. Others just need to discover the joy of wanton rule-breaking and, like you, sit naked at their computers (preferably in a secluded spot where they are unlikely to shock their neighbours) and get creative in the name of good causes.

Lesley T
Hi Chris, I just submitted another adverb filled piece called Somethings Brewing. There was nothing in your rules (as far as I know) limiting submissions from the same author.

If you prefer not to have 2 submissions from the same author, no worries. I will understand.

Chris Fielden
Hi Lesley. Great, thanks for your second submission. I’ve popped it live on the site.

As it’s all for charity we don’t really mind how many stories an author submits. A couple of other writers have submitted 2 tales as well, so it’s fine.

We might just wait until we have 100 authors before we publish the book, rather than 100 stories. We’ll see how many more submissions we receive over the next month or so and take a view from there.

Thanks for your support :-)

Betty H
Hi Chris.  Thank you for adding my story.  I thought I would try again and add a comment.  Good luck with everything.

Chris Fielden
No problem – thanks Betty :-)

Frank D
Great response! I hope we make it to 100.

I can truthfully say I would hate to be a judge required to pick a winner, or even the fifty best; every entity is unique and talented.

Chris Fielden
Hi Frank. A great response indeed!

I have enough problems selecting winners for the To Hull & Back competition, so there won't be one 'winner' of the Adverb Challenge, except the charity it supports. I think it's nice that we'll have 100+ winning stories. What other competition can boast that?!

Deborah P
Chris, thank you heartily for publishing my piece - it is wonderful to know that some people readily give their work for free. An unusually eclectic mix of stories and a worthwhile cause.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Deborah - thank you for submitting and supporting the cause :-)

Sandra O
Thank you Christopher... what an encouragement... very much appreciated.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Sandra. Thank you very much for submitting :-)

Anne W
These stories are really enjoyable, well written and almost immaculately conceived. This has been a cleverly thought out plan Chris. Ideally I would love to see you handsomely rewarded for your tirelessly keen efforts in the world of writing and your cleverly crafted stories. I have downloaded your book on Kindle and will certainly post a kindly comment. Thank you. Anne Whittet.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Anne, very much appreciated :)

Jonathan M
Hi Chris - another awesome anthology idea here!

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Jonathan. And thanks for submitting :-)

Jerry W

As encouragement to be more like them, the gods sometimes descend from Parnassus and shoulder in with the writing proletariat. Chris and Mike, esteemed judges of writing and eminently regarded authors (whispers of knighthood whir about), have not only devised a cunning plan for us neophytes to be published, but also have lent credibility to the endeavor by themselves submitting entries.

Note the significance: your name can be joined to the Adverb Challenge Anthology's list of contributors with the illustrious names of Christopher Fielden and Mike Scott Thomson. A treasured distinction. One anticipates invitations to glamorous functions.  Frenzied pursuit by editors. Discounts and preferred seating at Hungry Horse. Future generations will remember your name with reverence. And chicks will dig you.

If you require further motivation, please visit Tremendously heartening cause that is gleaning significant success. Kick in with your bit. Glamour and fame await you.

Chris Fielden
Jerry, you are a LEGEND. Thank you for all your continued support :-)

Jerry W
Hello, Chris. A milestone. A veritable milestone. The number of needed submissions to Chris Fielden and Mike Scott Thomson's Adverb Challenge has been reduced to single digits. Eight opportunities to unbridle your defiance of adverb restrictions remain. The dark forces that enshroud us in the shadows of hesitation grow frail. Act now. Step boldly forth into the light of fame and glory. Bring rejoicing to the children at First Story.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Jerry - we're nearly there :-)

Benita J
This website is a very good site to enter writing competitions.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Benita :-)

John W
What a fun challenge. I hope you received my contribution, The One-Word Joke Challenge, and that it might slip in the anthology at number 100. It's such a relief to be able to write without adverbs now, finally.

Chris Fielden
There was a battle for the 100th spot, John. You will be pleased to hear you won :-)

Ian T
Congratulations for hitting 100 entrants - amazing effort, there are clearly more lunatics out there than I realised.

Chris Fielden
There are. Makes me feel better knowing I'm not alone.

John N
Dear Chris,  thanks for accepting my entry in the adverb challenge. I am most impressed with the speed in which your acknowledgement arrived. I have only recently discovered your website and find it extremely interesting and informative. I had three short stories published a few years ago and a number of poems. I have now taken up the "pen" again and intend to enter the next Hull and Back comp. The only problem is that I don't know how to be funny in print!  Thanks again.

Chris Fielden
Hi John. Glad to hear you find the site useful. Good luck with wielding the pen once more :-)

I'll look forward to reading your Hull & Back entry.

Judith W
I am human. This sounds like fun.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear it, Judith :-)

I'll look forward to reading your submission.

Alice G
Hang on, don't clock up 65 more just yet, just have to enter his waylaying purple descriptive necessity, so up my streetly.

Chris Fielden
I think you'll have plenty of delightfully long hours to submit, Alice :-)

Margaret E
Hi Chris, thank YOU. ( I almost put an exclamation mark there.) I had a great time this morning taking a break from writing a ghost story, and reading through the Challenge entries and laughing aloud. I think comedy writers should be at the Top of the Pile.

I have found your website excellent for a number of reasons... writing can be quite an isolating experience, especially if you don't get published. I feel a !  would really have helped then, even though you hate them, as it would imply I wasn't too discouraged (yet), which is true. I have been shortlisted for Writers' Forum, so feel I shall proceed for a while...

I am exceedingly grateful for your comprehensive information on short story competitions, magazines etc. It really helps to sift through which ones to start with.

Chris Fielden
Hi Margaret. Thank you for your kind words.

Congratulations on being shortlisted by Writers' Forum. It's a great magazine and the standard is excellent, so you've done really well there. Let's hope they publish your next submission.

Yes, I do have an inherent dislike of exclamation marks, but only in stories. I think that in an email or a website comment they're fine. Or should I say... they're fine!!

Valerie G
I agree with Joe H's comments, this is a very addictive challenge, great fun and all in a good cause. I've now reached my quota for anthology number 2 and am waiting impatiently for anthology number 3 to start.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear you're thoroughly addicted, Valerie :-)

At the current rate of submissions, I reckon submissions for Volume 3 will be starting early in 2017. To keep you entertained, there will be a brand new writing challenge launched towards the end of the year.

Valerie G
Yay... :-)

Ros B
Dear Chris, I wanted to send you a thank you message. I've spent most of my life 'not writing'. My excuse is that I don't have any ideas and I need an imminent deadline. When I happened upon your adverb challenge, I thought I'd give it a go and was so pleased to then see my entry there 'published'! I went on to read more of your stuff and found your recommendation for 'Writers' Forum'. There I found exactly what I need - a monthly flash fiction competition with a theme and an impending deadline. I am now a subscriber and have just entered the competition for the second time. I found it extraordinarily difficult both times and have no illusions about the amount of practice I need before I have a chance of producing anything good. But, this is exactly what I need to get going.

So, a big thank you. You're a very generous person.

Chris Fielden
Hi Ros. Thanks so much for your message – it’s really great to hear you value the site and it’s helped you.

Writers’ Forum is an excellent magazine. I’ll look forward to receiving an email from you in the not too distant future, telling me they have published one of your stories :-)

I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Steph S
Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful challenge again. Love it!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Steph - thanks for submitting again. Much appreciated :-)

Steph S
Really enjoying this. Thanks for the experience.

Lorna G

First timer here so not entirely confident but nervously, shakily taking a massively large leap into the vast, enormous and ridiculously huge yawing gap that is the Great Unknown. I am known for being clumsy so this could be a dangerous move.

Chris Fielden
Nothing clumsily written there, Lorna :-)

Your story is publicly published.

Sarah W
Hello Chris. Thanks, this is just what I needed to make me pick up my pen/get typing again. There are some really good ones you've had submitted, I've enjoyed reading them. I'm sending these now before I change my mind again and delete them.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Sarah :-)

Sivan P
Although we are advised to use adverbs sparingly, it was fun reading so many storied crammed with adverbs.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear you like them Sivan :-)

Michael R
Hi Chris. I said after the publication of Ad Chall One how much I enjoyed reading the wide variety of Bios. So too with Volume 2, but thirteen contributors did not supply a Bio.

It seems a shame having done the hard part (the story) a few more words are not added. Perhaps out of modesty, but you are not asking for a CV and the challenge produces a fun book so the Bio does not have to  be too serious and, in my opinion, adds to the whole. So, for Volume Three is it possible to ask for 100% Bios? I look forward to your comments and those of other contributors.

Chris Fielden
Hi Michael. I agree - it's a shame that some writers don't supply a biography.

However, through liaising with some of the writers that don't supply biographies, I've discovered that there are different reasons for this. Some of them are quite private and prefer not to. Some don't have a writing CV and prefer not to for that reason - they feel they don't have anything relevant for a bio. And some simply don't respond to my emails.

Unfortunately, the only way to get 100% bios is to exclude writers who don't provide them. Then I'd have to get more stories to be able to produce the book. The admin involved is just too much of a headache - the challenges already take up loads of my time, so I have to minimise the work involved.

I could request bios when people submit stories I suppose, but that could result in fewer submissions, which would mean fewer books, less exposure for the writers who submit and less money for charity.

So the format will remain as it is for now. Plus, I want to keep the challenges open to everyone, even those who don't like writing bios. I will always encourage writers to supply a bio as I think it's important, but sometimes you have to respect the wishes of others and allow them their privacy :-)

Ron B
Chris, I just submitted an entry to the adverb challenge. I'm a retired U.S. civil servant living in McAalester, Oklahoma and  I enjoy trying to write short science fiction stories. I enjoy reading the stories submitted in your challenges and trying to think of ways to use your advice.


Chris Fielden
Thanks, Ron. Glad to hear you enjoyed the stories. And thanks for submitting - much appreciated :-)

Laura P
I've had such good fun writing this 100 word piece. It has been quite a while since I last wrote anything and things like this are really good to keep me writing when I don't have as much time as I used too! Thank you!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Laura. Thanks for submitting - very much appreciated :)

Patricia M
Hi. This challenge looks interesting and a fun, creative way to raise money for charity. I'd like to take part but can't see how to upload a story on this page. Sorry if it's really obvious.

Chris Fielden
Hi Patricia. No problem. Just paste your story into the comments form. Or you can send it by email if that's easier. See my contact page for details.

Michael O
Hi Chris. I have a question.I presented a story for the adverb challenge. Considering the 'not-entirely-serious' nature of it, if I re-engineer the story and send it to a writing contest, will it be considered as previously published?

Chris Fielden
Hi Michael. If you rewrite the story and call it something else, I guess it could be considered previously unpublished.

The best bet is to contact the publication you want to submit to and ask them if they would consider it previously published or not.

I hope that answers the question.

Rene A
Guess what Chris? I published my first poetry book. It's called 'What's So Funny? And Other Poems'. My Uncle Patrick Dodson published it through Pause For Effect, an independent publishing company.

If you look on Amazon and type in my name, you'll definitely see I'm not joking.

I hope you like it.

Chris Fielden
Congratulations, Rene - that's excellent news :-)

Gavin B
Hi Chris, I'm pleased you were able to get the 100 authors required for the 3rd anthology. Am I able to submit as part of the next 100?


Chris Fielden
Thanks, Gavin. Yes, you can - I accept 1 story per author, per anthology.

I'll look forward to receiving your story.

Rene A
I'll be extremely impressed to see my short story in your anthology. I'm sure that I might become recognized for my true genius.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear that, Rene. I'm sure your true genius will be recognised, as will all of ours, eventually... :-)

Rene A
Besides, I just finished drawing all 45 caricatures of Presidents of the United States of America in my first illustrated book entitled Presidents of the United States. I'll work on the introduction after doing some research. .

Chris Fielden
Most excellent - good luck with that!

Rene A
If I have a chequebook, I might give half of my royalties to you for your charitable work on publishing the anthologies.

Chris Fielden
Very kind, Rene, very kind indeed :-)

Rene A
We might even revive old magazines from the golden age and the victorian era, that even includes humour magazines such as Punch, Fun, California Pelican, Judge and Life Magazine. I particularly love these old magazines and periodicals - better than today's magazines.

I'm sure we might work together on bringing them back into permanent circulation.

Chris Fielden
A fine idea :-)

Rene A
My style of comedy is aimed at everybody - kids and adults. In other words, general audiences.

I'm sure we'll create some satirical verses for a children's magazine.

Chris Fielden
Fab stuff, thanks Rene :-)

Rene A
You won't believe what just happened, Chris.

One of my poems has been accepted by the International Poetry Monthly Digest. It's called 'Tunnel Train'.

I submitted it to the magazine and they finally agreed to publish my poem. Isn't that exciting?

Chris Fielden
That's awesome news, Rene - congratulations :-)