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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

So far, we're received 304 entries. We need 96 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.

 

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.

Adverbs

Adverbially Challenged Volume 3

You can read the stories submitted to Adverbially Challenged Volume 3 below. We received our 100th story on the 11th November 2017. The stories will be available to read on the site until 31st December 2017. They will then be removed and the anthology will go into production. 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.

Story 201

No Surprise

by Giselda Donavado

"I've heard some strange things in my time but that was something else," remarked remarkably-still-awake Bertie Beetle to Caramello Koala at the conclusion of the factory floor managers' comatosely-long 14 minute speech at the Chocolate Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Quite predictably, for the third year running, the auspiciously celebrated red letter day for the confectionary industry had been royally boycotted by Kinder Surprise in protest over controversy surrounding its alleged performance-enhancing small toy inclusions.

Unsurprisingly, news of the snub brought a chorus of barely-disguised contemptuous snickers from attendees including Kit Kat, Bounty, Picnic and, most notably and fittingly, Snickers himself.

Story 202

Felinely Flabbergasted

by Christpher Fielden

"Morning," says Fluffy, sardonically.

I leap up, wakefully. "You didn't just speak," I say, disbelievingly. "You’re a cat."

"I certainly did," says Fluffy, slyly.

Usually, Fluffy lives up to his name, aptly. Today, he's largely bald, surprisingly charred.

"I was struck by a meteor," says Fluffy, matter-of-factly. "Predictably, I died. Unpredictably, I rose."

"Like Jesus?" I ask, incredulously.

"Jesus wasn't a cat," he says, disparagingly. "I'm unimaginably powerful." Idly, he licks his paw, lazily. "Like a god."

"Gods require belief to exist," I say, insidiously.

"You wouldn't," he says, nervously.

"I don't believe in you," I state, meaningfully.

Fluffy disappears, puff-of-smokedly.

Story 203

In The Room

by Mike Scott Thomson

Abruptly we’re awoken, emphatically: a cataclysmically cacophonous fanfare of trumpeting. Blearily we jolt upright, rigidly.

"What was that?" asks Gloria, frantically.

"Water pipes," I say, untruthfully.

"Liar," she says, irritably.

She reclines horizontally, pulls the duvet over, cosily. Quietly I tiptoe downstairs, submissively. The Maximus Indicus, ears swishing flappingly, tusks glistening dangerously, regards me dolefully, even balefully.

I feed it peanuts, insufficiently. It fills our house, abundantly. I implore, beseechingly: keep quiet, seriously. Inevitably – understandably? – no longer can it be ignored, so intolerably.

​Back upstairs, warily, I edge past Gloria’s Borneo Pygmy, automatically, pretending, increasingly futilely, it’s not actually there.

Story 204

Long Walk

by Michael Nkansah

I stepped hard on the accelerator, longingly yearning for a nice, warm bed. Then there he lay, motionless.

I suddenly screeched to a halt. Thoughtfully musing over what might have happened, I bent caringly over. He was breathing, albeit faintly. Hearing the slightest of sounds, I turned sharply. Two gun-toting men, like apparitions, emerged stealthily from the bush. Promptly, reality dawned. I'd been unabashedly hoodwinked, big time.

Now up, my man ordered imperiously, "Your phone and keys," his arms outstretched expextantly. Obediently, I did his bidding. They zoomed off. Then I began the long, lonely, perilous walk to town.

Story 205

A Deadly Dawn Chorus

by SL Hardin

Quickly, softly, silently he slunk down the stairs, his feline body wrapping dangerously around my ankles as I tiptoed sleepily through the darkened house. Not your traditional dawn chorus, his mewling cries greedily imploring me to feed, "Me-now."

Suddenly he stopped. Quite accidentally, I didn't.

Then I'm falling, loudly hitting every step as I grab hastily against bare walls, trying desperately to avoid the inevitable crash.

Still he sits, stealthily hidden in darkness, furtively glancing between my broken crumpled body and the upstairs rooms, waiting patiently for another victim to wander unsuspectingly into his path.

We don't own a cat.

Story 206

See The Wonder

by Binyamin Bashir

He perched breathlessly atop the rock upon the hilltop. Silently, the horizon called and he respectfully welcomed its awe. The moist air soothed him lavishly and its warmth thoroughly enticed him. He gazed admiringly across everything in his scope of sight and wondered appreciatively. His thoughts wandered brightly and delightfully, and he felt appropriately content as he blissfully rested.

 There was so much he could eagerly see. Life was a gift he humbly accepted.

 Comfortably, he inhaled the magic of the place. The beauty and mystery. There was so much he could cheerfully do. He boldly smiled and leapt up wonderfully.

Story 207

Freedom, Finally

by Leese Wright

He crept through the house quietly, methodically, not wanting to risk alerting anybody to his late-night escapade. He'd planned it carefully, committing every potential obstacle to his impressively strong memory. Without so much as a creak from a floorboard, he'd crossed the hall and made it to the partially open window.

Within seconds he was descending the surprisingly sturdy drainpipe and spilling out into the dimly lit street below. He quickly glanced around but, as expected, there wasn't a soul in sight. Rarely was anybody from the sparsely populated town outside of their comfortably secure homes after dark.

Freedom, finally.

Story 208

Hopefully

by Judith Wolfgang

Hopefully, Friday will be a wonderfully, amazing day. A day of kind, compassionate people surrounding us. A perfect day when it comes to good wholesome fun.

A day to embrace the perfect sunrise and linger over our first cup of coffee. Lovingly preparing to spend time with the most loyal friends we have.

Kindly and considerately, we plan how we are going to spend our amazingly free day. Where to begin.

Fly a kite at the park. Visit a museum or two. Lunch with the most famous people we know. The day is quickly over. We can't wait for next time.

Story 209

Admirably Challenged

by Michael Rumsey

He sat coyly, silently, woodenly, alone on the chair.  The man strode purposefully toward him.

"Hello, you're not looking actively sprightly this gloriously charming evening. Allow me to give you a helpful hand."

The Admiral, suddenly animatedly spoke loudly, clearly, boldly.

Ahoy. I am as you know, and fervently wish to remain, dazzlingly handsome, amazingly entertaining and highly articulated."

He rambled on incessantly, wildly exaggerating his fondly held memories as the man sipped continually from a freshly poured glass of bracingly and enticingly attractive sparkling water.

The audience applauded enthusiastically.

Overwhelmingly stimulated the Admiral and ventriloquist bowed deeply.

Story 210

Card Sharp

by Christine Tapper

Eventually Christmas arrives. Consequently you write meaningfully in cards.

If you're called Christine or Christopher, don't lapse even partially while writing Happy Christmas or someone's card might say, 'We wish you a Happy Christine/Christopher.' This usually happens when the brain blindly follows the first five letters Christ with 'ine/opher' instead of 'mas'. We must stay alert.

I once linked the wrong Aunty and Uncle. Aunty bluntly said Harold wasn't her husband. A sense of humour probably would have helped, but she simply wasn't blessed with one. Fancy me omitting Uncle Noel. Noel, Noel... obviously no-one's more Christmassy than him.

Story 211

Unrequitedly Loving

by William Chris Sargeant

I sat longingly silently, expectantly waiting for my soundless mobile to ring quietly. The confidently, feisty lady I had suddenly, deeply fallen for had refused my awkwardly phrased offer for lunch before she was forever flown back to her far away country and out of my disrupted life. The loved lady was explainedly busy closing her too large house and packing her sumptuously expensive wardrobe.

I sat quietly, irrationally thinking she would call, realising my hurt.

Had I misread her blue, twinkling eyes and her carefully constructed words of  life. I had, obviously, because I sat quietly, drunkenly, staring inanely, waiting insanely. The ring never happened.

Story 212

Cod Liver Oil

by Lesley Anne Truchet

"Louis, are you OK?"

"No. Order the gang quickly. I've got the most awfully galloping squits."

"Felix," said Blackie forcefully, "you dig holes deeply. Solomon, you fill them in thoroughly.  Carlos, look for fresh places, swiftly."

"What about me?" Mickey asked timidly.

"You can gently guide Louis to the empty holes?"

"Me-ow, my stomach hurts," groaned Louis wretchedly.

A voice called plaintively. "I'm sorry, Louis. The vet prescribed a level teaspoon of cod liver oil. Without my hearing aid, I thought he said eleven teaspoons." 

"Eleven teaspoons? Oh sh..."

"DON'T say it, Mickey," Blackie said vehemently.

Story 213

Interestingly Not The Worst Night Of My Life

by Laura-Liisa Klaas

Angrily, we stared at the elderly driver of the lousy Volkswagen. We had enthusiastically hitched an obviously lengthy ride with him and now could go no further, he quietly informed us.

It was easily the most furiously hottest day of this sickeningly humid summer in the South of France.

We found ourselves in the typically tiny rest area in the MIDDLE of the angrily loud highway.

It looked like we certainly would have to spend a rather annoyingly lengthy night in the toilets. With unapologetically loud music gingerly emanating from the speakers and disgustingly harsh lights on, automatically and perpetually.

Story 214

By The Seaside

by Alan Barker

Fearfully, Tim placed the ball awkwardly on his tee. His opponent, Jack, who did every stroke masterfully, wisely let Tim go first. He swung his club recklessly. The ball bounced insanely against the windmill, shot widely past the tunnel entrance and inevitably settled sadly in the long grass.

Jack, swung his club gracefully and thoughtfully. His ball crossed the green handsomely and dropped into the last hole successfully.

As Tim wandered inconsolably back to the clubhouse. Jack said confidently that Tim had acted very bravely and that one day he might win the Seaside Crazy Golf Challenge superbly.

Story 215

A Stolen Idea

by Gemma Masey

I looked up at the obnoxiously placed poster that idiotically and incessantly recounted the overwhelmingly good fortunes of a one 'Mr Lennox'. The boldly coloured notice bravely overshadowed the other partially withered sign describing the charity scheme for the immeasurably poor and underprivileged.

I glared harshly at the former and stormed away moodily. That was my idea, my impressively conceived visualisation, not that unbelievably inconsiderate halfwit's.

The wintry environment did nothing to improve my tetchy mood. I slumped onto a precariously creaking bench, staring monotonously and hatefully ahead, wishing the worst on the ridiculous idiot."

Story 216

Always Generously Tip Your Stylist

by Amber Fernie

Isobel Russel saunters snootily into my hair salon for her usual 4:15 wash and set. She is a notoriously bad tipper.

Today, when she eventually leaves here, she will not ultimately be returning home, though. That's because today, while I skillfully wash and set her hair, her house will be stealthily burgled and abruptly set on fire.

Isobel Russel will angrily collect her insurance money and resentfully move on from this event, while I, the person who faithfully does her usual 4:15 wash and set, will presumably be several thousand dollars richer.

Isobel Russel should definitely have tipped me better.

Story 217

Trickster

by Julie Indah

Mike woke up due to the rumbling, deafeningly sounding thunder. He sluggishly moved out of his bed and went to the window slowly.

Then suddenly, a beautifully-dressed fairy, with her slowly yet elegantly flapping wings, scooted over Mike and landed on his shoulder.

"Did you caused that?" he said callously, pointing at the thunder outside his house.

"Everybody's bullying me because I don't have any new clothes," she said resently, pouting.

He sighed. "I'll buy you some. Go fix that first." Then he swifly went back to sleep.

Overjoyed, she said, "OK," coyly.

Story 218

Bleating

by Louise Burgess

The sun shone so brightly through the window, it almost certainly could have blinded me.

If I hadn't hurriedly shoved on my glasses I am positively sure I wouldn't of been able to see. 

However what a wonderful sight to gaze upon, wide open fields with sheep bleating occasionally.

Normally I wouldn't ever sit so lazily in such an uncomfortable chair staring frequently at those noisy sheep. Then again, I hardly ever get the time.

Story 219

The Rude Cat

by Mikal Peterson

The clocks tediously slow, droning, ticks annoyingly were echoed throughout the house. The small cat looked angrily at the clock as the hands mechanically moved methodically. Then, the cat gracefully leaped quickly up to the clock. Without hesitation, the cat hastily knocked the clock to the ground. The clock shattered forcefully against the ground and the crash was heard loudly throughout the house.  The cat's owner begrudgingly walked into the room and looked at the pieces of the clock. He sighed heftily and began cleaning up the remnants of the clock.

Story 220

Sibling Rivalry

by Andrew Ough-Jones

"I challenge you to a duel," I belligerently cried.

"You can't just say that every time you don't get your own way." My sister tutted and rolled her eyes, exasperatedly.

"To the death," I blasted again, abhorrently staring at my dastardly, wicked foe.

I leapt from the sofa arm, crazedly, launching myself at her, snarling menacingly like a wounded bear. But I started my assault prematurely and my eyes opened widely with fear as I realised my mistake. She caught me, threw me to the ground and sat on me. Uncomfortably.

"Give up?" she asked smugly.

"Yes," I muttered, miserably.

Story 221

The Transformation

by Sivan Pillai

I entered John's brightly lit room and was baffled to find him sitting on his elaborately carved chair, stroking his cat lovingly. He had always insisted that he disliked cats thoroughly though he had reluctantly bowed to his continually pleading wife.

He welcomed me cheerfully and, clearly observing my hardly concealed confusion, recounted enthusiastically how the cat had cleverly prevented his baby daughter from putting her hand into the hot water tub, irrevocably making him a cat lover.

His wife, hurriedly entering from the slightly closed bedroom, reprimanded him mildly for talking loudly and waking up the just slept baby.

Story 222

Unbearably White Walls

by Michelle Konov

Rather maddeningly, occasionally I spend however much time simply and actually doing literally nothing, staring listlessly off into the distance, especially at a particularly blank wall. Probably, it's almost daily, some tell me directly. Immediately I refute these heinous claims – to happen so frequently, how unbelievably uncouth.

Moreover, virtually all my time irrevocably spent staring at walls has hilariously lent me a naturally mysterious reputation. So, recently, I have begun to thank you fully, my entirely white walls, for ultimately providing me this completely and unnecessarily creative title.

Story 223

Only Today

by Terker Jerbs

Always yesterday, never tomorrow. First everywhere, then down under, entirely last. Then suddenly, now. Inside the underground dimly lit stridently, fiercely pushing upstairs and outside. Rather often, not anywhere near here, but away. Almost too early, but somehow often enough. Between there and somewhere over yonder, we've only today, forever.

Story 224

On Thoughtful Reflection

by Cathi Radner

Generally, I sit quietly, patiently waiting for something unexpected to happen. Generally, it rarely does and I usually have to wait a ridiculously long time for nothing to occur.

So I was listlessly sitting, languidly rocking my chair, thoughtlessly kicking my left shoe against the carelessly maintained wall of the second best parlor in grandmama's rambling manse.

Dust silently fell to the floor.

A spider surreptitiously peeked in, while a slightly braver mouse peered past then madly dashed across the room. Somewhat amusing, but hardly unexpected.

I yawned noisily. I had inevitably grown weary. Lustily, loudly, emphatically, I screamed, "Enough."  

Story 225

Mine

by Kristie Claxton

"If only you had said something before. From the absolute beginning of this conversation, ahead of time, then maybe we could have gotten off on the wrong foot."

"Maybe we wouldn't have gotten off on the wrong foot you must certainly mean." The old man looked at me solemnly, shifting his neverending girth from his left foot to the right. He looked quizzically behind me but I was the only one here. "You certainly have a sharp-witted tongue."

I lazily shook my head. "It's the only thing I have that is, without a doubt, mine."

Story 226

An Education

by Emma Wilde

While I am working busily, my precocious cat lazily, but thoughtfully, watches the television. Yesterday, the cat carefully and deliberately selected a programme about people who had injured themselves seriously at work; sometimes accidentally, sometimes stupidly and occasionally rather hilariously. The cat slyly and eagerly took notes by scratching precisely into the side of my sofa.

When I finished work, and collapsed eagerly onto the sofa, the cat was sitting, expectantly, looking at me.

"We need to talk," it said, confidently. "You have been flouting the work place safety rules blatantly, selfishly and irresponsibly. I seriously need more rest breaks."

Story 227

Oh Grandma...

by Zoe Bryant

Screeching stridently through loosely clacking teeth, hair wildly flapping around her extremely wrinkled but elegant face, Monica fiercely and energetically reminded the generally forgetful world that she actually existed.

"Where's my crummy meals-on-wheels?" she screamed passionately, clasping her hands theatrically to her majestically sagging bosom. "Where's my offensively carelessly late sustenance?"

Jauntily, an adventurously bright van unerringly hits the kerb. Seeing the emotionally overcome Monica, Brian jovially bounces forward, announcing grandly, "Here, delightfully impatient one."

Jubilantly, Monica enthusiastically slaps her lips, clearly enormously, even blissfully, excited by his much-anticipated arrival.

Smiling a hungrily wolfish grin she invites him in.

Story 228

The Corrections

by Len Saculla

Memories:

"Mummy, we had a race and I ran quick."

"Quickly."

"At sports day my team got beat bad."

"Beaten badly, son."

"Susie Watkins is really cute and I love her madly."

"Finally, you're getting it." But then Mother died suddenly and tragically. At least she didn't suffer horribly.

Later I found a professor who served as a parent, surrogately.

Rather pompously, he decided, "I can see clearly what's wrong with your writing. Too many adverbs, obviously."

But Mother taught me so proficiently that I use them continually and habitually.

Now I simply stare at my writing confusedly.

Story 229

Finally

by Jaylen Moulton

Frantically, he paced back and forth the darkly lit room, expectantly waiting a phone call from the job he clearly needed. Truthfully, he was used to leisurely sitting around in his parent's basement. He gladly and competitively played video games daily; however, he suddenly gained the urge to completely change his life around. He was tired of idly waiting around every day. Obviously, he was a freeloader, greedily using his parents, who kindly allowed him to stay. His attitude strongly switched to a need to repay them for their kindness by responsibly getting a job.

Finally, the phone rang.

Story 230

That Teapot

by Allen Ashley

So, Mr Tristram, you served as a politician.

Honourably.

And this qualifies you to become director of one of the world's leading museums?

Undoubtedly.

We're looking closely at your application form, Mr Tristram, and we're struggling to find a great deal of relevant experience. Have you ever been to a museum or gallery?

Oh yes. Once, twice; possibly.

And shown an interest in painting, ceramics or design?

Maybe. That teapot – it cleverly keeps the brew warm and soothing.

Quite. Speaking honestly, Mr Tristram, we were expecting more candidates. Seriously. But there's just you. Can you start soon?

Definitely. Probably. Hopefully.

Story 231

Who Is Going To Tell Them?

by Helen Combe

"It's the most beautifully, harmoniously, tastefully decorated, downstairs retirement flat," said Jessie hopefully and earnestly.

"Yes," said John rather tremulously. "But who is going outside now to tell them?"

"I told them previously," said Jessie defensively, crossing her arms defiantly, "about the outrageously expensive syrup."

"I suppose I'd better tell them."

John reluctantly and shakily rose and headed out slowly towards the broodingly waiting bee hives.

Jessie waited, then slowly and tentatively looked out of the window to see John rapidly clearing the extremely rickety fence, pursued noisily and angrily by bees.

"They really don't like change," she murmured softly.

Story 232

Barely Literate Alliteration

by Steve Pomper

I was once so verily, adverbially challenged, I could scarcely regard adverbs objectively. So, primly, though abstractly, I practically, virtually ascertained I was hardly up to the challenge, hardily.

Thus, I endeavored to elaborate eloquently regarding the heady gumption sorely required to quickly and efficiently, with more than a modicum of circumlocution, assault my erratically erroneous literary endeavor.

In the tragic end, warily, tepidly, I, with hesitation worthy of these most previously present adverbs, bolstered my flaggingly flaccid confidence.

Now, nearly confidently, I surreptitiously tamped down my unwaveringly, waggish commitment to barely literate alliteration and embarrassingly garish and prolific embellishment.

Story 233

Let's Go Fly a Kite

by Lizzie Merrill

Simon eagerly opened the beautifully wrapped birthday present. Brightly-coloured paper swiftly became finely shredded confetti.

"A sublimely divine kite," he exuberantly exclaimed. "I'll go to the park forthwith," he declared enthusiastically.

He presently arrived at the nearby park which was particularly busy with children playing merrily. The wind was blowing gently and remarkably ideal for his newly acquired kite. The flying line unwound evenly and the tail stretched out flamboyantly. Simon's kite ascended effortlessly into the sky, climbing extravagantly and swooping outrageously. Simon laughed animatedly. Indubitably, it was his best-loved birthday present ever.

Story 234

The Last Ball of the Over

by Valerie Griffin

The penultimately bowled ball claimed the previously batting batsman. Howzat. The batting side have 111 runs. A Nelson score, unluckily. Traditionally, this requires the team's supporters to supportively stand zealously on one leg.

The nightwatchman walks jauntily to the crease. The bowler, who earlier bowled a maiden over (she's still giggly), rubs the ball vigorously down his trousers whilst carefully pacing out his run. The ball flies dangerously, unexpectedly a googly.

The batsman swings recklessly but enthusiastically with a paddle scoop which luckily soars towards the boundary to win by one run.

The supporters hop and cheer victoriously.

Story 235

Drastic Measures

by Helen Perry

"One day," she said, forcefully. "One day everything will magically come together and I'll go skipping merrily off into the sunset." She shook her head sadly as she looked around the dimly lit room. Seemingly that day was far off. "Change is coming, slowly but surely. It has been creeping up for some time."

Suddenly, she grabbed her bag and moved quickly towards the door.  The gunshot echoed loudly around the sparsely furnished room and her husband slumped limply in his armchair.

She slipped quietly from the room and rapidly retreated into the shadows, praying hopefully for a better future.

Story 236

Torpedoedly

by Mark Johnson

Aimlessly adrift in a ridiculously tiny lifeboat, vainly trying to hide from the constantly blazing sun, James fought a losing battle with thirst.

The ocean smell that was so sweet on board the Lusitania now pierced his nostrils, teasing him unmercifully. He recalled his Coleridge: 'Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink'.  Now he fully understood.  The briny spray only made him unusually thirsty.

James wistfully stared into the cloudless sky, prayed hopefully for rain, then drifted into unusually fitful sleep.

When finally rescued, James was freakishly delirious from thirst, weak as a fully emaciated kitten.

Story 237

The Pirate On The Deck

by Sandra Orellana

An old, wrinkly, bitterly, belly-dried, elderly man was sitting on a slovenly torn deck. He stared deeply at the lonely, unlively, unclearly, dirty, blue ocean. There wasn't a sight of a lovely beauty to watch.

Lost in his barely, wackily hollow-mind, he recalled the past while sorrowfully, regretfully holding on to his broken, ridiculously-cheap cane. Realising his ghastly acts, he comprehended that he really was a parasitically unkindly man, instead of that bravely, courageously youthful captain he thought he was.

He ended up as a lonely, unworthily rundown pirate. He wasn't usefully active to anyone in his worldly disgusted life.

Story 238

Olay

by Jerry Vilhotti

After half an hour, Johnny returned angrily to Linda drenched with sweat, anxiously suggesting it wasn't going to be as easy as he'd thought. Mentioning places that had seen his desperation and had acidly jacked up their prices a third. Then, when he said his wife was with him, the sleeping price actually doubled — way over what he'd budgeted.

He began to think bleakly. Mexico was paying 'his' people back badly for all that'd been done to them, arrogantly biting off a large chunk of land for money. Somehow, he felt wiser for knowing all this bad history.

Story 239

The Real Snow White Story

by Allen Stroud

In the nursery rhyme there were seven dwarves.

There were many more in the tribe, their names came from how each of them behaved.

Astonishingly remained wide-eyed.

Truthfully was strict.

Really did not understand lies.

Actually saw only what was in front of her.

Factually was a dwarf detective.

Properly knew only one way of doing things.

Meaningfully was quite intense.

Prospectively panned for gold.

Possibly never got anything done.

Definitely was everyone's best friend.

Affirmatively always agreed

Correctly argued with Properly all the time.

And Absolutely argued with both of them.

Utterly despaired.

And Fraudulently got away with everything.

Story 240

Man Behaving Mindfully

by Mark O'Loughlin

I've often done bad things in my life, sadly. Thankfully and uncharacteristically I'm a changed man now though.

Look at me. Appropriately and imaginatively, I'm eating a raisin mindfully, timidly, sleepily, all simultaneously.

I chew slowly and deliberately. "Ridiculously, I rarely feel this ridiculous," I say quietly under my breath, unconvincingly. Unbelievably, it feels undeniably, astonishingly and incredibly pleasurable.

Beautifully, it feels heavenly to focus on something so microscopically tiny. Predictably, tragically, wishfully, I expect chocolate would be better.

Story 241

His Name Is Lee

by Ella O'Loughlin

When I see him, I shout so happily, "It's Lee," that my friend replies, equally joyously, "Yay, Lee."

Our joy, you see, is down to how hilariously we joke about Lee. If he acts cheerfully, then we call him Cheerful-Lee. Acting dramatically? Well, that's Dramatic-Lee. Lazily is Lazy-Lee; politely is Polite-Lee; elegantly (which he is rarely) would, obviously, be Elegant-Lee. Well, the list goes on indefinitely, continuing infinitely.

Lately though, Lee has acted more unhappily, more angrily, less merrily, especially towards me.

I wonder why...

Maybe he doesn't like puns...

Or me?

Story 242

Obsessive-Lee

by Issy O'Loughlin

My sister types feverishly, one finger only, peculiarly. Why is she so obsessed with Lee? As bizarrely as my father is with poetry. Creepily, she follows Lee around, as he wearily leaves the school gates. Persistently, tirelessly, fanatically; she never rests. She forms puns endlessly, unfortunately for Lee. No one laughs. She does, hysterically. This hobby possesses her, overwhelmingly, as she desperately runs after him with more poorly created puns. Frantically, he runs at 3.0X 10^8 m/s, impossibly, his bones shatter, his cells crush and lamentably he turns to dust. Poor Lee.

Story 243

Finding Lee

by Lucy Costick

Quickly, slyly, rapidly, he moved ever closer to Lee. He was thoughtfully thinking about how he would see Lee so cheerfully. He used to see Lee daily, weekly, not annually. Slowly and sneakily he slithered through. He quizzically thought, Where's Lee?

Worriedly, he navigated quietly and quickly through the woods and towns, all to find Lee. Suddenly he spotted Lee. Wishfully, he ran quickly, effortlessly and eagerly to speak to Lee. He shouted loudly and extravagantly  for Lee, his favourite Lee.

But Lee suspected thoughtfully his year 9 annoyance calling so cheerfully, so avidly to Lee. Maybe Lee didn't think thoughtfully when thinking cheerfully of his friend. Maybe that's why Lee hasn't been so cheerful recently – oh Lee.

Story 244

Box In The Road

by Theodore Ficklestein

I am almost entirely sure that the road you are so anxiously searching is around the restaurant. You know, the one where they run a yearly contest for anyone with enough guts to eat their largest plate, entirely, of course.

I hear if you go downstairs in the place right behind the bar, below the fish they bought yesterday, you'll find an often-missed box that could contain as much as a million dollars. Or is it as little as million dollars?

How do I know that? I'd rather not say.

Story 245

Strategically Flawed

by T.A.Bolton

Initially, it looks like I could easily jump this slowly flowing brook. I begrudgingly admit I'm not quite as physically fit as I was, but bravely, possibly overconfidently, I'm definitely giving it a go.

I studiously measure the gap. It's seemingly three metres. I optimistically reckon I'll need a run up of approximately 10 to sufficiently gain velocity.

With a degree of hesitancy I commence my sprint. I rapidly reach the bank, athletically leaping gloriously and hopefully graciously and elegantly through the air.

I've obviously, ambitiously miscalculated.

I descend too early, landing shamefacedly, distressingly, and ultimately damply, a metre shy.

Story 246

No Dimwits Pass This Board

by Rene Astle

I spotted the sign that read 'No Dimwits Pass This Board'. What in blazes was that supposed to mean?

Normally, I would see signs that would give out warnings or inspirational words of imagination and skills, but I haven't seen a sign using these words before.

Apparently, I thought and I thought and I thought for a little while before I finally figured out what it meant.

It occurred to me that a dimwit means a foolish monster. But I'm not a foolish monster, so I guess I can pass that board for the time being and a while.

Story 247

The Race

by Jack Probyn

Emphatically, I crossed the finish line, with a perfectly timed nose-dive toward the disgustingly brown floor.

The other contestants slowly saunter behind me, staring at me disapprovingly. I noticed a change in their faces flicker slightly as they walked past me, but I didn't care.

My heart danced enthusiastically in my chest, ricocheting voraciously behind my rapidly billowing ribcage. My mouth dried with the succulent inhalation of the air I so desperately desired.

I turned to my coach. His ridiculously low trousers almost dangled by his feet. He picked me up and said, "I always knew you'd do it."

Story 248

Two of a Kind

by Cedric de la Nougerede

"I could really and truly do with something deliciously scrumptiously tasty and fattening," said Fred.

"You're always stuffing your overly large mouth with something fattening," replied Jack. "No wonder you're all wobbly."

"Just lying here cheerfully eating makes me very comfortably and serenely happy. Doesn't it you?"

"Well I..." said Jack hesitatingly, "I grudgingly agree about the eating bit, but I wish you wouldn't eat so much fatty stuff." He paused, then, "Pass me another honey covered oatcake."

Fred sniggered slyly. "You're becoming a pig, Jack."

"I know. It's what we are. Race you to the trough."

Story 249

English Lesson

by Geoff Holme

"Adverbs are words ending '-ly'. Understand, class?"

"Absolutely," said Zolly.

"Bounteously," said Yarely.

"Completely," said Wally.

"Decidedly," said Vasily.

"Entirely," said Uly.

"Fully," said Tiger-lily.

"Genuinely," said Sally.

"Handsomely," said Roly.

"Indubitably," said Quinnly.

"Judiciously," said Polly.

"Keenly," said Olly.

"Lucidly," said Nelly.

"Magnificently," said Milly.

"Naturally," said Lily.

"Overwhelmingly," said Kimberly.

"Perfectly," said Joely.

"Quintessentially," said Italy.

"Radically," said Holly.

"Supremely," said Gilly.

"Totally," said Filly.

"Unequivocally," said Emily.

"Verily," said Dolly.

"Wholly," said Cecily.

"Yes," said Billy, monosyllabically.

"ZZZZ," droned Ally, unconsciously.

*

Headmaster's Report

...Sadly, but understandably, we could never rely on Mr Scully, the supply teacher again.

Story 250

Top Of His Class

by John Notley

"Jenkins, come to the front of the class immediately."

Jenkins anxiously rose to his feet, suspiciously eyeing his form master and, slowly, very gradually, approached the desk.

Mr Young addressed him sarcastically. "You thoughtlessly and maliciously drew, albeit unprofessionally, an intensely and offensively crude caricature of myself on the blackboard.  How did I know it was you? You stupidly and almost illegibly signed the drawing. What career would you ideally expect to follow when hopefully and finally you finish your education? Come now, Jenkins, tell me truthfully, since you are so artistically inclined."

"A pavement or graffiti artist, sir."

Story 251

Breakout

by Craig Anderson

I silently glided down the eternally dark corridor. I moved quickly. Capture would abruptly end my adventure. My plan must be executed flawlessly. The gatekeepers work tirelessly, never taking a day off. My entire future was completely dependant on escape. I reached out carefully, gently grasping the door handle. This was it, the moment of truth. I turned the handle.

The dog barked loudly and my parents appeared from nowhere.

Mum shook her head. "I'm mildly disappointed you'd even try. No parties on a school night. Go back to bed."

I reluctantly accepted my fate and slunk quietly back upstairs.

Story 252

Choose Your Colours Carefully

by Christina Dalcher

Molly McNally, always adventurously-inclined in matters of nail varnish, had finally decided. "I'll try Lusciously Lavender today," she lisped kittenishly. The ultra-boring Mysteriously Mauve often failed miserably in drawing attention to her little piggies.

Unfortunately, Molly's overly-enthusiastic chatter caused the pedicurist to lose focus. She fell hard and fast on her own orange stick.

"What's that?" Molly asked inquisitively.

The manicurist straightened only slightly before collapsing ever so lifelessly into the footbath, its formerly clear waters now roiling with increasingly red-toned bubbles. "Painfully Primrose, for sure."

"Definitely next time," Molly said, regarding her lilac toes disappointedly.

Story 253

The Beauty's Beast

by Lorna Caizley

Swiftly, the white feathery swan moved venomously across the gorgeously glistening lake towards the vicious looking dog. Unknown to the swan, the dog was completely in love with her. He didn't want to harm her fragile eggs, he just wanted to watch this stunningly graceful beauty dance on endlessly moving water.

As the swan moved closer, the hulky beast of an animal lay on his front, bowing to the iridescent swan. That instant, the swan knew that this silly beast of an animal was unconditionally hers alone. She wouldn't have to continually worry about the protection of her precious babies again.

Story 254

A Thirst For Arrrdverbs

by Maddy Hamley

The unfortunately one-eyed pirate tottered precariously towards the shore, fulminently cursing the uncharacteristically forceful wave that had viciously knocked him into the dangerously churning waters.

He wished fervently and feverishly for freshly flowing fluids.

Suddenly exclaiming excitedly, he spotted a bottle glinting tantalisingly in the softly lapping waves.

Triumphantly, the pirate lifted it up... and swore furiously as he frustratedly dashed the disappointingly empty bottle, formerly full of phenomenally dreadful rum, against a rock casually jutting out of the sea.

Incredibly, the bottle rebounded elegantly, sharply smacking the pirate on his detestably, gruesomely, hideously pockmarked nose.

Story 255

Boardroom Breakdown

by JR Partley

His heart pounding strongly, Sir Charles Hardly-Worthitt stood vertically against the door, listening attentively.

"Am I finally the last?" he pondered thoughtfully. It had all previously begun the day before when, completely alone in the boardroom, he had discovered the notorious Worthitt Will secretly hidden behind the founder's portrait. Without thinking twice he had immediately slipped the document inside his jacket.

Now, as Sir Charles audibly heard the cleaners leave, he crept quietly from the stationery cupboard. Tangibly feeling the replacement document in his pocket he entered the boardroom and suddenly stopped, aghast.

The portrait had been visibly moved.

Story 256

Wrongly Spelled

by Abigail Williamson

Cautiously, she lifted the lid. Slowly stirring, she felt sublimely supreme.

"Eye of newt. Tongue of bat. Curses, oaths... and hairs of cat."

Meg, her old moggy, painfully glared. Obediently, she sat sulkily by old broom. The sky was darkly foreboding. She scratched impatiently at the bald patch, glaring icily at her mistress.

Nevertheless, the spell continued.

Fittingly, the mixture bubbled well.

"My kingdom for some youth," screamed the hag excitedly.

Bang.

She peered into the mirror intensely.

Mysteriously, all was as before.

Her fury unfailingly, always blew in like a storm.

Afterwards, Meg the kitten lovingly licked her paws.

Story 257

The Ghost in my Garden

by David Turton

The ghostly white figure danced hypnotically in the darkness outside my wide kitchen window. I stared numbly and looked over to my indifferent wife who must not have seen. She was blindly carrying on, fervently washing the curry-stained ceramic plates.

How could she be so intolerably ignorant to my horrifyingly macabre vision of the last few tormented nights, playing out silently outside our loving family home? A fiendish, haggard woman wearing a pristine white gown splattered with lumpy, dark blood, swaying her grisly, emaciated torso enchantingly to the chilling whistle of the cold night wind in the unforgiving grey moonlight.

Story 258

A Day at the Beach

by Ron Brazel

"Come now, Martha, it'll be a delightfully pleasant and warmly energizing day. Besides, I've already paid for a large and colourfully decorated umbrella and comfortably laid out chase lounges."

"Reggie, in all the years we've been blissfully wed, you've never suggested we spend a day at a nude beach, delightfully pleasant or otherwise."

Reggie continued driving while thinking of a response. "We can use the sun on our dreadfully pale skin and get colourfully tanned."

After ten minutes of being at the beach, Martha said, "You're pointedly excited about being here, get in the water till your excitement level drops."

Story 259

Help

by Emma Rogers

Creepily, he crept forward like a demonically possessed being.

Hurriedly, I backed away, not daring to take my panic-stricken eyes off him.

Eerily, the hairs rose on the back of my neck.

Darkness blackly painted everything, and I knowingly admitted to myself I was absolutely lost.

Daringly, I straightened up and bravely moved forward, towards the terrifying, beastly thing.

Suddenly, orangey light shone, shimmering through the blackness.

Apologetically, he smiled. Knowingly chuckling he said, "Did I startle you?"

Coyly, I said, "Which way's the loo?"

The club's bouncer helpfully pointed in the right direction with his brightly glowing cigarette.

Story 260

Suiciding Peculiarly

by Etheray

After thrusting myself over the edge, rashly, it took all my willpower not to clutch at the ledge, desperately.

As I rocketed down the height of the Empire State Building, a-ton-of-stonesly, I glimpsed fowls' wings, flapping noisily, heard commercials on toilet-bowl-best-buys, blaring ridiculously. All the while I screamed, at-the-top-of-my-lungsly.

Ironically fortunately, I zoomed down into a humongous trampoline, that appeared out-of-nowherely. Before I could start counting my blessings, jovially, I reverberated, terrifyingly, into a flower bush, utterly ungainly. I wasn't hurt, exceedingly bizarrely.

"Again, mister, again," said the children, awaiting my next stunt, eagerly.

Story 261

The Upper Realm

by Christine O'Donnell

Hurriedly, she scuttled haphazardly back towards the safety of her lovely cave. Her latest venture in the terrifyingly bright upper realm had left her undeniably shaking and scared.

Upper-dwellers had ridiculed her heartily, if not for her noisily flapping toes or her moistly squeaking nose, then certainly for her woefully under-developed hair follicles.

Indubitably, one did not need much hair when one lived in a dank and darkly cold cave, where her moistly squeaking nose was disguised by the hurriedly dripping stalactites.

With tears streaming noiselessly down her crater-filled cheeks, she forcibly returned herself to the comforting land of sleep.

Story 262

Terribly Tasty Torso

by Mike Jackson

Claire wishfully looked at Dave's beautifully sculpted body, laid out lifelessly on her mum's bed. Unabashedly, she gracefully ran her stylishly manicured fingers through the hairs on his manly chest. "Such a waste," she muttered mournfully.

"Can't be helped," said her mother briskly, in a ruthlessly matter of fact voice. "Regretfully our needs heavily outweigh his. Are you ready?"

Claire nodded remorsefully. Staring at Dave's brutally battered body, she hungrily parted her lips exposing two extremely sharp fangs. Her mother briskly stepped alongside her. Quickly and effortlessly the  women savagely tore at the terribly tasty torso in front of them.

Story 263

The Weirdly Amusing Whitburns

by Laura Parkinson

Absolutely flabbergasted, I stood watching as Mr Whitburn cheerfully yet confidently walked past. His boastfully-bright trousers flapped defiantly in the stormy wind. His wife chased him hastily, waggling her finger, her large behind followed at a two second delay.

Rapidly, I buttoned my rain coat, stuffing my chubby fingers into the pockets irritably and quietly followed the arguably opposite couple. Several neighbourly curtains twitched inquisitively.

Finally, she caught up to him.  She quickly began shouting and pointing to his ridiculously vibrant trousers. He calmly stood and, with a smirk, removed the trousers, continuing walking victoriously in only his underpants.

Story 264

An Unexpected Renovation

by Richard Lewis

Unusually for a Thursday, the house suddenly, and loudly, fell down. Pete blearily surveyed the rubble, lazily rubbing one eye while his hair stood messily to attention. He slowly turned to Meg, as she sat disinterestedly reading The Telegraph across the rubble-strewn table.

"Erm," he said, quietly.

She looked up absently; her eyes moved sluggishly around the newly created space.

"It's not Monday, is it?" she asked, milk dripping softly from her half-lifted spoon back into the cornflakes.

"Don't think so," he replied, noncommittaly.

She shrugged imperceptibly and noisily turned the page.

Story 265

Disgustingly Absent Adverbial Phraseology

by Alan Pattison

Dave carefully picked his words before shouting out dramatically, "There will be no frightfully bad plays here today."

There was an outrageously significant silence before an awfully phrased response from one person who said, "Sorry, sir. We don't use words here so bad."

At this point, Dave realised that unfortunately that would be the end of the disappointedly short  debate as the other person was clearly an American for whom adverbs were disgustingly never in use.

Story 266

The Dangerously Driving Force of Youth

by Jenni Belsay

Eustace is yet again shamelessly speeding around our usually tranquil town in his outrageously noisy Ferrari. He's riskily running red lights and, unforgivably, very nearly mowing down the mostly ancient pedestrians – including me – if we recklessly shuffle off arguably safe pavements onto mortally perilous zebra crossings. Honestly, who does he think he is? Clearly, his head's wedged so firmly up his own immensely diamond-studded backside these days, thought is impossibly hard.

Oh, look. Miraculously, he screeches to a halt – inches from my threateningly hoisted, gold-plated walking stick. Leaning languidly out of the window, he asks obsequiously, "Want a lift, Mum?"

Story 267

Fancy

by Elena Cairn

"Sorry," she murmured guiltily, carefully testing a smile, hoping – likely too optimistically – David would smile back. He towered imposingly, nearly threateningly over the table.

"Honestly, Kate? You just ate my last French Fancy?" The metal in his hand glinted ominously, weapon-like. "While I was fetching a clean fork?"

Surely, a 47-second absence officially forfeits the delectably lemony treat, she thought.

"In my defence," Kate challenged boldly, "they totally should be eaten with hands."

David gaped disbelievingly. "Some icing on your lip," he accused icily.

Alluringly, she fluttered her eyelashes. "If you kiss me sweetly, you'll taste it."

Story 268

Honeymoon

by Catherine Assheton-Stones

"I don't think it's ever going to stop raining," he said despairingly, looking out of the window drearily.

"I knew this would happen if we came to a Scottish island in July," she said, resentfully.

"It must be very nice to always be right," he retorted, spitefully.

"It is," she answered, brutally.

"How about we go out for a couple of whiskies, or four?" he suggested hopefully.

"Alright," she agreed, indifferently.

Ten whiskies later, he slurred, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"That getting married was a terrible mistake?" she queried, cautiously.

They left the pub in opposite directions, ecstatically.

Story 269

Intergalactic Fashions

by Barb Ettridge

It wasn't completely unexpected. These things quizzically never are.

But when a strange egg-like thing eagerly hatches in the upstairs garden, it has to really be either a dragon or an alien. Last time had quickly resulted in three weekly call-outs to the fire brigade but I wasn't really sure who to briskly call about this.

The short, grey being lazily looked me up and down, from my Doctor Who gym boots, to my Magic Roundabout T-shirt.

"And you people think I'm weird," the alien muttered, unabashedly.

Story 270

Toilet Break

by Patricia Mudge

I approached the slowly moving queue doubtfully, wondering irritably why women's loos were always so ridiculously scarce. Lots of eagerly waiting feet shuffled forward gratefully, so nervously, I decided to wait patiently.

My discomfort grew quickly as I stood avidly watching other people occasionally leave the room. Loudly flushing water intensified my pain but my completely full bladder held on precariously.

Nearly there. Exactly three people in front, gratification was exquisitely imminent. But wait. Sensationally, exciting music blared out enthusiastically from the wildly, electrifying stage. Crossly, I realised that I was now obviously late for the eagerly awaited second half.

Story 271

Alliterating Adverbially

by John S Alty

Larry lumbered lazily to his liberally littered library table.

"Damnably difficult, this devilishly devised competition," he said slowly, sadly.

"Appropriately assembling adverbs into amusing alliteration is awfully appealing but actually achieving it is deadly difficult," he added, dolefully.

"Adverbially alliterating is increasingly popular with basically bored bards but frankly frustrating," he concluded convincingly.

Wistfully wishing he'd totally ignored the excitingly enticing challenge, he tentatively laid his gnarly hands on the keyboard and went wearily to work.

Story 272

The Appointment

by Jonathan Heriz-Smith

"Slowly," she slurred, artfully glancing away.

"Fortunately," Doctor Deaf sighed pointedly, delicately pulling back her stocking, "I am fantastically experienced in all appendages."

He gasped over-loudly. Surely not?

"I know, doctor." Mockingly, she twiddled her seven immaculately painted toes.

"The other?" he asked tremulously.

"The same – luckily," she laughed huskily, and indeed it was. 14 toes waved like cheerleaders.

"Wonderfully wonderful," he whispered excitedly. "May I?"

She nodded subtly, as he ran his forefinger unreservedly across the long line of pinkies.

"Practically perfect and perfectly practical," he breathed breathlessly.

"Not a disability, doctor?"

"Hardly – may I, again?"

She agreed wholeheartedly.

Story 273

Alas

by AJ Gatts

"Pearls before swine, isn't it?" Charles uttered bewilderedly. "I'm not a 'high-strung man'. Wallace's assessment of my character is utterly unfair and inaccurately shallow." He peered haughtily at the nearly-empty lecture room.

"Yes," Louisa sighed deeply, resignedly. "No one appreciates greatness anymore."

"I'll say," he concurred vehemently.

She stared sadly at her husband, keenly aware the hour had grown inexorably late.

"Let us go home immediately, dear. There is still time to catch the bus," she suggested helpfully.

He tapped the lectern wistfully, graciously bid the literary greats a good night, and headed off sullenly into the evening.

Story 274

The Ruefully Missed Opportunity

by Martin Strike

I dressed sharply, knife carefully concealed in my gaudily patterned shoe.

*

Protesters booed loudly as I entered the Embassy.

*

At our meeting, the inconceivably elected President spoke disbelievingly of Climate Change and his deeply held views about immigrants completely spoiling his previously great nation.

I nodded diplomatically to maintain our specially held relationship, while my mind wandered distractedly to where I could stealthily find the billion pounds those rascally opportunists were greedily expecting.

After, I remembered I'd singularly failed to sneakily take the knife and... covertly snipped a lock of his bizarrely overcombed hair for selfishly intended posterity.

Story 275

Bang

by Jeanne James

Darkly, insistently, now inside, now outside, always firmly, BANG. Always firmly, BANG. Abruptly, almost monotonously then, quite suddenly, still. Worse yesterday, better now, peacefully, cosily, mindfully astray, together romantically.

Brutally BANG. Yet again. Uneasily, gingerly, skittishly downstairs again, together.

Sidelong, glancingly, fearfully now, barely afloat, too distractedly almost, but upstairs, safely, coweringly away. Tomorrow, expectantly better.

Afterwards, almost remorsefully but happily lovingly together, as entirely all quite now. Moreover, quite foolishly, but BANG inside now. Wickedly, relentlessly, tangibly evilly HERE. Uneasily left upstairs together, to listen carefully, then quite slowly sideways, only enough, not noisily, removal outside, together, now hotfoot speedily away.

Story 276

A Delectable Treat (Which Is A Matter Of Opinion)

by Jack Hanlon

In this swelteringly sizzling heat, I eagerly approach the radiantly majestic vehicle and feverishly request a deliciously tempting delight.

"We've sold out," the surly ice-cream vendor grouchily announces with a grumpy frown.

I am angrily despondent and dismally forlorn. My sourness hopelessly distracts me and I foolishly fail to notice the sizeable stallion speedily sweeping towards my dejected path.

It violently collides with my awkwardly vulnerable body and helplessly propels my blameless core uncontrollably through the dangerously thin air and embarrassingly submerges me deeply within a thorny bush.

I lay there painfully defeated, regretfully grieving my ice-cream craving.

Story 277

She Who Laughs Last

by David Silver

Obligingly, I held the door open fully at the chemist's as the home-deliveries driver exited slowly and carefully, carrying with difficulty a cumbersome cardboard carton packed obviously insecurely with prescription medicines.

The guy, gruffly and monosyllabically, acknowledged my gesture and I replied jokingly, "Hope you get well soon."

The man neither smiled silently nor laughed heartily. But I did hear a snickering sound made by a woman waiting patiently to be served.

I realised disappointedly that her titter might have been merely an involuntary noise, a symptom of a nervous disorder totally unconnected with my allegedly humorous comment.

Story 278

London Community

by John V. Keogh

We live our lives discretely,

Behind massive walls concretely.

Have you seen the poor recently?

They're not acting decently.

Everything's locked down securely,

Reinforced extremely strongly,

To keep us working safely.

Our walls have spikes: sit comfortably.

Story 279

Second Thoughts

by James Hornby

Charles, the grossly gelatinous space slug swallowed hard. He'd been severely anxious for days, now just simply scared.

His ridiculously oversized death ray fiercely spat gooey plasma all over his frighteningly horrifying foes. War was a very nasty business. He sometimes heard the ghostly screams of the bravely fallen in his nightmarish dreams.

All this over a sadly missed home, thought Charles, regrettably. Rash thoughts to quickly flee entered his tired mind. He carefully planned another costly life decision.A singularly, brilliantly, wonderful thought came to him: to abruptly desert and daringly move to somewhere shockingly drab.

Story 280

The Race

by Sharon McKenney

"You have to be faster," I feverishly yell as I quickly and clumsily climb the stairs.

"I can't... run anymore," my brother sluggishly replies ungracefully and tiredly flopping against the wall.

"But the view will be great," I happily say, while mockingly skipping down the stairs. When I get to him, I annoyingly poke him.

"Stop poking me, I'm coming," he says playfully, hitting my hand away.

"You have to get there before sunset," I exhaustedly say.

"Just waiting for a chance to beat you," my brother says unexpectedly, running up the stairs, just barely beating me to the top.

Story 281

Unbelievably

by Arezoo Yazdani

Unbelievably, I miss one,

Whose hands I have never touched,

Who I have never walked with,

Whose eyes I have never stared at.

The silliest point of the story,

Is that I have not seen him for some years.

How incredible.

But I miss him, curiously...

Story 282

The Cat's Choir

by Emma Franck-Gwinnell

They sang dreadfully. So dreadfully that Olivia quickly had to cover her ears, for fear that her eardrums would painfully burst if she left them vulnerably unprotected.

She glanced slyly to the left. At least four other children were surreptitiously covering their ears, and another couple were staring balefully at the stage and moving rapidly towards the exit.

Suddenly, the singing halted. Olivia glanced hopefully up at her father, wishing dreadfully that this would be the end of the concert. Olivia's father rolled his eyes exaggeratedly, and sighed loudly.

The singing resumed, more loudly and terribly than before. Oh boy.

Story 283

Better Luck Tomorrow

by Jennifer Worrell

"I love thee, verily," she often said beseechingly, staring at her beau unflinchingly, heart pounding oh-so merrily, while beheld in his arms so tenderly.

Though generously the fates have regarded the kingdom lately – the maiden most especially – the one thing she lacked most achingly was her very own prince (matrimonially). She hoped by wooing him lyrically it would sway his opinion exceptionally.

However, she never foresaw fate's rascality when he responded likewise – most flatulently.

Story 284

The Dog And The Frog

by Olivia Sandwell

The dog bounded energetically along the winding path following the frog who was hopping along frantically. The frog looked back over its shoulder fearfully at the giant monster who was chasing him furiously. The dog caught up and licked the frog playfully. The frog stopped worriedly and looked up at the creature which tasted him excitedly. The warm tongue rolled over him gently, covering him in spit, disgustingly. The frog tried to hop away desperately but the dog caught the frog, and swallowed him down whole, accidentally. He looked around guiltily. He had only wanted to play.

Story 285

Dining Decisions

by Jeni Bloomfield

Solemnly and slowly, he read the menu. There were so many tantalising options to be potentially tentatively tried. Already his mouth was eagerly watering and his stomach greedily grumbling, unsubtly demanding to be thoroughly filled. But he would not be easily bullied by these bodily demands. Each option had to be thoughtfully considered and its virtues meticulously weighed. A hastily chosen choice could easily result in a devastatingly disappointing dinner. So, although one option had shone out brightly from the start, he carefully read the menu front to back and grandly pondered for a moment.

"Fries and a milkshake, please."

Story 286

Gone

by Louise Pymer

Carefully but quickly I ran through the grounds. I did this often, but usually early in the morning as I have simply always enjoyed the feel of the grass below toes.

Normally my mum would eventually notice and immediately chase after me, laughing loudly as she ran, but today it was eerily quiet. Obviously, she wouldn't follow as I ultimately had to accept she would never follow again.

Unfortunately, she was totally gone. She held on strongly, but today she had sadly slipped from my reach never to return. Honestly, I hardly believed it and doubted I ever would.

Story 287

Midnight Explorers

by RJ Saxon

Midnight arrived once again, on a cold November night.

Once per week they explored the forest.

Frankie, aged 13, packed his rucksack.

"Hurry," shouted his cousin Kaleb, aged 10.

Frankie climbed down from his bedroom window.

"Tonight will be our greatest adventure," said Frankie.

Kaleb showed Frankie the map his grandfather left him, with excitement.

Pencilled inscriptions and drawings in pirate fashion read:

Tochtli Quauitl,

This is where you will find your treasure.

Frankie and Kaleb rushed towards the woods.

Their flashlight glare cut through the forestry.

Tonight, shall be their greatest discovery.

Story 288

Unfairly

by S Collins

Merrily healthily quirkily smirkingly willingly frightfully delightfully dumb.

Flightily hopefully doubtfully awkwardly idly helplessly often they come.

Mightily angrily actually knowingly utterly bravely they try to leave,

On a fiercely piercingly defiantly beautifully powerfully wonderful Westerly breeze.

Truthfully, ruthlessly, justly and kindly and artfully logically they're told they may not.

They woefully mopily heavily slowly sadly and steadily accept their lot.

Story 289

Cinnamon

by Gavin Biddlecombe

Sneakily, she snuck out of the corner of the room, slowly inching forward until she reached the base of the extremely comfy looking double bed.

Stretching her neck over the edge by their feet, she quietly peered at the two people sleeping restfully.

Good she thought cheekily, this time I'll successfully reach my target.

Stealthily climbing up, she crept methodically along until eventually finding the perfectly ideal spot.

In between them, she happily curled up, licked her lips and gave a final wag of her curly tail as she dreamily shut her eyes for a comfortably peaceful sleep.

Story 290

Artificial Grief For A Beautifully Beautiful Baby

by Frank Hubeny

Mark righteously left the rectory. "Father Maloney obstinately and unconditionally won't do the funeral."

Karen, his unusually supportive sister, previously warned him that the saintly priest definitely wouldn't. "Didn't Father Maloney kindly offer to discretely dispose of her?"

Mark suspiciously eyed Karen.  He knew unconsciously where her delicately cornering questioning was deceitfully going. "So? Father Baloney Maloney ignorantly doesn't know jack."

"You do consciously remember what our motherly mum specifically said about her?"

"Mum cruelly announced to the utterly entire world that she was a piece of irredeemably useless junk."

"And Mum already replaced her with the currently smartest smartphone."

Story 291

Saccharine Smile

by Jenny Stemp

She was the most stunningly beautiful woman I had ever seen, agonisingly perfect in every way. I was totally out of my depth here, a fact of which I was woefully and horrifically aware. Plain Jane in a room of stunningly perfect people.

Her winningly disarming smile sat beatifically within her achingly perfect face and my confidence plummeted so uncharacteristically. As she approached, kind of predatorily, I found myself clutching my husband's hand, very awkwardly staking my claim. 

"Thomas, darling," she drawled, in an overly saccharine voice, as she so elegantly kissed his cheeks.

I absolutely and immediately hated her.

Story 292

An Abnormally Large Egg

by Elaine Choy

I sleepily rise from bed, clumsily walking to the bathroom. After diligently brushing my teeth, I absentmindedly go to the kitchen to find something to eat. After valiantly trying to find something to eat, my eyes go to the wildly large egg sitting on the shelf. Then I cheerfully eat the delightfully delicious egg, scrambled, of course. What a wonderful day.

Story 293

Little Bunting

by Deborah Barrett

Incredibly, he had never before been to the delightfully named village of Little Bunting, famed for its typically twee thatched cottages, which gave it a befittingly bucolic feel.

The village green boasted a traditionally populated pond, where ducks dabbled dreamily, but disappointedly, whenever anyone approached proudly offering sickeningly stale bread, which needed dunking in the gurglingly gangrenous-green water to render it successfully soggy and pleasingly palatable.

Occasionally, the ducks' seemingly serene situation was threatened by a characteristically curious canine, which would sniff suggestively at the ducks and bark belligerently at any fleetingly floating feather.

He chuckled contentedly.

Story 294

Stuff It

by Betty Hattersley

Generally, he preferred eating Christmas dinner alone. 

Whilst happily consuming a few alcoholic beverages, he ritually stuffed the turkey, steadily placing it in the oven.

After a few hours, he merrily removed the turkey from the oven and confidently placed it on a metal serving plate.

Enthusiastically, he switched on the television and hungrily proceeded to carve .

The turkey had vanished.

He searched the kitchen, thinking a ghostly energy had seized it.

Sitting bewildered in his chair, he observed his turkey beneath the television stand.

It had slid off the plate as he removed it from the oven.

Story 295

Letter To Dear Daughter

by Jacqueline Pollock

Having witnessed what can only be described as a dirty, disorganised, disgusting mess, I have decided that as from now and until further notice, I am on strike.

No longer will I be picking up your dirty clothes from your cluttered floor, nor entering the garbage laden room that you lovingly call your 'personal space'. Instead, I will be banning myself from entering the obstacle course from fear of contracting a deadly virus which might be lurking around every muck strewn corner.

My poor, shattered nerves can take no more. Good luck finding your school books. Take care.

Mum x

Story 296

Unannounced

by TS Lanchbery

The announcer stood proudly atop his podium, jaw set firmly, before raising his shiny loudspeaker. "The first Monthly Great Nude Run will now be starting quite early, departing from here later today at 12:30."

Suddenly, his voice faltered slightly, his cheeks quickly reddened, and he seemed to see the crowd, which appeared to be composed exclusively of bemused shoppers, for the first time. He pressed on bravely. "The event promises to be very... erm... very..."

He paused, scanned the crowd in front of him dejectedly, coughed softly, and then muttered to himself, "Maybe I should have announced this in advance."

Story 297

Dusters

by Vivian Oldaker

Hanna ran badly down the stairs, her wooden leg clanking boldly against the banister.

A man leaned dangerously against the fence that was erected shoddily.

"Yes?" she asked wantonly.

"Dusters," the man replied forcefully. "You definitely want."

"Come in quickly." Hanna shut the door creakily. "Demonstrate your wares deftly."

He fell clumsily into her arms. She sneezed wildly, loudly and repeatedly. The dusters were freely forgotten.

"I love you deeply," he said dishonestly. "But I cannot willfully disregard your prosthetic limb. We will sadly not be able to marry hastily."

She hit him forcefully and they lived unhappily ever after.

Story 298

Bait

by Richard Swaine

He's coated, thickly, in screen glow, remotely enveloped in the ever-ascending thread. His fingers inch – sometimes numbly; always, he trusts, candidly – over keyboard and unfeelingly-orbiting peripherals.

Patently this is huge, remarkable; a post of such adroitly-engineered precision and topical acuity that the populace must surely – some gladly, most not – share, re-share and tag until hallowed viral critical mass is roundly breached.

Dryly he hovers – throat, eyes, fingers – over the command that will change all this. With the lightest of pressures it's gone, instantly – a post like no other.

By morning there are 4 Likes and a Share.

Story 299

Everyone's Dread

by Ann Patras

Muriel sat quietly, slowly thumbing through the boringly long magazine. The glaringly glossy pages slid slowly between her shaky fingers. Why did these truly outdated, invariably damaged, monthly publications always adorn drably decorated waiting rooms? she wondered gloomily. They hardly distracted the nervously seated patients as they sat fretfully awaiting their turn.

Suddenly, a door opened, stridently magnifying the screams of the shrilly whining drill. Heads quickly turned to see the nefariously bossy assistant glaringly searching out the next victim. 

Reeling dreadingly, Mu tried unsuccessfully to hide behind Cosmopolitan but failed miserably as the finger pointed.

"You're next."

Story 300

A Bite To Eat

by Janet Maile

Roger woke with a gut-wrenchingly awful stomach ache, desperately craving for Sylvia's deliciously sugary, sumptuously creamy cakes.

He had acted rashly, stupidly moving out.

He didn't know Silvia had deviously laced her tasty treats with a plant extract that African women gave secretly to their husbands to hopefully stop them straying lustfully. 

Silvia thought, unhappily, that her cunningly awesome plan hadn't worked and emptied the liquid angrily into her bath.

Roger came in silently. Frantically, urgently, he followed the smell. He must eat. He opened his mouth wide and brutally sank his teeth deep into her tender flesh.

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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."

Obviously.

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.

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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
Greetings,

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 http://firststory.org.uk/. 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
Hello!

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.

Thanks.

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 :-)