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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.

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 238 entries. We need 62 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 will be released on 30th March 2017. It contains the another 100 stories.

We will release Volume 3 when we have received 300 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.


Adverbially Challenged Volume 3

You can read the current submissions for Adverbially Challenged Volume 3 below.

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


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


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


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


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


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


"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


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.


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


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


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


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.

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Your comments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just trying to help!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for your support :-)

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

Chris Fielden
No problem – thanks Betty :-)

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

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

Chris Fielden
Hi Frank. A great response indeed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Anne, very much appreciated :)

Jonathan M
Hi Chris - another awesome anthology idea here!

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

Jerry W

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Fielden
Thanks Benita :-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judith W
I am human. This sounds like fun.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear it, Judith :-)

I'll look forward to reading your submission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valerie G
Yay... :-)

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

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

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

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

I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

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

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

Steph S
Really enjoying this. Thanks for the experience.

Lorna G

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

Chris Fielden
Nothing clumsily written there, Lorna :-)

Your story is publicly published.

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

Chris Fielden
Thanks Sarah :-)

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

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