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

Quick links on this page:

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

Mike Scott Thomson & Christopher Fielden

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

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

Writing Improvement Software

Rules & How To Enter

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

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

So far, we're received 498 entries. We need 2 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 was released on 17th March 2018. It contains another 100 stories.

Adverbially Challenged Volume 4 will be released during spring 2019. It contains yet another 100 stories.

We will release Volume 5 when we have received 500 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. Since then the submissions have continued to pile in. We have published a whole series of books and are currently accepting submissions for Adverbially Challenged Volume 5.

If we receive 500 entries, we'll release the next book and, as always, the proceeds will go to charity. If we don't receive 500, it's a bit of fun, you can read all the stories here on the site and you now know about the fabulous First Story charity and might donate to them in the future.

Win, win, win.

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Adverb Riddled Stories

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

Adverbially Challenged Volume 1

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

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

Adverbially Challenged Anthology Volume 1

The book contains stories written by 91 different authors.

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

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Adverbially Challenged Volume 2

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

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

Adverbially Challenged Volume 2

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

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

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

An opening note from Chris Fielden

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

And from Mike Scott Thomson

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

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

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Adverbially Challenged Volume 3

We received our 300th story on the 11th of November 2017. The third collection of stories were removed from the site on the 3rd of January 2018. Adverbially Challenged Volume 3 was published in March 2017.

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

Adverbially Challenged Volume 3

An opening note from Chris Fielden

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

And from Mike Scott Thomson

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

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

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

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

Thank you and meow.

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Adverbially Challenged Volume 4

We received our 400th story on the 19th of December 2018. The fourth collection of stories were removed from the site on 14th of January 2019. Adverbially Challenged Volume 4 was published in March 2019.

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

Adverbially Challenged Volume 4

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…

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Adverbially Challenged Volume 5

You can read the current submissions for Adverbially Challenged Volume 5 below.

An opening note from Chris Fielden

400? Unquestionably. 500? Likely. 600? Possibly. More? Probably.

And from Mike Scott Thomson

He says unnecessarily sesquipedalianly: we've now eclipsed a score-squared of adverbially-engorged anecdotes? Amazing - thank you one and all.

Story 401


by Mike Scott Thomson

Finally, fleetingly, the Great King flees his fort. Covertly, he ambles along the shores, deeply inhaling the North Sea air. Reverently he observes the ocean, waves violently crashing against the shingle: power, perceptibly, above the might of man.

Providently, he ponders the problem. His courtiers – obsequiously, incorrectly – idolise him. Truthfully, the one Lord is not he; mere mortals never should comport themselves so arrogantly.

Saltwater rapidly wets his robes. Decisively, he determines – I shall park my throne, thusly; command – obviously futilely – that this surge recede.

Ostentatiously, desiring humility, so frenziedly – will his message succeed?

Time, and tide, will tell.

Story 402

100, 200, 300, 400... 500?

by Christopher Fielden

"Absolutely absurd."


"Adverbs, abundantly crammed into stories. Ridiculously rambunctious."

"Sounds like fun to me."

"It's preposterously pointless. They've published over 400 adverbially overloaded stories, appallingly plied with needlessly excess adverbial verbosity. Ludicrously lamentable."

"You're using lots of adverbs in your critique..."

"Entirely accidentally, rest assuredly."

"They're open for submissions. The next target is 500. We should encourage the students to submit."

"Absolutely not. Positively puerile. Nonsensically nonsensical."

"I've written this conversation down."

"You definitely will not gently, or roughly, click on that unnecessarily large send button."

"I conclude the English Language Department's AGM, gracefully, with a perfectly applied…"


Story 403


by Pete Lambden

Terribly excited, Lee clumsily fumbled with the bag under the table. Just two letters, L and Y, stood tauntingly between him and long-overdue triumph.

Pseudoantidisetsablishmentarianistical. The word lay idly on the game board before him, just waiting for two letters to proudly crown the champion.

The sweat cruelly greased his fingers as he blindly fumbled the impossibly small tiles. He smiled an innocent smile and stretched his aching fingers a little further... further... further...

Gasping with shock, he felt the bag slip away and the tiles hit the floor with an incriminating rattle. He closed his eyes sadly.

Story 404

The Ghostly Apparition

by Johanna McDonald

She floated effortlessly, this ghostly apparition who appeared gradually over my bed. Quite suddenly and unexpectedly I fell in love.

She gazed at me intently. Her hollow eyes desperately and pleadingly piercing and her beautifully formed lips mouthing urgently. She wanted me shamelessly.

She held her exquisitely delicate hands to me and I reached out wantonly and lustily. My hands passed through hers unrestrictedly leaving me feeling heartily and absolutely unsatisfied. I realised immediately, I definitely had to become ghostly.

I rashly plunged a knife deeply and painfully into my neck. The blood flowed pulsingly. My spirit rose peacefully.

Story 405

Roman Holiday 45 BC

by Denis Joseph

Cleopatra luxuriated sensuously in her bathtub on the banks of the Tiber. She sighed seductively and fondly admired her arm, elegantly tattooed with the word 'Julie' in Times Roman. She dreamily stroked the tattoo and absent-mindedly let her thoughts drift languorously to the night of bacchanalian festivities with the spindly Emperor Caesar. And 'seize her' he did, clankingly unbuckling his armour and almost clumsily falling on his own sword.

In this giggly state of mind, Cleopatra leaned back lazily in her tub and suddenly screamed fearfully, as she felt a tap on her shoulder.

Story 406

Driving Force

by Michael Rumsey

At school, my driving force on the rugby field was described as ferociously  determined, highly motivated and valiantly worthy. Yesterday was quite a different story.

As my companion sternly and strictly barked out orders in Sergeant Major fashion, our target threateningly, if lazily, came into view.

Nervously, cautiously, tensely, I pressed on thoughtfully and fervently, praying to wholly succeed in avoiding any potentially dangerously placed obstacles.

Had I been less queasily occupied and more openly honest, I would willingly have acknowledged I was not the first apprehensively minded learner in Sussex to drive hesitantly into Battle for the first time.

Story 407

Someone Like You And Me

by Rene Astle

Ironically, my father told me what I should do after I graduated from college. He luckily said to me that parts of life can have their ups and downs for the time being.

Thankfully, I became quite literal and logical about what he said and took it for granted. I didn't know what was going to happen to me in the future, but I gratefully understood every word my father said.

Basically, I think life will be good to me once I get the hang of it.

Story 408


by David McTigue

Following the explosion, Olly was dimly aware of shouting. Barely able to see, he felt himself being lifted carefully into a vehicle whose lights flickered intermittently.

Gingerly, he checked his limbs. Medically trained, it was blindingly obvious he'd sustained a broken leg.

He remembered running quickly with Carly. Where was she? Suddenly he heard her screaming agonisingly.

Courageously, Olly raised himself and shouted, "Carly."

The door opened and a paramedic clambered in. Incredibly, he kicked Olly viciously in the ribs.

Stunned, Olly stared into the startlingly beady eyes of Europe's most wanted terrorist.

Story 409

The Bully

by Patrick Rudnicki

Tim seriously knew that Damon crazily and eagerly tormented hopelessly awkward students deliberately. He anxiously sat near Damon's seat where he sat angrily often.

Patiently, Tim waited nervously, tapping his brightly yellow pencil on the poorly designed desk top. A viciously malign Damon entered obnoxiously. He clamoured irritably over to his brown, broken desk.

Tim sat, uncomfortably numb, staring obediently at the chalkboard. Damon suspiciously looked at the timidly, frail Tim and cheerfully smiled. Tim noticed his foolishly looking classmate and turned bravely toward him.

Proudly, Damon announced, "I can burp the whole alphabet usually."

Tim smiled politely. "That's cool."

Story 410

Young Man And The Lake

by Chris Espenshade

Incredibly, the massive gar struggled valiantly for 45 minutes but ultimately was hauled ignobly into the jon-boat.  Its teeth were hopelessly entangled in the seriously frayed rope that Billy had carefully marinated in a pungent syrup of anchovies, molasses, and pickle brine.  Victoriously and smugly, Billy headed for home. 

The fish's needle nose eventually dislodged the drain plug, and the boat filled quickly.  Ironically, it was  Billy's turn to fight valiantly, to reach dry land safely before hypothermia brutally finished him. Victoriously and smugly, the gar headed for home.

The lazily soaring eagle silently spotted the gar...

Story 411

Over The Top

by Cathy Cade

Angrily, she slammed out. Unfortunately, she'd brought the wrong keys. Defiantly, she took his car, driving ferociously into the night. The wind howled mournfully.

She veered blindly onto the bridge. A horn blared stridently. Belatedly, she realised her unnecessarily dramatic exit would hardly help matters.

Circling the roundabout recklessly, she re-entered the bridge. Suddenly, the car skidded treacherously. Breaching the wall, it see-sawed precariously, inevitably somersaulting gracefully onto the tracks.

Mortally wounded, she pushed desperately at the impossibly heavy door above her. Helplessly, she felt the tracks vibrate as a train approached relentlessly.

The wind whistled hauntingly through the wreckage.

Story 412

My Menagerie

by Allen Ashley

The cows mooed fishily.

The neon tetras swam wolfishly.

The wolves howled at the moon somewhat sneakily.

An earthbound snake struck flightily.

The grouse quit the meadow cattily.

The lazy kittens slept busily.

A swarm of bees worked the hive and the honeycomb milkily.

To be fair, the orangutans still behaved humanely. 

But can somebody please press the reset button on my menagerie? Immediately.

Story 413

How Carelessly I Lost My Heart In Heidelbergly

by Helen Trowsdale

I was walking gingerly in Heidelbergly and I stumbled over a cruelly, centrally placed piece of granite. It had been repeatedly touched into a state of sumptuously soothing softness. My cheek felt similarly, my knee fell grudgingly, painfully, alongside.

Glowingly, the solid grey lump blushed my heart. I have perpetually, but unexpectedly, had exceedingly fond feelings for rock. Definitely a love of its solidity and, conversely, its crumbling. I was obsessively, romantically intrinsically bound to this geographical certainty.

So perfectly the bratwursts and beer swirled relentlessly around, with me, wonderfully, magically, stupendously, in lust with my rock.

Story 414

Identity Crisis

by Angela Dawson

My pen hovers hesitantly over the ethnicity form. The categories are customarily frustratingly vague. None suit. I sigh heavily. Seriously, how is a mixed-up girl meant to fit into a single square?

Born of a milkily Caribbean mother with ancestrally Madeiran blood, and a duskily Devonian dad, these forms are devilishly difficult to fill. When pressed, I say, "My nana was intimately involved with a black American G.I..." pause dramatically before adding "...then she married a German." Lovingly, tenderly, my nana raised her war-baby son. Fearlessly. Wholeheartedly. Unashamedly. She defined herself.

Pen poised, I confidently, defiantly, tick the ‘Other’ box.

Story 415

Awkwardly, Nigel

by Clare Woodford

Nigel stared blackly at the bag Saskia had given him, so whole heartedly, so lovingly, so generously, so predictably.

"Here," she said, coyly, lovingly. She smiled weakly when she saw his grimace.

"Thanks," Nigel muttered cagily, ungratefully. "Oh," he continued, reluctantly. "Needles."

"Well," she said, warily, "I think I'll go." She left gingerly.

Stupidly he fumbled with the zip, clumsily opening the bag. The pens fell out messily.

He crushed them aggressively under his feet, happily, madly, passionately, laughing darkly. "You blood-suckingly stupid moron, Saskia," he shouted heartily.

Annually, Nigel wails loudly, inconsolably, guiltily, on the anniversary of her death.

Story 416

A Bloody Mess

by Phillip Godfrey

I slice the dead corpse sadistically, while eating a giant human leg slowly.

Blood dripping down my chin rapidly, while you sit and watch frightfully. If you get up and run frantically, you will find yourself in a bloody mess.

Scream as you might, the darkness of hell shall give you a bloody fright.

The torture that I give to you, will leave you feeling really broken. Not only will I slice the skin off of your body swiftly, I will also sell your soul to the lords of hell gracefully.

Story 417

The Night The Rain Wouldn’t Stop

by Rob Traill

The ground is a maze of mist.

A splash as I step off the curb.

Her downward eyes told me everything.

Crushed rose petals float beckoningly down the gutter.

Blurry lights pass me by hauntingly.

Strangers brush past me violently,

Hurrying into doorways, complaining loudly.

I stop walking and look to the sky sorrowfully.

The heavens crying onto my face mockingly.

The downpour is never ending, like the pain inside my...

Heart. The rain and my heart are the same,

I saw them. Him and her.

Like the rain my heart aches it just won’t stop.

Story 418

Forest Fears

by Nichole Villeneuve

"Did you hear that?" Amber whispered nervously to her sisters, as they sat round the campfire, silently stargazing. An unfamiliar rustling noise echoed hauntingly in the woods and the sound of fallen branches, being trampled upon mercilessly, led the girls to believe that danger was rapidly approaching.

"Come on, run," Amber shouted. Grabbing her sisters' hands tightly, she frantically ran towards the cottage, her heart pounding.

As the girls slammed the door, they noticed their father laughing heartily at the spectacle before him – three 'scaredy-cat' daughters and the neighbours' large, black Labrador, Ben, who had sneaked in sheepishly behind them.

Story 419


by Pete Armstrong

"More?" pleaded Oliver ingratiatingly.

"More?" replied Mr Bumble loudly. He looked sternly down, then enquiringly across at Bessie. "Oliver begs desperately for more. What can we possibly do?"

Bessie arched her eybrows disparagingly, stared openly at the boy then cryptically at Mr B.

"More?" she said questioningly. "He has painstakingly packed in pasta, happily hogged ham, cheerfully chewed cheese, steadily slugged soda and greedily guzzled on grapes," she exclaimed, first mock-disapprovingly and then smilingly, "but he did ask nicely."

Her eyes twinkled merrily, clearly displaying amusement. Mr B grinned widely and obligingly concurred.

"More," he declared winningly and ladled lavishly.

Story 420

Ask The Expert

by John Notley

"Today I'm unexpectedly, but dutifully and wholeheartedly, fulfilling the position of Chairman at the Academy's annual prize giving. It will literally and undeniably be my great pleasure to introduce our worthy winner.

"He has expertly and happily followed an eventful career in literature, which has justly earned him many rewards. I heartily welcome him and gladly ask you all to respectfully offer him your approbation.

"I will now appropriately reveal his name, after which I absolutely and earnestly implore you to purchase a copy of his undeniably, unquestionably finest work today: The Adverb – is it really necessary? by Prof. Ivan Stein."

Story 421


by Aisha Ali

My fingers lightly touched the delicate pearls as the necklace was gently placed, then clumsily fastened around my neck. I looked down at them unimpressedly.

Standing behind me, I could feel his normally exuberant demeanour subtly shift into something more tenderly true. Quietly, he said, "One day, I'll be able to afford to buy you nice things like this," at which something inside me unexpectedly unfurled.

I never usually got to witness this, my father with his insecurities laid bare. All this time I thought I hadn't been good enough for him, when really, that's how he'd felt about himself.

Story 422

I Am A Woman

by Rachael Hillier

I am a woman bad temperedly.

I am a woman, I don’t smile a lot, sadly.

I am a woman, my head spins slowly all the time.

I am a woman, people don’t listen to me, they are too busy shouting loudly.

I am a woman, angrily arguing.

I am a woman, people don’t understand me fully.

I am a woman, I don’t talk to people, I don’t trust people.

I have got downs syndrome and learning difficulties.

I am a woman, I create problems dramatically.

Story 423

The River

by Janie Knight

She stood on the bridge, the arching, brown brick, solid bridge. Looking directly downwards towards the fast flowing, torrential water below her. Watching it sparkle and tumble over small grey rocks, splashing and rippling in patterns simmetrically. Swirling waters, full of colourful, brightly patterned, swarming fish. Fish circling round and round, searching for food no doubt. Vibrant fish in vibrant flourishing waters.

Peacefully standing, silently, not making any sounds. Relaxing, just standing there doing nothing other than looking and watching, observing the water and it's contents. Tempting to launch herself into the river, go swimming and diving, splashing around.

Story 424

My Zoo

by Beth Richards

Lion in the lounge lazily licking.

Terrifying tarantula in the toilet.

Koalas kindly kissing in the kitchen.

Beetles busily beetling in the basement.

Kangaroos keenly kicking kids.

Penguins privately panicking in the pantry.

Busy bears burrowing busily in the bath.

Cats cuddling cosily in the cupboard.

Dizzily, donkeys dancing on the dustbins.

Stripy sausage dog stretching sociably on the sofa.

Excitably, elephants escaping the entrance.

Frightened frogs frolicking in the fridge fantastically.

Lemurs licking lovely ladies lovingly.

Manly monkeys mating.

Giraffes gnawing greedily.

Slimy snakes slithering smoothly.

Hippos hypnotising horses hauntingly.

Pigs photographing people passionately.

Cows cycling calmly.

Zebras zzzing.

Story 425

Passport Control Blues

by Barbara Hill

"Can't wait to get my blue passport back." Dangling the red one disgustedly.

"What?" My jaw drops open tangentially to my vertically-scored forehead.

"BLUE. Getting Our Country Back." Inanely joyfully grinning.

My brain implodes incandescently. Her nose looks stupendously punchable.

She continues obliviously, "You're too young to remember the war, dear."

A charmingly devilish earworm provides me with a smartingly snide pot-shot: "Blue passport holders won't be allowed back into Europe. You can't come to Corfu on holiday again."

She smirks slyly and patronisingly, pityingly smugly. "Oh that's fine dear – I'm moving to Spain next month anyway."

Story 426

Unsettled Status

by Lucy Morrice

Unfortunately your request, made untimely, is regretfully refused.

Tom stared at the letter balefully, his hands shaking tremulously, his heart palpably racing.

All he wished optimistically for was to live peacefully and work hard in the country he'd enthusiastically chosen as home.

He had gratefully accepted a poorly paid job, woefully below his skills and talents.  He rose happily each morning commuting calmly through the crowded streets.

The bureaucrats had decided randomly that his living quietly and productively did not suitably meet with their approval.

A week later, Tom dragged his case mournfully towards the airport, weeping quietly but uncontrollably.

Story 427

Gently Does It

by Lesley Anne Truchet

Dear Dad,

I regretfully left home this morning to live in a homeless shelter with Rocco. I know I'm barely 16, and that you'll worry constantly, but I'm definitely pregnant. You would really not want Rocco in our house because of his outrageously dirty habits.

Rocco will eventually look for work, depending on the outcome of his trial next week. Hopefully he won't be sentenced to imprisonment.

Dad, the above is thankfully untrue. My A level results were mainly Cs, Ds, and Es and I wanted to gently soften the blow.

See you at teatime.  I love you.


Story 428

The Final Scream

by Alexandra Pedro

The wind was loudly blowing and I couldn't hear what she was so ineloquently saying. I definitely knew what it was anyway.

She had been wildly unhappy with our relationship for a long time and it had languidly built up to that moment. It was not uncommon for us to have a neighbour angrily banging at our door at two a.m., desperately asking her to quietly shut up.

Today, I feel relieved of the heavy weight of dealing with her on a daily basis. Now that she has finally left, I will slowly learn how to breathe deeply again.

Story 429

A Pig In A Taxi

by Dan Bryan

Imagine that. Extraordinarily, my only child is a pig. His name is Wellington and he knew that I was his dad, confusingly from the DNA results that Jeremy Kyle got for him.

Madly, he spoke like a human. He was wearing black gloves and a black hat and driving a taxi drunkly. He also had a snout.

We decided to go to the pub before we went to a musical of shows. The first show was Pigtown. And the second show is the Phantpig of the Oink.

It was amazingly brilliant and my life was changed.

Story 430

The Oyster That I Most Courageously Ate

by K. J. Watson

I determinedly prefer plain food. But when my gorgeously perfect French girlfriend ordered oysters, I was too overwhelmingly smitten with her to object.

I scrupulously followed my girlfriend's majestically experienced lead. First, I delicately squeezed lemon juice onto an unnervingly alive and gelatinously raw mollusc. Then I carefully placed the irregularly fashioned shell against my bottom lip and pluckily opened my mouth. Finally, I resolutely tipped back the shell and my head, thereby allowing the oyster to slither damply across my tongue and dankly down my throat.

"Bon?" my charmingly solicitous girlfriend asked.

"Merveilleusement bon," I courteously and falsely replied.

Story 431

The Cost Of Mailing A Letter

by Sarah Brentyn

Tearfully, she quickly penned the note, firmly sealed it, and grimly walked downstairs to put her urgently written letter in the post.

To be the bearer of bad news was terribly distressing. She felt quite devastated. It was extremely difficult to knowingly pass painfully heartbreaking information along. Though it was done remorsefully, she had been brutally honest about the whole affair.

Today, her friend had the perfect life. Unfortunately, his world was about to be irrevocably, irreparably damaged. Soon, tomorrow possibly, he would receive this envelope, and everything would change dramatically, never to be the same after learning the truth.

Story 432


by Alan Pattison

Steve was always proud of being someone who knew something about wildlife in the Arctic. Everyone in the business knew him.

One day, Steve heard that the American company, CBS, wanted to film him. He decided to turn  it down as it was an American company and they usually turned the air-conditioning up high, despite it being minus 40 or 50 degrees outside.

Story 433

Fare Maidens

by Sean Bain

Tipsily and wantonly she eyes her host suggestively. He stops her words immediately, looking back and sighing tediously.

She touches his hand amorously whilst he points out quite rationally, "This is exactly where you wanted to be and that will be eight pounds fifty, please."

She grabs her purse dejectedly. "Keep the tip," she snaps indignantly, then leaves the cab quite hurriedly.

He shakes his head disappointedly. "Why do they act so brazenly?"

Another fare.

"Where will it be?" he smiles and asks most cheerily.

"I need to be in Picadilly and try to get there speedily."

Story 434

Gone With The Dog

by David Silver

"Frankly, my dear, I literally don't give a damn," Mike explicitly told his wife.

"Why the cheap Clark Gable impersonation, which, incidentally, you have literally misquoted?" Rita responded nastily. "Rhett Butler never uttered the word literally in the quote you have blatantly and flagrantly lifted from that majestically-received, cinematically-acclaimed epic, Gone with the Wind."

Mike whingeingly retorted, "I just don't see why you should sit comfortably in front of the telly, avidly watching your favourite film while I have to unwillingly take our dog out in the pouring rain."

Rita sneered sarcastically. "Frankly, Mike dear, I don't give a damn."

Story 435

Childishly Drawn Banana

by Victoria Mason

They fell out of an obnoxiously large carrier bag and onto the highly paint-splattered bench, nearly knocking over a frivolously placed mug of tea.

"Our media today is crayons," our teacher zealously declared.

I smiled forcibly.

Tightly clutching onto the cylindrically-shaped wax, I reluctantly began looking at vibrantly coloured fruit that we were to inspiringly draw. This was supposed to be an early evening class for artistically attuned adults. Crayons are evil, created for my horrendously naughty son to draw on my lovely white walls. Tediously, I continued.

"Elegantly done, Sarah," she said reassuringly.

"Not too bad," I nodded approvingly.

Story 436

Last Man Standing

by Neil Davie

Hurriedly pulling on his dirty raincoat, he ran hastily to the exit. The siren's rhythmic screaming grew agonisingly loud.

Fitfully sleeping in his room was better than staying in the bunker, but meant sprinting frantically for safety whenever the alarm went off. She had sagely predicted all of this months before.

Now, he was the one all alone, longingly looking at her battered polaroid every night. The worn door was only metres away.

Stumbling clumsily, he cut his leg on a rusty post but he made it. Slowly, he leant back on the door. And then the knocking began.

Story 437


by Josh Granville

A flood of urgently overloaded adverbs will now pour onto the page, like a sea of chaotically divided waters – Moses present.

Writing quickly, pushing buttons harshly, yet subtly and softly, just like that alliteration – creatively. Dodging the numbers hectically; they're not adverbs. A plethora of panicking fingers, rapidly pressing to create words and adverbs. Ooh, that rhymes, slyly, knowingly creating a paragraph of junk – as long as the response is funnily interpreted.

Perhaps I should have cleverly utilised adjectives, smartly incorporated them, nouns deceptively and verbs secretively? But why rudely ignore the adverbs when they're at my disposal.

Story 438

Celebrating Victoriously

by Paul Mastaglio

Rapidly, I approached the bar. Gleefully, I accepted my first beer which I drank happily. A second followed quickly and I cheerfully launched into my song. "Merrily, merrily, row, row your boat, gently down the stream."

I don't think it was received very warmly. I turned around wildly, only to find the other three drinkers looking at me sternly. Seriously, they weren't pleased.

 "What's up, John? We rarely see you this happy," they said.

"I've just won the lottery," I replied.

Promptly, they raised their voices and we sang: "Merrily, merrily, row, row your boat, gently down the stream."

Story 439

The Angel

by Betty Hattersley

She was sitting, perched comfortably upon a soft, padded barstool, feeling quite elegant. Her white, glittering dress caressed her beautifully curved torso, enhancing her perfect blonde curls, which attractively cascaded onto her shoulders. A celebratory private party bustled around her. A bunch of drunken, pretentious rats dressed in dinner suits laughed and slapped each other on the back on pure hearsay.

Why had she really bothered to come here anyway?

She’d come here looking for one person. She scanned the room for that familiar face, wanting to see the patronising man she owed this entire fantasy evening to.

Story 440

One More Try

by DT Langdale

Gargaroth pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes closed.

"It's deftly, nimbly, cleverly," Gargaroth said sternly. "And you need to completely, utterly blow your enemies away. How are you going to cast spells if you can't remember your ruddy adverbs?"

Asvoth sighed. He was never going to pass this course. Come on, one more try.

"I – Asvoth – will deftly, nimbly, cleverly, create a fireball to completely, utterly blow my enemies away." Asvoth finished his complex hand movements with a proud flourish.

There was a white-hot flash and Gargaroth, who was both momentarily impressed and surprised, was promptly burnt to ash.

Story 441

Knitting While Dancing

by Steven Barrett

Gladys dearly loved knitting. She enthusiastically enjoyed dancing. So, she economically combined the two.

She made scarves while simultaneously samba-ing, pantaloons while proudly pasodoble-ing, balaclavas while breathlessly breakdancing, waistcoats while whimsically waltzing, leg warmers while lustily line dancing, jumpers while joyfully jiving, trousers while triumphantly twisting and fingerless mittens while frantically foxtrotting.

Needless to say, the downstairs neighbours were understandably annoyed. All that click-click-clicking and cha-cha-cha-ing was enough to drive anyone furiously mad.

But Gladys, very thoughtfully, knitted them some ear muffs while energetically electric boogaloo-ing.

Story 442

The Sewer

by Naymal Siddiqui

I watch my peers disapprovingly as they willingly step into the completely dark abyss known as the neighbourhood sewer. After hours of them madly begging me to come along with them, I reluctantly agreed to do so, just for the fun of it.

We quietly go inside, stepping past poorly drawn graffiti, occasionally a spider, or sewer water that is deeply coloured green.

I don't know how far we are inside, but as soon as we hear a voice speaking softly, which wasn't one of ours, we quickly rush back outside. We'll never come back again.

Story 443

Fame Without Favour

by Maggie Elliott

All heads rapidly turned towards the haughtily arrogant woman whose excruciatingly shrill voice was as loud as her clothing.

Her rasping double cough, into a delicately clasped hand, attracted the attention of an alluringly attractive waiter, who casually acknowledged her presence with a raised finger, but dutifully completed taking an order.

Resolutely protesting about shamefully daring to keep her waiting, she abjectly refused to acknowledge booking was vital.

Sniggers arose when the waiter confirmed irrelevance of knowing who she was.

Vowing never to return voluntarily, she was shocked when the waiter politely asked if he could have that in writing.

Story 444


by Tom Southern

"Lovely to see you, Marcus," Grandma says smilingly, knitting away expertly. Cobwebs drape her chair.

"This place needs a clean," I say irritably.

She smiles sprightly. "Does it, dear?"

"Thought any more about the care home?"

"Yes, dear."


"No, dear." She giggles girlishly, knitting on. A gossamer blanket falls freely over her knees.

Something gently tickles my ear. I flinch. A spider crawls nonchalantly over my hand.

"Grandma," I exclaim angrily, "this place is crawling with spiders." Something fondles my hair. Nibbles my cheek. Bites my face.

"Darlings," Grandma exclaims lovingly, "you'll spoil your din-dins."

My blood runs cold.

Story 445

Seeing Red

by Alice Lam

"Are you completely stupid?"

Jo's heart thudded heavily. Slowly, she glanced upwards. Towering and literally glowering above her was Edie, the laundromat owner.

"Look at these things. All insanely pink. I told you to properly check inside the drum." She energetically waved a red sock in Jo's face. A mess of ruined shirts rested resignedly in a basket.

Suddenly, sparks of anger ignited floridly in Jo's chest. "I did check."


"Definitely." Jo rose quickly to her feet. "It's you who probably missed—"

"That's unbelievably—"

"I'm leaving. Find someone else to annoy."

Outside, Jo breathed deeply and smiled.

Story 446

Heaven's Applause

by Temitope Johnson-Toyin

He sat royally and majestically on His throne, saying, "I'm the first writer, writing instructionally, the Ten Commandments with a goodly heart. Who else is with me?"

Angel Gabriel answered promptly, bowing. "Your Holiness, there are lots of them, but those with a goodly heart, writing on Earth, are but two."

"Just two?" The Almighty said, as He rose mesmerizingly, clouds thickly filling the air as all fell dramatically in worship.

"Who are they?"

"Chris F and Mike ST. Good hearted writers."

"Roll it out for them."

The drums were beating... in Heaven.

And on Earth, it sounded like thunderstorms.

Story 447

Firmness In Resolve

by Khamis Kabeu

For some time, Riziki could hardly concentrate. The gunshots had stirred sad memories in her, of tribal clashes that had rocked the neighbourhood of her school.

To regain her self-control fully, she started keenly arranging and rearranging titles of her novels to see if they made sensible sentences. This was an exercise she often employed to kill boredom.

The permutations were exceedingly exciting. Soon, she was gripped by the frenzy of the game. Shortly thereafter, she had regained her composure.

When she finally looked up, it was already midnight. She immediately resumed her studies eagerly, determined to pass her exams.

Story 448


by Abbie Melvin

Slowly and nervously, I entered the heavenly room whilst shyly attempting to avoid making a sound because of the blissful silence.

Adoringly, I gazed around at this retreat, with its beautifully decorated glass domes and the intricate paintings balanced carefully on the walls. Surprisingly, each one appeared to show a scene of joy, with people effortlessly smiling in each picture.

Extravagantly, a large water fountain stood at one end of the room with swordfish gracefully manumitting water in large arcs stretching over our heads.

Eagerly, I took it all in. I couldn't wait for my new life to begin.

Story 449

Instantly, Unconditionally

by Jessica Bowden

The tiny Malshi, who was gingerly set down into the playpen, immediately scooted back on his butt, most likely overwhelmed by his new surroundings. He was gently pushed further inside, the door quickly closing behind him.

Mum and I rose from the bench and carefully lowered ourselves onto the floor to pet and play with him. It wasn't long before he comfortably settled in enough to happily hop around like a little bunny. He did everything so cutely. I absolutely had to have him. My parents wholeheartedly agreed to get him. I only waited a day to take him home.

Story 450

Memories Of A War-Torn Malta

by Eileen Baldwin

He took in a deep, manly breath. "I am home."

Suddenly, salty tears were quickly running down his cheeks. Many decades quickly disappeared.

A five-month-old wartime baby of an English sailor, bravely doing his bit for King and country, and a sultry Maltese girl.

They married and had their son. It was time to return to Britain. The sailor's wife agreed to come, hopefully to a safer country. She never went back.

Their son was an elderly pensioner on his first visit, since those dark, awful days.

"Mum, I dutifully kept my promise to you."

Sadly, he emptied her ashes.

Story 451

Testing The Water

by Alan Barker

Fleetingly, but frighteningly, my head dipped below the surface before bobbing up again, thankfully.

"You need to breathe normally, Thomas," said my tutor patiently, regarding me with her incredibly sexy sea blue eyes. "Let's try gently swimming with me pulling you along and you occasionally putting your face in the water. Here, give me your hands."

"OK, but don't let go of me, will you?"

"I definitely won't."

We traversed the pool painstakingly, she dexterously pulling me along, me kicking vigorously while gazing at her adoringly.

Suddenly, my father appeared on the walkway. "Everything going smoothly?"

"Swimmingly," I mischievously replied.

Story 452

My Lovely R.A.S.

by Raymond E. Strawn III

I will hold you closely. Protect you carefully from the world. Guide you safely through the maze of life. Constantly, my love and support will be there.

Don't grow up swiftly. I extremely cherish our time together. Finally, you are home from school. Quickly finish your homework. Then cheerfully play a board game. Actually, no need to pout angrily, we are all naturally winners in this lovely family.

Your hugs warmly touch my heart. On my awfully bad days, your cards really cheer me up. Immediately there and fully supportive. I will always deeply love you, my children.

Story 453

Pageant Diva

by Kaitlin Ellis

Gracefully, I walked slowly down the ridiculously narrow catwalk, proudly showing off my hideously expensive outfit to the energetically passionate audience. I was absolutely, undoubtedly going to win this magnificently produced pageant.

I unquestionably wowed the judges with my seductively, flawlessly presented gymnastic routine. Quickly, I elegantly flung myself across the beautifully lit dance floor. My pulchritudinously executed routine was obviously certain to secure my crown.

I can honestly say I smashed the interview, phenomenally astonishing the judges with confidence.

Unfortunately, a lot of girls were going to be disappointed by the results.

The results were in.

I. Came. Last.

Story 454

Merry Christmas, Grandma

by Charlotte Louise

Quietly, I climbed out of bed and quickly pulled on my coat. I crept to my bedroom door, cautiously, not making a sound.

I headed out onto the landing and then down the stairs. I took a quick peak into the living room, where a mountain of presents lay beneath the Christmas tree. I headed to the kitchen hurriedly and slipped my feet into my boots, effortlessly.

Grabbing the keys, I eagerly unlocked the back door. The morning air was brutally cold and I shivered dramatically.

I looked up at the hundreds of shimmering stars and whispered, "Merry Christmas, Grandma."

Story 455

The Great Surprise

by Kenneth Muir

Angelic Sheila Ambrose lived nearby to notoriously bad boy Cesar Romero. She regularly passed his house to work and he occasionally noticed her lustfully. She was totally oblivious of him.

He unhesitatingly decided to kidnap her. He devilishly rented a car for that very insanely purpose. One evening, he fully put his plan in motion.

On a darkly lonely stretch of road, he pulled a gun on her and she quickly got into the car. In a desolate spot with unlawfully impure thoughts, he diligently proceeded to gently cuddle her and dramatically got the surprise of his life.

Story 456

Keep Pushing

by Sarthak Das

Keep pushing. Slowly. Steadily. Keep pushing. Gently. Carefully. Keep pushing. I know you can handle this perfectly. You have gone through this before repeatedly. Don't stop. Keep pushing. Mightily. Calmly. You can do this, genuinely speaking. Keep pushing. Silently. Don't make a noise. Just keep pushing. And look, all that evidence of your latest murder goes drowning, inescapably. Just like always.

Truly, your mummy would be so proud of you, Norman.

Story 457

The Case

by Mason Canny

I perched precariously on the ledge, cautiously looking down on the square below me. My watch solemnly told me that it was quickly approaching half past 10, so I was sadly 15 minutes late.

However, I was dependably told that the target was also running pretty late, and a few minutes later he reliably turned up on the square. He quickly walked to the centre, only occasionally pausing to nervously look around him, and carefully placed a suitcase on the ground.

I leaned forward curiously, and that was when he slowly turned round and his eyes locked on me.

Story 458

The Long Walk

by Claire Apps

Happily, the dog wagged his tail. He knew what was coming. He was being taken for a very long walk. It wasn't very often this happened, but when the lead came out of the drawer, he knew.

Therefore, Murphy stood patiently at the door, really excited, not barking for a change and waited. However, Daddy didn't appear. Where had he gone?

Murphy slowly and surely went to explore. Firstly, he went into the kitchen, but no, he wasn't in there. Secondly, he crawled into the back garden. There he was, talking over the fence to the man from next door.

Story 459

In Her Majesty's Service

by Kevin Kiernan

"The Queen moves slowly, majestically. You, as a footman, walk quickly, but silently and invisibly. Run rarely. Only one rule: don't overtake Her Majesty, no matter how invisible you think you are. Otherwise you might be viciously attacked, Corgily. It's your first day here. You will soon get the hang of it."

The Butler left quietly, but a touch theatrically, limping slightly.

A maid entered, discreetly. "What's afoot, footman?" she asked cheekily.

"Not sure exactly what my duties are, precisely."

"Well, you can start by feeding the Corgis. Tread carefully. How do you think the Butler got his limp?"

Story 460

The Prospect Is Always Better Than the Event

by Chioma Abiaka

"How many have you had?" she says cautiously.

I can feel my jaw clench, almost painfully.

"Two," I lie lazily.

It's positively cramped in here, but who cares? There comes a freedom that sets into your heart so beautifully when you have nothing going for you.

I sip my drink slowly. She looks away abruptly. I swallow the drink quickly, audibly and embarrassingly. At the sound, she sees my empty glass. Now, she's looking at me disconcertingly.

It's rather freeing to lose your train of thought this way. But unfortunately, I can tell this will be a terribly uneventful evening.

Story 461

The Betrayal

by Jo Caddy

Slowly and carefully, I stepped backwards, away from the elegantly carved balustrade. Defiantly holding back salty tears that justifiably threatened to escape my deceivingly innocent eyes and blind me momentarily, I anxiously turned the abnormally large door knob and slipped quietly back into the dimly lit bedroom where the tears foolishly escaped the confines of my boldly painted lashes.

I'd adventurously left my beautifully decorated hotel room that bitterly cold night, inquisitively searching for excitement, only to be brutally confronted not just with the deeply chilled night air, but with the devastatingly horrendous scenario of an arrogantly cheating husband.

Story 462

A Dish Best Served Cold

by Jayne Morgan

Revenge was deliciously, sweetly satisfying. Deborah had waited 20 frustratingly, agonisingly long months to get hers; ever since her annoyingly, troublesome, noisy neighbour moved in.  The neighbour blatantly pumped out his deafeningly loud music at midnight and vexatiously, selfishly, tormentingly double-parked his car, deliberately and provokingly blocking in his neighbours.

Unwittingly, unknowingly, her three year old daughter gave Deborah the idea. Armed only with sheets of pink and purple glittery stickers, Deborah crept carefully, stealthily, towards his car and affixed the stickers vigorously, vehemently, viciously all over his windscreen, until every tiny shard of glass was gloriously covered.

Story 463

The Game

by N.B. Craven

Almost always awkwardly slow, Bella briefly moved briskly through the fast crowd. Frantically, she looked at the vivaciously moving time.

She calmly stepped between the fiercely moving people and shyly approached. The closer she got, the more anxious she became.

Bitterly, blindly, bleakly, she approached the counter.

"Hello," she said brightly, beautifully, cheerfully, coaxing the clear response from the man.

"Hello," he said, enthusiastically.

She smiled and adventurously, energetically, delightfully, walked from the room.

She had done exactly what she planned to do daily. Daintily removing the sweat from her brows, she smiled ferociously.

Story 464

The Magnum Opus

by Caio César Varalta

The storm was strongly punching the window. He willingly warned his friends that unfortunately he wouldn't go out to the party that night.

He lit his cigar calmly, as he sat casually in front of his typewriter. When deeply inhaling the smoke and thoughtfully wondering about life, his fingers started to swiftly hit the keys and produce a highly inspiring sound that quickly helped him to finish an epic poem.

As the rain has thoroughly passed, he would patiently wait until the next unexpected rainy night to mindfully start his next magnum opus.

Story 465


by Mark Stocker

"So, she finished with him?"


"Right there in the restaurant?"


"While he was slurping his soup du jour?"


"And no doubt picking his nose."


"He's a revolting specimen."


"Always scratching himself."


"And passing wind."


"Do you think he even washes?"


"And yet he's never single."


"I heard he runs his own investment business."


"So, I expect he's minted."


"Which has its attractions."


"She's made a mistake there."


"And you know what that means."


"The filth bag's available."


Story 466

Scanning For A Boyfriend

by Alyn Hine

Excitedly, Hywel skipped energetically along Dagenham Road towards the warmly lit Co-op sign buzzing sirenically against the night-sky. A light mizzle falling persistently failed to dampen his mood definitively.

Hywel remembered fondly that carnations were positively George's favourite flower. Frantically passing the barcode across the scanner that beeped approvingly, he fumbled desperately in his pocket for his frustratingly elusive debit card.

Looking across the street randomly, a bus approached ominously. George and Thomas from work conversing excitedly and exclusively on the top deck. Promises jettisoned ruthlessly for a better offer.

Hywel returned tearfully, carnationslessly, to home and Strictly.

Story 467

Every Day

by Carla Vlad

I'm in the schoolyard, waiting for him to leave his class early, as usual.

His behaviour makes me feel crazy. Today, as per usual, he opens the door slowly, walks confidently to his car and stops. He looks around quickly, smiles shyly and checks his reflection in the rear-view mirror. He doesn’t take longer than five seconds, but he immediately looks. Occasionally, he sees me looking closely at him, but I have never been brave enough to wave. Seeing me, he gets into the car faster.

I really wish I'll be brave enough to wave one day.

Story 468

A Lie Awry (But Somewhat Modified)

by J. Commander

Just before yesterday, but not more than that ago, that darn Ditto darned that easy Eastward anywhere-everywhere about today (but not tomorrow). Tonight, however, darn Ditto's nonstop, pell-mell, overmuch raving ran headfirst-sidelong away somewhere hence. Easy Eastward, never forward (but much backward), somewhat perplexed by darn Ditto's absent crabwise manner going who-knows-whither, nevertheless hazarded to ask, "Ditto, perchance, perhaps, just maybe... you can tell me what  adverbs are anyhow?"

Ditto answered anon-direct, "Adverbs end in -ly."

"OK, Ditto," was the long and little of Eastward's more-or-less easy response.

Ditto's amiss, however. Why? Because adverbs are never quite otherwise.

Story 469


by Jasmine Lee

Silently, she stood in the doorway, waiting ever so patiently for her parents (who were rushing frantically and hectically around the kitchen) to notice that in their haste of madly stuffing duffel bags and suitcases and backpacks that they had mistakenly woken her up.

Her mother quickly zipped up the final bag after grimly dropping in the last can.

Her father briefly looked at her mother for a second, as if silently contemplating their decision before they both briskly walked out of the house, bags in hand.

Worriedly, she wondered if they would remember to come back this time.

Story 470

Here Cometh the Horde

by Gavin Biddlecombe

Catching the white Oval was a poorly made decision no matter whether the choice to live dangerously ranked highly on the coveted list.

Eyes darted worriedly.

Arm raised hopefully.

Legs charged on speedily as bruises appeared rapidly.

Yet, the Horde swarmed in relentlessly.

My likely doom approached. But wait.

A glimmer of hope as an unlikely ally bellowed alongside. Offloading the Oval wisely before the moment of impact, the recipient received it ungraciously. I shut my eyes tightly.


A peek.

The dust settled.

Both Oval and ally gone.

The Horde enthusiastically rampaged on. Could I last another 70 minutes?

Story 471

Through Time

by Alexandra Klyueva

Time will show all your vices.

Slowly, heavily, mysteriously, it approaches your consciousness.

It goes deep into your tortured soul.

You watch his movements carefully and warily.

Your life will change today. It will be different.

Arrogantly, haughtily, with a smirk on your face, you watch your tortured consciousness changing.

Unsuccessfully and clumsily, you try to get rid of depressing thoughts.

Quickly, ghostly, rapidly it spreads through your body.

Every vice is a poorly played game.

Tomorrow is a new battle.

Tomorrow is a new challenge.

Are you ready?

Story 472

Suffocating Skies

by Matthew Bines

Michael anxiously gazed at the smog that lowered onto his city, neglecting the roaring planes that fled the scene. He so desperately wanted to run but knew it was futile. Instead, he hastily shielded his stinging eyes as the air thickened, but the spiteful, suffocating smoke broke through.

Into his throat.

Into his eyes.

Into his lungs.

Tirelessly pounding, his heart thrashed for life. In glimpses, he pictured the summer's sky that smoothly kissed his skin. He unfortunately dreaded that he'd never see it, never feel it again. His world hopelessly faded to an empty dark.

Story 473

The Totally Failed Attempt

by Majella Pinto

On this animal farm lived many animals including a dozen doves with impeccably soft white feathered feet.

Under the thick blanket of the night, the door to the dove's cage eerily creaked open and there stealthily appeared the slinking hand of the thief to get hold of a bird or two.

The commotion of the anxiously fluttering residents disturbed the ebony black cat, who jumped on the usually sluggish dog, who then pounced on the sneakily tiptoeing thief.

The frightfully trounced bird thief yelped vociferously in panic and ran exceedingly fast and was never seen or heard again.

Story 474

Writing Correctly

by Susi J Smith

"Do you write often?"

"Not frequently, only occasionally."

"Daily? Weekly? Yearly?"

"I write slowly," I answer awkwardly.

She looks me over and responds obnoxiously, "I write hourly."

"Lovely," I say nervously.

She continues, "I write boldly and powerfully."

I cough anxiously. "I write—"

"Badly? Tediously?"

Hopelessly, I gulp my wine.

She laughs gleefully.

I slink away to the cloakroom. Slyly, I take the vial from my coat. The liquid shimmers mysteriously. I walk back, innocently picking up a glass of wine and pouring in the poison. I hand the glass to my enemy.

"A toast, to you," I announce evilly.

Story 475

Theoretically, Hypothetically And Definitely Absolutely Do Not Have A Clue

by Amanda Jane Davies

Looking in the mirror adoringly, I stated, "I'd rather be home, than here," to my beautifully-gifted logically-minded friend, Cat.

"It's just science," she said sarcastically. "It's really rather easily undertaken, if you work practically, carefully and diligently.

I'm not entirely convinced, I thought, as we walked sexily from the bogs to class.

Mr 'Technically-Speaking' Harrison roared loudly. The lesson, now, would be on the theory of relativity.

Unconvincingly and terribly languishingly, I picked up my pen haphazardly. Still, yesterday's tomorrow was today and all that. I grudgingly wrote mathematically, horrendously difficult equations, then craftily copied Cat's answers.

Story 476

The Great Find

by Ashutosh Pant

"We did it," my colleague exclaimed loudly with joy.

A rain of happiness quickly filled my mind as I went to hug him.

I had spent 20 years of my life working extremely hard to prove there were reptile-like species before dinosaurs. Thankfully, I was right.

I am now going to be trapped in textbooks and remembered fondly forever.

Story 477

Schrödinger: On Being Asked To Justify His Existence

by L.S. Ashby

I am writing to reassure you of my absolute humanity.

Although the litmus test for IQ reveals a certain artificiality.

While I'm truly, madly, deeply mortal, I may yearn for immortality.

Sad, mad, bad is programmed in the Romantic version of my personality.


And I can't, inexorably or otherwise, escape my inevitable destiny.

And whether I can identify a fire hydrant, will be of very little use to me.

No matter how I curse the curser endlessly, expressing with profanity,

The stultifying, death-undefying, dialogical, futility,


Of submitting virtually, via manual dexterity & optical ability,

Ironically, paradoxically, to the LCD of indeterminacy.

Story 478

An Eye For An Eye

by Matilda Pinto

Natty grew up catching those ferociously nimble crabs in freshwater streams. She inserted a tickly twig into the hole to get them out, and snapped their claws backwards thus, with a thwack.

Recently, she saw a humongous crab climbing out of a tank. Instinctively, she picked the notoriously intimidating one, flapping his eyeballs at her. "Woo," she crooned, blew a kiss, and instantly cracked his ammo.

Ouch. A sting like no other on her thumb. The louder she screamed, the deeper he dug and let go only after letting her know, this is how an eye for an eye works.

Story 479

Adverbial Indulgence

by MF Mika

Of course, we remember the 21st century — that was, after all, when the very first of us so-called 'amortals' were born, as well as when the machines eventually took over.

While our robot overlords were largely benevolent, promptly helping us successfully revert climate change and decisively avert nuclear catastrophe, they dramatically misunderstood our much subtler preferences.

The utterly disproportionate punishment for intentionally deploying an adverb in creative writing, for example, was nothing less than an entire summer of forced hibernation — in other words, missing out completely, then having all of eternity to profoundly regret that.

It was totally worth it.

Story 480

Not So Fast

by Pierre-Alexandre Sicart

I often walk around alone. When I saw her on a bench, I stopped dead, swiftly looked away, and sightlessly, silently, ever so slowly, slid closer and sat down.

That's how I met Sally. She was reading In Defence of the Adverb, by Bruce Lee. She was most lovely and quite friendly, but sadly, she soon said icily, "Don't be silly. 'Lovely' isn't an adverb, and neither is 'friendly'. Frankly, you're adverbially challenged." Then she got up quietly and walked off quickly as I watched on despairingly.

"Not so fast," I cried out desperately.

She came back and kissed me.

Story 481

Stepping Lightly

by Pamela Simon

Tonight was the night. She confidently arrived on his doorstep. Surprisingly, he was already waiting patiently. Tonight, at the competition, they would dance melodically, passionately, and for the first time, professionally.

The music began softly. She calmly held out her hand. At first hesitantly, and then jubilantly, he took it in his own. They smiled at the audience radiantly, took their first step, and failed miserably.

The audience gasped audibly. She smiled at him wryly. They laughed uncontrollably. In that moment, she knew that they had an ever after, and together it would be one they could dance to happily.

Story 482

Two Of Her Favorite Things

by Kamal Patel

Raindrops on roses?

Raindrops are seldom appreciated but often needed. They're typically remembered from mundane situations, like slowly passing time on a rainy day staring out the window. But don't forget the strikingly ethereal situations. Not only raindrops on roses, but also those seemingly magically-created rainbows, occasionally blessing us with their presence as the drops dispense.

And what of whiskers on kittens?

Located adjacently to a down-turned mouth, whiskers are sometimes forgotten by pet owners. But not by kittens. Whiskers are highly-sensitive instruments that enable cats to slyly slink, quickly dart, and do their cat things with aplomb.

Story 483

The Summer Circus

by Kell Renegar

Truthfully, the humidity still bogged everything down. Even across the way from the main circus tent where lights raged mercilessly, down by the field where it always felt just a little cooler, the heat simply hung.

In great denial of summer’s impending return, a clown perched on a stump, mainly alone except for a few common crows and similarly sipped at a bottle of cider as they meanwhile did a warm puddle. Welcoming June generally took courage from our clown and this year seemed to be unfortunately worse than those previous.

A thunder rumbled above; the clown chuckled, too.

Story 484

Bare Minimum

by Tiffany H White

"Softly, softly, catchee monkey," murmured the artist darkly, marginally adjusting the illumination.

The curator simpered enthusiastically as the privileged sauntered nonchalantly in, carefully concealing tummies squirmy with anticipation.

What they beheld was truly, utterly indescribable.

"Truly impressive," the newspaper magnate announced, as the pianist rhapsodised about the composition.

"I see what you're saying," said the synesthetic sniffly, but the psychiatrist, being in two minds, wisely kept shtum.

Everyone simply ignored a child tearfully cry, "There's nothing really there."

"Secretly, it's called  'The Emperor's New Clothes'," the artist quietly revealed, and together they thoroughly enjoyed the monkey show.

Story 485


by Phil Maud

So that consequently, I was descending silently. Honestly, not the road to purgatory reported frequently. The stairs, unfortunately, continued interminably. Every step you see, purposely bringing onwards my ultimate destiny.

As I tottered downward wearily, unaccountably in front of me a tiny door opened silently. Then heat horrifyingly clung to me enthusiastically.

Observing quizzically ahead of me no flames consuming angrily, but rows and rows spaced carefully of people sweating wordlessly. Grimacing to a person bitterly, the steam hissing intermittently. Each arm raised synchronously and lowered again most painfully.

On and on to eternity, spotless linens pressed so monstrously.

Story 486

Continually Complaining

by John James Lane

For a really long time, Mike, the very impatient child, wanted a bright red firetruck badly. For far too often, the normally quiet boy grumbled so many times, the fretting already infuriated his barely composed mother. From early in the morning to late in the evening, he complained nonstop.

Then, his mother had an unusually bright idea. She wanted to go out yesterday, but it rained heavily. She decided on today. She quickly grabbed her son and took him to her ex-husband, a captain at the fire department. She said, "You can have him. He won't shut up for me."

Story 487

Snow White

by Bridget Yates

Beautiful Snow White frantically raced through the forest, desperately trying to escape her evil step-mother’s clutches. She found a cottage in a wood, surprisingly inhabited by eight diamond miners with deformed noses, in need of a housekeeper.

Snow White reluctantly agreed to take on the role.

They celebrated with much energetic twirling and enthusiastic skipping. Snow White became aware of a rapidly spreading noxious aroma. Seven of the men attached clothes-pegs to their noses, accounting for the strange shapes. The eighth was standing in a corner, looking embarrassed.

Without a second glance, beautiful Snow White fled swiftly and thankfully back into the forest.

Story 488


by Carmina McConnell

Voraciously, and increasingly argumentatively, Andrew  responded to Peter's positively unequivocal attempts to persuasively engage him in his increasingly unapologetic argument as he triumphantly wrote the anxiously awaited last words: 'The End'. The flagrantly forceful discussion was rapidly descending into aggrandisment.

Andrew continued determinedly, "Utilising unnecessarily intrusive adverbs, in such a provocatively premeditated manner is particularly puerile and preposterously pretentious." He angrily proclaimed his specifically pertinent point.

Peter smiled cheekily as he lazily leaned over Andrew's manuscript, quickly crossing out his supposedly final two words and writing triumphantly: 'Ending Emphatically'.

Story 489

Fire Demon

by A S Winter

Tim was happily walking down the street when he heard someone screaming. The noise was coming from the restaurant across the road.

He hurriedly crossed the street and found people helping a young man. Unfortunately, he was in no condition to speak.

Tim curiously asked the restaurant manager about the incident. The manager said that the young man had happily ordered the challenge of fire demon, a spicy chilli dish, for prize money. The manager added that he knew noone ever tamed the fire demon, but had never seen it hurting anyone so fiercely.

Tim called the ambulance.

Story 490

Owning Up

by Glo Curl

As I trudged wearily home from piano study, a car pulled up abruptly beside me. The driver leant over and, quickly winding down the passenger window, asked directions, then kindly offered me a lift.

Mother had religiously taught us to never accept lifts from strangers, but he seemed harmless, so I gratefully climbed in.

"You're home early," Mum said slowly, one eyebrow raised quizzically as she searched my face for clues.

I couldn't blatantly lie, so I shyly admitted my misdeed.

She gently drew me towards her, softly caressed my hair and whispered stiffly, "Don't you ever do that again."

Story 491

Night Vision

by Peter Kay

Languidly, moon's liquid reflection caresses motionless lake.

Bravely, fox approaches and, sniffing rotting corpse on very shingly shore, seeks preferable carrion. An owl piercingly hoots from a nearby oak.

Headlights flicker, creeping along a track, parking near water's edge. Moonlight reveals a young couple, who lovingly embrace.

Giggles emanate, before she bare-footedly runs. He quickly follows. She pauses momentarily where water edges shingle. He catches her.

She wriggles free, running care-freely along shoreline.

She stumbles, forwardly falling. Her scream shatters the calm. Owl takes flight and fox dashes into the shallow waters, splitting the moon into a thousand rippling pieces.

Story 492

August 17th: Return From Regensburg

by James Louis Peel

Overly large cliffs menacingly grew while the lonely bomber gradually lost altitude. One engine, stubbornly choking smoke, flatly refused to give up. Her second engine's feathered propeller undoubtedly unmoving. Her third engine laboriously sputtered between life and elsewhere. Only the fourth unerringly droned.

Her bomber spirit faithfully knew she was the last hope of her woefully worried crew. Remembering: they lovingly took care of her, pridefully patched her up, gave her a glamorously feminine paint scheme, the best of Hollywood.

Knowingly, it was time she brought her crew home. Strenuously banking, half her rudder savagely blown away, she finally landed.

Story 493

Writing, Autobiographically

by Joe Brothers

Frustratedly, exasperatedly, Joe tapped his finger on his desk. Sipped his coffee noisily. Glared at the screen, angrily.

"I've got to write something," he huffed, huffily, borderline querulously. "Something fantastically, grippingly, excitedly... well, fantastic, gripping and exciting."

The empty page stared back, tauntingly. It was as though it looked piercingly into his soul, finding him crushingly, ever so disappointedly wanting.

Then, surprisingly, inspiration struck.

"I'll write about this. It's a little meta, self-referentially so in fact, but it fits the bill so astoundingly well."

He typed rapidly, proof-read methodically, submitted confidently. Then sat back and sipped again, this time contentedly.

Story 494

Whispering Loudly

by Rachel Hathcock

I cannot remember precisely when I first used it, only when I suddenly lost it. So much red, then. Such deep sadness. I'm quite certain it'll never be the same.

I imagine it once was incredibly bold, caring little about how it was perceived, badly or well; it was shamelessly free. It was crippled too young, before it could stand tall. Whispering softly, then silently, it was lost.

A glimmer clung tenaciously to others, however. The others loved, and I remembered it: my voice. I'll never be the same.

Story 495


by Danielle Cahill

Opening the bedroom door, slowly, carefully, Alice looked sombrely at the unmade bed. Her husband had left nosily that morning.

"Cycling trip with the lads," he had nonchalantly told her.

She had stayed grimly silent – knowing better – pulling the duvet firmly over her head.

The crisply whirring wheels took him away from her. Towards his unnamed lover. He would take her forcefully in the heat of the afternoon. Euphorically. She hated him.

Alice's hand clawed clumsily, smoothing the sheets, knocking his glasses wildly to the floor. They smashed loudly into glittering fragments.

If only she could destroy him as easily.

Story 496


by AnnaLise Sandrich

Ann's mind spun hopelessly as she desperately tried to reconcile the cheerfully smiling face in front of her with a name. She beamed brightly and familiarly. Ann awkwardly realised they probably spoke frequently. She'd clearly forgotten.

Absentmindedly, Ann's attention drifted to the woman's obnoxiously garish shirt. The unbearably neon green colourfully clashed with the enthusiastically shiny gold flowers. Ann nostalgically remembered youthfully buying the deliberately hideously patterned shirt in 1953.

The woman's smile faded slightly as she wearily realised she'd been mostly forgotten.

"Mum, it's Julia."

"Julia," Ann repeated sadly.

Story 497

No Secrets For A Mum

by Donato Ruggiero

"Tell me briefly, simply and clearly what's going on here."

"Mum, what do you mean exactly?" he said blankly.

"You're awfully drunk," she replied mercilessly.

"Please, speak gently," the other guy told her peacefully.

"You're disgustingly worse than your brother," the mother shouted sharply.

"Sorry, Mum. Honestly, I really don't feel well," the third responded, staggering perilously.

"And you? Why are you snickering underhandedly?" the woman cried furiously to her daughter.

"Who? Me?" she answered distractedly, peeking furtively at the bottles hidden under the bed.

"Go out, immediately," the mother yelled categorically.

Silently, the guys left the room ruefully.

Story 498

Uphill Both Ways

by Angela Googh

"When we were your age, we had to walk 7km to school and back, each day," said Dad self-righteously.

"Uphill both ways," said Mum dramatically.

"Through two metres of snow," said Dad, proudly.

"It was one metre the last time," said their son, eyebrows cocked questioningly.

"Don't interrupt your father, dear," said Mum gently.

"Through two metres of snow," said Dad defiantly. "Barefoot."

"Wearing Grandpa's pyjamas," said Mum emphatically.

There was a pause.

"And your point this time?" asked their son wearily.

"Life is hard, kid. Get used to it," Mum and Dad said simultaneously, grinning mischievously.



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Your comments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just trying to help!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for your support :-)

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

Chris Fielden
No problem – thanks Betty :-)

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

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

Chris Fielden
Hi Frank. A great response indeed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Anne, very much appreciated :)

Jonathan M
Hi Chris - another awesome anthology idea here!

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

Jerry W

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Fielden
Thanks Benita :-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judith W
I am human. This sounds like fun.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear it, Judith :-)

I'll look forward to reading your submission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valerie G
Yay... :-)

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

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

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

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

I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

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

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

Steph S
Really enjoying this. Thanks for the experience.

Lorna G

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

Chris Fielden
Nothing clumsily written there, Lorna :-)

Your story is publicly published.

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

Chris Fielden
Thanks Sarah :-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope that answers the question.

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

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

I hope you like it.

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

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


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

I'll look forward to receiving your story.

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

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

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

Chris Fielden
Most excellent - good luck with that!

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

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

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

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

Chris Fielden
A fine idea :-)

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

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

Chris Fielden
Fab stuff, thanks Rene :-)

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

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

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

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

Joseph M
This is a really fun challenge and a great way to attempt writing a short story in only 100 words. My method was to write the story then trim it to a 100, 'adverbially.' Flash fiction is a lot of fun and is best with some inclusion of irony or humour.

Thank you to Chris and Mike for this fun opportunity. It is an impressive way to encourage new writers and to continue to participate within the literary community.

Congratulations to new writers for figuring a way to start getting your name known and developing a wider audience. In my opinion, Chris's recommendations on how to craft a great short story and his advice on publication and marketing are valuable.

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

Michelle P
I just want to say that this is an amazing idea! Thank you for putting so much work into this.

Chris Fielden
No problem - thanks for submitting :-)

Jay B
Hi Chris, I hope this one is suitably fitting?

Chris Fielden
Indubitably :-)

Kelly VN
Love this amazingly wonderful adverb challenge and all for a superbly fabulous charitable cause. Thanks for posting my 100 words and intentionally sending good luck wishes on attracting more splendidly varied stories to pull your next collection together.

Chris Fielden
Thanking you muchly, Kelly :-)

Khamis K
I'm grateful for having contributed to a worthy cause. Thanks, Chris.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Khamis. And thanks for submitting - much appreciated :-)

Sandra P
Hi Chris, I submitted story number 303, 'Keep The Red Nose Flying', for the 4th Adverbially Challenged anthology, but didn't submit a bio - I don't think I realised I had to - and on re-reading the rules I note that unless a bio is submitted, authors won't be published.

Anyway, I'm quite excited that only a few more stories are to be received in order for the 4th anthology to go to print and to cut to the chase  (at last, I hear you roar!) , am I too late to drop you a few notes regarding a bio for myself? I understand perfectly if I've missed the boat by the way.

Chris Fielden
Hi Sandra. Thanks for your message.

I made author bios mandatory after you submitted to the challenge to reduce admin when the books go into production.

Anyone who submitted before that will still be published, but if you have a bio you would like to appear in the book, then please do send it through - I'm more than happy to include that for you :-)

Debaprasad M
It was fun, frankly. Thanks Chris, Mike, sincerely, for the initiative, and efforts you've put in. Enjoyed, thoroughly.

Chris Fielden
You're certainly welcome, Debaprasad. Thank you very extremely much for submitting :-)

Dave M
Hi Chris, great news volume 4 is going into production in the New Year. I'm looking forward to buying a few copies to help get us on the Amazon bestseller list, and making a contribution to volume 5. A merry Christmas to you and all the authors who contribute to the various challenges.

Here's hoping 2019 is a successful one for us all.

Keep up the good work.

Chris Fielden
Thanks very much, Dave. Amazon bestsellers here we come!

Have a great Christmas.

Tom S
Thanks Chris for this brilliant opportunity to join in a good cause and see my writing in print. Some excellent stories here.

Can anyone enter a piece? If so, I could signpost my FB group to this and other challenges, if that's all right to do.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Tom :-)

Yes, anyone can submit. It doesn't matter how old you are, where you live or who you are - everyone is welcome.

Any signposting would be very much appreciated, thank you!

Jessica B
Hello, Chris! Thank you so much for adding my story to the list. It really means a lot to me, not only because it'll be my first time being published, but because this story is about the first memory I have of my first dog. I'll definitely be buying this book once it's published. It's for such a good cause.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Jessica. I'm very pleased to be publishing you for the first time - congratulations! Let's hope it's the first of many :-)

Phil M
My favourite has to be 'Passport Control Blues' by Barbara Hill, it had me smirking.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Phil :-)