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

The Adverb Writing Challenge is temporarily closed while I complete work on my website redesign

It will re-open on for submissions on 1st September 2024

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

The Adverb Writing Challenge is temporarily closed while I complete work on my website redesign

It will re-open on for submissions on 1st September 2024

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 100 500 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've received 585 entries. We need 415 more to publish the next anthology.

The Adverb Writing Challenge is temporarily closed while I complete work on my website redesign

It will re-open on for submissions on 1st September 2024

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 was released on 16th March 2019 . It contains another 100 stories. You can hear one of the stories from the book, called 'Man Pants Grenade', on the Superfast Stories YouTube channel:

Adverbially Challenged Volume 5 was released in November 2020 . It contains yet another 100 stories.

We will release Volume 6 when we have received 1,000 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.

And here is a bit of video advice I gave about adverbs on the Superfast Stories YouTube channel.

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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 6.

If we receive 1,000 entries, we'll release the next book and, as always, the proceeds will go to charity. If we don't receive 1,000, 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

We received our 500th story on the 17th of August 2020. The fifth collection of stories were removed from this page on 31st August 2020. Adverbially Challenged Volume 5 was published in November 2020.

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

Adverbially Challenged Volume 5

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.

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Adverbially Challenged Volume 6

You can read the current submissions for Adverbially Challenged Volume 6 below.

Story 501

Shard And Freud

by Mike Scott Thomson

Precariously, precipitously, Sigmund leans backwards. Counterintuitively he descends, ropes releasing repetitively, tightening compulsively, towards the ground, terrifyingly, so far below.

Incongruously, the shimmering tower reflects a city verifiably not Vienna, the epoch evidently not his. Feet on glass, horizontally, he sways: death drive tantalisingly taunting id, body transparently unmasking the mind.

Ich will zu meiner Mami, he dreams, tearfully. Who placed him suchly, so suddenly, obscenely deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others?

Sigmund looks up, tentatively. This edifice is phallic – obviously. He knows, sadly: there is no pleasure in this principle, as he edges, inescapably, towards the void.

Story 502

The Disturbingly Deviously Dreadful, Decidedly Dastardly Dragon…

by Christopher Fielden

…was perched upon a mountain ledge, silently surveying the lands below, stomach gurgling hungrily when lunch unwittingly loped courageously into view.

A knight approached gallantly, clad in ridiculously shiny armour. "Tell me thy name before I smite thee, lizard," he said cruelly.

"Deirdre," she replied calmly, "the Dastardly."

"What a stupendously stupid name for a disgustingly vile dragon," the knight said spitefully. He roared laughter heartily, dropping his sword accidentally due to guffawing maniacally.

Deirdre spewed fire ferociously, immediately barbecuing the knight perfectly. She seasoned him lightly.




"I do beg your pardon," she said to herself demurely.


You can listen to this story on the Superfast Stories YouTube channel:

Story 503

Reflectively Conversing

by Lesley Anne Truchet

Dear extremely carnally active, newly-married couple, living directly opposite.

I'm emphatically certain that all the diversely ethnic residents within our conveniently situated housing complex are truly delighted with the cleverly designed, replacement one-way vision-privacy windows, recently installed in every apartment. It's really agreeable to have seclusion 24/7.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoy standing at my window, freely making offensively rude signs at people quietly passing by, knowing that they cannot actually see me. It certainly helps relieve my stress.

This note is to discreetly inform you that the window in your bedroom was unfortunately and inappropriately installed facing the wrong way.

Story 504

Upon Arrival

by Michael Rumsey

It was the first night of our honeymoon.

Impatiently, I turned to Trevor and said lovingly and not at all jokingly but as calmly as I could, "Right, my perfectly proportioned and superbly athletic man, let's do it quickly. I just can't wait."

Predictably we did, eagerly, willingly, joyfully and enthusiastically. Having parked the car carefully, we hastily unloaded our luggage as I suggested. With wildly beating hearts, we breezily ran into the brilliantly lit hotel foyer. I just could not wait to officially and legally book in as Mr & Mrs Ward.

Story 505

Rousingly I Awoke

by Neil Davie

Head pounding furiously, I groggily heave myself out of bed. I stumble drunkenly towards the door, awkwardly pulling on the jumper haphazardly left on the floor as I go. The handle taunts me jeeringly until I finally get a grip on it and open it dramatically.

Squinting blearily into the light, I clamber warily down the stairs. Whoever is knocking incessantly shows no interest in stopping. Approaching, a figure standing menacingly behind the front door comes into view.

Opening it slowly, a man confidently brandishing a clipboard greets me enthusiastically.

"Would you like to sign this petition on noise pollution?"

Story 506

A Day To Remember

by John D Lary

The photographer fussily arranges the line-up. "Parents now, quickly please."

They gather distractedly outside by the barn: mother-in-law, crimson lips grimacing unconvincingly; father-in-law, dressed uncharacteristically formally, his hands held uncertainly by his sides; brother-in-law, pressed unpreparedly into the best man role, sweating royally in the strong sunshine. 

Standing centrally amongst them is Jack's newly-crowned wife, her face painted vengefully by the maid of honour, so that she appears inappropriately more Japanese doll than blushing bride.

Jack's own friends linger listlessly inside, by the hopefully soon-to-be open bar.

Abandoned, the bridegroom turns despondently away, his eyes seeking out distant horizons.

Story 507

Insincerely Apologetic

by Clare Tivey

Unfortunately, it's 'come as your hero day' in the store. Spiderman and the unicorn's parents are suspiciously missing.

Anxiously explaining to parents that this year's fervently wanted toy is sold out, predictably replicates this...

"Honestly, imagine my child's face when I regretfully explain that Santa has selfishly forgotten him." She says this intensely, wincing because the unicorn has appeared and is gleefully, repeatedly kicking her ankle.

Sheepishly apologising, "I'm dreadfully sorry, madam. A New Year delivery?"

This is met by a furiously face-melting glower, before she purposefully stomps away, because, unquestioningly, a stomp always conveys that you're annoyed.

Story 508

Not Today

by Sasha Klyueva

I have never felt it before. It held me with cold and bony fingers. It deliberately, tenaciously, strongly and painfully squeezed my hand.

It was just the two of us. Its heavy night breathing sounded in my ears like a terrible and creaking noise.

It was fear. My fear. He desperately, mercilessly and furiously tried to break me. I looked at him with a calm, reasonable and indifferent look.

Not today.

I am stronger. I am better. I am the fear.

Story 509

Attention Please

by Lorna Gillies

Perching primly on the edge of the table, the student teacher watched as the characteristically boisterous students noisily took their places.

Over confidently addressing the class, she found them surprisingly more difficult to control than she had naively assumed they would be. They giggled mercilessly as she impatiently and unsuccessfully tried again. She stood up assertively to convey authority but sadly, farted violently as she rose.

The children laughed uproariously as she rushed quickly from the room, but the laughter died rapidly as their usual teacher moved swiftly to the front of the room and glared disapprovingly at the students.

Story 510

In The Clubhouse

by Allen Ashley

Mel tidied busily but Donald moaned constantly. "I won that election fairly and squarely. I know for definite who voted for me. I demand a recount. Immediately."

"You did your job brilliantly as president, Donald, but it's Joe's turn now. Unfortunately." She gently placed a cup of tea by his elbow, slipped a Christmas chocolate liqueur stealthily from her handbag.

Donald would get over it. He was just venting, surely? Once the holidays were over, they'd both settle back into their old roles as greenkeepers at Trumpington Bowls Club. Comfortably.

Who would've guessed retirement would bring so much stress? Daily.

Story 511

The Unusually Dark Lighthouse

by Lyla Laon

He hated the light incredibly. How it anxiously pulsed and invariably waved; it made him excessively furiously enraged.

He hated especially the trembly cold glass that shuddered feverishly against the seas draft that carelessly thundered again and again, like banshees angrily transporting triumphantly salty crests of frolicking misery, over and over, repeatedly, consistently battering at him, rattling and chortling him, constantly prying and invading him.

He hated being a lighthouse, insufferably.

Story 512

A Berry For Bongo

by Michelle Peet

Eagerly, the toddler grabbed the berry and ran exuberantly, shouting excitedly, "Daddy."

He scooped her up effortlessly and held her aloft so she could easily see the strikingly striped bongo.

Impulsively, she threw the berry over the impressively lofty fence, into the bongo's exceptionally expansive enclosure.

Regretting it immediately, she watched on forlornly, crying inconsolably, as her fabulously fruity find looked destined to became a mid-morning snack.

Daddy nimbly jumped the fence to bravely retrieve the berry, running quickly as the bongo chased him frustratedly. He leapt deftly to safety, and relievedly returned his daughter's preciously prized berry.

Story 513

Every Cloud

by Maggie Elliott

Stacey never left home barefaced. Always receiving compliments on her makeup, she frequently offered tips to classmates.

Usually thrilled at impromptu school closures, the sudden lengthy one following  a pandemic meant she rarely got to see friends and missed the admiration.

She liked to read but seldom posted to social media, but during lock-down her mother suggested occasionally making a podcast offering makeup tips.

Complying, her podcasts were generally popular, hardly ever producing negative feedback.

A contract with Harper's Bazaar as an online beauty consultant beckons when she finishes her education.

Just shows, every cloud has a silver lining.

Story 514

Ransoming Georgie

by Lee Kull

She shakily reached for the loudly ringing telephone, indecisively hesitated, then finally answered it. "Hello?"

After a deadly pause, she fearfully listened to the darkly spoken words from the mysteriously muffled voice. He threateningly demanded where to bring the kingly ransom.

"Put him on," she sobbingly croaked.

After being noisily passed around, she heard somebody heavily breathing.

"Georgie?" she tearfully queried. He whimped slightly before the tightly gripped phone went completely dead.

The darkly lit, dankly wet night was suitably chosen. The exchange went flawlessly. Crying joyously, she tightly embraced Georgie. He kissed her face wetly. "I love you, poodly-woodly."

Story 515

An Agitated Morning

by Jessica Ann George

Frantically, I pulled at my dead-asleep hand, slamming aggressively on the alarm.

The time: 11:25am.

I desperately jumped from my stylishly untidy bed, pulling open my closet with flair. Equally awoken, properly ironed clothes dramatically rested on my bed.

Hastily, I ran to the toilet – you know what happens there – desperately figuring out what I'll wear. 360° of disoriented, I clumsily dropped my toothbrush into my bag. That's 'Task One' at HQ.

Making a run for my ride, I finally reached. Donning some improbably unmatching clothes, terribly defocused, yet claiming with poise, "Sorry I'm late guys, had a meeting."

Funny, they never believed me.

Story 516

Just Another Typically Wintery North Sea Storm

by Mark Rutherford

The ship violently pitched and rolled aggressively as the towering walls of darkly ominous waves, topped with frosted crests of boiling white, bullied and harried the Standby Ship as she bravely tried to keep station on the North Sea oil installation.

Onboard, the chief mate and his watch keeper clung tenaciously to their deck-welded seats. Two mugs of steaming hot coffee, filled very, very carefully to just under half full, sat encased in custom made, wooden holders.

The chief mate sighed. He could barely see through the gale driven spray. It was just another typically, wintry North Sea storm.

Story 517

Unexpected Guest

by Willow Hewett

I lovingly looked at my husband on the floor, his face twisted into a grimly scowl.

"The last scowl you will ever achieve," I delightfully shouted at him.

I knelt down beside his body and delicately pulled his white ghostly cheeks into a grin.

"That's better."

I laughed wildly. His cheeks dropped down again into a grimace, as if he mildly disapproved of my actions. His waxy complexion forced a low rumble of laughter from within me, echoing loudly around the dimly lit kitchen.

Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the front door.

Story 518

"One Small Step For Women..."

by Hannah Gao

...said Nigella Footstrong triumphantly, on the eye-wateringly red land of Mars.

She absently dusted herself, gazing wonderingly at the strange landscape. She stood awkwardly, like a dumbly flopping fish far from water. In fact, she didn't even notice her almost dead limbs from being so cramped in her rather rockety rocket. Finally, she was on the perfectly still planet of Mars; luckily, by some miracle. But the best thing was feeling so light, like she'd lost weight just sitting lazily for nearly five years.

Then, suddenly, she realized she hadn't finished and mumbled hastily, "And one giant leap for womankind."

Story 519

The Quick Brown Fox

by Lou Gavin

The brown fox jumped quickly, sneakily, gracefully over the fence. Carefully, he looked over his shoulder furtively, warily aware of his surroundings.

Suddenly, ahead of him appeared a dog. The dog sleepily, lethargically, absentmindedly peered in the fox's direction. They boldly locked eyes.

Frantically, the fox ran towards the dog. He was going to do it this time. Without hesitation, the quick brown fox lithely, springedly, perfectly jumped over the lazy dog.

As soon as the fox left, the dog sluggishly and coolly turned around and laid quietly back down on the grass. 

Story 520

The Battle Between Right And Wrong

by Fliss Zakaszewska

Marianne swayed provocatively, sinuously and sensually across the dancefloor. Her diaphanous chiffon blouse flowed from her slim and slender arms...

He stopped reading and glared at Tina. "Seriously? 'Slim' AND 'slender'?"

She laughed melodically. "I thought 'diaphanous chiffon' would raise your volcanic ire, Ed, but I got that one past you."

"I tolerated it... Hey, you know my name's Bob, not Ed?" he howled, disconsolately.

Tina smiled sweetly. "My erudite, sagacious and sanguine editor? No, you'll always be Ed to me."

"Nevertheless, you really should curve your reckless and uncontrolled use of adverbs..."

"Ha. 'Reckless' AND 'uncontrolled'? It's catching, Ed."

Story 521

A Surprisingly Tasty Morsel

by Ceri Marriott

In a remotely isolated, ghostly, darkly lit wood, a magician found a strangely odd smelling mushroom, delicately positioned on a thickly berried branch. Being extremely hungry, he picked it carefully, cooked it quickly, then ate it greedily.

Unfortunately, a really learned magician would certainly have recognised this as a completely unwise move, for he suddenly shrank most remarkably.

Meanwhile his slightly blind, portly shaped pig, smelt the deliciously mushroom-flavoured shrunken magician and rapidly snaffled him up, mistakenly thinking him a truly scrumptious truffle. A rapidly squirty ejection ensued.

This costly mistake was a lesson to both: once bitten, twice shy.

Story 522

Foul Play

by Jo Caddy

The midday heat of a clichéd outback summer (arriving unexpectedly and unceremoniously a month prematurely), unapologetically and viciously encroached upon the carefully and perfectly planned picnic wedding reception. Guests irritatingly tugged at suffocatingly tight collars and historically traditional tulle dresses. Incredibly determined pests of the ant kind mercilessly pillaged every morsel of decadently prepared refreshments as though they had been surreptitiously invited for that very purpose.

Foul play would have suspiciously been suspected, had this been a fairy-tale where characters could magically control the natural order of things, but, as it were, the groom's ex-lover was uncharacteristically jovial that day.

Story 523

Bursting To

by Rosalind Parker

Breathe deeply, hold on very tightly, feeling nervy, as you slowly spring steadily off and dive quickly into the sea. Your senses wildly awoken instantly, skin tingles excitedly, probably by differences in pressure and temperature encompassing your mostly naked body.

Unsurprisingly, sound is numbed, which is jubilantly welcomed, far from the extremely noisy metropolis outside. Usually smelling and tasting the perfectly formed water makes you quickly react. Very soon you go up triumphantly. You gasp deliberately, as back to the surface you go wisely. Visibility is back, the sun shines brightly, illustriously reflecting on the water. Simply pleasurable.

Story 524

And My Pirates Sang On Wonderfully

by Jennifer Meyer

"Land ahoy," I bellowed majestically, as I quickly slid down the rope elegantly and met the floor sturdily, finishing impressively in a stoic stance.

The crew loudly chanted my name gleefully, "Captain Rok, you saved us so gallantly."

There was much rejoicing as my pirates hurried wildly around the deck, quickly gathering our wares and singing merrily and heartily.

I turned nonchalantly, quietly masking my relief, as earlier I had brazenly guaranteed survival and that our bellies would be full once more.

As we crashed forcefully onto the shore, all that remained, pitifully, were our weary bodies and our oars.

Story 525

Counting the Hours

by Ashley Kim

I frantically run through the airport doors and quickly check my bags through security, impatiently waiting in line for the plane.

Twelve more hours.

I board my plane, grumbling at the extremely hot air.

Nine more hours.

We finally take off but the plane suddenly starts to tremble. Turbulence frightfully shakes the aircraft. I close my eyes and patiently wait for the plane to settle.

Eight more hours.

I quickly get my burdensome bag and lug it to customs.

Two more hours.

I run outside excitedly and see them waiting for me.

Zero more hours.

Story 526

Amusement Park

by Minhong Kim

I carefully get into the roller coaster. Neatly setting down my shoulder pack, I get ready for the ride. The roller coaster slowly climbs up the ramp. I nervously bite my fingernails. The roller coaster continually rises up. Stop. It slowly tips forward.

A loud BAM.

I don't know what's happening. I shriek. After what seems like an eternity, we stop.  Quickly taking off my seatbelt, I jump off the roller coaster.

I'm never going on that ride again.

Story 527

On A Marvellously Morale-Boosting Moment Of Mind-Blowing Magnitude

by Amanda Garzia

Ears cocked constantly, I bide my time carefully, knowing I may succeed spectacularly or plunge precipitously.

I persist patiently, lying in wait stubbornly, eager to catch him, once again, singing it softly.

"Could it really be?" I ask fervently. "Could it really be that very melody?"

He's singing it again, surreptitiously.

Indisputably it, I conclude confidently, belting it out courageously.

"You know Drake?" he asks incredulously.

"Drake?" I ask bewilderedly. "No. The Beatles," I declare unflinchingly.

He's dumbfounded, albeit momentarily. 

"Go figure," he says good-humouredly, checking the facts assiduously. "'Champagne Poetry' samples 'Michelle'. Officially. Best bit of the track, inarguably."

Story 528

Indecently Exposed And Quickly Arrested

by Alan Pattison

Luke carefully walked up the path to the highest point on the hill where he very extragavantly ripped off his top and, rudely showing off his torso to everyone up there, loudly shouted, "No one can legally arrest me, can they?" at which point, a policeman appeared slowly from the crowd and clearly said, "Apart from me," before slowly approaching Luke and hesistantly jotting down his name and address in his notebook.

Story 529

The Herald Of Spring

by Emily McGill

Valiantly, doggedly, her spindly frame peeked warily through the dawn frost.

"Here prematurely again," she muttered, exasperatedly. The meadow, sparsely peppered with grass cowering cautiously after a brutal winter, stirred quietly, nervously.

"Snowdrop?" That old stump peered hopefully at her silken head, bowed shyly, demurely. "Is that you, so early?"

"It's February, Oakwood," she declared defensively. "You know me, I'm always awake promptly." More than could be said for the roses, she thought wryly, who slumbered lazily until May, uselessly.

"Spring, spring, finally." The chorus travelled echoingly. The grass shoots danced laughingly, singing rejoicingly. Oakwood looked on, fondly and longingly.

Story 530


by Kirankumar Ramachandran

There's Tom, waving wildly at quietly ignoring crowds who are busily planning their painfully dull Monday – an increasingly impatient crowd spilling out of the well-lit but pathetically narrow station.

He's always there, usually quite cheerful and tantalisingly attractive with his bewitching smile that never switches off and his habit of carelessly flicking back his beautifully unkempt hair.

Invariably, newcomers to the town look suspiciously at him and ask, "Who is that? Why is he here everyday?"

We smile knowingly. "Oh, Tom is perfectly safe. Obviously off his rocker but never bothers anyone."

They shrug and say, "Oh, well."

Story 531

A Late-Night Walk

by Laura Okkema

Swiftly, she skips past ominously towering tombstones, hoping for a timely escape through the sharply angled gates.

"Tread carefully across the cemetery," her mother had repeatedly cautioned. "Always leave before midnight. Never accidentally touch the tombstones."

Nervously, she peers at her watch listlessly ticking towards midnight. She trips, abruptly, over a thickly bulging root and instantly panics. Awkwardly, she steadies herself. Her hand hits smoothly polished, snowy cold marble.

Something grabs her, violently. A skeletal hand, patches of tissue and skin loosely dangling from bone, powerfully pulls her down.

She screams fiercely as she sinks into thickly clumped earth.

Story 532

The Incomprehensibly Incompetent Constables

by Dan Loreti

Meticulously – that's how the detectives scoured my apartment. In the same manner chimps groom one another, Detective Abernathy and Cartwright combed over countertops, under furniture, and throughout my manically torn-to-shreds closet.

I waited with the eagerness of a kid on Christmas expecting the detectives to professionally deliver their report. All that either offered me was an incontestably defeated expression.

Robbers diligently picked my apartment apart, deliberately lifted valuables without a trace, and then surreptitiously slunk off through the night. Professionals, I thought, begrudgingly. Statistically, thieves often evade arrest.

My peace of mind'd been burglarised while detectives helplessly scratched their heads.

Story 533


by Julie Haworth

Eventually it is daylight already. Early morning has arrived.

I stand, leaning, assuredly waiting for him.

With the gun tightly gripped in my hand. Down low, by my side.

I observe him, walking slowly up the path. He is grinning foolishly.

Recently he has been repeatedly repeating me.

After every word I say.

Despicably, he knows I hate it, desperately.

Today will be the end completely of his ghastly torment.

He will not willingly stop, so I shall decisively end it.

Every word I say will no longer be constantly repeated.

At last, finally, on arrival, he is despatched.

Story 534

 Status Consciously

by Rathin Bhattacharjee

"Bappa," said Riju to me loudly on a wintry evening. "Please, let my driver have some tea."

While serving tea later, I deliberately offered the cup in my left hand to Riju. I offered the cup in my right to the driver quite casually.

"Can I have a plate?" Riju always had tea with a dish ritualistically, long before he rose to be a judge.

I chuckled silently. You might've risen high, my dear nephew, but if you've no qualms about asking an uncle to serve your driver some tea, why should I bother about your status by serving you accordingly?

Story 535

 Don Sisyphus

by Paul Lewthwaite

After manfully heaving the boulder up the slope he sighed wistfully, surveying the gloriously noisily clamouring landscape of dazzlingly bright cars and colourfully dressed people.

Longingly, he harkened back to joyful times when he strode purposefully and steadfastly amongst them, a kingly presence, inspiring admirably wonderful deference from those who encountered his dauntingly intimidating aura.

He dutifully returned to his backbreaking, endlessly futile task before any horse mounted, shotgun wielding, scowling guards spotted his pleasantly diverting reverie.

He yelped shrilly as a wasp viciously stung his nose: metaphorically a reminder of the dastardly FBI plot that painfully brought him low.

Story 536

 Chagall Leaves His Marc On Kent

by John Notley

It is very highly likely that few of the artistically, critically minded public are aware that Marc Chagall the prolific and internationally known French artist, rightly recognised as the greatest, has some of his work in England.

Visit All Saints' Church in the undeniably pretty village of Tudeley, Kent. Here you'll find the understandably moving set of stained glass windows delicately and masterfully created by him. The main window beautifully and faithfully depicts the drowning of a young woman who tragically and accidentally lost her life in 1963. Her name was Sarah, aged 21, the daughter of a local landowner.

Story 537

 Romeo and Juliet, Derailed

by Antasia Shabria Armour

You watch the play excitedly.

"I don't remember Romeo and Juliet going like this," you whisper to your companion quietly.

You don't look away though, no matter what you hear, which makes you want to keep looking and so you watch no matter what is going on. You simply just have to keep watching.

The weather doesn't matter, whether it is rain, sleet or snow. All that matters at this point in time is your show, that is it.

How are you going to continue to watch it?

Story 538

 Outrunning The Monster

by Josie Gilbert

She ran tirelessly, weaving unerringly through the trees, heart thumping strenuously. The monster followed, doggedly tracking her, slavering copiously and howling eerily. The moon shimmered feebly above, appearing fleetingly through the clouds to illuminate her path briefly.

She tripped awkwardly and fell heavily. Panting frantically, she looked up quickly and clearly saw the candle burning dimly in the cottage window. She struggled painfully to her feet and limped hopefully onward, only to be gripped powerfully from behind and shaken repeatedly.

"Wake up immediately," her husband exclaimed urgently. "You're having that nightmare continuously."

She flopped against her pillow and sighed exhaustedly.

Story 539

 Unwelcome Guest

by Lylah

A sudden thud, so distant, I barely heard it. Then another. It was coming from below, towards the basement area, I was sure.

Exhaling deeply, I  quietly returned to the mound of paperwork. The house fell unbearably still for some moments. Then, another thud, this time, slightly nearer. 

Standing, I pushed back the chair, scraping it  apprehensively against the rotted wooden flooring. Picking up the glass lantern in both hands, I made my way reluctantly and very slowly out of the room and into the narrow hallway with its unwelcoming chill, holding my breath deliberately as I went.

Story 540

 Demonic Discipline

by Corinne Pollard

"Everyday, you always do this, Vlad. Listen, here and here. Add the adverb after the verb, not before, and never outside the full stop. C'mon quickly now. See how easily you can write it under my instructions. Why can't you do this away, at home or after school yourself? That's enough. OK, everyone, stop already. Morticia, physically shifting to hang upside-down is forbidden. Get down. Before you all leave quietly, I said quietly, there are leftover blood banks to take home. No, Vlad. Don't playfully slurp it. Drink responsibly. I'll see you all tomorrow. Alright, class dismissed. Vlad, stay behind."

Story 541

 Violently Happy

by David S Mitchell

I excitedly dart towards the door where moments earlier the package flopped noisily onto the floor. Losing a slipper carelessly mid-step barely slows me down. My hands swiftly swoop down and dramatically clutch the cardboard package. I whack my head clumsily on the handle as I triumphantly arise, but the pain doesn't fractionally phase me.

I forcefully rip open the cardboard, and surgically pull the cellophane off the book. I flick impatiently through to page 284. I joyfully dance and carelessly stub my toe on the doorframe. There is my story and my name on the page. Finally published.

Story 542

 The Curious Boy

by Jamal Sarwar

The train halted abruptly with a screeching sound. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The conductor hastily searched for the cabin from which the emergency cable was frantically pulled in haste. The woman chided her son who had unknowingly pulled the cable out of curiosity.

After thoroughly checking for any other fault upon the request of the anxious passengers, the driver was convincingly given the green signal to proceed without further delay.

As the engines started, the train slowly began to move towards its next destination.

Story 543

 Bad Dogs

by Rhoda Livingstone-Smith

Two German Shepherds, Harry and Meg, named after a notoriously famous couple, live with us contentedly. They usually sit quietly, peacefully resting, but occasionally become bored and naughtily eat ridiculously bad things.

The sweets, bought lovingly for my partner's birthday, were greedily devoured, when they aggressively chewed their way through the lid and cheekily helped themselves. Meg vigorously mangled an empty tin while Harry enthusiastically annihilated some extremely expensive sunglasses.

Since then, when we reluctantly leave them at home, they grumpily wait in their crates, until we gratefully come back to an immaculately tidy house, where they excitedly greet us.

Story 544

 A Mortally Dangerous Game

by Claudia Nicholson

Disbelievingly she stands, utterly and unexpectedly covered in dust and bits of plaster. Everything had gone perfectly to plan until now.

Feet hopelessly rooted to the ground, she desperately tries to make sense of it all. Her eyes intensely focus as her heart suddenly stops. It's him.

"Take her away," Inspector Cluedo's voice booms triumphantly.

Immediately, he turns to the extremely large hole in the wall. Absolutely ridiculous, yet true, nonetheless. The murderer successfully apprehended. Mrs Plum behind the wall of the library. Her weapon of choice, a dental drill violently wielded. An abnormally large filling will be required here.

Story 545

La Clase

by Eduardo A. Malandro

It was highly likely that Christopher purposefully tied his tie too tightly to gently remind himself to sit up attentively and to thoughtfully participate during Spanish class. Señor routinely and fairly accused Christopher of behaving reprehensibly and, to use his word, grossamente. Fortunately, Christopher had the rarely seen teenaged ability to gaze inwardly to challenge his ferociously strong urge to act impetuously. Shakily, Christopher began his response to workbook question seven. As the time steadily ticked on, he found himself surprisingly able to eloquently articulate his ideas.

Señor interrupted crossly.

"Por qué no levantaste su mano? You continuously disappoint me."

Story 546

Never Again

by Aisha Amjad

Happily, I went to the supermarket and hungrily looked at the vegetable section. Gladly, I touched my favourite green okra and cheerfully smelled the leafy coriander, and the plump, smooth red tomatoes, loudly calling to be picked up. Enthusiastically, I filled the trolley with all the veggies that I'd completely forgotten in the last two years.

Suitably satisfied by my shopping adventure, I walked towards the home, constantly cursing the pandemic which entirely snatched away my little pleasures of life, repeatedly muttering, "Never Again."

Story 547

Runner's Glory (Or Not?)

by Akshaya Sutrave

My feet defty press against the ground, my lungs undeniably screaming for air.

Incongruously, shoes expeditiously thud past. The glimmeringly radiant sun relentlessly bakes the racing track. But the runners keep running, eyes trained on the gloriously promising finish line.

I automatically come to a halt and dreamily stare at the meadows lazily sprawling under the startlingly azure sky – at the flowers languidly rocking in the breeze.

Everyone has fleetingly gone past me, leaving me in the dust.

I don't care, because I'm not here to fervently run the race. I'm ultimately here to see the scenery.

Story 548

Watercolour Dreams

by Selina Spartini

The moonlit night was eerily quiet, I thought as I lazily stumbled up to bed. I curled up safely in my cocoon of bedding before nodding off.

Dreams are both curious and precarious, I always thought, yet I truly enjoyed every bit of them. Endlessly floating in a whirlpool of your inner mind, only allowing the most pleasant thoughts to pass through. I always thought of my dreams as being a galaxy of sweetly painted watercolours. I'd gladly take this existence over that of our mundane, cruelly shaped world.

For now, I loftily float on. Longingly awaiting the next one.

Story 549


by Denarii Peters

Quietly, terribly slowly and tremendously daintily, though primarily superlatively uncomfortably cautious, she delightedly, carelessly rippingly opens the brightly vibrantly colourful, seemingly hastily and loosely wrapped package he dramatically, arrogantly, unapologetically, even mischievously handed to her. Sweetly, smilingly, smoothly, she agreeably, if awkwardly, raises the solidly unflatteringly, uniquely, if badly carved, lid. Disturbingly, immediately, visibly, if implausibly toothily sharply snippingly snappingly nippingly creatures swarmingly invadingly emerge.

Ah, Pandora, actually you should unwillingly even tearfully or necessarily insultingly yet always completely refuse unusually beautifully, undesirably, unexpected boxes. Clearly they're terribly, awfully, incredibly, finally depressingly bad for you.

Story 550

Monkeying Around

by Emma Hardy

Scarily, angrily, grimacingly, the gorilla stared. I carefully approached him, eyeing him curiously. Surprisingly, he did not move, boldly, silently.

We exchanged glances thoughtfully, wilfully searching for answers. Unflinchingly, I eagerly spotted the peg strategically placed on his head. I removed it cautiously.

His eyes sprang open sharply, and his furry arms opened abruptly. He growled ferociously. I screamed violently, as he fruitfully rushed towards me. Shutting my door quickly, I locked it, briskly.

I bravely peered behind my beautifully patterned curtains. The washing line swung repeatedly, a gorilla costume was pegged, sheepishly undisturbed.

Story 551

Solved Decisively

by PS Cottier

Holus-bolus he emptied the revolver.

My chest noisily dragged in air, lungs cruelly impeded by the consequences of this inexplicably violent act.

"You doggedly came to the truth through exhaustively examining all suspects," he explained, as my being leaked away, terribly quickly. Slowly, he shook his head, as if he regretted his bullets' inevitably bloody intrusions. "Damn your incontrovertibly tenacious ways."

My tongue achingly sought to find sounds that articulately conveyed thought. It failed, finally silenced.

I heard his footsteps retreating, quietly. The alley darkened, alarmingly, as it was barely noon. 

I had not remotely suspected him at all.

Story 552


by Fahime Saeedi

After every storm is calm

The storm goes and you stay



The wave brings blessings with itself

And you wash away the hardships and bitterness


It's here

Your whale is right here, in the chest of your heart


Refer to your heart

You will see it there


Do not fill the tulip


Tune your breath with your tulip waves

The frequency of his voice can be heard from far away


Do not forget

You are a beautiful tulip anemone


You, butterfly the anemone, because the tulip is permanent

Story 553

The Day The Lake Dried Up

by Julie Dron

Charmingly sparkly beneath the dazzlingly sunny rays, the ripply lake surface normally looked enticingly swimmable. But Jonathon worriedly noted that the unusually hot weather was sadly causing the quickly retreating shoreline to unwittingly reveal those things that had previously lain secretly on the stony lake bed... A once pretty shoe, forlornly missing its partner. A rusty shopping basket, illegally dumped.

Jonathon fearfully trod towards a frighteningly familiar shape. It surely could not possibly be...

Nervously approaching, then immensely relieved, he happily discovered the gnarly trunk of a tree, its spindly branches reaching out like the spooky arms of a lonely corpse.

Story 554

June 13th, 2022

by Sarah Burnod

The victim lies abnormally on the irregularly-shaped stone ground. She moves catatonically.

"Catatonically? She's dead, that's it." Officer J sighed tiredly, exhaustingly, catatonically even. She paced slowly to the other end of the poorly-lit office and read on.

Upon further inspection, the victim seemed to be clumsily munching on a croissant when a bullet inserted itself purposefully in her extravagantly-dressed chest. Pearl necklace was clearly tugged at, cashmere wool expertly and tightly knit.

And more.

The victim was absolutely, undeniably, utterly and beyond the shadow of a doubt, murdered.

Officer J threw the report on the table and chugged her expresso.

Story 555

Wonderfully, Interestingly, Beautifully Crafted Anthill

by Lily Finch

Abnormally, certainly. Not deliberately immediately or meaningfully apparent was their goal. Likely frantically, they nearly fashioned their home with tunnels, always too fast, daily, without the awareness of others.

Knowingly, yesterday sometime, mysteriously enough, they were everywhere outside here. There below, nervously, inquisitively below, going to and fro. Interestingly, they hungrily yet fervently worked away as only they were trained to do. Step by step, they enthusiastically, repeatedly, and what looked like playfully, completed the final details. They frenetically, sometimes majestically, depending on who is looking, zealously, energeticall and victoriously finally complete their task. The anthill; now they must scavenge.

Story 556

My Dog Sandy

by Myles Jaskowiak

Sandy, my dog, often barks aggressively. Sometimes he barks loudly and sometimes quietly, sometimes timidly and sometimes playfully. He never yawns and hardly sleeps, and mostly, frantically, erratically, chases chickens.

Yesterday, he cleverly, carefully, cagily, climbed a fence. Today, he cunningly, hurriedly stole an incredibly tasty burger from the barbecue. Tomorrow, he says he will learn to expertly swim and, in a week, he tells me he will easily beat all the other dogs in a swimming competition.

I am, sensibly, cautiously optimistic because, truthfully, honestly, and whole-heartedly, I think he'll finally sleep soundly and deeply after that.

Story 557

The MouseRat

by Catherine Quinn

It was abnormally large, this lively mouse. Or was it a rat? Susie wasn't overly sure.

The MouseRat, as she called it, sat courageously in the middle of the lawn, staring gleefully towards Susie, much to her despair. It smoothly strolled arrogantly across the lawn and defiantly climbed a fence, briskly heading for loosely hanging bird feeders. It clasped a feeder recklessly and rapidly ate the seeds whilst all the while staring mockingly at Susie.

Susie suddenly felt extremely angry. It had rudely and unashamedly returned.

"I'll get you," Susie said valiantly.

The MouseRat boldly burped and carried on eating.

Story 558

Farewell, Thou Lob of Spirits

by Josephine Andersen

I guarded my magic power jealously and secretively.

"He is reluctantly coming to the party," said Claire provocatively, aware of my romantically inclined intentions.

For weeks, I had purposefully and consistently applied myself to the ensnarement of Brian. He was approaching me now, precariously carrying a glass of hideously shining wine into which I had surreptitiously dropped a love potion. I eagerly and ardently awaited the forthcoming invitation for a date.

But no! He doggedly bypassed me, amiably stretching his hand towards Theresa who, turning malevolently towards me, smiled at me knowingly.

Story 559

An Unrelenting and Monstrous Battle

by Sammy Hager

I glare confidently in the mirror. Punctually staring back at me is the same monster I've known.

Arching aggressively, contorting captivatingly, breaking and enlarging ceaselessly, repairing and pointing pointlessly, relentlessly softening and abnormally gaining colour repeatedly, happily smirking and tearfully jerking. It jaggedly jests me and painfully calls to me. It unapologetically challenges me and successfully taunts me. It is all I am and am not.

I once frantically argued with it. I desperately ran from it and deliberately denied it. I rapidly revoked it and unyieldingly rejected it. But now, I just blissfully overcome it every day.

Story 560

Shall I, Shan't I?

by Valerie Fish

I stare longingly at the bottle in front of me.

A voice inside my head cries goadingly, "Drink it."

A second voice counters desperately, "No, no..."

I unscrew the top. Inhaling deeply, I take in the beautiful bouquet. It's like an old friend I've been sorely missing these last few weeks.

Slowly, I pour the contents into the glass, and put it to my lips.

The voices in my head argue vehemently.

A winner emerges.

I tip the glass into the sink and watch the golden liquid disappear down the plughole.

"You'll not beat me," I cry triumphantly.

Story 561


by Sylvia Wilson

Blearily, she eyed him beside her, ever so quietly, peacefully, smugly sleeping.

Timidly, she poked him, testily upping the pressure. Annoyingly, he did not respond to her increasingly strong jabs.

He was a very unnatural shade of grey. Her loudly beating heart filled her fuzzily thrumming ears. Angrily, impatiently, she poked him again.

He was definitively dead. She suddenly felt incredibly happy. No more too-loud off-key singing now. No more criticism of her 'very unflattering' clothes or his pompous mantra, "I'm almost always right, you know."

Cheerfully, gaudily dressed in red, she went shopping for clothes and chocolate.

Story 562

Birdbath Philosophy

by Valerie Robinson

It's raining, biblically. Our garden birdbath is torrentially, unexpectedly, a waterfall. It spectacularly drenches the pigeon, pecking hopelessly, disconsolately, beneath it.

Nearby, a blackbird joyously treats the waterfall like a hot shower. Twisting its neck acrobatically, it cleans vigorously, ruffling feathers to turn, magically, into a creature extravagantly plumed.

The pigeon, emphatically unimpressed by this display of optimism, glumly pecks on, steadfastly refusing to seize the day, look on the bright side or make lemons into lemonade.

A huge magpie swoops down and aggressively, carelessly, scares them both off.

Life, eh?

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Story 563

How Tweet It Is

by Darcy Grabenstein

It all started rather innocently. I was immediately responding to a somewhat offensive tweet by a decidedly offensive person. As I furiously typed away, I didn't notice the devilishly inconspicuous typo in my response. Immensely satisfied with my retort, I hit 'send' and hurled my carefully crafted, 4,000-character opinion out into the Twitterverse.

Soon, my Twitter feed was suddenly bombarded with raucously bawdy comments and emojis that had me blushing like a schoolgirl. So long politically correct, hello autocorrect. You see, instead of 'BLM' it read: 'I support the BM movement.' SMH.

Story 564


by Freida Richards

Arriving mysteriously and anonymously, he mounted me nervously, callously and foolishly, fully knowing that I am physically, powerfully superior and defiantly and unbearably always a winner. Boldly and arrogantly, he boastfully believed he could own me. Climbing on my back, deliberately and cruelly, he whipped me, riding me roughly across the field.

I deliberately and mockingly unseated him. I watched him grovelling, pleading and painfully sinking into the stinking mud. Snorting triumphantly, I kicked him violently and returned, galloping valiantly, heroically and thankfully, back to my tremendously lovingly owner. Grooming me, spoiling me, holding me closely to her, she happily, gratefully rejoiced at my return.

Story 565


by Salsabila Ananda

Yesterday, my mother asked me to visit her while I had too much work to do. She told me the matter ear-splittingly and demandingly over the phone.

It's not that I hardly visit them. I regularly do, once a month, sometimes more. I couldn't understand why she missed me so much lately. That might be because she almost always attentively reads too many books about parenting.

But I didn't know what to do. I had to do my job well and I had to have this thoughtfully decided.

Oh, if only I innately had a roulette attached to my brain.

Story 566

Gear-Sticky Situation

by Ewan McNally

"Quickly now, put it firmly into first gear," the instructor politely instructed.

"What if I accidentally choose the wrong gear?" Robert replied shakily.

"The car will indubitably stall," said the positively unflappable instructor.

"Indubitably? What part of the car is that?" Robert panically exclaimed.

"No, Robert," the instructor said brightly, "it's a criminally underrated adverb."

Suddenly, Robert blindly rammed the gearstick into third, rapidly raised the clutch and simultaneously pressed the accelerator to the floor. A disturbingly, earth-shatteringly loud crunching followed.

"We're proverbially up the creek without a paddle," the instructor matter-of-factly stated.

"Is that another adverb?" Robert asked shakily.

Story 567

Break Rules

by Jenny Maldonado

"Never use an adverb," Ms. Carlan stage-whispered theatrically. "Seldom do they enhance the narrative."

Obediently, Michael erased the word 'simply'. He surreptitiously watched her glide noiselessly across the classroom, already preying mercilessly on her next victim, a scrawny kid who was ceaselessly, fervently picking his nose – he picked overtly, but he drew the line at publicly eating his findings. He hid that part very well, pretending to cough violently, hand flying to his mouth, quickly reintegrating the dried mucus.

This time, though, his routine went hilariously awry, and Michael watched the booger arc beautifully into Ms Drumpf's critically flapping mouth.

Story 568

Roses Dismiss Confidently Other Vegetable Matter

by Elizabeth Leyland

My doorbell rings annoyingly. I answer it nonetheless. There stands my neighbour, saying, "Would it trouble you awfully to mind my garden? I'm finally going away."

Her head tilts sharply. "Incidentally, how's your diet?"

I eat vegetables daily.

"I loathe cabbage viscerally," I say.

Cryptically she smiles.

Her car putters away groggily. I enter her garden. Roses bloom crowdedly, petals packed overlappingly. Orange, pink, yellow, beckon psychedelically. I'm dreamily enticed to lie down.

Thus, scent floods and fills me. No wonder my neighbour often acts strangely.

A rose says haughtily, "Live on our perfume. Don't eat the green petals again."

Story 569

The Room

by Hayley Allcock

Quietly and slowly, I entered the dark and gloomy room, carefully and gradually twisting the handle. I saw something, just partially and briefly, but it made me step back outside quickly. I foolishly went back in to investigate what I had seen, anxiously and cautiously looking around.

The monster was loudly moving towards me. Suddenly, its head came off and I saw that it was clearly just my brother dressed up happily, laughing on the floor.

Story 570

The Multilingual Dog

by Nuri Rosegg

Usually, at this time of year, Milan's rain sings peacefully and cheerfully. However, yesterday raindrops orchestrated badly, almost catastrophically. Despite every objection, summer rain performed stormily. On that day, of course, I arrived in town for the first time. Slowly, noisily, wetly, and miserably, I dragged my suitcase. While passing by a garden (so exhaustedly lengthy) a German sheepdog stalked me frantically while barking loudly and aggressively.

Halfway through I bent down.

"Shut up!"

To my amazement, instantly, he silenced. He remained sheepishly where I left him.

A high IQ! Not only Italian and German, but he even understands English.

Story 571

Startlingly Stealthy Shenanigans

by Penny Rogers

Margot crept cautiously into Lois's shed. She wasn't there to sneakily steal anything, just tamper shamelessly with those sure-to-be prize-winning pickled onions. Every year, Lois victoriously won the Cyril Cuthroat Cup for pickled onions. No one else really stood a chance. Carefully, Margot unscrewed all the lids and painstakingly poured milk directly into each jar, immediately turning the vinegar terribly lumpy.

Momentarily, the two women met confrontationally in the library.

"I must tantalisingly tell you, Margot, I'm not going to exasperatingly enter the show this year. I've promised all my pickles promotionally to a charity auction," laughingly leered Lois.

Story 572

Apple Snacks

by Raven Boerger

I eagerly bit into the apple, which was cut perfectly symmetrically by my sister. The juice generously sprayed across my face, and I greedily went in for a second bite.

I readily thanked her for the act of kindness and willingness to cut my food so promptly and politely. She quickly thanked me and searched the fridge hastily for a snack before she had to leave for work. She gently closed the refrigerator door and said her goodbyes energetically.

I foolishly attempted to respond, but the front door closed abruptly, unfortunately cutting off my reply.

Story 573

A Clown Convention

by Joe Parrillo

As Firppo the clown ponderously made his way to the podium, the other clowns in the audience concurred immediatelythat they'd never seen him looking so visibly dejected. With crocodile tears streaming down his makeup-caked face, Firppo made a shocking announcement.

"Friends, I can't do this anymore. I'm retiring."

Completely stunned, loud murmuring erupted in the hall.

One clown stood on his floppy feet and asked, "Why, Firppo?"

"My dark past has caught up with me. Take this, Bongo, I'm leaving."

As Bongo reached for the mic, Firppo hit him with a pie.

"OK, I lied!"

Laughter exploded.

Story 574


by Leona D.

I stare mesmerisingly yet annoyingly at my only warmly beautiful companion.

The night is chillingly cold, yet my infuriatingly gratifying companion, whom I cannot exasperatingly part with due to my pitifully aggravated predicament, continues to dance crazily and gracefully with blazing red-golden clothes laughingly flapping in front of me.

Annoyingly, I let the unlikable humane bonfire bewitch me rather than begrudgingly stare at my likable inhumane friends who jovially invited me, a no-boyfriend-since-birth, into a supposed-to-be merry camping experience, which is infuriatingly true to them as they are merrily talking to their annoying sweethearts around my enchanting companion.

Story 575

Desperately Seeking

by Maria Paul

I walked quickly, hurriedly leaving the house. My meeting was at eight and I was desperately undeniably late. My phone rang incessantly, making me wholeheartedly want to throw it violently out of the window.

I almost disastrously fell after hopelessly missing a step, despairingly rushing swiftly into the building. I barely made it to the meeting. Finally, my heart beating vigorously, I ashamedly whispered an apology.

I had hardly sat down and it was my turn. Even so, my presentation was orated impeccably and I shrewdly volunteered myself for a work trip, scoring the desperately sought-after invite to the boss's dinner party.

Story 576

Party Animals

by Karen Wolfe

Farah's litter is devastatingly catastrophically wrong.

"NOOOOO!" Amanda shrieks, histrionically, Wagnerianly, all dreams of future Crufts champions brutally, unjustly dashed. The newborns, squatly, puggishly, patently not Afghan hounds, speak of a backstreet liaison, a pedigree bridegroom rejected for an uninhibitedly unsanctioned mating with some mangily mongrelly chancer. HOWWWW?

Wretchedly, remorsefully, Amanda recalls a bibulously bonkers girlie-night, Proseccoishly-merry visitors, a gate left unwittingly, uncaringly open: and, later, an uncharacteristically subdued Farah spread smugly, muddily across her bed.

The puppies suckle, slurpily, burpily, hiccupingly. Farah nuzzles them tenderly. Amanda, meeting her gaze, sighs defeatedly, shakes her head, and smiles. Fondly.

Story 577

Absence Strikes Cruelly in the Night

by Madeleine McDonald

Since the cremation, he had slept fitfully. In his dreams, they still lived together comfortably but modestly, wanting for nothing but without ambition. Affection flowed between them, naturally and easily, each gratefully accepting the other's presence. His neighbours confidently set their clocks by his daily routine, for he walked the dog conscientiously and regularly. When out, he greeted neighbours briefly but politely.

Wakefulness teased him, often and churlishly. Sleep recalcitrantly refused to return.

Reluctantly, he gently patted the other side of the bed, feeling only absence. Realisation always dawned, relentlessly and pitilessly.

His beloved dog was definitely, irrevocably dead.

Story 578

Per My Last Email

by Hillary

Dear Staff,

It has unfortunately and awkwardly come to Management's attention that some employees are surprisingly unaware that it is highly inappropriate to eat a Burrito Supreme® Combo from Taco Bell at lunchtime only to use the staff restroom and, distressingly enough, neglect to immediately flush the toilet. Moreover, it is completely unacceptable to do so while unabashedly yelling colourfully chosen (yet entirely inappropriate) phrases such as "Bombs away!" and "Speak to me, oh Toothless One!" Please kindly remember that our company is strictly a professional workplace and not a South Park episode.

Have a great (and hopefully beanless) day,


Story 579

Rising to the Challenge

by Angela Hancock

Maliciously editing the feedback indicated how incompetently the teacher had taught and marked the work. The teacher anxiously offered solutions, whilst the headteacher vindictively indicated that the school's credibility was irreparably ruined.

Meanwhile, the governors imperviously praised the leadership for rigorously rooting out anomalies whilst standardly testing. The children complyingly engaged in their learning and naively accepted what they were told was correctly adjusted marking.

The headteacher intentionally ended the teacher's contract whilst the governors and parents ignorantly and trustingly accepted the ably and skilfully navigated inspection strategy.

Standards were rigorously retained and the leadership successfully exonerated!

Story 580

Kiss the Memories Goodbye

by John Compton

A beautiful, serene and distinctly special retreat. Their peaceful nook and cranny where letters were lovingly read and kisses tenderly made. The birds singing beautifully and trees whispering gently. Jenny and Felix devotedly loved their special place and returned each year to enthusiastically celebrate their first kiss.

His accident was shockingly out of the blue. After five years he bravely walked again, and she lovingly supported him and they reclaimed their lives and stolen time. But nothing is forever. Their special place was now cruelly a car park on a housing estate. No birds. No trees. Just quickly fading memories.

Story 581

Serenely: A Glimpse Into the Countryside

by John Lee

Vividly, the sun serenely bathes the countryside gracefully, casting golden hues upon rolling fields. Serenely, birds characteristically soar gracefully overhead, chirping soundly and melodiously. Far away, a brook murmurs softly, meandering through lush greenery. Occasionally, a gentle breeze rustles through the trees, whispering secrets to the leaves. Everywhere, beautifully, wildflowers brightly and colourfully bloom the landscape. Peacefully, cattle nonchalantly graze lazily in hugely vast meadows, contentedly chewing cud. Occasionally, a tractor rumbles by, diligently tending to the land. In the distance, hills loom majestically, cloaked in mist.

Tranquillity reigns supreme in this picturesque expanse, where time seems to stand stilly.

Story 582

Have You Been Febrile?

by Greg Poole

Curiously, he always looked away just after the crime. He'd never glance back at his chillingly hideous, but somewhat beautifully arranged victim.

Ironically, it all started due to discontentment, often when standing over people. Sensing more than enough in being the ridiculously intelligent if always overlooked public figure, he seldom received glitteringly profuse praise. Effectively, he was already past the irritably, senselessly described 'peak'.

It was difficult to know when precisely the dramatically steep downfall started. Clearly, he was now little more than a culpably motivated killer.

Soon, inevitably, the dreadfully realised potential would inevitably land for Dr Mure.

Story 583

The Mysteriously Blue Nag

by Jasha Fletcher

Unexpectedly, this morning, I saw the most beautifully and very brightly coloured steed. Luckily, he stopped abruptly to toss his long neck proudly and vigorously from side to side.

Suddenly and startingly, his vibrantly blue head jerked up. Then those mysteriously dark eyes stared directly at me, mesmerisingly still. I admiringly stared back at him, totally and utterly lost in the moment with this magnificently decorated specimen.

Unfortunately, too quickly, he went merrily on his way. Nimbly, I gave chase. Annoyingly, the prickly hedge thwarted my efforts. Oh, what a rarely wonderfully and unbelievably lucky morning encounter I'd had today.

Story 584

Witches’ Hill, Lithuania

by Kelly Peterson

Bravely and curiously, I excitedly steeply climb. Vibrantly and colourfully stand boldly beautiful trees. Gently flowing breezes briefly rustle leaves carelessly.

Eventually, incredibly carved sculptures of oldly worldly tales appear; of wickedly terrible witches and fawningly menacing devils tricking stupidly gullible humans into cruelly dangerous perils; of the fisherman's wife, who quietly and patiently waits eternally for her loving husband to return from a desperately perilous quest.

Hill steeply rising, I thankfully and defiantly near the crest, where Lucifer and the Gates of Hell colossally stand. Amazingly twisted and terrifyingly horrific faces adorn the threshold that I apprehensively pass through.

Story 585

Stella's Dream

by Wade Morton

A wildly, densely overgrown hedge stands majestically, displaying vividly green lush foliage amidst elegantly formed blooms. There is a gate, diligently, delicately, delightfully carved with symbols and script.

Curiously, diffidently, excitedly, Stella opens the gate into a fantastically, intriguingly, mystifyingly, adventurously parallel world. Suddenly, she hears noisily, profoundly deafening, piercing cries.

Foolishly, eagerly, she steps further into the beautifully barren landscape. She stops hastily, quietly, keenly observing duelling dragons in mortal combat. The victor rises swiftly and triumphantly, elegantly, like a phoenix, valiantly, enthusiastically embracing life.

Stella, zestfully, systematically, perfectly, negotiates her trodden path until, happily, thankfully, exhaustingly, she reaches her dreamy sanctuary.


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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 http://firststory.org.uk/. Tremendously heartening cause that is gleaning significant success. Kick in with your bit. Glamour and fame await you.

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

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

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

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

Chris Fielden
Thanks Benita :-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judith W
I am human. This sounds like fun.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear it, Judith :-)

I'll look forward to reading your submission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valerie G
Yay... :-)

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

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

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

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

I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

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

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

Steph S
Really enjoying this. Thanks for the experience.

Lorna G

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 :-)

J. W
Thanks for the email. I entered in one of your other adverb challenge books not so many years  ago. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
No problem, thank you for submitting again, J – very much appreciated :-)

Dan L
This simply daring challenge offers writers a chance to think about sentence structure critically. It is an exorcise of wit which quite wonderfully demonstrates the demandingly deliberative process present in what we very matter-of-factedly call writing.

Chris Fielden
Thank you for your awesomely amazingly kind words about the challenge, Dan. You're absolutely right about carefully considering sentence structure. Thanks to this challenge, it's something I definitely deliberate over more now... mostly.

Ayat H
I am not really sure on the instructions on the top of the page? Does it have to be a riddle? What does it mean by a biography, is it an auto-biography or a biography about someone else?

Chris Fielden
Hi Ayat, thanks for your message

This is an adverb writing challenge. The aim is to get as many adverbs into the piece of writing as possible. Please read the rules and description of the challenge - it explains everything :)

The submissions can be stories, poems - whatever you like.

The biography is your biography. It appears in the book, next to your story. It needs to be about you.

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Salsabila A
Hi. Thank you for holding this challenge. It's very thoughtful of you to hold something like this for people with less privilege to publish their work (professionally).

Anyhow, I'm very curious and eagerly wanting to know how to actually submit the story. Thank you very much.

Chris Fielden
Hi Salsabila, thanks for your lovely message :)

It looks like you have cleverly worked it out yourself, but if you have anymore questions, please do let me know, quickly...

Nuri R
Hello Chris, thank you so much for putting my story as nr. 570 on the list. I'm totally fine with your editing. The Adverb Challenge is so great! It is the first time that I have submitted a piece of work to your site. Other challenges look tempting too. Have a nice weekend.

Chris Fielden
Thank you, Nuri, and thank you for submitting your story - it's greatly appreciated :) You have a good weekend too.

Judith W
I am so glad to find your writings are. ongoing. I also like the zero entry fee. Blessings.

Chris Fielden
Thank you, Judith, very much appreciated :)

Judith W
You are very welcome!

Karen W
A big thank you for creating this gloriously, anarchically iconoclastic piece of heaven.

Chris Fielden
You are most assuredly welcome, Karen :)