50-word Short Story Contest: Winner and New Prompt!

in challenge •  17 days ago

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The #fiftywords short story contest

Each week I post a new one-word prompt for the #fiftywords contest (formerly "the 50-word short story challenge," — see the announcement post). There is one winner each week, and for the moment, the reward is 1 SBD. Note: I do plan to increase the reward soon!

Fifty-word short stories are fun and challenging to write. If you're just trying it out for the first time, welcome! Here are a few FAQs:

  • Does the story have to be exactly 50 words? Yes, if you want a chance at winning.
  • Are there any other rules? Yes. You must not use images you don't have permission to use. (See the rules below. It's all spelled out, and there are some great image resources for you.)
  • What does it take to win? As we all know, critique of the arts is subjective. That said, I have a few metrics for choosing the best entry:
    • Is the story well-written and edited? (A compelling story line, and no spelling or punctuation errors.)
    • Is there some kind of conflict? It could be a conflict between people, an inner conflict or deep desire of a character, fear or other emotion, or a big challenge such as an oncoming tropical storm.
    • Is there a resolution of the conflict? This can be anything that helps to close the story in a satisfying way. For example, the character might walk away from the conflict, breathe a sigh of relief, or write a love letter.

If you are not sure how to write a compelling story, see "Writing resources" below. You can also have someone else read your story and help with your storyline, grammar and punctuation. There are multiple writing communities here on Steemit to help you:

Writing resources

Each week I write a short workshop post about fiction writing: Mini Writing Workshop. The topic for this week is "Must we fight?" The discussion is about the importance of conflict in fiction writing. The Mini Writing Workshop post also includes a complete collection of past workshop topics.

Winner the week

Thank you to all who participated last week with story submissions for the "clean" prompt:

@anixio, @felixgarciap, @creatr, @bex-dk, @vdux, @owasco, @botefarm, @wems, @roxy-cat, @raj808

I really enjoyed reading your work!

It was a light week due to the holidays, and you would think that would make my job of choosing a winner much easier. But that is not the case at all. I read and re-read all the entries, using my metrics in the "what does it take to win" bullet above.

And still it's difficult!

Here's why. Rules invite us to break them. Art is not a science. And a creative work can sweep you off your feet, whether or not it hits certain metrics.

So. I'd like to share a few of the works that captured my heart before I announce the winner:

And a runner up: @owasco, with her beautiful story "A cleansing":

The trip had always presented challenges: cobwebs, crawling creatures, standing water, burnt out lightbulbs and dirt as old as the house itself.

Later this day she wrote:

Photographs you took long ago
first swept me unsteady,
then showed me the beast.
Tissues pile up on the table.
You are gone.

I have chosen @bex-dk's story, Clean Slate, as the winning entry of the week. I will share it here:

Clean Slate

"Take me with you."

He shook his head, adjusting the saddle. "I need to start fresh."

She embraced him. "We can."

He kissed her.

"You'd always know who I'd been." He wiped her tears then turned away. "I gotta find who I can be."

He rode off, never looking back.

This story is a bit of a tragedy, and somewhat gothic in nature, but very compelling. The main character needs to find his true life calling, on his own. But the female character can't imagine life without him. He finally breaks away, riding off without even looking back.

In addition to being well told, the story has all the important elements: one or more intriguing characters, a conflict, and a resolution. Great job, @bex-dk! Your SBD is coming your way!

Thank you again to all entrants. I look forward to your continued participation.

New 50-word short story prompt and rules

The new prompt for this coming week is "journey." I look forward to seeing what you come up with! The deadline is Saturday, January 5th, with a grace period until the new contest post is up.

Happy New Year!!

Contest rules

  1. Write a story in exactly 50 words and post it to your blog.
  2. Use only artwork that you have the right to use, and attribute it properly. See "Use of images" below.
  3. Use the #fiftywords tag, and post the link in the comments of this post.

You can use any posting tool, e.g. Busy, Partiko, or Steampeak. Just please publish it on its own, not combined with any other contest.

Note that you are not required to upvote or resteem this post, nor are you required to support other participants. Entries will be judged on merit only. But active community participation and support of your fellow writers is, of course, strongly encouraged.

Use of images

You are welcome to illustrate your story with an image, as long as you have the right to use it. One of the following must be true:

  1. The image is public domain, or under creative commons licensing. See the resource links below.
  2. It is your own image.
  3. If it is not one of the above, you must have actual permission.

Be sure to properly attribute the image’s source or mention that the image is yours. And if it's not public domain, under creative commons license, or your own image, be sure to state that you have permission.

Here are some creative commons and public domain image resources:

Good luck Fifty Worders!

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- No heroine -


"Wow Ms, thy scarf flogg'd them barons hard."

"I'm... actually a Prince..."

"Hwæt! Thou, fluffy Prince o' goats?"

"~Indeed!~"

"Thy style reminiscent o' sorceresses!"

"Well, can't fault thee; I've seen weirder elsewhere, but some respect?"

"Well sorry... Wanna join-n-split the reward with my warband, O fluffy goat Prince?"

"~Why yes!~"

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Very entertaining and it made me laugh.

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UwU ~ Thanks for reading and thanks for the compliments!
Swing dance.gif

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You are a funny one, @theironfelix!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Happy New Year. Glad to write one of these after being away for a while.

https://steemit.com/fiftywords/@tristancarax/where-i-m-at-now

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Great! Glad to have you back, @tristancarax!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Thank you so much for the recognition! And for hosting the contest - it's been a wonderful addition to my life. And congrats to @bex-dk for that intriguing story.

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I’m so glad you’ve joined #fiftywords!

The story chosen sounds familiar to me. My dad who left said the same words, I begged him to take me with him... in reality he already started a new life with a 19 year younger girl and he did not like anyone to know he left a wife and 4 kids

Posted using Partiko Android

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My goodness! What a sad story, @wakeupkitty. I am very sorry that happened to you. I hope very much that you have found a way to heal from that experience and build your life around people who love, respect and honor you.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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It took long to find out what a jerk my dad was. I build my life around my kids and now it is time to build it around me since I am running out of time and I never had me time.

Posted using Partiko Android

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I am very glad to hear that you are taking care of you!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Thank you, Jayna. And my congrats to everyone who was able to make a story from the prompt--because that's what it's about. If you write something you are happy with, you have won.

Mine was a little tricky this week in that it had to feel like he had a transition within the story and that it wasn't just relying on things that predate the story. The kiss--believe it or not--was in and out several times in editing. At one point he only kissed her tears away. But I decided it had to come back as it is the key in my eyes to showing his hesitation--how much her offer to come with tempted him. But he just couldn't do it.

And it is left to the reader to decide what horrible thing he is running from. In my head it involves killing. But that is left open to the reader.

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Yes, I can totally understand the decision around the kiss. It's such a challenge to decide what to keep and what to let go of in these micro-fiction pieces. The kiss, to me, could be many things. A kiss goodbye. The last vestige of his commitment to her. A consolation prize. I interpreted that it's a sign he really did love her, but his desire to start fresh was greater.

As for what he was running from, it could be anything. My imagination did not go to the extreme that he may have killed someone, but that he was an outlaw of some kind. Bank robber, bandit... wanted for robbing stage coaches. Any of those seem possible!

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Yes. That's what's fun with micro--the author only suggests but the majority of the story is built in the mind of the reader. We really have to learn to trust them.

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It's tough, but yes we absolutely do!

A little bit dark and maudlin but... well, it's winter in the UK and we haven't seen the sun in a while ;-)

https://busy.org/@raj808/the-journey-to-the-end-of-the-line-50-word-story

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I am definitely not opposed to dark and maudlin! 😊

Posted using Partiko iOS

My entry for this week:

"Embarking on a New Journey"

Thanks, Jayna.

😄😇😄

@creatr

@jayna

It's been a couple weeks since I took part in the contest, but here is my #fiftyword challenge.
https://steemit.com/fiftywords/@galatichunter/orbit-s-journey-fifty-word-challenge

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Hooray! Welcome back.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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Hi guys! Each week I write a story for the prompt, even though of course I'm not entering! It's just for fun. https://steemit.com/contest/@jayna/thehitchhikersmicro-fictionwhoworeitbetter-c1ffrtdfh0