Flash Fiction Challenge | 50 Words, 1 Character

Do you recognize these characters?
(click to make it larger)

I was just thinking that it has been a while since I’ve offered a contest on the blog. This contest is inspired by Bob Evenhouse’s recent post, “What Makes a Good Story Good?

In his post, Bob asks what the most important element is in determining the value of a story. I posit that it is the characters that make me either love or hate a book. There are many books that I love the plot or the author’s voice, but first I must love the characters. Not that all characters are loveable, perhaps I will love to hate them. Anyway, I must feel something strongly toward them.

So what is the challenge?

Simple. You have fifty words to flesh out a character that you think would make a book lover love your book.

Not writing a book? That’s fine. Use the fifty words to create a character that you would want to read about.

You can post your fifty words in the comments – 0r – post a link to your own blog where your entry can be found.

The deadline is August 31, 2012.

There is no prize but the feeling of a job well done and possibly the praise of your peers.

Advertisements

The Winner Is…

Before I forget (which I’ve been doing since last Friday) I’d like to announce that the winner of my last Flash Fiction contest is Jackie Slaughter.

Jackie won three books that are the first in their series. See her prize and winning one-sentence biography here.

I’ll be putting together another contest soon, as I have a number of good books that I’d like to give away.

Flash Fiction Challenge | Before, But After…

The last contest I did was fun for me, but it lacked in participation. Maybe my prize wasn’t good enough. Anyway, here’s the new contest:

Before, But After… – A One-Sentence Biography.

Craft a single sentence that provides a bit of depth on a character of your creation. Each biography should follow the format below.

Before he was arrested for tax evasion, but after his time as Lieutenant Governor  of Maryland, Jeff Small worked as the greeter for a major retail chain.

or

Before her body hit the bottom, but after she jumped from the heights of the Grand Canyon, 23-year-old Jennifer Bennington discovered that she was happiest when falling.

The one-sentence biography can be about an existing character or a completely original character to this contest. You also don’t have to be a writer to enter the contest, just willing to participate.

To enter, just leave your sentence in the comments of this post. A winner will be chosen at random from among the participants.

The prize: This set of books.

Set includes The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens.

What are you waiting for?

The contest ends July 20th, 2012. All comments must be in by then. And like usual, I can only ship within the continental US.

Book Giveaway | Four Books!

Here’s how this is going to work. I’ve got four books that I am giving away. If you want any of them, leave a comment with your order of preference. If you don’t want one of the books below, leave it off your list. Easy enough.

Full disclosure here, I borrowed these descriptions from the publishers.

In the concluding volume of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition in a Swedish hospital, a bullet in her head.

But she’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll stand trial for three murders. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, she’ll need to identify those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she’ll seek revenge–against the man who tried to killer her and against the corrupt government institutions that nearly destroyed her life.

Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world…a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle–disguised and alone–to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Shadow Blizzard is the third book by the international bestselling fantasy author Alexey Pehov. Like Shadow Prowler and Shadow Chaser, Shadow Blizzard is epic fantasy at its best; this is the third book in a trilogy that follows Shadow Harold, Siala’s master thief, on his quest for the magic Horn that will restore peace to his world. After the loss of friends and comrades, after betrayal and battle, after capture by fearsome orcs, Harold finally reaches the dreaded Hrad Spein. But before he can complete his quest by stealing the magic horn, he will have to brave the most fearsome obstacles yet—obstacles that have destroyed everyone before him…and Harold must do so alone.

This book giveaway is open only to people in the continental US. Be sure to leave your comment before 9pm next Monday night (2012/05/21), because that’s when this little contest ends.

If you are looking for another contest, check out this entry. The deadline there is the end of the month.

Flash Fiction Challenge | The 26 Word Story

Here’s the challenge: Write a 26 word story, using the words in alphabetical order. Here’s my example:

Can you write a story using 26 words in alphabetical order?Arthur Bellows came down effortlessly, falling.
Ground.
Hit innocently?
Jumped?
Killed?
Laughter maniacal.
Now others peered quizzically ’round Sir Thomas.
“Unfortunate,” eXplained Vicar Wilson. “Yahweh’s Zephyr.”

If you have a blog, leave a link in the comments. If you don’t, just leave the story as a comment so we can enjoy your work.

I’ll be awarding three copies of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Other Poems at random to participants who get their submissions in before May 31st.

Report Cards, Writing, Blogging, and Hidden Messages, Oh My!

Here we are. It’s been an eventful week on the blog. I had my most hits to date on Monday (65 for those of you who like to know that sort of thing). I introduced the main character from my WIP, and posted a review of a book within the same genre. And, I started my first book giveaway (you can still enter to win until Monday morning when I pull the winner).

How I did this week. Also, fun links!As far as a grade for my writing report card goes, I’ll give myself a B. In taking time for blogging (which is totally worthwhile in its own right), I’ve not taken as much time to work on my novel.

Perhaps I’ll do better this next week.

Perhaps I won’t. But I’ll try.

You should visit me again to find out.

But I digress, let’s get on to the week’s top links!

In first place, I’d like to share another link to my writer friend Bob. He and I made a gentleman’s challenge this past week to see who could get a certain amount of hits on a given day. I’m new at this, and Bob has been blogging for a while, so it was an ambitious challenge for me to make. Anyway, I’m convinced that Bob is cheating, because he did a post this week that was pure quality. If you are a writer or have ever encounter’s writer’s block, check out this link.

Right up there with Bob’s post is this post from a blog called “Writing is Hard Work”. Truer words were never spoken (or written, as it were). The post linked here gives 6 ways to begin a novel. So if the reason that you haven’t experienced writer’s block yet is because you haven’t started a novel, here are some good ways to get started.

Then, for other bloggers out there, I came across this post on blogging mistakes that is quite good. I got permission to link to it here because I found it helpful as a guy just wading into this murk we call blogging.

Here’s one for all of my non-writer, non-blogger friends. Jessie Clemence and her husband Eric were one of the first people to befriend me when I got to Western Michigan University. After only one year of getting to know them, they graduated and I didn’t expect to see them again, but after a year or so, they moved to Grand Rapids and we reconnected. As it happened, in one of the summers between school years, I had two jobs. I worked in a dirty warehouse in the morning, then moonlighted as a waiter at Big Boy at night. My own house was too far away to be able to go home and clean up between shifts, so Eric and Jessie let me come over and use their shower. They are truly some of the nicest people out there. Anyway, check out Jessie’s blog. It’s filled with spiritual inspiration for people in general and families in specific.

Dare I forget to mention my contest again? If you just stumbled upon my blog, I’ve got a contest going, the prize for which is a shiny used set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Maybe you’ve read it, maybe you own it, but wouldn’t you like to tell everyone you know that this contest is going on? Come on, please?

And that’s pretty much it. If this week’s contest goes over well, I’ll do another one. I work at a bookstore and have access to lots of great books that I can use to giveaway. I’ve already got some good responses and suggestions for my blog, so I hope to continually improve it as I go. Thanks for stopping by!

Yowsa! (Did you catch the hidden message in today’s post? If you did, pass it on to my brother here.)

Win Stuff | The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Box Set

Leave me a comment with your ideas for this blog. Now. Do it now.

You could be as happy as me if you win this set of books.

Here’s the deal. I’m giving away a box set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is the set that I bought right after the Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters. I bought it to replace the well-worn copies that my dad had laying around. Well, I still have those well-worn copies. Also, my wife brought a really nice hardcover set into the marriage. As much as it pains me to say this, I don’t need three copies of the same series. So I’m giving this box set away.

If you’ve never read the whole series, now’s your chance. If you are quick about it, you can just finish them in time for the arrival of The Hobbit (part one) in the theaters this December.

So how can you win?

Simple. Just tell me what you’d like to see from this blog of mine. Share with me any questions that you have, any ideas for posts, any themes or categories that I’m lacking. Just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll pull the winner next Monday, April 30th, and announce the results here on my blog.

The Fine Print: I’m not made of money, so although I love international comments, I can’t ship internationally. Sorry about that.