It looks like we’ve picked up some new hitchhikers over the last month or so. Welcome, everyone, to the gargleblaster microstory challenge! We’re thrilled to have you on board.
It may not look it, but the gargleblaster is honestly the most complex of yeah write’s three challenges. It’s the only one that requires an answer to the ultimate question. Not a response inspired by the question, but an actual answer. It’s the hardest to write and the hardest to read critically. Sometimes we get a brilliant, beautiful story that we love to pieces and would run off and marry if we could, but if it doesn’t answer the question, we can’t in good conscience move it to the voting grid.
Because we realize this challenge is complex, we’re going to give you a little extra guidance to help you out. Read on!
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: what do we have to lose?
The fall writing contest is over, but the microstory rules haven’t changed, and neither have our standards. First and foremost: answer the question. This week, that means you need to tell us what’s at stake, whether that’s a tangible thing or something abstract; identify who “we” are — you and I, or a more global “we,” as in “humanity”; and indicate what action could cause the loss. If we can’t find all three of these elements in your story, you’ll receive a very nice letter from our submissions editor, Rowan, explaining which one(s) you left out. Bonus hint: Don’t tell us what you already lost, and don’t use your 42 words to simply rephrase the question.
PROOFREAD. Nothing is easier, and nothing will get you bumped from the voting grid faster than typos, spelling or punctuation mistakes, or grammatical errors. You’ve only got 42 words; mistakes stick out.
Don’t restate the question in your answer or use the question as your title or anywhere else in your piece. And remember, any words surrounding your gargleblaster — explanations, references, etc. — will be counted against your 42-word limit.
Need a second set of eyes? Find yourself a writing partner over in the yeah write coffeehouse.
Fall writing contest
Our fall writing contest is closed, and the editors are busily tallying points. We’ll be ready to announce the winners on Sunday, December 14. In the meantime, all of our fall writing contest semi-finalists are available for popular vote! You’ve got nine votes to play with. No prizes for the popular favorites, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with bragging rights.
Read, comment and vote – you’ve got until Saturday, December 13, 5:00 PM Eastern.
The top 42 entries will be open for voting on Thursday
One gargleblaster microstory submission per participant, please. Submissions are moderated. All entries will show up on our submissions grid, and up to 42 entries will be moved to the voting grid, which opens on Thursday. Everybody: read, comment, vote!
If you don’t make the voting grid, don’t despair – you’ll get a detailed love letter from our wonderful submissions editor, Rowan G., letting you know what needed improvement. Email us or head over to our pages on Facebook and Twitter with any questions.
Winners will be announced on Friday
Look for Friday’s combined winners’ post to see the crowd favorites and editors’ picks from across all of our challenge grids.
What else is happening around here?
We’ve got the nonfiction grid opening on Mondays, the speakeasy for fiction and poetry on Tuesdays, the gargleblaster micro challenge on Wednesdays, and the come-one, come-all moonshine grid for the weekends. We’ve also got a great hangout space over at the coffeehouse. Make sure you subscribe to our weekly e-mail blast so you don’t miss out.