Guys, I know this thing has Christine’s byline on it but she let me write the intro this week and boy oh boy is she gonna eternally regret that decision. First, let’s talk about this “greetings, Earthlings” thing. How Terro-centric can you be? Super rude to Lunarians, Martians, and the odd Venusian (and let me tell you, Venusians are odd! Three fingers, eleven toes, five heads… what, did you think I wasn’t being literal? You should know me better than that.).
For those of you who weren’t offended by the terronormative greeting up there, or those who are used to that and have pressed on anyway, let’s talk about this microstories challenge. You’ve got 42 – that’s right, just 42 – words to answer the ultimate question. That means no sneaking extra words in via title, footnote, or teleporter. The space marines (that’s weird, too, come to think of it) will get you for that.
So let’s start talking about the stuff you need to know, right down below….
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: what went wrong?
This week’s question requires three things for a good answer, and they’re going to be hard to get right. You need: a predicted outcome, the actual outcome, and the thing that changed the outcome. Someone proposed; someone said no. What happened in between? You boarded a flight to Cancun and ended up in Calgary. What happened to divert the flight? Please note that the verb tense of the answer should match the verb tense of the question. And for extra style points, since the catalyst went wrong, the actual outcome should be worse than the predicted outcome.
For those time travelers still confused about verb tense: If you explicitly describe the predicted outcome, it should be in the conditional. The catalyst for change must have occurred in the past. The new outcome could be in the past, present or future.
A few other reminders:
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.
Keep in mind that your post has to make sense if your reader doesn’t know the question. Don’t use the question as your title or anywhere else in your piece. And remember, any words surrounding your gargleblaster — explanations, references, footnotes, shout-outs, etc. — will be counted against your 42-word limit. If you need to add a definition of an obscure word, explain a cultural reference that you’re worried some readers won’t get, or talk about how much you love the person who inspired your post? Link out to a separate post discussing those things. Just be aware that we won’t read that post when we’re deciding which posts move over to the voting grid this week.
The top 42 entries will be open for voting on Thursday
You may enter only one gargleblaster microstory. 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.
What went wrong?
The yeah write #201 weekly writing challenge is open is open for micro-stories: fiction, non-fiction, haiku, whatever. Answer the question in exactly 42 words by clicking the link below.