Moderation is back! Don’t be alarmed: we’re not here to shoot you down. We’re here to give you a boost. Writing is hard. Microstories are really hard, if you ask me. They take more planning and more work than longer stories. It’s not a matter of putting down the first 42 words that occur to you. You’ve got to wrestle them into shape. Moderation allows us to help you use your words more effectively.
For those of you who haven’t joined us before – and those of you who might need a refresher – here are a few tips to make sure your microstory submission won’t be disqualified on a technicality.
COUNT YOUR WORDS. Use your eyes, not your word processor. Your post may not be eligible for voting if you go over or under 42 words. And remember, any words surrounding your microstory — explanations, references, footnotes, shout-outs, etc. — will be counted against your 42-word limit. (The only exception is photo credits.)
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.
ANSWER THE QUESTION. We try to give you some basic guidelines with every question; pay attention to what we’re looking for. 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.
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: how long has it been?
This week’s question requires two things for a good answer: an event, and the length of time since it occurred. Maybe you lost your wedding ring on your honeymoon 25 years ago. Maybe you just made contact with your childhood pen pal. Or maybe you’re just staring at the cat food bowl, wondering how hungry the cat really is. Tell us a story.
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! Participation is the key to making this community work.
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 challenge opening on Mondays, the fiction and poetry challenge on Tuesdays, the microstory challenge on Wednesdays, and the come-one, come-all unmoderated 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.