We are experiencing a “snow event” in my hometown. What this actually means is that on Sunday night two inches of snow fell, then it rained, then it froze. Schools closed, public transportation went into emergency mode, and the streets echoed with the clatter of chains. It’s mostly gone now, but the local news will be talking about this for another week.
It’s fascinating to me how such a small thing could be blown up all out of proportion like that. But isn’t that exactly what we’re doing here with our microstories? We pack as much as we can into our 42 words so that the story people read is bigger than the story we wrote. It’s easy for the news crews, not so easy for storytellers. The trick is to start with that big story, then whittle it down, sculpt it into the shape of the thing we want to say. Forget the gigantic snowdrifts and lakes of slush. Focus on that one tiny, perfect icicle instead.
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: when will the icicle melt?
This week’s question requires a real or figurative icicle, and the conditions under which it will melt, literally or figuratively. Maybe you are snowed in and hoping to get out before spring training begins. Maybe you have forgotten how to love. Baby, it’s cold outside–give us some heat.
Don’t get disqualified on a technicality
READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. Take us seriously so we can take you seriously.
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.
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 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.