Inspiration can come from anywhere: a children’s game, a grain of sand, an ordinary button, the feel of a word or a phrase in your mouth. Seize it. Just because an idea starts small doesn’t mean it can’t grow into something larger.
And by larger, I mean 42 words, of course, though the concept holds true no matter how long your story. My current WIP started with the word “dinosaur” and the phrase “my flight was late.” Somewhere along the way I dropped the dinosaur, but kept the ideas that sprang from from it, and now I’ve got something that is startlingly novel-shaped. What I’m saying is: you never know where your next great idea will come from, whether you’re a poet, a novelist, an essayist, or something else entirely. Who knows? Maybe it will come from this week’s prompt.
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: button, button, who’s got the button?
This week’s question requires two basic elements: a button – be it the kind you fasten, the kind you push, the kind you pin to your lapel, or the kind you slice up for stroganoff – and the identity of the person who currently possesses it.
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.