YeahWrite Super Challenge #4 - Fiction

Welcome to the YeahWrite Super Challenge!

Welcome – or welcome back – to YeahWrite’s Super Challenge. The Super Challenge brings together the best parts of our community: writing, reading, feedback and, well, winning! While our last Super Challenge focused on nonfiction, we’re back for the fiction edition of our newest competition.

If you’re already familiar with our weekly challenge grids, you know they’re a great way to learn, grow, and connect with our community of writers, but the Super Challenge is where it all comes together, where your hard work and practice pays off – literally pays off, I mean, with prizes! If you’re finding YeahWrite for the first time, welcome aboard. We hope you’re along for the ride. Check out our Facebook group, the Coffeehouse,  for more ways to connect with our community of readers and writers!

YeahWrite has been a vibrant community of writers for over six years, and we’ve never missed a week in all that time – 311 and counting, as I write this. Now we’re adding the next level of writing competition and we hope you’re as excited to find it as we are to add you to our community! So with no further ado, let’s dive into Super Challenge #4.

About
The YeahWrite Fiction Super Challenge is a prompted challenge where writers compete to complete the best work of short fiction in a single weekend. Prompts are released on Friday, and the completed work must be turned in by Sunday night.

The competition is run in three rounds. Half the writers will move to the second round of competition, and approximately ten writers will advance to the final round of competition. All competing writers will receive feedback on their work from the judges at the end of each round. The final ten writers will compete for cash prizes for first, second, and third place.

Schedule
Each round of the Super Challenge starts at 10pm Eastern US Time on a Friday and closes at 10pm Eastern US Time on the Sunday immediately following, giving you 48 hours to complete your entry. Each round will have a different genre and prompt style. Writers will be separated into groups, and each group will receive a prompt. All groups will respond to that prompt in the genre assigned for each round. The rounds are scheduled as follows:

Dates Prompt Combination
April 21-23 Action + Event

Writers will receive a combination of an action (such as “picking up a stone” or “greeting someone”) and an event to include in their story. While neither needs to be the main focus of the story, both must be included in such a way as to be integral to the plot. There are no genre restrictions.

May 5-7 Setting + Event

Writers will receive a description of a setting (this may be in words, images, or a combination of the two) and an event. The setting does not need to be the only location in the story, and as in round one the event does not need to form the plot arc of the story, but both must be included in such a way that the story would not function without their presence. There are no genre restrictions.

May 19-21 Two Genre Mashup

Writers will receive two genres and must tell a story that is a combination of the main tropes of both genres. Some genres that may be included are: romance, mystery, horror, fairy tale, fantasy, western, science fiction. There are no character or topic restrictions, but elements of both genres must be clearly identifiable in the finished story.

Fees and Registration
Registration is now closed.

If you haven’t signed up for yeah write’s mailer yet, this would be a great time. We’ll keep you informed of events around the site as well as important Super Challenge news.

Prizes
The amount of the prizes will be announced after all entries have been received.

Why? Because just like your sibling, we’re gonna split the money with you. That’s right: the total cash prizes for first, second and third place will add up to half of the entry fees*. You know what that means? The more folks enter, the bigger the prize gets. Sign yourself up and then go share this news with your friends and community! Make the competition bigger, better and tougher for all of us!

* Unless a prize in that amount would trigger provisions of US law relating to transfer of fees; in that case we reserve the right to split the money in such a way that we award more prizes (i.e. first through fifth place).

Update

The cash is in and counted – thanks for being patient with us as we sorted out a few no-shows in Round One and paid the bills. The prizes for YeahWrite’s fourth Super Challenge are:

First Place: $150

Second Place: $100

Third Place: $50

 

FAQ and Rules
For full text of the rules of the competition, go here. By entering the competition you agree to abide and be bound by these rules, so go actually read them. Besides, they contain really useful information about how to submit your work and in what format, in case you get tired of reading this FAQ.

Who can enter?
Anyone 18 or older can enter the competition, as long as it’s not void where you live. YeahWrite editors are, naturally, not eligible. If we had actual employees they wouldn’t be eligible either, and it goes without saying that our competition judges are not eligible.

How many writers can work on a story?
A story is considered the work of the registered writer. We won’t split up the prizes. That said, you can show your work to others during the course of each round, receive feedback, and make revisions.

When will I get my assignment and when is it due?
Assignments will be posted at 10pm Eastern US Time on the opening Friday of each challenge, and it is due by 10pm on the Sunday immediately following. That means you have exactly 48 hours to write your story!

How do I submit my story?
Email your essay in .doc/docx, .rtf, or .txt format to superchallenge@yeahwrite.me before 10pm on the closing day of each round. Use the subject line “YeahWrite Super Challenge Round [x] Group [y] Submission.” Make sure the filename is as specified in the official rules.

How do I format my story?
Your story (including the title page) must be in 12 point font – either Arial or Times New Roman. The first page should be blank except for the Title Page information described in the rules. If you don’t know how to insert a hard page break in your writing, this is a great time to learn! The title page does not count toward your maximum word count of 1,000 words. Make sure your name does not appear anywhere in your story or on the file. The name of the file must be as follows: [group number]-[title]. For example, if you are in Group 2 and the title of your story is “Daisy Petals” then the filename will be 2-Daisy Petals.doc (or .rtf, etc., as applicable).

What if I need to make changes to a story I’ve submitted?
Sorry. We don’t accept revisions or changes to your work. Once you hit send, that’s it, game over. The only exception will be if you forgot to attach your story to your original submission email. We’ll send you a confirmation email when we get your story. Submitting two stories can be grounds for disqualification.

Who owns the copyright to my work?
You do. For a more complete explanation of what rights you are granting to YeahWrite by entering your work in the Super Challenge, see the official rules.

So can I post my work on my blog?
Not until after you receive feedback from the judges, please. Don’t make your work available in a forum where the judges might run across it until the judging is done. After each round of the Super Challenge is over, we’ll also create a special grid to link up your work, since it’s not eligible for our regular challenge grids.

What feedback will I get on my work?
In every round you participate in, you’ll get an email telling you what the judges liked about your work, and what you need to work on. We’ll make sure to get you this feedback before the next round, so that it’s useful to you as you move through the competition!

What kinds of story are acceptable?
While YeahWrite does not place restrictions on use of strong language or on genre, our editorial standards respect the diversity and dignity of our audience. YeahWrite does not and will not accept works which insult or demean any person based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other similar traits. This doesn’t mean you cannot write a story about or containing racism or homophobia between characters or as part of the plot, but it does mean that your story itself shouldn’t be racist or homophobic. It comes down to this: always remember that people who are not like you will read your stories. What do you want them to think about you as a person and a writer?

Who are the judges?
A staff of professional writers, educators and editors. We’ll have a couple celebrity guest judges for each competition, usually in the final round, so stay tuned and keep checking our Announcements section on this page!

What if I have more questions?
Please send questions about the Super Challenge to superchallenge@yeahwrite.me only, and not to our Facebook, Twitter, or other email addresses. We will not be reviewing other email addresses or social media for Super Challenge related questions, and we want to make sure you hear back from us!

Super Challenge Round Updates

Are you ready for this? So are we. We’ll post the prompts, winners, and a special linkup for each round here as the competition goes on! Good luck, writers!

Round One
The first round of the Super Challenge runs from 10pm April 21st to 10pm April 23rd. Over those 48 hours, writers must complete a story of 1,000 words or fewer in any genre combining prompts describing an action and an event. Any character may perform the action, not just the main character, and the event does not need to be the plot or setting of the story.

 

Both prompts should be important enough to the story that the plot could not happen in their absence. That is, if the event is “a robbery” the story could be about burglars breaking into a house, a detective investigating the scene of a crime, or even Batman having a flashback to his parents getting mugged. If, however, the main character walks past a mugging in an alley on his way to a wedding and the mugging exists only to establish that the story is set in New York City, that is probably not going to be integral to the plot as there are a thousand other ways to establish the setting. Similarly, if the action is “find a coin” a character could literally stumble over a pile of gold coins, search for pirate treasure, or hold onto the lucky coin they found when they were five in order to do well on a test. On the other hand, a character digging through their purse and finding two pens, a quarter, and a movie ticket is probably going to be considered tangential to the plot unless they then use the quarter to break out of jail or something.

With no further ado, let’s get to the groups and prompts:

Group 1: Breaking a dish / A flood

In this context, “a dish” means any type of dishware or crockery, such as a mug, a plate, or a wineglass. What it doesn’t mean is a satellite dish, a beautiful woman from 1940, or gossip.

Group 2: Putting shoes on someone else / Opening night at the carnival

In this context, the “someone else” need not be human, but the action cannot be putting on one’s own shoes, nor putting shoes that belong to someone else on oneself. A carnival can be anything from a state fair to Mardi Gras but not a rock concert or similar gathering, nor a permanent installation like Disneyland.

Group 3: Paving a road / Armageddon

In this context “a road” can be any pathway meant for foot or vehicular traffic, but not a waterway or airway. “Armageddon” need not adhere to the Biblical description but must be an event broad and destructive enough to be readily described as “the end of the world” even if the planet itself is not completely physically destroyed in the process. (But if you want to blow up the world? Go ahead.)

The top six writers from each group will advance to Round Two; keep an eye out for your feedback around Wednesday, May 3, and we’ll announce who’s moving on at noon on Wednesday, May 3.

And the winners are….

Joshua Benoit
Donna-Louise Bishop
Melony Boseley
Tara Davis
Cynthia DeRuyter
Joshua Flores
Ginger Gorrell
Stephen Judah
Yeshasvi Mahadev
Jolan Marchese
Hema Nataraju
Jennifer Noga Davinroy
Eva Schultz
Trish Tuthill
Karen Vernon
Gail Webber
Christopher Williams
Pauline Yates

Now that this round of the competition is over, you’re free to post your work anywhere on the Internet you like, or take our judges’ suggestions and rework your submission to send on to other venues. If you do choose to post your work on your own site or blog, we’d love it if you took a minute to add the link to our special Super Challenge grid, right here: (just click the blue button and follow the instructions!)

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Round Two
This round, our writers will be working with a setting and an event. The setting is shown in an image, and the event is described.

A few tips and pointers about this round:

Neither the picture nor the event needs to be the entire plot of the story, but both must be integral to the plot. That is, the plot shouldn’t be able to happen if the characters don’t experience the event or the setting.

Writers don’t need to describe every detail of the photo prompt, but should give enough detail that someone who has never seen the image could produce a reasonable sketch resembling the scene based only on their description. They may add reasonable additions to the photo – fish to a river, a carving on a tree – but may not make it an entirely different scene by adding, say, a city to a barren desert image (although if there’s a road, that’s where the road might lead).

There are no genre restrictions. However, as always, we expect writers to respect the dignity and diversity of the audience for which they are writing. Our judges are drawn from all over the world and from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. If work merits a content warning, writers should feel free to add that on the title page under the summary.

Remember: Don’t post your story anywhere on the Internet until after our judges are done and you get your feedback! But if you want to talk up the competition or live-tweet your writing process, use the hashtag #YWsuper. Just remember not to include identifying details about which story is yours! Essays are due Sunday at 10pm US Eastern Time. Remember to check the rules for formatting, including all those fiddly details like title page, font, and filename. Don’t get disqualified on a technicality!

Good luck, and happy writing!

Group 1
Learning a nonviolent skill
In this context, “nonviolent skill” means a skill that does not involve injuring, creating a means of injury for, or learning how to injure a person or animal. For example, hunting, trapmaking, and bladesmithing are “violent” skills, whereas cooking, cobblery, and construction are “nonviolent” skills. Any character may learn or teach the skill, but it is the learning process, and not the final skill, that must be important to the plot (they can both be important, but the learning isn’t optional).

Group 2
Adopting a child
In this context, the child may be the main character or may be adopted by the main character. The child and adoptive parent need not be the same species, but the adoption must result in a parenting relationship, not a pet relationship. For example, a human could adopt or be adopted by an elf or alien, but not a non-anthropomorphic cat.

Round Two is now CLOSED.

Congratulations to the following writers, who will be advancing to the Final Round on Friday at 10pm EDT:

Donna-Louise Bishop
Melony Boseley
Jennifer Noga Davinroy
Tara Davis
Cynthia DeRuyter
Joshua Flores
Ginger Gorrell
Eva Schultz
Trish Tuthill
Gail Webber

Writers, you’re now free to share your Round Two work anywhere you like, including on this special linkup we made just for you:

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Final Round

Good luck to our Final Round writers, who’ll be spending the weekend of May 19-21 writing a thousand words combining to following two genres:

 

Science Fiction / Epistolary

Unlike the preceding rounds, there are no restrictions on characters or plot, so long as the story successfully combines those two genres.

What does “combining genres” mean? Each writing genre contains a few readily identifiable tropes. For example, fairy tales usually feature some combination of magical events, magical beings, a third child of a third child, a magical solution to an everyday problem, or talking animals. Detective fiction features a character whose purpose is to investigate a crime, often but not always murder. So if you were assigned to combine fairy tales and detective fiction, you might write a story about how your main character, Jack, the third son of a third son, is hired to solve the mystery of the loss of Queen Titania’s pet donkey and ultimately discovers that it has actually been transformed into the handsome prince who’s been helping Jack with his investigation.

Some tropes are not content or plot based, but instead are a writing style such as noir (“I knew the dame was trouble from the minute she snake-hipped her way into my office on six-inch heels as red as her lipstick”) or satire, in which problems are explored in an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek manner.

Even if you think you know a genre well, it’s worth it to take a few minutes and look it up online to see what major tropes other people identify as belonging. You might be defining your genre a little differently than most people do, and while ordinarily creativity is great, you want to make sure you really hit the high points of the genre solidly. In essence you’re picking your own prompt set here.

A few quick notes on our assigned genres:

Although there’s an expanded definition of “epistolary” in Wikipedia now, we’re looking for a traditional epistolary work: “stories constructed as a series of letters exchanged between characters.” “Letters” could mean letters, texts, emails, or any other form of communication meant to go from one person to another one or several people, but not blog posts, newspaper articles, transcripts, or forms of communication posted by one person publicly for a general audience.

Writers should restrict their definition of science fiction to future (near or far) scenarios and technology rather than magic. If we wanted alternate histories or fantasies, we would have assigned that genre!

Congratulations to our winners!

You’ll be hearing from us shortly to verify details for your prizes.

First Place
$150

Eva Schultz
Let Him Down Easy

Second Place
$100

Jennifer Noga Davinroy
Darling Dearest

Third Place
$50

Trish Tuthill
The Progeny Link

And congratulations again to our runners-up. It was a tough field out there, and only a few points separated each entry. Writers, you’re now free to share your work anywhere on the ‘net you like, including our Super Challenge grid right here:

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Announcements

Question about content warnings:

We want you to tell the kind of stories you love to tell, so in general unless it’s part of a prompt there are no genre, subject, language, or setting restrictions on your story. However, as always, we expect you to respect the dignity and diversity of the audience for which you are writing. Our judges are drawn from all over the world and from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. If you feel your work may merit a content warning, please feel free to add that on your title page under your summary. It will not be included in your word count. A good content warning will give a direct but not explicit description of what the reader may encounter: “CW: sexual assault” but not “CW: graphic.” (graphic what? violence? sex? design?)