YeahWrite Super Challenge #6

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! We alternate between creative nonfiction and flash fiction, and if you’ve been with us for a while you know what that even number means: it’s fiction time!

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’s free weekly grids have been home to a vibrant community of writers for over six years, and we’ve never missed a week in all that time – 331 weeks and counting, as I write this. Now we’ve added 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 #6.

About
The YeahWrite Super Challenge is a prompted challenge, where writers compete to complete the best work of prompted flash 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. Approximately 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 at the end of each round from the judges. 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:

 October 13-15 Three Prompt Combo

Writers will receive a combination of three prompts, drawn from the following, to include in their story. While no single prompt needs to be the main focus of the story, all must be included in such a way as to be integral to the plot. There are no genre restrictions, unless one of the prompts is a genre.

  • an action (such as “picking up a stone” or “greeting someone”)
  • an event (such as “a wedding” or “a symphony rehearsal”)
  • a setting
  • an emotion
  • an image (might be of a character, a setting, or an object; we like nouns)
  • a character
  • a genre
 October 27-29 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, setting, or topic restrictions, but elements of both genres must be clearly identifiable in the finished story.

 November 10-12 Plot Summary

Writers will receive a brief plot outline and must write a story that the summary could plausibly be used to describe. (example: After hypnotizing a dying patient, a doctor has a remarkable conversation with them.) There are no genre restrictions.

Fees and Registration
Earlybirds, the Entry Fee is US $25 on or before September 30, and US$30 from October 1 until 11:59 pm October 11 (All times and dates US Eastern). After filling out the registration form, you can send your payment via PayPal. (Please put your legal name and “Super Challenge 6 registration” in the memo line, thanks!) If you do not have a PayPal account, an invoice will be sent to you within 24 hours. The entry fee must be received in full by YeahWrite on or before 11:59 pm October 12 to participate. Once the registration is completed online and your payment is processed, we’ll send a confirmation email to the email you give us on your registration form. Be patient – sometimes it takes PayPal a minute to process your payment and we can’t send your confirmation until we have that. Remember, send questions to superchallenge@yeahwrite.me, not to individual editors!

If you haven’t signed up for YeahWrite’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
With all the registration money in and counted, we’re ready to announce the prizes! Half your registration fee goes to keeping the lights on over here (this website ain’t gonna host itself) and the other half comes right back to you. The bigger the competition, the bigger the prizes. So with no further ado…

First Place: $250

Second Place: $125

Third Place: $75

Good luck, writers!

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. Just get your story in on time!

When will I get my assignment and when is it due?
On the opening Friday of each round, you’ll receive an email in the morning (well, our morning) with your group number. Keep an eye on this page right here, because prompt assignments for the groups will be posted at 10pm Eastern US Time, and are due by 10pm on the Sunday immediately following. That means you have exactly 48 hours to write your story! If a round falls on a weekend where US Daylight Saving Time starts or finishes, you get the benefit of the doubt – we’ll either just let you have the extra hour or extend the deadline to 11pm on Sunday to make up for the lost hour.

How do I submit my essay?
Email your essay in .doc, .rtf, or .docx 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 essay?
Your essay 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 and any content warning you feel your work merits. 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 essay 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 essay is “Daisy Petals” then the filename will be 2-Daisy Petals.doc (or .rtf or .txt, 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 file to your original submission email – you can still re-send the email with your attachment as long as you send it before the round closes at 10pm. We’ll send you a confirmation email when we get your email. 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 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. Of course, you can also take your feedback, touch up your story, and submit it to other publications – it’s yours, after all!

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!

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!

Can I see some examples of stories that have been written for this competition in the past?
Sure! Check out our last fiction Super Challenge right here. Scroll down for the special Super Challenge grids. Our writers have the option to link their essays to these grids after they received their scores. You can also check out the results for the last challenge.

Can I get a hint about what you’re looking for without signing up for some forum?
Sure, no problem! We want to read good work and you want to write good work. So here’s some insight from our Managing Editor about what a prompted competition looks like from the other side of the judging table. Need more? Check out the Super Challenge archives for past stories from other writers.

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 e-mail addresses. We will not be reviewing other e-mail 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 October 13, 2017, to 10 pm October 15. Writers, you’ve got your groups, so come check out the prompts right here.

Results are in, feedback has been fed back, and we’ve got your round one results! For the full results and commentary, check out this link. Otherwise, congratulations to (in alphabetical order):

Nikki Bennett
Melony Boseley
Tara Davis
Nanette Day
Laura Duerr
Joshua Flores
Christina Grant
Michelle Hanley
Stephanie Lennon
Annmarie Lockhart
Jolan Marchese
J. Lynne Moore
Andrew Rodgers
MM Schreier
Jaimie Smith-Windsor
Trish Tuthill
Paige Vest
Gail Webber

Advancing writers, you’ll receive your groups for Round 2 on Friday. Everyone is now free to publish their work online or submit it to other anthologies or competitions. If you’re planning to post your story on your own site or blog, we’d love it if everyone (advancing or not) dropped that link right here:

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Round Two

Check out this link for the Round Two prompts. Round Two ran October 27-29, and saw our writers trying for a two-genre mashup.Check out this link for the full results and commentary, plus a special hint about the final round. Otherwise, congratulations to (in alphabetical order):

Nikki Bennett
Melony Boseley
Laura Duerr
Christina Grant
Michelle Hanley
Annmarie Lockhart
MM Schreier
Jaimie Smith-Windsor
Trish Tuthill
Gail Webber

Everyone is now free to publish, polish, resubmit or re-shelve their stories anywhere they like. But future Super Challenge writers would love you forever for the example if you felt like posting your story on your personal blog or site and dropping that link right here:

 
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Final Round

Final Round writers, are you ready? At 10pm November 10, you can pick up your final round prompt right here.

Folks, we promised you 48 hours and we meant it. Due to a few technical issues we were unable to get the prompt post live at 10pm. You now have until 11:59 pm on Sunday to get your stories turned in. Again, our apologies and we hope we didn’t panic you too much in the meantime.

If you didn’t stop by the Round Two winners’ post (who are we kidding?), here are a few tips and tricks for how to handle the prompt this round:

Sample prompt: Abandoned by their family, the protagonist must use their wits to survive until they can be reunited with their loved one(s)

To unpack a prompt like this, you’ll need to get pedantic. Let’s take a look at the big macro stuff first, though.

What characters do you need for this prompt? Well, you’ll need a protagonist, and the protagonist’s family, which consists of “loved one(s).” If you look up “family” you’ll see several definitions, not all of which require shared DNA. You’ve also probably already noted that the summary structure doesn’t set a number of family members that must exist. This means that you can use family to mean one or more blood relations, or one or more other loved ones as long as you establish that they consider themselves “family” of the protagonist. There aren’t any other character restrictions implicit in this prompt, so you can have as many – or as few – other characters in the story as you like.

There aren’t any clues to the setting or the genre (no cue words like “mysterious” or “future” nor any descriptions of location).

So that leaves us to break down the plot. Let’s go bit by bit.

  • Abandoned by their family. What does that mean? it means the family, not the protagonist, did the abandoning. And “abandon” means leave, forsake, cast away, desert. So the family has to have actually left the protagonist, who can’t just feel sad that their family doesn’t like them.
  • Next up is the protagonist must use their wits to survive. So there has to be a chance that the protagonist won’t survive. They have to be in actual danger of drowning, starving, being eaten by dinosaurs, falling into deep space, whatever. And to avoid this fate, they can’t use brute force. They can’t fight their way out of it, or just keep walking, or find something lucky. They have to use their brain to come up with a solution to their dangerous dilemma. This might mean finding something that wouldn’t ordinarily work as a solution, but using it in an innovative way. It might mean coming up with a method of navigation using a needle and a cork, or combining chemicals, or outwitting the deadly cyberbear and luring it into a trap.
  • Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is until they can be reunited with their loved one(s). That means the loved ones can’t be dead, or have decided never to come back. The reunion itself doesn’t necessarily have to be in the story, but the potential has to be there and it has to be plausibly anticipated by the protagonist.

So, considering there are no genre or setting restrictions, what famous stories might this summary describe?

One of our editors even suggested that this summary could loosely describe The Force Awakens. As you can see, we’ve got everything from animal protagonists looking for their human “family” to fairy tales, from modern (well it was modern at the time) comedy to science fiction.

But. And this is a big but. There are some stories that this summary just doesn’t describe. Annie, for example, looks like it fits within the summary but the story just doesn’t. While the movie begins with Annie hoping for a reunion with her birth family, it ends with her finding a home with someone else entirely, her birth parents having been dead the entire time. (Sorry for the spoilers, y’all.) And while Annie’s wits get her out of trouble, her survival is mostly not in question.

So as you unpack a summary, don’t just look for what has to be included; look for what can’t be included. If the summary says the entire story takes place on a raft, the raft can’t drift ashore. If the summary says the protagonist can’t find something, don’t include a scene where they find it. How would that summary sound? While protagonist is looking for their keys, they find something else entirely and it changes the way they perceive love.