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Thread: Subject short story competition

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Subject short story competition

    On LitNet there are some poetry contests threads but not a single short story competition, except the official one which had a last edition last year.
    On this site there are a lot of people that write very good English prose. There sometimes are interesting short story contributions but they somehow remain isolated getting little attention from fellow Litnetters.
    The idea is to stimulate the production and submission of short stories not only of those that already write them and would like them commented, but also from them who never wrote a story.
    I think I need not ask you to follow the publishing rules of the site. I also want to emphasize that, they are short timed contests and like in the subject poetry contest and the minimalist poetry contest the winner doesn´t get a price. As the winner he determines the next subject, the submission deadline and evaluates the incoming contributions.
    And our first theme is "Family", deadline August, 1st.
    Let´s see how it goes!
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 07-08-2016 at 08:02 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Well, as I suppose you are all very busy working on the short stories for the contest , I want to remind you, that there are still about twenty days to go.

    If any one of you has concrete informations about on line publishing laws it would be very kind if he published that information or the correponding link here.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 07-10-2016 at 10:22 AM.
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    flash fiction fatale heartwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    And our first theme is "Family", deadline August, 1st.
    Let´s see how it goes!
    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post

    If any one of you has concrete informations about on line publishing laws it would be very kind if he published that information or the correponding link here.
    I think perhaps it may also be helpful to have a word limit. Visually, you can sometimes see almost a whole poem on the screen and sometimes several which is why, I would imagine, the poetry threads hold a lot of appeal. If we thought of stories within 250, 500, and 1000 word limits we would hit that same sweet spot. If you go to a short story slam or submit to a journal publishing on the shortest end of this spectrum, limits like this are often used, though when publishing sometimes like 1250 is also used. This is just an idea. But it selfishly doesn't necessarily suit my purposes right now. I've got a work about family that is much longer, but is considered a short story. Still it may be more than forum readers may want to read in a sitting. And also, something - like this piece of mine - which is not published yet can give one pause if one does want to publish something.

    Which brings me to my next point, about "laws." I'm not sure I'm interpreting this correctly and I don't want to be the absolute authority, but are you talking about copyright? Generally, what I've been told is that once work is published anywhere in the public domain with your name and a date attached somehow, it is considered yours, you own it, whether you are publishing your work through a journal, a public forum post, a blog. So the problem writers run into sometimes are journals and magazines who don't want to publish reprints and that is often qualified as work that has made a public appearance anywhere - ie, even blogs, etc. However, there are magazines and journals who accept reprints. Since this is a public forum I'm assuming the audience is pretty big and that can have an effect on editorial decisions.

    I think what needs to be embraced is that this is one form of publishing. It can be quite fun. If participants want to dive headlong it may help prime the pump for both more experienced and newbie writers alike and that seems to be the spirit of what you're talking about, Danik 2016.
    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser
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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I'm trying to think of something to submit for this thread, but prose is hard for me to write except maybe very short prose.

    I agree that one should be aware that posting something here would probably mean it could not be submitted to some journal publishers who would want to be the first one to make the work available. That would be another reason to make it short.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heartwing View Post
    I think perhaps it may also be helpful to have a word limit. Visually, you can sometimes see almost a whole poem on the screen and sometimes several which is why, I would imagine, the poetry threads hold a lot of appeal. If we thought of stories within 250, 500, and 1000 word limits we would hit that same sweet spot. If you go to a short story slam or submit to a journal publishing on the shortest end of this spectrum, limits like this are often used, though when publishing sometimes like 1250 is also used. This is just an idea. But it selfishly doesn't necessarily suit my purposes right now. I've got a work about family that is much longer, but is considered a short story. Still it may be more than forum readers may want to read in a sitting. And also, something - like this piece of mine - which is not published yet can give one pause if one does want to publish something.

    Which brings me to my next point, about "laws." I'm not sure I'm interpreting this correctly and I don't want to be the absolute authority, but are you talking about copyright? Generally, what I've been told is that once work is published anywhere in the public domain with your name and a date attached somehow, it is considered yours, you own it, whether you are publishing your work through a journal, a public forum post, a blog. So the problem writers run into sometimes are journals and magazines who don't want to publish reprints and that is often qualified as work that has made a public appearance anywhere - ie, even blogs, etc. However, there are magazines and journals who accept reprints. Since this is a public forum I'm assuming the audience is pretty big and that can have an effect on editorial decisions.

    I think what needs to be embraced is that this is one form of publishing. It can be quite fun. If participants want to dive headlong it may help prime the pump for both more experienced and newbie writers alike and that seems to be the spirit of what you're talking about, Danik 2016.
    I quite agree with you about the limit of words. I thought about it, but confess that I am a bit at a loss about what limit to name.
    Let´s say until 1000 words just as a reference, nobody is actually going to count the words. It can be a micro short story or a short story.
    Answering your second question, yes I mean copyright,HW. I have noticed people participating in poetry contests, but they seem a bit fearful of participating of short story contests, maybe because of copyright matters. That´s why it would be very important to clear that point up before starting the contest.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 07-14-2016 at 11:33 AM.
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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    I'm trying to think of something to submit for this thread, but prose is hard for me to write except maybe very short prose.

    I agree that one should be aware that posting something here would probably mean it could not be submitted to some journal publishers who would want to be the first one to make the work available. That would be another reason to make it short.
    From what I have seen of your prose on line Y/N you have a natural gift of observation, of describing, narrating and summing up situations and, more specifically, that you have an unique sense of humour and parody superior to the humour you yourself seem to prefer. I think if you started with some kind of family comedy situation that could make a good story, no matter if short or very short.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 07-14-2016 at 11:50 AM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    From what I have seen of your prose on line Y/N you have a natural gift of observation, of describing, narrating and summing up situations and, more specifically, that you have an unique sense of humour and parody superior to the humour you yourself seem to prefer. I think if you started with some kind of family comedy situation that could make a good story, no matter if short or very short.
    Thanks, Danik! Here it is. Just a recollection of a hiking trip.

    --------------------------------

    Walking the Incline

    It goes up a mile toward Pikes Peak and runs straight while the Barr Trail leading all the way to Pikes Peak winds about to the left. Taking the Incline reduces the linear length of the Barr Trail by three miles at the expense of more exhaustion since you are going straight up a rough stairs made out of railroad ties. If you know what you are looking for you can see the Incline as you enter Manitou Springs. It looks like a straight line of clear-cut going down the mountain. There’s a T-shirt “survivors” can buy in a store that reads “Never Again!” and there is a warning at the base that this is an extreme trail, which it is. People have died trying to reach the top, but people have died trying to do a lot of things. Someone experienced and trying to beat a clock could do it in 30 minutes or so as a couple of hikers mentioned who easily passed me by. It took me an hour and a half. At least I finished and I resisted taking the “Bail Out”, a short connecting trail joining the Barr Trail offering a way down about two-thirds of the way up.

    There are people who really shouldn’t be on this trail. I doubt I will ever do it again.

    I went up with some experienced family members. They gave reasonable warnings about taking enough water. The most experienced on the trail thought to check the soles of my walking shoes at the base of the incline where it was really too late to do anything about them. “Are they adequate?” “No.”

    Others gave me advice on not trying to walk too fast followed by not taking too long of a break because otherwise we would never get to the top. I understood. I have met these family members before. They are looking for something or someone new to meet besides me. Some feel responsible for me like a baby sitter who would rather be texting her boyfriend. Besides, they had to keep an eye on me since this was my first time.

    It made me realize there is a benefit to walking alone, except for the potential cardiac arrest. You can stop, check to see if the view is worth the disk space on your phone to simulate the experience of it, and if you really want human communication there are many on this trail just as exhausted as you are and needing a break who wouldn’t mind exchanging a smile or a few words. That is all that it takes and the body feels rejuvenated. There is more to using the heart than overworking a machine.

    Impatience is a kill-joy. It would take an eternity to meet all that is worth meeting in the present, but we move on.

    The downward trail takes about the same amount of time. Some hikers run down this trail. They miss the scenery of trees, shrubbery, boulders and fence railings by focusing on the uneven dirt path below them. They have better things to do when they get to the bottom like starting the climb all over again. In my case, I’m not going to make this climb ever again and there is some doubt if I will even see some of these family members again, but if I were younger and more sure of my footing I would run down as well. There is nothing like teasing gravity to give one the sensation that we are all falling together.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Thanks, Yes/No. I liked it very much. Maybe one definition of good prose is the art to make every subject
    look interesting.
    I hope your contribution stimulates other posters.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 07-14-2016 at 04:21 PM.
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    flash fiction fatale heartwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    Answering your second question, yes I mean copyright,HW. I have noticed people participating in poetry contests, but they seem a bit fearful of participating of short story contests, maybe because of copyright matters. That´s why it would be very important to clear that point up before starting the contest.
    If there is fear because one is worried about someone ripping off a piece, maybe there is not the knowledge that once a piece is published by someone anywhere, that person owns that copyright. This very rarely happens: Getting ripped off. I have observed a wariness in some writers too but in a contest like this or sharing materials, one has to decide one is just going to enter into the spirit and not worry about what could be, which could strike a writer about once in 500,000 times or greater.

    The worst that could happen is that one will be copied without a poster's permission in which case the original author is within their legal rights and has proof of the original date of publication - they are within their rights to take action.

    If one knows one's rights and is convinced that having one's work usurped surreptitiously is a comfortable enough rarity so that entering into a contest is enjoyable, then hey, why not go for it. It's a contest, it's a game, it's for fun, yay!

    One still may hesitate because of publishing work which one could not be published again. And that's another thing to get comfortable with: This may happen. I think it is far more likely in paying markets. But I know because I've published in nonpaying markets that it is possible to find that publication and editor who is open to reprints, the writer just has to be forthcoming with this information. (And this may happen with some paying markets too. I'm just speaking about what I know the most about personally. Every time I look into a paying market, they make this stipulation: They want submissions that are not reprints.)

    But if you just want to have fun, this is the place for you, people. Let's show those poets who's boss. ha ha.
    Last edited by heartwing; 07-14-2016 at 04:36 PM.
    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser
    (image: walking by crilleb50, deviantArt)

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    flash fiction fatale heartwing's Avatar
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    I may post several. Yeah, why not. What do you think, Danik? I will keep them as compact as possible but all revolving on this theme of family. I don't know if I will generate more than one but it could be an interesting exercise if this is acceptable to post more than one and who knows, maybe that would encourage others too. Trying to be too perfect also blocks up one's creativity and I know this happens to me, and perhaps others. If each writer felt they had more than one chance to submit something maybe there wouldn't be the fear that whatever they put forward would have to be "the one." I will also look out for short stories that have been posted elsewhere and invite others to participate. I am still pretty new to the forum so I am still getting used to the way things work.
    Last edited by heartwing; 07-14-2016 at 06:03 PM.
    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser
    (image: walking by crilleb50, deviantArt)

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Thanks for your entusiasm HW! As this thread is still on an experimental basis I want to ask all of you to post only one story pro person. Those who have written more than one text, will have the chance to post all, for if everything goes well, the contest will continue with the winner from the first contest, who in his turn, will hand it over to the next winner. The idea is to make it continuous, so any one will have several chances to post his stories.
    Important: Even if you have already posted your story, you can work on it until the deadline date, if you want to change or improve it.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 07-14-2016 at 07:54 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    flash fiction fatale heartwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    Thanks for your entusiasm HW! As this thread is still on an experimental basis I want to ask all of you to post only one story pro person. Those who have written more than one text, will have the chance to post all, for if everything goes well, the contest will continue with the winner from the first contest, who in his turn, will hand it over to the next winner. The idea is to make it continuous, so any one will have several chances to post his stories.
    I gotcha, Danik! No problem! Thanks for the help and I am already looking to see how I might correct a story in progress and post it.
    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser
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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I am looking forward to it, HW!
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    flash fiction fatale heartwing's Avatar
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    Texas Twist, 1978

    When Frank and Aida, my adopted parents, drove me up to Mama’s house in Fort Worth, I told them not to follow me in. I had just discovered from papers I found that they were not my biological parents. Now I was not calling them Mom and Dad anymore but “Frank and Aida.” For thirteen years they had lied. They told me I was theirs. No wonder I never saw fat pictures of Aida preggers with me. On my birth certificate I read my biological mama’s reason for giving up her rights: “Abandonment” like I was some unwanted kid left at a fire house station.

    “Take me to my real Mama,” I said to them when they saw what I had found. And from then on, I called them by their first names Frank and Aida. And from then on, every day, I insisted they make the trek from Abilene to Fort Worth to see Mama. Every time I said that name “Mama” I watched Aida’s eyes wince up like she’d sucked on a lemon peel. When they didn’t take me and Aida kept boo hooing, I said: “Either take me to my real Mama’s or I am going to tell those people at the church and country club I've been kidnapped, I've been livin’ with liars.” And because this was halfway true on account of the lying, they drove me to Mama’s house.

    When we arrived, I slammed the car door shut and slung my guitar over my back. I used to wear it all the time in those days like it was a knapsack or a rifle. I rapped on the car window and watched them start. I was making them jumpy and I liked that.

    I motioned to Aida to roll down the window. I told them to stay outside. They seemed so much smaller compared to the time before, when I didn’t know anything. They couldn’t tell me anything anymore.

    Mama’s lawn was all scraggly with a few bushes around the base of the house that looked like the life was getting choked out of them. Her house was a fake adobe, faded peach. I pressed the cracked doorbell. When no one answered, I used a plastic card to jimmy the lock. And there she was – Mama - sitting in her living room with a dark skinned guy, like the Native American who cries when he sees litter on the highway. He was dressed in feathers and smoking a pipe.

    Mama’s teeth were white and straight, her hair long and blond. She looked like Cheryl Tiegs. She wore a low cut tunic which had a neckline that showed her tan breastbone. Frank and Aida had told me her name was Kathy, but I asked her anyway.

    “So what’s your name?” I said, hoping I looked like Jodie Foster.

    “Well what do you want to call me?”

    “What about Cheryl?”

    “Cheryl it is, then. And this is Joe. Sit down,” she said, patting a floor pillow. I sat with my legs crossed, the guitar resting on my thigh.

    “Play us a tune,” said Cheryl.

    I played and sang a John Denver song about walking in the rain.

    When I was finished, Cheryl said “So what brought you here, coon tail?” She picked up the ends of a rope belt I wore. The ends were made of an animal pelt.

    I didn’t know how to answer the question. Joe’s lips were like blue black tanned leatherwith a slit where the pipe stem entered.

    “Aida and Frank tell me I’m your mother.”

    Smoke rose before Joe’s black eyes. I thought of the inky substance in my Magic 8 Ball. Will Todd Jenkins kiss me? Better not tell you now. Will I marry Shaun Cassidy? Don’t count on it. Will I be rich and famous? Concentrate and ask again.

    “No daughter of mine goes around wearing a rat,” said Mama. She handed me the pipe. She showed me how to smoke it. I tried it and got sick. She dressed me in a peasant blouse and faded jeans and cleaned my face. I smoked again with Joe and he pierced my ears with a taper he kept in a leather satchel.

    “You’ve got a nice little body,” Mama said and looked at me long.

    I felt strange, like a feeling I shouldn’t have with my mother in the room. Joe’s thighs rested on the carpet. There was a dark space between his skin and leather skirt. His chest was as smooth as chocolate.

    “When the offering plate gets passed this Easter, stick your paw in and grab a bill, like this,” she said. She pulled the front of her tunic lower and picked up a bowl next to her. She leaned into Joe as she passed it, pressing her breast on his arm. “While he’s looking at what he can’t resist, you ooch out a fiver or a Hamilton or a C-note.”

    She gave me a stamped envelope with a P.O. Box address printed on it. “Send me the money and if you don’t get it, you’re no daughter of mine.”

    When I sent her the envelope with money in it, she wrote back and said “OK you little *****. I'm coming for a visit.” It was hard for me to imagine Cheryl Tiegs using the word “*****.”

    I did it for her though, even when I had lied before, about actually doing it. I just stole from Frank and Aida.

    On the Sunday Mama sat beside me in church, Jesus hanging on the cross watching, I unhooked a button while my mark sang “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” His voice caught on who bidst the mighty ocean deep its own appointed limits keep. He adjusted his tie. The heat radiating from him could have fueled a room.

    We moved onto bigger marks. And Frank and Aida always thought we were just hanging out. They said they had decided spending time with my mother was important to the formation of my identity.


    © Meg Sefton

    This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
    Last edited by heartwing; 07-16-2016 at 01:46 AM.
    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser
    (image: walking by crilleb50, deviantArt)

  15. #15
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    A very good story, HW! I suppose you must have a blog or some other means of publication somewhere. This is a contribution of a experienced writer.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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