Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 191!
This week, we are pleased to continue with “The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction”, brought to you by Alert Terminal Warehouse.
We’re working on making these posts better. Appreciate any feedback you have to share, both positive and constructive, as well any other suggestions you might have. Send a message or hit us up on Twitter.
- Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 191!
- Add Recurring Weekly Calendar Reminder
- To Qualify For the Cash Prize, You Must:
- This Week's Prompts
- MC 189 Winners!
- Follow Us
Here’s a brief rundown of changes we have made (details can be found on our FAQs page):
- Weekly contest runs Sunday – Saturday.
- New! Judge’s pick winner gets a $25 USD prize. (Default is by PayPal; other options available.) Contest is still free to enter!
- Community pick winner(s) for fun and bragging rights!
- We have a default spinner you can use now if you don’t like the prompt(s) offered. Enter as many times as you like!
- We’re using the Pacific Time (PDT/PST, as applicable – Los Angeles time).
Add Recurring Weekly Calendar Reminder
Never forget to enter again! Choose as many as you like!
Add a recurring reminder for Sundays
Add a recurring reminder for Mondays
Add a recurring reminder for Tuesdays
Add a recurring reminder for Wednesdauys
Add a recurring reminder for Thursdays
Add a recurring reminder for Fridays
Add a recurring reminder for Saturdays
- You have ONE WEEK (Sunday – Saturday, midnight – midnight) Los Angeles Time (PST/PDT) to submit your masterpiece.
- All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title and other header info).
- We enjoy fan fiction! Just not for this contest. NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS for this contest.
- Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry (see format guide below).
- If you are new to Microcosms, please check out the full submissions guidelines on our FAQs page.
- I feel like this should go without saying, but just in case – absolutely no AI submissions.
- Constructive feedback is fine, but all comments should be made in the spirit of kindness. Determination of what that means and if there are any consequences (such as warning or banning) is at my sole discretion. This is a safe space. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, or anti-Semitism, etc. (including “dog whistles”), will not be tolerated. This has never really been an issue, and we generally have a very nice community here – let’s keep it that way.
- You retain all rights to your story, except otherwise noted and unless otherwise agreed upon in advance (e.g., if selected for inclusion in an anthology, a contract will be sent with details). By submitting your story to this contest, you are granting us worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free rights to display it on our website (and store it, as needed).
To Qualify For the Cash Prize, You Must:
- Submit your story as a comment below.
- Story must fit within the contest criteria, including word count guidelines, and be on time. (A few minutes is okay; contact us if there are technical issues preventing you from submitting more than 5 minutes past midnight, PT.)
- Include the prompts used. (You can use the ones we spun for or spin your own from the current or default spinner, but it must be clear what you used.)
- Vote AND leave a comment on at least one other story for the week that is not your own (doesn’t have to be the same story).
- Share a link to the contest on social media, if you have one. (I.e., if you include a social media handle in your submission to promote yourself, please extend the same courtesy in return.)
- Acknowledge that the decision of the judge(s) is/are final.
Please use the following format when submitting your entries (feel free to copy/paste and edit or save a copy of the Google Doc linked below):
My Amazing Story Title XXX words Element / Element / Element My Preferred Name Optional: website or social media link 1 (please include full URL) Optional: website or social media link 2 (please include full URL) Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information. /// OR /// No, I am not open to derivative works at this time, thank you. *** My amazing story content goes here. You can use HTML to add a link. Example: <a href="https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic">https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic</a>
Please kindly use this format, then copy/paste your response as a comment on this post.
(It’s totally fine to be creative with the “words” part, like “253 ripe bananas”, as we’ve seen some people do in the past.) Not using this format with NOT disqualify you. But it will help us out if you do use it.
We have prepared a free and easy-to-use, pre-formatted document in Google Docs to help simplify things. Just save your own copy and then replace the content with your own. (Sometimes, adding links will get your comment flagged by the spam filter. If you think that happened, please contact us for assistance.)
This Week’s Prompts
Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location/setting, and genre/style.
We spun, and our three elements are:
Switched at Birth / Blind Date / Drama
Reluctant Dater / Auction House / Comedy
Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button below, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, location and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you. (Don’t like any of these? Try our default spinner.)
- Rock Climber
- Reluctant Dater
- Switched at Birth
- Scam Artist
- Secretly Wealthy
- Party Host
- Blind Date
- Tech Support Center
- Auction House
- Dinner Party
- Reading of a Will
Judging this week is long-term alum Stephanie Ellis! Be sure to give her a shoutout on Twitter!
Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. All being well, MC 190 Community Pick(s) will be announced at the end of the week, along with the Judge’s Pick, who will win $25!
We are always and forever in need of assistance. If you have any spare time to help, we will happily accept. Even something as little as 5-10 minutes a week would be amazing. (You have no idea.) To find out how you can help, please visit our volunteers page. If you have an idea for a future contest and/or would like to be a guest judge, please contact us.
MC 189 Winners!
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Without further ado, it’s time to announce the winner(s) of MC XXX!
Huge congrats (and bragging rights) go to our Community Pick(s):
- Steve Lodge
- Laura Cooney
Great job, Steve and Laura!
And the Judge’s Pick, and winner of this week’s $25 Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction, is:
- Eden Solera
Congrats, Eden! Please contact us for instructions on how to accept your prize! And please let us know if you’d like to judge a future contest!
Here’s what judge Andy (AJ) Walker had to say:
It was a privilege and a challenge to review these Microcosms stories for the newly sponsored challenge. It was nice to be asked. Thanks too to everyone who gets involved in it whenever they can. Three hundred words is not much to get a story going from start to finish whilst taking in sometimes diverse and damn right oddly juxtaposed elements.
This week there were seven stories – six of which were eligible according to the rules. But even with a relatively small number of stories to go through it was hard to pick a favourite. There were horror stories and sci-fi with both serious and comedic bents. It was nice – if not difficult because of it – to read them all multiple times and not to have been hit with a total standout; and that not because there wasn’t a good enough one, but because there were indeed several very good ones. In the end I had to make a decision though and my choice was: ‘Memories Bound In Blood’, which incorporated spun elements; Librarian, Plastic Surgeon, and Horror.
‘Memories…’ was a strong story throughout and like most of them had a nice tight ending. It also clearly struck the required elements; which can be harder than it seems at first with so few words to play with: I know from my own experience that deleting even a single sentence out of your first edit can remove one or more of the elements without you even noticing.
I’ve judged the stories blind so I don’t know who has won – or who hasn’t. Congratulations to the winner whoever he or she is. And if I haven’t picked yours you can be proud to have made my job a difficult one.
PS. Sod’s Law that I went for a story where the author had spun the wheels, when I always try not too.