Technically Fall begins September 22, so I guess we’re starting this biannual contest a day early. But at long last, and in place of our Summer Challenge, Spec Faith brings you our traditional Writing Challenge!
Certainly 2020 has been the strangest year I’ve lived through. Nothing has seemed normal—from the impeachment (yes, that was this year, though it almost seems like a lifetime ago), the pandemic, church online, race riots, fires, hurricanes, on and on.
Perhaps there’s something within all these strange events that sparks a story idea. But that’s for writers—published or unpublshed, hobbyists or professionals—who wish to enter the challenge to decide.
As we have done in the past, Spec Faith will offer a prize for the winner of the 2020 Fall
Writing Challenge. Of course there’s also feedback from other Spec Faith visitors, which all entrants may enjoy, but there’s a $25 gift card from either Amazon or B&N for the winner. For readers, there are stories or story beginnings to enjoy. It’s all very win-win for all our visitors!
As a refresher, here’s how the 2020 Fall Writing Challenge works:
- I’ll give a first line, and those who wish to accept the challenge will write what comes next—in 100 to 300 words, putting your entry into the comments section of this post.
“What comes next” may be the opening of a novel, a short story, or a completed piece of flash fiction—your choice.
In keeping with Spec Faith’s primary focus on the intersection of speculative fiction and the Christian faith, writers may wish to incorporate Christian elements or to write intentionally from a Christian worldview, but neither is required (largely because many entries will be the beginnings of stories, and may not yet reveal the direction they could go). Likewise, I’d expect speculative elements, or the suggestion of such, but entries will not be disqualified because of their omission.
- Readers will give a thumbs up (NO THUMBS DOWN, PLEASE!) to the ones they like the most (unlimited number of thumbs up), and, if they wish, they may give a comment (please do!) to the various entries, identifying what elements particularly grabbed their attention or in what ways they can strengthen their writing.
I encourage such responses—it’s always helpful for entrants to know what they did right, what readers liked, and what they could have done to improve.
- After the designated time, I’ll re-post the top three (based on the number of thumbs up they receive) and visitors will have a chance to vote in a poll for the one which they believe to be the best 2020 fall entry (one vote only).
The entry which receives the most votes will earn a $25 gift card (from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble). In the event of a tie, a drawing will be held between the top vote getters to determine the winner.
And now, the first line:
Stuffing the last item of clothing into her travel bag, Octavia glanced out the window once more to be sure that no one was on the road in front of her house.
Finally, those silly little details we all need to know:
- You must include the given first line without changing it. Changes to the prompt will disqualify an entry (things like verb tense or gender or POV).
- Your word count does not include this first line.
- You will have between now and 8:00 AM (Pacific time) this coming Monday, September 28, 2020, to post your challenge entries in the comments section.
- You may reply to entries and give thumbs up, this week and next. To have your thumbs up counted to determine the top three entries, mark your favorite entries before Monday, October 5, at 8:00 AM (Pacific time).
- Voting begins Monday, October 5, after the poll is posted.
Feel free to invite your friends to participate, either as writers or readers. The more entries and the more feedback, the better the challenge.
However, please note, the challenge is not a popularity contest. We want to give writers a chance to find out what readers actually think of their writing. Consequently, please do not ask your social media followers to give your selection a vote unless they read the other entries as well. Thanks for making this little exercise a valuable help to all who enter.