A.J. Walker

writerer

microcsoms

Microcosms Results

The Microcosms website still seems to be having severe issues. I posted the results off a couple of weeks ago and due to those issues the results have yet to be posted up. In the interim whilst the website elves deal with the gremlins here are the results. Hope the Microcosms site is sorted soon.

RESULTS - WEEK 172

As someone who never spins on principle I was surprised at how many did this week. That said, I hadn’t looked at the page until after I had completed the judging (which reminds me: thanks Sal for sending me the stories minus the authors so I could do the judging blind). I assume the spinning was to avoid the steampunk form, which may be a bit constraining and not an obvious choice so I do understand the spinning; and after all the option is there for a reason.

There were eight entries this week, but one was using the previous week’s prompts which I’ve discounted - not sure whether this has appeared in the wrong section due to some of the current issues the site has been experiencing.

There was a fun range of stories taking in time-travel to Stonehenge, steam-driven aeroplanes, environmental activism, transcendentalism, and the mundanity of war. Well done to all, it was pleasure to read them.


Favourite Lines

Earth Daze
After the massive marches in the States, the exhilaration of them, the fear of what they signified, Lucy asked, “What if…” and she hesitated a fraction, “what if we dedicated our lives to the earth?”
Sunset At Stonehenge
All human eyes were fixed on the sunset, so none noticed the otherworldly traveler who stepped from the shadows of the eastern arch.
The Transcendental Artist
‘I’m going to paint my way out of here,’ I told myself.
Five Words Screaming
But the message itself – the message was always the same:
I regret to inform you…
Per Ardua Ad Astra
It was a large machine, larger than any steam-powered aeroplane flown so far, it had to be to accommodate all the coal required to reach the fabulous speed expected of it.
The Gold Mine
A gigantic steamy bird is taking off: miners are on board cheering and screaming towards the freedom
On Pain of Death
“Everyone,” her voice cut through the flurry of screams. “Remain calm.”

Oscar (previous week’s challenge)
“Having trouble finishing my sentenc… ” Oscar said. Oscar 99-101 refilled his bowl with organic, unsalted puffed peas.
Er… maybe an issue with the website?


Winner:
Five Words Screaming : Ellen Grace
Tightly written story and evocative of the hopes and expectations of the protagonist. Dreaming of helping the war effort, sending messages that would impact on the war effort–help in winning it. Then these hopes to be dashed (and dotted) by being given the task of sending out death notices time and time again. Well done. Lovely job.

Runner-Up
The Transcendental Artist : KJ Watson
What fun we’d have if we could paint what we needed or wanted to happen. Great idea, nicely paced, well written and totally fun.
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Judging Malarkey

It's been a while since I've done any judging, mind you it's been a while since I've entered a challenge where winners are chosen. Last week I entered Microcosms for the second successive week after a long hiatus and was given the win by the judge (thank you, Dana) who evidently has a similar sense of humour to me. Anyways, as a winner you get asked to judge the following weeks entries which this week I agreed to.

There were seven entries this week (week 172) which covered a wide variety of subjects based on the fun range of prompts. Judging is always an interesting process and it was as enjoyable as ever to do this time. Good to get it done and dusted by Tuesday too. Hopefully the results will be up on the website soon–once I've found out who I should be sending my review to!

If you haven't tried Microscoms before I can recommend giving it a go. It's a weekly writing challenge for Flash Fiction of up to 300 words posted on their site: microcosmsfic.com It's always a fun challenge. And maybe when you win it you'll can lay your rule over the following week's stories–and find that just as much fun (or at least interesting) as writing for it.

MiniUniverses
MicroGems
Go on. Give it a go. In the meantime have a look at the site and see how it all works.
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Ready, Not Ready

I've not been entering many flash fiction challenges lately (not counting VSS365 as a challenge per se) but have done the odd Microcosms over the last three or four months. I was working on Friday but it was a late start so I wrote a quick story before heading to work and found out the judge chose mine as the top one this morning. So a nice start to the day. Normally the winner would take on the judging the following week, but as I'm doing NaNoWriMo and I'll be curating VSS365 this weekend I've asked to put back my judging duties to another month (which has graciously been accepted - thanks Geoff!).

If you're looking at a <300 word challenge on a Friday then head on over to Microcosms some time (preferably on a Friday).

vss365-2

I've got #VSS365 sorted now. The first ten words are in the scheduler and good to go. I think I'm largely happy with the words, but hell I dare say there aren't many words we couldn't or wouldn't want to work with (probably words Trump uses). I'll have to see whether I get to change any of the words in the daily tweets. May be best to just keep it simple. After all you're all just wanting to know what the one word is...

nanowrimo-2

So, I'm ready with regard to VSS but I am far from ready with respect to NaNo. I've sketched out some ideas, but boy there's a lot of question marks about how it will go and a damn load of space to fill. Whilst I've done it once before and completed it I think I am less confident about this attempt due to the existing woolliness. We shall see how it works and whether it will come together over the coming weeks. Good luck to all who are giving it a go.

I have sorted the images for next four bands and singers for #ClassSongOfTheDay which will save some time later in the month and today I've updated the CSOTD2 page with the songs for this week from the mighty slide of Ry Cooder. If you like some fab guitar slide on over and listen to some great tunes.

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A Wee Flash Outing and Some Thinking

As the days grow colder and shorter and the grey cloud blanket envelops the days we must enjoy the rare blue autumn days when they come along. This week that was Wednesday. And now Friday is upon us and the weekend is almost here we are in for rain and wind, or wind and rain, apparently. I suppose it makes you appreciate those moments of low sun beauty all the more, but a fifty-fifty split would be better than 1 day in 7 please.

In the early hours of this morning the wind began to whip up, getting especially loud around 6am, waking me up on my day off. It was bound to happened for I am working Saturday and Sunday and today is therefore my weekend. I normally pick one day of the weekend to have off and try and coincide it with the Liverpool game (which 8 times from 10 is on the tellybox), but this week there is no Premiership. Yes, it is the second worse two word combination in the English language: 'International Break' (the most dreaded being 'Rail Replacement'). The day hasn't got any lighter since 7am this morning yet and the forecast suggests it won't. I'm hoping Saturday and Sunday will be slightly better than this for work. I can but hope.

Today I've done a Microcosms (300 word) challenge, which is the first time for quite a few months I think (though time seems a more fluid concept than usual at the moment).

I am going to try and write every day of the remainder of the year and whilst this is only 300 words it's a start. I've also to consider whether 30 of those remaining days will include doing NaNoWriMo and, if so, which of the ideas to run with. Got about two weeks to decide and get some plans in place. I know I've been watching TV too much lately and an hour or so less of that (if the plans are defined enough) should provide the time required to write the 1667 words a day (or a good proportion of those).
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Drafting: DeadCades

Started writing the story for the final instalment of the Infernal Clock trilogy: DeadCades.

ICDeadCades

Already it has changed from the story I thought was going to write. I'd said before that I had a good idea for a story setting which I thought I could use for this almost as a testing ground. However that setting is probably a few decades later and would also, at least as a first tale, warrant a bigger story. In any case whilst driving along minding my own business the other day another story came into head apparently from nowhere. I think it must have been floating through the cosmos and got to somewhere in north Wales around the A55 whilst I was driving past and 'hey presto!' it popped into my coconut head. Story particles are like that; I reckon they'll find story particles in the Large Hadron Collider at some point. Fairy Tales will prove to be fundamental particles. Probably.

Anyways, I think it's a good idea - well of course I do!

However I am only 1200 words into a 5000 word story and I can feel it may need 15k words to tell it so I'll have to see where it goes. I haven't got to any scary bits yet, which is a bit of a worry in a horror tale (though there are two dead bodies).

Good to put pen to paper (well plastic keys into aluminium shell) and get it started. I'm using Scrivener but to be honest I could just type it out into any word processor with this length of story. But I'll find a few things out about Scrivener no doubt whilst I'm using it so it's worth using it rather than Pages anyway.

This morning I also blasted out a quick rough and ready story for Microcosms for the second successive week. Not sure I'll be writing that frequently for it, but I got told there wasn't a route (i.e. work) for me this morning so I had the time (even if I didn't want to have the time). Ho hum.
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Project: Jaipur and Thanks Vicente

Well I downloaded Scrivener 3 the other day and have had a couple of days using so far. Not got to grips with all it can do yet but I am liking it so far. I didn't use it on Friday for Microcosms, I just stuck with Pages. Nice to get a quick story out and today it got a Honourable Mention from the first time judge Vincente Ruiz. Thank you Vicente!

Be Happy

Yesterday in forty minutes of writing I completed the first 700 words on Project: Jaipur. That works out at about 1000 words an hour; I can happily live with that for now. Not sure how long I wrote for today but it was another 1400 words or so - (so maybe an hour and a half) and I also wrote a quick story for Flash Feed, where I am currently ranked as a St Bernard. Woof! The prompt is the grinning bearded man above. If it strikes you as interesting then there's still time to get on over there and get a story out.

Bernie
That's me on the right.
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Writing and Twitter Democracy

This week I've written three (yes three) FlashFeeds and one Microcosms; not bad over a five or six day period. They were all between 300 and about 370 words. The one day I didn't write I was out putting some thoughts on paper together on what my main target(s) could be for this year's writing. Anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows I am struggling with a multitude of ideas and not sure which to target yet. I think that Steph Ellis who suggested getting on with all of them and seeing which runs best seems a fine idea - if a tad MA-HOOSSIVE.

The other writing I've tasked myself with is doing some memoir pieces and to that end I put out my first ever Twitter vote with the choices between; Russia, Turkmenistan, China, and Nigeria. The results are in ...

Turk

It's the fabulously bizarre Turkmenistan. Where the hell am I going to start and end with that one (other than Turkmenistan)!?

Thanks to all the bods who voted. Just glad to receive more than a couple of votes! Who says democracy is dead?



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Microcosms, Flash and an Android

Not sure how many times I've done Microcosms but it must be in the tens. All those times I've always gone with the three story elements that are given rather than spin the wheels till I find something more up my street. But this last time I span to get three different elements. Shocking behaviour!

It must have worked for me a little as it was nice to get a Second Place from the Judge Bill Engleson all the way over in sunny California. Thanks Bill!

Think I'll go back to the Original Spin (not sin) in future though. Don't want to make it too easy on myself, do I?

Over the weekend I also managed to write a quick story for
FlashFeed1.6 too. So far I've managed all the weeks and hoping to keep that going as long as possible. Nice to keep the Flash muscles going.

But the other none flash challenge stuff still needs to be worked on, especially now that Calendark is done and dusted.

I've got me a new cheap smartphone which I've yet to pair with the bluetooth keyboard. Downloaded a writing app onto it too. My first ever Android phone, and I do feel like I'm cheating on Apple. But needs must.

Will see how the phone, the keyboard and the App goes and will report back. Should mean I can type up flash at the very least whilst I'm on buses or trains.
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A Hatful of Brownie Points

A day off. On a Friday. So what can I do? Well, clearly I can't not do a Microcosms, can I?

Microcosms 350

So yip, a quick 300 words later I've gone and done three Microcosms in four weeks. I'm awarding myself a hatful of brownie points. Shame they can't be used as currency anywhere.

For the first time ever I've spun and chosen three different story elements than was originally provided. I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me.

Anyway, still plenty of time for you guys to get your story on.

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Robots and Dogs

Happy to have managed to get a story up on Microcosms tonight. That's my second in three weeks, Geoff! So I can take a few weeks off now. Probably.

robot

Yesterday I did a quick story for FlashFeed1.5 The Wooden Robot. So amazingly I have managed a story each week of the new FlashDogs 300 word (well, 2000 character) challenge. I'm now no longer a cockapoo, I've been upgraded to one of my favourite pooches ... I'm a golden retriever!

Woof woof!!

golden



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