Greetings, my inklings. It’s been too long! My health has been poor but my love for writing (and for you lot hasn’t waned in the least). My short story “MadWorm”, the winner of The Writing Piazza’s first ever writing contest, needed a new home so I’ve brought it here to our Octopus’s garden to share once more. I hope to have some new material for you soon, until then enjoy Runt and Heavy’s tech savvy adventure below and let me know what you think in the comments.
MadWorm by Robert JV Christensen
Levi was on the driveway unboxing his senior project before letting it come inside.
“Kelly is going to go nuts when she sees you, Mobo,” he whispered to the heaps of plastic and carbon fiber plating scattered around him, “Where’s your head? Ah! There you go, buddy.”
“Honey, your brother is home, aren’t you going to come see him?” their mother called up to Kelly’s window from down in the yard. An unrepentantly cheerful voice sounded from an open window on the second floor in response.
“I have my routine, Mom! Heavy can wait.”
Mom set down the magazine she had been reading and rolled her eyes before shouting back, “Don’t call him that, Kelly-”
“It’s okay, Mom. It’s a term of endearment thing,” Levi said, his hands spilling over with copper wiring, “I think.” Continue reading →
Welcome back, my inklings! Today I want to talk about competition. As much as we don’t like to look at it, competition is inherent to the craft of writing. We compete with each other in the market place and on the bookshelf. We vie for space in the imaginations of our readers.
When you put something out there, even something free, you’re engaged in the battle to take some of that limited supply of attention for yourself. At the outset of every story we write, we are asking our readers for the most valuable thing that anyone can give to us. Their time.
To find out where you stand in the marketplace of ideas, to get your name and work out there in front of people and to build an eye catching resume for yourself as an author you’ve got to prove you can win. To yourself and to everyone else.
Contests are a great measuring stick and one of the most exciting challenges you can take on as a writer.
Knowing what competitions to enter can be difficult, most have reading fees which can become pricey if you enter a lot of them. Some restrict your copyright so badly that they reserve the right to use your submission any way they please, edit it themselves without notice and not even credit you when they publish it (I excluded exactly such a contest from this list for its outrageously anti-author terms of service).
So, as a favor to you, my dear inklings, I have decided to share three upcoming free contests with deadlines in the next several weeks.
Full contest rules and submission guidelines are available at the following links
Source: Baen Books Contest: 2016 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Entry Fee: None Word Limit: 8,000 words Call For: Short Stories in any Fantasy genre variant Deadline: Started Jan 1st, closes April 1st
Prizes: Grand Prize– Exposure! Published as featured story on Baen Books main website and paid “industry-standard rates for professional story submittals” as well as $500 worth of books.
2nd Place- $500 of free books!
3rd Place- $300 of free books!
Source: DemiCon 27 Contest: DemiCon 27 Prose and Poetry Contest Entry Fee: None Word Limit: 7,500 for Short Stories, 100 Lines for Poetry Call For: Short Stories and Poems in Sci-Fi or Fantasy genres, must contain the phrase “like a zombie” and the sentence “They always ring twice.” Deadline: March 29th, 2016
Prizes: 1st Place– Bragging rights, of course!
Also, all entries will be published on the official website after judging is completed and will be available to the attendees in print form at the convention.
Source: City of Ventura, CA Contest: Art Tales 8th Annual Writing Contest Entry Fee: None Word Limit: 500 words or less Call For: Flash Fiction or Poetry inspired by selected artworks (see website for details) Deadline: April 4th, 2016
“All winners receive a bound edition of the judges’ selection”
1st Place– $30
2nd Place– $15
I encourage all of you to enter and compete! I’d love to hear from you if you win, place or even just entered. Even if you don’t come in first you still have a new completed story and that’s a victory in itself.
Join me next week when I’ll give you some tips on writing winning entries to help guide you to the top. Until next time, stay creative!
Good afternoon, my inklings! I have the most delightful news for you. I have another free short story to share and this time it’s another contest winner. I have been honored as the winner of the first ever “Short Story Showcase” over at Kara Piazza’s blog, “The Writing Piazza”.
I’m just grateful to God that I was given another story that somebody really liked. I hope you’ll like it too. The story is called MadWorm. It’s a web savvy futuristic adventure with laughs, intrigue and maybe even a little danger.
Welcome, my inklings, to Writamins! Writing Vitamins or “Writamins” is my new article series designed to get you pumped, get you thinking about your craft and get you writing with my very own brand of condensed writing nutrition.
If you’re like me you have a million ideas for books with new ones popping up almost daily, but how do you narrow them down? It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to write an entire book, so how can you know that your concept and characters are going to excite people and really connect with your readers? Take some Vitamin S, of course! Continue reading →
Welcome back, my inklings! Here is the science fiction adventure tale “Verser” which won first place in the Constellation 6 writing contest at the beginning of May. I hope you enjoy it!
by Robert JV Christensen
Hail’s heart was pounding as he sprinted through the smoldering city streets while fire-arcs, like bolts of lightning, cascaded down around him slashing deep wounds into the ancient steel skyscrapers. He held a toddler, in his arms as he ran, sheltering him as best as he could.
“Hold on, Harp,” Hail said to him. The boy, shaking with fear, could only cry. He winced and shrieked as a loud crash let Hail know that another building was coming down nearby.
Holding Harp tightly, Hail leapt from where he stood up a few stories to the roof of a nearby parking garage. Casting a hasty glance up at the sky, he saw the sun eclipsed by an enormous flying metal structure. It was the Iron Fortress of Ageless.
Hail and Ageless were Versers. Once, there weren’t any Versers. Life was better then.
The Iron Fortress cast another deadly strike of flame down upon the city and Hail frantically looked for a path of escape. Continue reading →
Hello, my inklings! This short story is the result of my St. Patty’s day writing prompt. I highly recommend the exercise, especially randomly rolling up your combination of story elements, since it gave me the chance to practice building a plot and characters according some factors that were out of my hands. It felt great getting something worth sharing out of what started out sounding like a tall order. Write like an octopus and squeeze through any gap, my friends!
“The Last Voyage of Richard Breen”
By Robert JV Christensen
Richard Breen was a man of numbers unsuited to life at sea, but never the less there he was. The wobbly horizon rose and fell from the view of his porthole window like an indecisive painting and the rising sun cast its errant beams about the room whenever it came into view. Richard held both hands over his eyes and tried to imagine that he was anywhere on solid ground. Someone wrapped at the door. Continue reading →