Monday, February 14, 2011

CONTEST! Win a signed Breathless Books poster!


You asked for a contest that requires some skill? Okay, here goes.

In some ways it's harder to write a really great short story than it is to write a novel. So imagine how hard it is to write a really great SHORT short story!

Here's the challenge. Write a short story that's 250 WORDS OR LESS. (Longer entries will be appreciated but disqualified.) And you must choose from one of the following "Breathless" genres:

1. Horror
2. Science fiction (preferably set in space)
3. Dystopian
4. Weird romance

Entries are due in ONE WEEK. I must have them in my email (kikistrike@gmail.com) by 9AM EST, FEBRUARY 21. There will be FIVE WINNERS. Each will receive a poster signed by all of the best selling Breathless Books authors--plus a little bonus from me!

Good luck!

52 comments:

Zelia said...

Sounds like a lot of fun but I don't trust my english well enough to dare writting in a foreign language... :(

Kirsten Miller said...

Zelia: Why not! Your English seems pretty great to me! And it's only 250 words! Give it a shot.

Lucy said...

Hmmmmm I can't decide maybe a love story in space!!!!

Toodles*** said...

This will probably be a no, but can you enter more than one short story?

And thanks for listening, Kirsten!!!

Awesome contest idea.

The Narrator said...

Ooh, nice contest. I love flash fiction--it's my one vice on this earth, other than chocolate and dark tunnels. xD

However, given that I already got my tour poster signed in person, I'm going to sit back and let my fellow Irregulars fight it out. xD Good luck, everyone!

Ari the Awesome said...

YAY! I'm so excited! Definately going to try to get a poster.

squidlings said...

Gah, I was all excited till I saw the word limit.
But I'll try anyway! :D

Some Lost Melody said...

I might try but I'm gonna be super busy this week D: I have two essays and a project. OTL

The Sad Writer said...

I don't know.....There are some many different possibilities....
Too bad that I stink at tenses and things!

Gaiagirl said...

Are we permitted to send in more than one entry?

EQ said...

Hmmm...one entry per person, or two, or what?

Does post-apocalyptic fiction fall under the sci-fi or the dystopian heading?

Kirsten Miller said...

Everyone: submit as many entries as you like!

Kirsten Miller said...

EQ: very dystopian, I think!

Anonymous said...

Dear Zelia and Sad Writer:
LIVE DANGEROUSLY! Try the story contest. Goodness knows Joseph Conrad wasn't a native born english speaker, but his The Secret Agent is still, after all this time, one of the best spy stories ever written in English. And that's not just my opinion.

I'd read a horrid translation of a Juan Rulfo short story collection that still knocked my socks off. Some semicompetent could botch the title of the first story and the quality would still shine through.

Local writer Giovanna Pang Garcia didn't know much English at all until she was over sixteen, and she's written at least one more book than I.

I forget her name (BAD ROBERT!) but there's a Russian-born fantasy writer whose limpid, distinctive, clear prose and uncompromising vision make me want to weep on those few occasions where I dare attempt to read her stuff.

Among native speakers of English, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with any description of Raymond Feist's prose beyond "readable," but he's managed to hold about a generation of readers in thrall because he's got great plots and characters. He doesn't have to flaunt his language skills because he can really tell a good story.

Get advice. Use a dictionary. Be brave. Be bold. Borrow your favorite language teacher (any language) when it's time to polish that rough draft. Especially those tenses and things.

Besides, I'm not entering this competition. I already said I'm out of the running for posters. That 250 word ceiling put kibosh on me for sure. When have I ever gone under 250 words?

Robert in San Diego, urging everyone else to write.

Anonymous said...

FOUND HER! The mystery writer of limpid prose is Vera Nazarian, who most recently seems to be linked with Jane Austen. To steal from her biography page, "Vera Nazarian is arguably the only Armenian-Russian professional speculative fiction writer working in English today."

Oh, and she sold her first english language short story when she was seventeen.

It's only 250 words, or less. Ernest Hemingway reputedly wrote a short story in only six words.

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

I say reputedly, because Hemingway was prone to fibbing, and a lot of his friends were prone to fibbing too.

Robert in San Diego

Alice the Elf said...

OOOh, this is very exiting. There is some serious imagination about to be put on paper all over the world!!!! This'll be fun!

Amanda said...

Soo doing dystopian!

Micci said...

Do robots count as dystopian? Or is that science fiction? Whatever. I'm doing it.

Elizabeth said...

Fail. I am so bad at writing short stories... well, any stories at all really. Haha. Oh well! I guess I give it a try. xD

Toodles*** said...

oh my... i just made an attempt at an entry, but it was 68 words too long. time to edit!

Ju L. said...

I live at Brazil... What if I win?
Are you able to ship?

Anonymous said...

Dear Toodles:

Hunt down and kill the adjectives. Then excise those "thats" in any "that the" expressions. Good luck whittling.

Robert in San Diego

Anonymous said...

People of the Kirsten Miller Books:

Please don't be shy about entering. If you're worried about embarrassing yourselves, remember the stories are going, privately, to Kirsten's email address.

Robert in San Diego, ashamed to recall his first published book reviews.

Amanda said...

Done! its 197 words long! Holy crow! to everyone who is consdering this! DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If ernest hemingway could then so could you!

Anonymous said...

I was so stuck for DYSTOPIAN. i had to look it up........so funny, i never knew about that word before, and yet i constantly hear people complaining (more or less) that they live in one.

lucy said...

if i don't win i will cry hint hint haha just kidding i will probably write a story a day until the winner is reavealed

Ari the Awesome said...

I have finished my short story, but I need to edit out eight words. This contest is hard! But also awesome. I'm going to work on it today, because 40% of my teacher are rebelling against Scott Walker. Go teachers! Anyway, I'm really excited to finish my story, so I'm going to go do that now.

deepasm said...

…do articles like «a» count as words?

Anonymous said...

i just wrote one but cant figure out how to send it in!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i don't think i have a very good chance but i'll take the risk any way.. i mean seriously how many people can be entering?

Kirsten Miller said...

Depasm: if word counts them, then yes. Can't wait to see what u do.

Anonymous: kikistrike@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Dear Ju L.:

I think Kirsten can get a poster to you if you enter and win -- the Universal Postal Union has been getting national postal administrations straightened out and working with each other for more than 100 years. It's one of the branches of the United Nations that predates the founding of the UN.

After my own improbable exploit with hollow plastic sharks, loaded USB drives, and Malaysia, a poster tube mailed from NYC to Brazil shouldn't be a big deal.

BTW, did you read the Kiki Strike books in Portuguese, English, or some other language?

Robert in San Diego

The Narrator said...

Robert in San Diego:

Hollow plastic sharks, loaded USB drives, and Malaysia. Is this an exploit you've shared with the class before? If it's not, I'm certain I'm not the only one who'd love to hear it.

You, sir, are intriguing. Be proud of that, as it's not a trait many people possess.

Delila the Hopeful said...

Do we need to have a title, and if so, does it count in the word-counting?

Please let me know!!

Delila the Hopeful said...

Do we need to have a title, and if so, does it count in the word-counting?

Please let me know!!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for this contest!!!!!!!!!!
Also, Kirsten, I think that the Irregular's uniforms are missing one thing... eyepatches!
According to a recent study (conducted by me) wearing an eyepatch on one eye for several hours will allow your eye to adapt in the dark, so that when it gets dark you simply switch the eyepatch to the oposite eye and... voila! Instant night vision!
That is, in case you forgot to bring your night vision goggles :)

Ju L. said...

Robert in San Diego:
Thanks a lot for the help! Yeah, I read it in portuguese and than english.

Lucy said...

Ugh the suspense is killing me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Do THE END or TO BE CONTINUED count as part of the story?
If they do, I need to edit out three more words! This contest is harder than I thought it would be!
Do u think stealing a famous painting and ending up in space counts as horror of sci-fi? Either way, I'm definitely entering it!
Btw, does anyone know how old the Louvre is?

Zelia said...

Ok, ok I'm proud to say I gave it a try and... My first draft had 367 words! It is SO hard writting under 250.

I did my best to double check my spelling. And tried not to overuse commas because if I'm not mistaken, english and portuguese do not share the same rules about commas. So... I gave my best.

And it was fun! Thanks Kirsten and Robert for encouraging me. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Narrator:

Back in the old days, under-a-dollar novelty and knicknack shops had stocks of hollow plastic sharks, that came apart in the middle. Before they sort of got banned by the US Postal Service for doing nasty things to sorting machines (I think you could still send them, but they charge extra for hand sorting, I haven't noodled my way through the Domestic Mail Manual in years). Rubber stamp fans thought they were cute, and used them to mail rubber stamps, or at least the rubber part, to each other. You'd get the rubber part of the stamp, then go to your home workshop and hacksaw off a section of floorboard or trim molding, and get busy with a handy jar of rubber cement (or, in my case, a tube of bicycle tube patching "vulcanizing fluid").

I had a pen pal in Malaysia. Actually, it was worse than that -- I had a FOUNTAIN PEN PAL in Malaysia. I also had access scans of a 1700's era penman's manual, and he was interested in it. He had a mediocre computer with a GREAT display, but no internet access. Well, lousy internet access -- email only, permitted only in fifteen minute intervals three times a day.

It was easier to send him the images by postal mail on USB drives, 64 mb drives at that (this was a while ago) than it was use.

The last laugh was on me -- the 1700's was in that pre-postage stamp era (those came about in 1840 in the UK) where people were, among other things, charged per sheet. Not only would people write small, but when they ran out of space, they'd turn the paper 90 degrees and keep writing across what they'd written. Sometimes a "cross" letter would have text going in four directions.

Guess what I got in the mail from Malaysia? NOTE: If you want to try this yourself, please have mercy on your postal mail correspondents and either don't, or switch to a different color for each direction of writing.

I don't want to say I've had fun playing with, and laughing at, something as boring as the Domestic Mail Manual, but I see the section on mailing live alligators isn't in there any more. And before you ask about that -- IT WASN'T ME! I was simply the innocent bystander, hopping on the counter and raising my feet (in sandals, toes exposed!) far, far away from the ravenous little reptile when that happened. OK, I was there at the post office to claim a styrofoam manniquin head someone had mailed to me, but I had nothing to do with the foot long little 'gator except wrong place, wrong time.

Now you see why I'm not even bothering to try to enter the 250 word limit story contest.

Robert in San Diego

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous No 1:

Back in the day, and even now, people who'd need good night vision in a few minutes would wear red googles. That screened out light acting on the cones on the retina where we see color, and caused dilation so the rods for the night vision part would get the light.

Dear Anonymous No 2: Go old school, like Latin, and write "Finis" instead of "the end" or "to be continued." It'll save you one or two words.

Robert in San Diego

Anonymous said...

YIKES! It's still legal to mail baby alligators in the US. I typed too soon in a previous entry. Here's the quote from the United States Postal Service:

9.3.3 Small Cold-Blooded Animals

Small, harmless, cold-blooded animals (except snakes and turtles) that do not require food or water or attention during handling in the mail and that do not create sanitary problems or obnoxious odors are mailable (e.g., baby alligators and caimans not more than 20 inches long, bloodworms, earthworms, mealworms, salamanders, leeches, lizards, snails, and tadpoles).

END of quote.

Will this tidbit appear in anyone's contest short story?

Robert in San Diego

Anonymous said...

what would be considered a wierd romance??? could fantasy be invovled in it?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous- I think weird romance would be fantasy or people liking non-people. Kinda like twilight I guess.
I can't wait to find out who won!

Anonymous said...

Dear Story Contestants:

Again, I'm not in this for a poster, but does anyone have a favorite map of the solar system? The most convenient one I have is a thumbnail of a subway map variant.

The distances are staggering. Would take minutes (at the speed of light) for a reply to a simple question.

Robert in San Diego, off to the library soon.

Anonymous said...

Does the title of my story count as part of the 250 words?

Kirsten Miller said...

Last Anonymous: nope. Title doesn't count this time.

Chloe said...

I was just curious if you had recieved my short story?

Kirsten Miller said...

Chloe: yep

Anonymous said...

I was wondering, can the short stories be like a beginning of a story you never finished or no? What I mean is that I wrote a stories during a boring class hour and it's probably under "Dystopian", but it sort of doesn't make sense.... It's sort of late to enter though so....
- Anotak

Kirsten Miller said...

Anonymous: no. They have to be complete stories. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Hi! This is Lucy
I was wondering if you got my stories?