Showing posts with label Specualtive Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Specualtive Fiction. Show all posts

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Final (contest) Stretch

As I've mentioned in past posts, I'm been competing in a creative writing contest at since August 30th.  There were nineteen competitors, but after three elimination rounds we are down to just me and two other participants.  On October 20th, the final round closes for judging, and based on our entries we will be placed either first, second, or third overall.  (Last year I made it this far, too, and ended up placing third.  Naturally, I'm shooting for higher this time ;)

The group hosting the contest specializes in Speculative Fiction, but in this final round, we are not bound by genre or word count.  Sky's the limit.  However, we have to write our stories based on what is, I think, the most creative prompt evah!  Here's how it works:

We were directed to this Wordpress blog.  I'm quite certain it was created by the host group.  The blogger's name and gender are not disclosed.  The ten posts are short, almost scattered-brained, and dripping with voice.  Our challenge is to create, guided by the post content, a character around which our story is based.  The instructions include this blurb:

"Your challenge is not to continue the existing blog of the individual, or write their next likely 'day in the life.' And, as you will find from the reading, this character need not even be your protagonist."

I had a truly inspiring experience working on this story.  Whether or not I was successful in the end is up to the contest judges and readers.  But for me, it was awesome.

I'm still in the final, spit-shining stage of this project.  Of course, any feedback will ultimately help me tighten it up.  If you have the time or inclination, I'd greatly appreciate hearing what you think of it.  It is Speculative Fiction, falling under the genre of (dark) Slipstream.  (Slipstream is set in our world ~ almost. There are slight, uneasy making distortions in our reality or else the protagonist has fallen out of the consensual reality but is not insane in any way.)

It has 3292 words, and here's the link -->  ~Silenced~

I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kowalski, progress report!


The speculative fiction short I wrote for a contest that I blogged about in Monday's post got me through to the Final Round!

When the contest began on August 30th, there were nineteen competitors.  Based on the entries in each of three rounds, participants were eliminated.  Now, there are just three of us left standing.

Tonight at 10:00 p.m. (EST) the final prompt will be posted.  I'll have two weeks to write my entry.  When the entries are judged, the winner will be announced, as well as second and third place winners.  Wish me luck!

And, for anyone dying to read my story (*snort*), here's the link again:

Happy Hump Day to All!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Closer Look at Speculative Fiction

The challenge before me last week was write a short story contest entry in the Speculative Fiction genre, inspired by the following prompt:
Practice is nothing to be sneezed at.

This particular contest, hosted by WYRM, a writers group at that promotes Spec-Fi, is one of my favorites.  I don't normally write speculative fiction, so the contest flings me far outside of my comfort zone.  Since I've been concentrating on the genre for the past month, I thought I'd share what I know here.

Speculative fiction is an umbrella category, under which fall stories usually incorporating elements of science fiction, horror, fantasy, paranormal, etc.  So what makes a story spec-fi, and not simply one of those genres? To answer, you have to focus on the word "speculative."

Speculative fiction premises ask the question, "What if...?"  What if a major world event had ended differently?  What if space aliens walked amongst us?  What if humans took an evolutionary leap, yesterday?  What if...?

I like to think back to the old Twilight Zone television series when I'm brainstorming for spec-fi story ideas.  My favorite episode starred Burgess Meredith as the man who just wanted peace and quiet so he could read.  Suddenly, in typical Twilight Zone fashion, the world ends and Meredith's character is the last man alive.  In his devastation and terror, he stumbles upon the ruins of the public library.  Salvation is his!  Until he trips on the library steps, breaking his coke-bottle thick glasses in the fall.

What distinguishes speculative fiction is that the story's supernatural or other-worldly facet is more than just a sidekick cat that can talk.  It is a fundamental element around which the entire plot swirls.  If you take out that element, the plot collapses.

J. Golden at has provided an excellent list of sub-genres under the speculative fiction umbrella.  I use it here with permission:

  • Alternate History
    Alternate History poses questions about different outcomes to historic events, and how that would alter our known world.
  • Apocalypse/Holocaust
    Apocalypse/Holocaust is set in a reality where The World As We Know It ends or has ended.
  • Coming of Age (as a species)
    Coming of Age stories redefine what it means to be human when we make an evolutionary leap as a species.
  • Contemporary Fantasy
    Contemporary Fantasy has a realistic modern world setting with elements of supernatural forces such as magic or mythological deities occurring through access to another world, realm, or plane.
  • Cyberpunk
    Cyberpunk is actually one of the more likely SF genres, with virtual reality & technology inundating every level of society, most of which still have a low quality of life.
  • Dystopian
    Dystopian literature is set in dysfunctional utopias.
  • Fairy Tales
    Fairy Tales tell a lesson story via human-like beings (fairies, elves), animals with human traits (goblins, trolls), and enchantments and charms, set in a rustic setting.
  • Fantasy
    Fantasy is set in medieval or low technology environments with strong dependence on magic and other supernatural elements.
  • First Contact
    First Contact stories are about how we react as a species when confronted with other intelligent life for the first time.
  • Horror/Dark Fantasy
    Horror/Dark Fantasy develops from supernatural evil or human evil/mental disorder encroaching on ordinary people's lives.
  • Magical Realism
    Magical Realism is set in a realistic modern world with the addition of magical elements.
  • Science Fiction
    Science Fiction explores potential (far) future developments in technology, space exploration, and human evolution.
  • Slipstream
    Slipstream is set in our world ~ almost. There are slight, uneasy making distortions in our reality or else the protagonist has fallen out of the consensual reality but is not insane in any way.
  • Steampunk
    Steampunk gives the Victorian era modern technology.

I submitted my speculative fiction contest entry last night.  It could be classified as Horror/Dark Fantasy or Slipstream.  It was sooooo hard to write; although, once the main character and plot solidified in my brain I found a rhythm that worked (I think) really well.

Should anyone be interested in reading it (3500 words), here's the link.  To whet your potential reading appetites, I will say this:  the title is a huge play on words that can be interpreted in (at least) three different ways.

Here's the link:  Controlling Nature

How about you?  Ever dabbled in Speculative Fiction?  What do you find is the biggest challenge in the genre?