Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

January Flash Fiction Challenge

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By Renee Miller

So you’re a writer? Prove it. I dare you.

I’d like to read your work, and if it stands out above the rest, I’d like to publish it here in Open Book.

Each month I will present Open Book readers a writing challenge. The criteria for the challenge will change each month and will span a variety of techniques, styles, genres and media. Submissions are evaluated on writing quality and adherence to the guidelines. For example, if you submit the best darn piece of writing I’ve ever seen but it’s a romance instead of the requested horror story, your submission will be disqualified. All submissions should be polished and error free and please, no crazy fonts. Times New Roman is easier on my weary eyes.

For my first challenge, I’m daring you to step outside your comfort zone. Many writers find their "niche" and stubbornly stick to it. But what if you have more than one talent or strength? Imagine the world of possibilities that opens for you as a writer.

This month I want you to write a comedy. Humour is tough to master in any form. Writing comedy is often difficult because we struggle to add the necessary innuendo or tone into text. But in any genre a little humour sprinkled into the story now and then can lighten it and give the reader time to breathe. A writer must be able to make the reader feel a range of emotions and angst is overdone. Let’s try something different.

The humour you use can be obvious, subtle, dry, ridiculous; whatever technique or style you wish to use. I enjoy all comedy. Here comes the hard part. I want the story to use three characters, one of them a child, and it must include a telephone conversation.

The POV must be third person limited. Maximum word count is 500 words. Submit by midnight (Eastern Time) February 7, 2011. Late entries will not be read. Challenges are open to all countries.

Please send all entries with the submission pasted into the body of your email (no attachments please) to (submissions@openbooktoronto.com). Include your name, pen name (if using one), your email and the title of your entry. In the subject line please write “Open Book January Writing Submission”. The winning submission will be posted with February’s challenge.


Renee Miller has written fiction in one form or another since she could hold a pen. She has written for a local newspaper and freelances for several online sites including two pages spotlighting writing and publishing in Canada. Renee also moderates a fiction writing group of about 1100 members and two Canadian literature and writing groups on Goodreads.com. She lives in Tweed, Ontario with her two children and a lucky man who insists he is not her husband.

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