Monday, September 5, 2011

First Campaign Challenge

If you are here following the bread crumbs from Rachael's post on her blog today, thank you for visiting and I appreciate the attention. I'm posting my flash fiction piece for the first challenge here and I hope that you guys do the same because Rachael has a lot of nice prizes.  I was really excited to get the opportunity to help her with the campaign and when she contacted me by email, I started work right away organizing the 300 or so people that signed up to judge (wow what a turnout).  Plus Rachael is an amazing organizer. She had a whole google docs thing setup (if you haven't used it, I recommend it highly because it's like a word processor & spreadsheet that you don't have to pay for that anyone with a password can use).

Basically, our process for notifying judges is just going to be to go down the list that Rachael and I created this weekend and shoot off an email every ten signups on Rachael's blog...so one judge per ten people for round one.  Each judge will be responsible for visiting each of these ten blogs and making a decision on the flash fiction piece.  Five of the ten that they deem worthy shall go on to round two. Think of this as a kind of "tournament" style competition.

At round two, new judges will be called upon to narrow the selection for round three (the semi-finals).  From the semi-finalists we hope to find ten finalists and one grand prize winner.  Basically every person that makes it to the finals will get a prize but the best will go to the grand prize winner.

MY FLASH FICTION ENTRY WITH ADDED DIFFICULTY ELEMENTS:

The door swung open and the UPS man entered. 

I set down my coffee cup; the side of it read “Piss me off and face the consequences.”
I asked, “How many today?”

“Just the one.” He passed me the signature capture pad and I signed using the stylus.
“Can you spell that out for me?” he asked.

“M-A-R-I-A  F-E-N-W-A-Y” I said, enunciating each letter.
He typed it out and then tucked the brown pad under one arm.  I stared at his ass when he walked out.  The UPS guys were always in such good shape.  My partner walked in and put a folder on my desk.  “Pictures from the crime scene.  You might want to take a look and see if we missed anything.”

I nodded and took a sip of coffee.  I turned my attention to the box sitting on my desk and grabbed a pair of scissors.  I cut the tape and popped the lid open. Inside, I found a cooler.  Who the hell sends a person a cooler?
“Go stop that UPS guy,” I told Bill.  “Go now!”

He ran for the door.  I opened the box and found a human head inside.
The door swung shut.

It is exactly 200 words, uses both "the door swung open" and "the door swung shut" elements of the flash fiction piece (upped for difficulty as I think challenges are fun).

Happy Labor Day!

89 comments:

  1. I'm not taking part in the campaign, because I just don't have time.

    I loved your story though, great ending! It kind of reminds me of Legally Blonde, and the UPS guy the nail lady hooks up with. LOL.

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  2. Oh Hell! now I have seen yours I was just wondering... do you think there's any chance if one greases up to a judge?... *looks around to see if anyone is listening* ..lol.
    Thanks for the work your doing for this campaign.

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  3. Ha ha ha, awesome entry! I had a feeling a human body part would be involved when the package turned out to be a cooler... But a head? Super creepy/gruesome. Nicely done. Nicely done.

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  4. @Matthew I also thought of Legally Blonde until I got to the crisis moment. Very well done. Would read more of that story.

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  5. Gruesomely awesome. Since I have not seen Legally Blonde, I made no comparisons, just read avidly.

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  6. The last line of your story made my stomach churn.

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  7. Wow, such a challenge...

    Was it Gwyneth Paltrow's head inside?

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  8. Quite the piece! Thanks for being willing to judge. I hope you enjoy the journey!

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  9. Oh yuck...I will have to be more careful when that UPS guy brings the packages. Maybe get someone else in the office to open them!!!! Great first challenge.

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  10. OOh I've been watching lots of CSI Crime Scene Investigations and so I enjoyed this scene as it unfolded, though initially I imagined the MC to be a man. :O)

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  11. Ugh! Ha, nice ending. I wonder if the UPS guy is going to face the consequences per the cup.

    Thanks for being a judge for Rachael's first campaign challenge. I tried to refrain from using too many adverbs. Maybe.

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  12. Great story! Now I want to know more...

    Thanks for judging the entries. You rock!

    tameri...

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  13. Good piece, flash fiction is hard for me, I'm glad for once that I'm not participating in this campaign. I'd only make a fool of myself.

    Good luck.

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  14. Love the jaded crime investigator vibe! First piece like it in the group I've read. "...honestly...who sends a cooler?" Ha!
    Nicely done. ~ Nadja

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  15. Hey, any time there is a head in a cooler, you can bet it's a pretty awesome story. Got my attention. Didn't expect that at all--didn't realize we were talking police stuff until part way through.

    Kudos, my friend. Kudos.

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  16. never open the cooler!
    awesome =)
    wish there was more!

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  17. Mutt: Yes, I ripped of the movie Se7en for an idea. :P It's flash fiction so who cares?

    Thanks for the great responses. :) Just to clarify, I'm not "judging" but "organizing". I'm the guy sorting through lists and sending out emails to all the real judges :)

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  18. Glad I'm not the only one writing with a creep-factor ;)

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  19. Your UPS guys might be in shape, but mine sure aren't.

    I love the way the two challenge phrases frame the narrative. It really gives the piece a feeling of a snapshot in time. I liked it a lot.

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  20. Sounds like you have a good system for judging. Oh, and an interesting case to be solved as well.

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  21. Oooh...didn't expect that! Great job!

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  22. I liked the UPS's guys ass. Sadly we don't get that kind of quality with the royal mail.

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  23. Well played. Great imagery and then the head. Wow...yeah...the head in the box. That's all I can say.

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  24. Great job, Mike, and it sounds like you're going to be busy with all this organizing.

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  25. Hi,

    Oh, nice one. Gruesome twist! ;)

    best
    F

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  26. Nicely done. I love that the UPS guy dropped off a human head in a cooler.

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  27. Plastic coolers are actually pretty easy to clean. Bleach and a sponge ad it should be up and ready for a six-pack in minutes.
    BTW... I finally got to watch the Tucker and Dale trailer. Yeah baby.

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  28. OMGosh, that is awesome! Love the ending a lot.

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  29. Michael, you are amazing! That story rocked my socks :)

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  30. Incredible! Nice twist there at the end!

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  31. Oooh, chilling! And LOL, I've seen a lot of eye candy asses going through "the door closed shut" scenes!

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  32. Ha! Great piece! Never know what the UPS guy will deliver, LOL!

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  33. Love it! You definitely hooked me.

    Sounds like you have a good system in place for the judging. It's going to be tough, the challenge pieces I've read so far today have been excellent.

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  34. I used to date a UPS guy... some of them are strange lol! Great story! and thanks for organizing the judging. Bless you, that's gotta be a job and a half!

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  35. Like your writing style and love the ending. Nice work.

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  36. I like the twist at the end! Great piece.

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  37. Excellent story! I definitely did not expect that. And thanks for organizing all the judging! I'm looking forward to this challenge, especially because it will be exactly that for me--a challenge!

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  38. Excellent piece. I would have kept on reading.

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  39. I really liked the part about the UPS guys asses, so true, and it made me wonder what she normally gets at work since I got the impression she gets a lot of packages/ mail. Does she get a lot of mail from killers?
    -Aaron

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  40. What a great story, well-writtenclever and grusome twist!

    Patricia T.

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  41. Awesome ending! I wish I had a UPS guy to stare at like that.

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  42. I cringed at the mention of the human head (good reaction, I think haha). Loved this!

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  43. Ewww! Yet I still want to read more! Great job.

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  44. Looks like you have your work cut out for you! Have fun on the challenge!

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  45. Awesome entry!!

    Just thought i would stop by and say Helloo.

    Looks lie we are both helping Rach out with her workload over the Campaign.

    Thanks for the link to my blog on your site:-)

    super appreciated *grin*

    Will have to add your to my #authorlove list that i'm doing up on mine.

    Happy writing and good luck with the Campaign

    Sarah Ketley

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  46. Awesome! It kind of reminds me of the movie SEVEN. Very well written.

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  47. OMGoodness! I did not expect that ending. I once saw a guy walking in Manhatten with a cooler that had red liquid dripping from it. I asked a cop what he thought was in there and he said "Probably the guys wifes head." I was traumatized!

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  48. Yup. I wanted to read more. Nice to meet you via the campaign. Just following breadcrumbs tonight.

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  49. I was sucked in and really liked the "tough bitch" vibe I got from your main character. I would totally read this if it evolves into a book, 'cuz me likes the "creepy, ewwww" factor!
    Kudos for completing the challenge AND the bonus elements. Great read, thanks!

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  50. This was great! I agree that the "tough" vibe from your character was really cool. And you certainly have my attention with this one! I'd want to read on if there were more.

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  51. I like the sound of Maria. You know she doesn't take any crap!

    And yay for all your hard work on the Campaign!

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  52. Now that is one classy piece of flash fiction. I love it ;-)

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  53. I love a kick at the end of a story, no matter what length. This was a kick :-)

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  54. Nice! The head was a surprise, but well done.

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  55. I had to up the anty too with the extra difficult bits. Fun. I liked yours :)

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  56. Nice work, Michael! The Chills Express just chugged down my spine. Great job nailing it to 200 words! :)

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  57. Was not expecting the cooler. Great job!

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  58. Nice piece! Great job! Loved the ending.

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  59. Lol! That was great. I so didn't see that coming :).

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  60. I love the twist at the end. Too bad we don't get to see where this is going :)

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  61. Hey there! You've been shortlisted to round two of the challenge. :)
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  62. Whoa! I didn't see that coming! Great twist. Love the voice :-)

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  63. Now, the question is, did the UPS man know the head was in the package?

    I'm going to start work on my entry tonight. I'm feeling excited. :)

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  64. Very creepy- I like it.I want to work where a UPS guy comes everyday

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  65. Fun & chilling at the same time. My hubby razzes me about the UPS guy, because he always shows up when the hubby is at work!

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  66. Hey, fellow Utahn! Nice twist there at the end. Great job! :D

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  67. Nice! A hot UPS guy, an awesome mug and a human head in a cooler...I couldn't ask for much more. ;)

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  68. Great story! I love the details about the coffee cup and the ogling :)

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  69. I really like this! Love the twist at the end - but then, I do like gore.

    My entry is #348

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  70. Gross. I had a feeling that's what would be inside. Mine is #72

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  71. I'll never look my UPS guy the same way again! LOL.

    Great story. Super fun. :D

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  72. Where can I find a coffee mug that says that? ;) And why aren't my UPS guys cute? Nice story with a creepy ending that begs for more.

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  73. I was dragged into a CSI moment almost from the opening. I enjoyed reading this. As the scene unfolded, I was gripped.

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  74. I love all the different directions this challenge has taken. Well done and thanks for helping Rach!

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  75. We happen to have a very attractive UPS guy at work. Unfortunately, I don't get to see him as much as I would like. After reading your flash fic, maybe I should be grateful. Great job, and kudos for the judging organizational skills!

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  76. Creepy and then some! Great job. New follower now too. :)

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  77. Ha! I like it. I'm such a sucker for crime drama and UPS guys with nice butts.

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  78. YIKES! :-) But, I'm a big fan of coffee mugs ... so that was my favorite part!

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  79. Creepy! I thought it was turning out to be such a "normal" story and then WHAM! Head in a cooler box!

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  80. Reminded me of 'Seven' too but the twist for me was the genre of the protagonist. For some reason it surprised me and I'm still wondering why. Kudos to you!

    Stobby

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