Thursday, September 8, 2011

First Campaign Challenge: Flash Fiction & Books, Brews & Bards Info

It's time for the first challenge of the Platform Building Campaign. Here is a description of the challenge from host Rachael Harrie's blog, Rach Writes:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

If you like this, you can press "like" on entry #291 here (in the linky list): Campaign Challenge Linky.

The door swung open and in stepped one tall drink of water. He swept the room with eyes that shone emerald like his scales.

A few men looked up, quickly returning their attention to the drinks they nursed in front of them. He stood there another minute as if waiting for something then drew three guns, two with his hands, one with his serpentine tail.

Guns ablaze, he wiped out the entire room, save myself and the bartender, who promptly passed out cold behind the bar. The stranger's tongue darted out, tasting death and liquor, then snapped back into his mouth with a dry rasp.

I couldn't help myself; I was drawn to his shimmering beauty and strength. I wrapped my body around his and rubbed my cheek along his neck, purring.

"I'm not into furries," he said, not even wasting a glance my way. He shrugged his shoulder, forcing me to pull back.

"What'd these guys ever do to you, anyway?" I asked. Behind the bar, the bartender groaned.

Without a word, the stranger holstered his guns and turned, briefly silhouetted by the glaring sun as it peeked inside, as if for a better look.

The door swung shut.

Microsoft Word says it's 200 words exactly, so there you have it. I hope you enjoyed it! If you posted to the linky list for the Campaign Challenge, I will be by this week to read your entry.

Also, I wanted to pass along a local poetry shindig called Books, Brews & Bards, hosted by Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District with support from Phantom Canyon Brewing Company.

There will be poetry readings by our Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, Jim Ciletti, and Poet Laureate Emeritus, Aaron Anstett, as well as a brewery tour and open mic for poets and aspiring poets. Click HERE for more information.

What comes to mind when you read this piece? What sort of genre, characters, scene do you envision? Have you tried your hand at flash fiction?

May you find your Muse.


  1. I like this! "...tasting death and liquor..." -- very nice!

  2. Love it! "I'm not into furries" was my favorite line.

  3. Nice, complete story - well done!

  4. Well written, I get amazed at how someone can write these flash stories, you are excellent at them.


  5. Nice job! I actually thought of the bar scene in Star Wars. It sounds like a sci-fi/fantasy to me, and perhaps this scaly creature is trying to get revenge on the townspeople that persecuted him!

    I've only recently started to try my hand at flash. It's NOT easy!

  6. That was great! I loved the "I'm not into furries" line!

  7. Like the others I like your story. As the commenter above said, I think it's sci-fi-fantasy. Good story with conflict and resolution all in one.
    I posted a children's story on mine, #296. Hope you like it.

  8. Great! The second line REALLY grabbed my attention.

  9. Oh my gosh! The way you described your characters made me scratch my head for a moment. Then you said, "I'm not into furries." I haven't heard that term in a long time.

    Awesome work, Shannon! :)

  10. Loved it! Especially the "tall drink of water," line.

  11. I'm sort of left speechless. I mean, what I want to say is "where's the rest?" So where's the rest?

    Possibly because we just watched it recently, but I feel all Ringo over this piece.

  12. You had so many unexpected elements in here. Nice!!

  13. Not expecting these sort of aliens at all! But I loved it!

  14. Very cool entry... I want to know... why did he shot them?

    You got my vote.

  15. I'd have liked it better if it were real people but that's just my taste. Nicely done. Mine is #72

  16. Awesome. Completely unexpected.

    You get a blog award.

  17. Old west until the scales and serpentine tail. Add in the "furries" and it made me think fantasy/sci-fi. I like that it's complete. I hope to post my next week (didn't enter the contest as I judged a few early entries).

  18. Hi Shannon,

    Just paying a return campaign visit and delighted to find someone from beautiful Colorado!

    Love your flash piece, i can see Tarantino doing a great job with the film.


  19. Hi Shannon! Wow, what a great story! I loved it, fabulous job.

    I wanted to let you know too, I gave you an award on my blog today:

    Happy weekend to you!

  20. Cool story. I want to know he let her live. Great job.

  21. Crazy! Sci-Fi creatures in the old west? That's what comes to my mind for some reason.

  22. i immediately thought of the movie Rango while reading this tells you the kind of movies i tend to watch

  23. Very visual. Very cool. Loved it!

  24. This is so original, I had to read it twice. Good fun.

  25. Thank you all for your comments! I will be coming around to visit all participants to see yours, as well as visiting everyone not participating who commented. I appreciate your feedback!

  26. Hi Shannon! I've mentioned you on my blog and passed on the Versatile Blogger Award. You can find the info here:

  27. Jennifer and Julie, thank you very much! I'll post about the awards this week.

  28. Hi Jen, finally stopping by your blog on the campaign rounds!

    I really enjoyed your piece, it's so different than any of the other ones I've read so far!

    What comes to mind? A shoot out!

    What genre? Some cross between western and paranormal/fantasy.

    This challenge was one of the few flash fiction things I'd done, and all the other ones were before the term 'flash fiction' was coined!

  29. Good job! This was one mean critter for sure. I guess I'd say this was either fantasy or scifi. Made me think of that Antonio Banderas sequel to El Mariachi where Cheech Marin was the bartender.

    Tossing It Out

  30. "I'm not into furries" FTW. Very nice.

  31. You do a fantabulous job of showing the action and putting us into the scene. Thanks for the laughs as well. :)

  32. Lee, ah, Desperado!

    Christine, thanks!

    Karen, thank you!

  33. "I'm not in to furries." LOVE THIS!

    Definitely has a western vibe. I thought you were about to describe a hot cowboy at first. ;Surprisese: "SCALES"
    Definitely in the sci fi/fantasy genre and I took away hints of MG or YA. Even though there was a massacre, the glazing over of the carnage and light hearted, cute narrative of the "furry" impressed upon me a younger audience. Which would be awesome because that is all I read and I liked this! :)

  34. What an original story! I love the lines about "tasting death and liquor" and "I'm not into furries"! Really inventive!

  35. Loved the emerald gunslinger. Especially since I was totally not expecting him to be the tailed-type when I started reading.

  36. This made me think fantasy/sci-fi there is a heavy dose of the Old West topped with scales and serpentine tail. Not into "furries" :) I have questions about anyone who swoons over a gunslinger with scales and and any kind of tail ;)

  37. The 'scales' in the second sentence clued me in to the fact that this guy was more than ordinary. You gotta wonder what the others did to be shot up like that. The shooter is a cool customer - even in the face of the invitation from the furry.

  38. Despite the mention of guns, I thought of Fantasy--probably because of the scales, which I associate with dragons. I'm also intrigued by the mention of "furries", since it seems to indicate the POV may not be human.

    Great flash fiction!

  39. Cool, with a sci-fi gunslinger for the bad guy. Makes me wonder, like the girl, why he decided to shoot up the bar. Good luck with your entry. :)

  40. OMG I loved it!!! I loved how the glaring sun peeked inside.

  41. This was fun! "Not into furries" is a winner :D First thing that comes to mind while reading this is "Cowboys and Aliens". Not saying that it reminds me of it, just feels like the same kind of genre mixing, western with sci-fi. There definitely needs to be more western fiction out there.

  42. Jen, thank you!

    F.E., thank you!

    Beth, thank you!

    Yvonne, thank you, that is very kind of you! I'm still feeling flash out.

    Samantha, haha, well, furries as in she was furry. ;-p

    Crystal, thank you, and fun comparison! This is my second attempt at flash.

    Ruth, thank you!

  43. Clar, thank you! I think yours will be the first flash I read for children.

    MG, thank you!

    David, thank you! I wanted to throw out something different.

    Elisabeth, thank you! That's one of those lines that's fun to use, but you usually don't have an actual use for it.

    Andrew, speechless good or bad? It did remind me of Rango after I wrote it!

    Isis, thank you, I appreciate that! I was hoping to be a bit out of norm.

    Lady Gwen, thank you, I'm glad!

  44. TF, I think I may have to explore that in a longer story.

    Bridget, thanks for your feedback. I figured I'd be reading lots about real people, so thought I would put a spin.

    Stacy, I'm glad you're still planning on doing it, even if you didn't make it in time for the competition.

    Claire, ooooh, definitely!

    Cheryl, definitely something that would be fun to explore more deeply.

    Liz, that's what it looks like in my head!

    Becca, it makes me think of Rango a bit, too.

    Angelina, thank you!

  45. Rebecca, thank you!

    Rebecca (Loper), yes, all those things! This is my second foray into flash.

  46. Amanda, thank you for your feedback!

    Susanna, thank you, good to hear!

    Hektor, thank you! It was fun to surprise myself with that, too.

    Elaine, haha, yes, I think she is a bit questionable.

    J.L., he was definitely cold-blooded. ;-p

    Golden Eagle, thank you!

    Tina, thank you. It's a question I may just have to answer.

    Cathy, thank you!

    Daina, I do miss westerns. And I understand what you mean by the mixed genres; it's something I find fun.

  47. Speechless good or it wouldn't be followed by "where's the rest?"