Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 30

IT’S HERE!!!!! And I’m going to pretend like y’all haven’t already scrolled to the bottom to see what the new contest looks like and will give you a proper intro anyway. Which means: WELCOME to Flash! Friday’s newest challenge! Our first half of the year, we wrote stories inspired by the basic elements of a story (plot/conflict, setting, character, theme) plus a contrasting photo. Now we’re ratcheting that up a bit by finding inspiration in the famous novels of yesterday. Here’s the deal:

* Novel Prompt: We will provide the name of a famous novel along with a summary of its story elements. If you aren’t familiar with the novel, no worries — our summary’s all you need.
* New word count: ROTATING. Each week will require a different min/max wordcount.
* Your challenge: YOU CHOOSE which two story elements to build your story on, and let us know which two you chose. Byline example:

by Rebekah Postupak, Elements: Character & Setting, 200 words, @postupak  

* Optional photo: for those who prefer photo inspiration, we’ll still include one, but it will be completely optional to use it for your story. The only prompt you’re required to use = TWO story elements from that week’s novel.   

QUESTIONS??? Just tweet @FlashFridayFic or ask in the comments section below. I have also provided a sample entry in the comments.

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DC2***NEW JUDGES START TODAY!!!!*** Join me in welcoming Dragon Team Five, the fabulous captains Foy Iver & Holly Geely! As writers, they need no introduction. But as judges? Ahhh, now, won’t this be fun! Foy challenges you to think way outside of the box. “If everyone has taken all the good stories, ” she says, “pull me down a different path.” For her part, Holly says a fabulously crafted character gets her every time. “Nothing beats a well-rounded character,” she says, “be they realistic or grossly exaggerated.” Is everybody up for the challenge?? LET’S GO!

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Awards Ceremony: Results will post Monday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Thursdays.   Now let’s write!

* Today’s required word count: 200 – 250 words (minimum 200, maximum 250, not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (this week’s min 200 – max 250 words, excluding title/byline), the two story elements you based your story on, and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Monday.

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Thursday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity.

AND HERE IS YOUR NOVEL PROMPT:

This week’s novel: The Count of Monte Cristoby Alexandre Dumas.

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these; be sure to tell us which two you chose):

* Plot: A clever, now fabulously wealthy man seeks revenge on those who once wrongfully imprisoned him.
* Conflict: man vs man
Character: escaped convict
Theme(s): revenge AND/OR justice
Setting: Napoleonic France

OPTIONAL PHOTO PROMPT (for inspiration only; it is NOT REQUIRED for your story):

Château d'If, Marseille vu de la navette des Iles d'Or

Château d’If, Marseille, vu de la navette des Iles d’Or. CC2.0 photo by Jacqueline Poggi.

Sixty Seconds V with: Phil Coltrane

Phil Coltrane

Phil Coltrane

Phil Coltrane is our latest champ and Flash! Friday’s first-ever FIVE-time winner. Read his bio and find links to his previous interviews at his winner’s page hereWhat shall I ask you??? I said. We’ve covered the typical stuff. Let’s not be typical, then, said Phil, lighting the Sixty Seconds Interview Match, grabbing the mic, and grinning in an unsettling kind of way.

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Some said it was inevitable I’d find myself here. “Five wins merits more than just five questions.” When Rebekah asked me to take off my writer hat and describe my typical workday, I was hesitant. What’s to tell?

Software development is shamefully male-dominated, and nothing interesting happens in the Services Department. I spend my day drinking caffeine, staring at a screen, ignoring a fitful stream of curses filtering through my earbuds.

The myth of the cowboy coder is romantic fiction. We work as a team. Me, the software developer. Bruce, our debugger and tester. Andreas has been a software architect here for more than a decade. And Akheem, our new hotshot UX designer.

This morning, as always, the boss crams us into the conference room. “Busy day,” he warns. “First, our nightly build of the OutThink software crashed. The compiler reported 106 errors.”

“I’ll fix it,” I volunteer. “Probably a missing semicolon.” Sometimes Bruce tries to fix the code himself. He’s no coder.

“Good. Then Bruce…” Bossman skims a printed email. “Once OutThink is ready, we have our first test case. A North Korean general has gone rogue, seizing a nuclear missile base near the Chinese border. The CEO wants Services to champion a counter-assault. Immediately.”

“Once OutThink scrambles their military network,” Bruce plans, “I’ll lead a commando raid against him. But my .50 BMG machine gun is in the shop.”

“Take mine,” I offer. “I won’t need it until next month’s financial audit.”

“Awesome, Phil,” says the boss. “Way to be a team player. But don’t flick matches at the conference table.”

Oops. I put away my box of strike anywhere matches. “Sorry. Nervous habit.”

“Moving on… Corporate Security thinks one of our interns is a spy from our competitors. Akheem?”

Akheem frowns. “Why single me out?”

“Relax, Akheem,” whispers Andreas, leaning into Akheem’s ear. “Your résumé lists two years of Javascript, CSS, and counter-espionage.”

“Oh, yes yes. I will do what I can to find the traitor.”

“Good. On an unrelated topic, the San Diego office thinks someone is plotting to steal the Green Dragon of Envy.”

Andreas scoffs. “That statue is carved from a thirty ton block of jade.”

“Nevertheless, our VP of Antiquities wants Services to investigate.”

“Ok,” he shrugs. “I’ll start on it tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow is a holiday,” the boss reminds him. “Do it today.”

An intern brings our coffee. As the youth sets the cups on the table, I glimpse a flash of sunlight reflecting from a weapon in the intern’s belt. A shaky hand reaches for it… then WHOOSH! The intern clutches his neck, pulling away the tranquilizer dart before collapsing.

Akheem leaps up, tranq gun still aimed at the unconscious kid. “Sir, I have found our spy.”

“Great job, Akheem! Ok, Bruce has a plane to catch. Everyone else, back to work.”

Thus begins another boring workday.

Warmup Wednesday!

Directions: Write a scene or an entire story of 100 words on the nose (no more, no fewer), inspired by this photograph. No judging. All fun. (Normal Flash! Friday guidelines regarding content apply.)
Don’t forget to add your Twitter handle & link to your blog, pretty please.

And a few words on how your week’s going would be so appreciated!

 This week’s Warmup Wednesday challenge: Include a line of poetry (if quoting from someone else’s poem, please add a note with the poet’s name & poem’s title to introduce us!).

Westminster Abbey. CC2.0 photo by Alex_MC.

Westminster Abbey. CC2.0 photo by Alex_MC.