• Fri. Sep 23rd, 2022

Take your pick for inspiration and write a short story

ByRandall B. Phelps

Aug 11, 2022

For Round 6 of the 2022 Writing Challenge, writers must choose one of these three photographs as the starting point for a short story of no more than 750 words. The submission deadline is 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 21. Three new invitees will be offered for round 7 in our August 24 and 25 editions. EVAN WILLIAMS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

A fatal miscalculation during bingo.

A match made on bingo.

A match that we only dreamed of at bingo.

Rekindle an old bingo flame.

A double suicide after bingo.

Bingo as a way to chase away the blues.

Bingo as a financial necessity.

Bingo at Moochie’s in Miami as a front for a high stakes poker game between mob bosses.

All of the above appeared in short stories inspired by one of three photo prompts offered for Round 5 of Florida’s 12th Annual Weekly Writing Challenge. The photo – showing an array of bingo cards on a fancy casino table – inspired more than half of all Round 5 entries. Who knew bingo could be so creatively stimulating?

This week begins round 6 of the challenge which asks readers to write short stories inspired by photos selected by our editors. We can’t wait to read what’s next. Here’s how it works:

For Round 6, you have until 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 21 to send us your original story using one of the photographs featured here as a starting point. That’s right: you must choose one of the three and submit only one story. This is different from how the challenge has worked in previous years.

BETTY WELLS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

BETTY WELLS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

Limit your entry to a maximum of 750 words, please; there is no minimum word count. And no poetry, thank you.

Run your story through Spellcheck.

Put your first and last name, email address, phone number, and city/state of residence at the top. Then give a brief description of the photo that inspired your story (for example, “gallery looking”, “pilings” and “rainy day swim” are good for Round 6 offers).

After the information above, center a title at the top of your masterpiece.

Then email it, either as an attachment as a Word document or just pasted into the message box, to cpierce@floridaweekly.com. Do not send PDFs, text files, Pages files, or anything in a format other than Word; if you don’t work in Word, simply copy/paste your story into the body of your email. Do not embed any images in your entry.

CINDY PIERCE / FLORIDA WEEKLY

CINDY PIERCE / FLORIDA WEEKLY

This is important: put the words WRITING CHALLENGE in the subject line of your email. You will receive an acknowledgment within a day or two.

Offers by post cannot be taken into account.

Questions? Email cpierce@floridaweekly.com. We will get back to you.

Tower 7 and beyond

We’ll be printing three new photo prompts for Round 7 on August 24 and 25, and you’ll have until 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 4 to send us another story – just one. And so on, with new guests every two weeks, for a total of nine rounds this year. The deadline to participate in Round 9 will be Sunday, October 2. Participate in as many rounds as your creativity, time and discipline allow, but only one story per round.

The winner of the 2022 writing challenge and three honorable mentions will be notified by October 10, with the first-place winner having the choice of registering for the Sanibel Island Writers Conference in person (scheduled for Nov. 3-6) or at an online Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Honorable mentions will receive Amazon gift cards.

We will publish the top four stories in our October 26 and 27 editions (winning authors will be interviewed for an article accompanying the publication of their stories). Our fifth through 10th place picks will be posted based on available space in the following weeks.

So re-read the rules, study the photo prompt for the first round, then tap into your creativity. Remember: the deadline for Round 6 is 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 21. We look forward to hearing from you. ¦