A cool tradition during the dog days of summer here at Florida Weekly is our Writing Challenge, when we invite you, our readers, to send us your original fiction based on four photo prompts we publish over the course of several weeks.
This year’s challenge begins this week with the photo you see here.
You have until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, to craft a short story — no poetry, please — inspired by the picture. These next points are important: ¦ Keep your masterpiece to a maximum of 750 words. Those that go over will be disqualified; shorter entries are welcome. ¦ Run your story through spellcheck and give it a title (not to be included in the word count). ¦ Put your full name, hometown and phone number at the end of your piece (also not to be included in the word count). ¦ Attach it as a Word document — no fancy fonts and no text files, PDFs or offbeat formats — or simply copy it into the message of an email and send to WritingChallenge@floridaweekly.com.
We will do our best to acknowledge receipt of each entry within a couple of days, but please be patient (we take vacations this time of year, too).
We’ll publish new prompts on Thursday, Aug. 15, Aug. 29 and Sept. 12. For each one, you’ll have two weeks to send us another entry if you are so inspired. So yes, you can enter up to four stories in the Writing Challenge, but only one per photo prompt.
After the final deadline on Sept. 24, we’ll divvy up the entries among our editors and senior writers and come up with first, second and third place winners. Those three stories will be published in the paper sometime in November.
First prize for the Florida Weekly Writing Challenge has always been a ticket to the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, but the conference has been put on hiatus this year. We’re still thinking about how to reward our 2019 winners, but don’t let that stop you from getting started. We look forward to hearing from you. ¦