Thank you to everyone who participated in round 9  of the WU Flash Fiction Contest. There was such a wide range of stories, from modern day tales to historical fiction, and even one from the perspective of the wagon itself.
Now it’s time to move on to the next round of the contest. I can’t wait to see what unboxed stories you come up with for the picture above. You have seven days to write a 250 word story to be in the running for an absolutely fabulous prize pack. And remember: this is your second-last chance to score yourself a place in the final!
- Each submission must be 250 words or fewer.
- Each story must contain a beginning, middle, and end. Like all stories, a compelling narrative is essential.
- All submitted work must be original, not published elsewhere, and written by you. After the contest, what you do with your story is up to you; we hold no claim on your work.
- Each submission must be made in the comment section of the prompt post.
- No more than two entries per person, per prompt will be eligible for any given month.
- Deadline for entries will be one week after the prompt is posted, meaning 7 a.m. EST on the second Saturday of the month.
- The winning story each month will be selected by a mix of votes in the form of Likes in the comment section and our own discretion (which includes a blind-reading of the entries by a panel).
What the winner receives:
Each month’s winning story will be announced the following month, and republished on Writer Unboxed, along with the author’s bio, and links to the winner’s website and social media accounts. As well as this platform-raising exposure, the monthly winner gets bragging rights and the exclusive opportunity to compete for the grand prize in December.
In December, each of the monthly winners will be asked to write a new flash fiction story based on a new prompt. The overall winning story will be selected by a mix of votes via a poll and our own discretion.
The overall winner of the 2015 Writer Unboxed Flash Fiction Contest will be announced by the end of December 2015, and will receive:
- A signed copy of Dave King ‘s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
- A signed copy of David Corbett ‘s The Art of Character
- A 15-page manuscript critique by bestselling author Catherine McKenzie  (double spaced, normal margins, Times New Roman 12pt font)
- A one-hour Skype lesson with Scrivener expert, Rebeca Schiller 
- A free, non-transferable pass to attend the next Writer Unboxed UnConference (does not include travel or hotel expenses)
The other finalists will receive the a beautiful “Edit” poster from Three Figs Villa , as kindly donated by the generous Cyd Peroni.
We’re getting down to the wire now, with only three rounds of the contest left until the finalists all compete for this amazing prize. If you haven’t entered yet, now’s the time to jump in with both feet (and both hands). That prize pack is amazing!
And now… announcing the winner of Round 9 of the WU Flash Fiction Contest.
Pauline Yates (“The History Lesson”)
Kate Magner (“Prairieland”)
Congratulations Pauline and Kate. Good luck in September!
The quality of stories in September’s round was incredibly high, and so this round we have two winners to announce. A huge congratulations to Meghan Masterton and Isabel Summers, who have both earned an entry in the 2015 WU Flash Fiction grand final with their stories. Please read and enjoy them in their encore performance:
The Oregon Trail by Meghan Masterson
I sank to the ground in despair. The wheel spokes made shadowed stripes across my lap. “What do you mean Esther has dysentery?”
“She just does.” David sounded laconic, in spite of my plaintive tone.
“But she just had dysentery. How can she have it again?”
“I don’t know. I guess the water is tainted or something.”
I leaned back against the wheel. “I don’t know if I can go on… It’s just one thing after another. Last week, Fergus was bitten by a rattlesnake. It’s a miracle he survived.” I cringed, picturing his inflamed wound, the fang marks glowing red, the surrounding skin shiny and puffy. “What if Esther doesn’t make it? How many times can a person recover from dysentery?”
David shrugged. “We’ll just have to rest, see if she gets better. We’ll still make it to Sacramento. How are our supplies?”
“We only have salt pork.”
He rummaged at the back of the wagon. “I should go hunting. Too bad we lost so much on the last river crossing.”
“Thanks David.” Grabbing the wheel, I yanked myself upright, ready to face the next part of the journey. “Be careful not to accidentally shoot anyone. We can’t afford another injury. I’ll try to make tea for Esther.”
Mom cleared her throat. “Are you two finished play-acting The Oregon Trail? It’s lunchtime.”
“This game seems more depressing when we say it out loud, instead of playing on the computer,” I said.
David grinned. “Yeah, let’s go get pizza.”
Meghan Masterson  attempts to excuse her bad habit of reading at all hours (even at breakfast or far past her bedtime) as seizing the opportunity to study the construction of a plot or character. As a child, she gave her parents a flowery story about horses every year for Christmas. Thankfully, she has expanded her interests past tales of equine perfection and thinly veiled Nancy Drew retellings, and is now mainly interested in writing historical fiction. Meghan lives in Calgary with her husband, a crazy cat, and a dog who believes writing is a waste of time compared to walks or games of fetch. You can also find her on Facebook.
Black Hills Gold by Isabel Summers
I didn’t mean to lose my temper, but Mato kept pestering me to play the spear throwing game with him. Mother had placed me in charge of my little brother while she and the other women tanned the season’s buffalo hides. Winter was coming and the men would soon be heading to the flatlands to trade with the Cheyenne. I finally lost my patience when he jabbed me again with the sharp end of the stick.
“Mato!” I yelled, “If you do that again, I will break that stick over your head!”
With that, he ran crying from our tipi.
After finishing my chores I walked down the length of the village in search of him. The towering granite rocks of our sacred mountain, He Sapa, glistened in the waning sunlight, and I began climbing her majestic shoulders to get a better view of the village below. The elders had recently held a council meeting to discuss the many white men coming to He Sapa in search of gold. They called her the Black Hills and tore open her veins with axes and blasted her with dynamite. Reaching a sheltered ledge overlooking the wide plain below, I sat down on a flat rock warmed by the late afternoon sun.
In the distance I saw a long line of covered wagons approaching. As I watched them advancing, Mato crawled out from behind a boulder and sat beside me, resting his small head against mine.
Isabel Summers   has always written other people’s stories. They are the stories about culture; the ones that correct the misconceptions and stereotypes of a history written by the winners. These stories of history and a people that predate the invasion of this land are packaged in beautiful artwork and sold mostly in museums. Today, the Native People are still here and have become part of our country – but their culture and history are still alive. She tells stories that keep a culture alive. When she saw the covered wagon, she didn’t hesitate. She put her fingers on the keyboard and wrote. She told a story. Find out more about her stories through her Turtle Island  and personal  Facebook pages.
Congratulations to the winners, and happy writing!