Challenge Me: FFM 2016

This announcement may be pretty long and involved, so I’m going to just say this upfront to spark your interest: here is a chance to win fabulous prizes and/or make me a slave to your whimsy.

Interested? Good.


Flash Fiction Month is fast approaching (well, in about a month and a half, but I have reason to get this out early). For those who aren’t familiar with it: FFM is a month-long challenge to write a piece of flash fiction, fifty-five to a thousand words long, for every day of July. I’ve participated the past two years, and I intend to make this a long habit.

(Requisite invitation: if you write, or if you don’t usually but would like to start, I urge you to consider joining in. FFM is fun and rewarding, and the optional extra challenges (as well as, of course, the regular challenge) are a great way to push your limits.)

This year, however, I would like to take it up a notch.

And I would like you to help me.


Essentially, I am asking each and every one of you to challenge me – for the entire month. The winning challenge will be taken on in addition to FFM’s official challenges, serving as a backdrop to the entire event. (Or to my personal experience with the event, anyway.)

The challenges can be as simple or as complex as you like, as long as they don’t come into conflict with the rules (or the spirit) of FFM. I’ve come up with a few examples to inspire you:

  • Someone dies in every story.
  • No one dies all month.
  • [Some specific object or theme] is mentioned in every story.
  • On odd-numbered days, every third sentence has a prime number of words.
  • Over the course of the month, every word of the lyrics of Mercyful Fate’s “Nightmare Be Thy Name” is used at least once.

These examples will not appear in the actual list, unless and until someone votes for them.

Fabulous Prizes

You stand to win:

  • Official credit for the challenge in whatever form you’d like, from complete anonymity to a name and a link, both in the eventual ebook collection and on the stories themselves.
  • Up to 500 DeviantArt points.
  • The grim satisfaction of watching me dance through your arbitrary hoops. Indeed, you are my puppet-master, and I but twitch upon your strings.


Absolutely anyone may enter. You do not need an account here or anywhere else, as long as I am able to receive your challenge.

If you have a DeviantArt account: issue challenges by commenting on this journal; or, if for whatever reason you would like to remain anonymous to the masses, by note. (I do need to be able to keep track of your account myself, in order to hand out prizes should you win.) Otherwise you can challenge me via Twitter or by commenting on this very post, where comments are moderated but do not require any personally identifying information (if you do this, please include whatever information you’d like me to credit you with, as I’ll have no reliable way of getting back to you). If you have another means of contacting me, that is also at your disposal.

You may issue as many challenges as you like. You may also add your vote to an existing challenge (the winning challenge will be chosen randomly: this will increase its chances), or modify an existing challenge by adding or changing criteria.

Each person may only vote for a given challenge once. If you challenge me anonymously via this post (which does not require any personal information to comment on) I have no way of policing this, so I am forced to rely on your honor. One vote per person per challenge, please.

Your deadline is noon (Central European Summer Time) on June 18th. There will be no leniency: you have plenty of time to issue challenges to your heart’s content, so I see no point in offering any sort of extensions, no matter how exciting those belated challenges might be.

Mechanics and Technicalities

I have the power and authority to veto any challenge; however, I will use this power only if I feel that the challenge is undoable (by, for instance, being incompatible with the actual rules of FFM) or in conflict with the spirit of the event. Challenges I will not accept include:

  • Challenges to write stories with the same wordcount every day throughout the month. I feel that varying lengths within the 55- to 1,000-word range are integral to the FFM experience.
  • For the same reason, challenges to write stories with the same number of sentences or paragraphs each day.
  • Challenges involving fanfiction or erotica. This is neither the time nor the place.
  • Challenges to treat all 31 stories as serialized episodes of a single plot. I’d be willing to write stories that are in some way interconnected, but I do feel that writing complete, discrete stories each day is sort of the point of FFM.

If I reject your challenge for any reason, be assured I will tell you what that reason is.

The winning challenge will be chosen randomly: by dice if there are 100 challenges or less, and by a computerized random number generator if not.

In the event that the winning number belongs to an extra vote for someone else’s challenge: the person whose number I rolled wins 500 points; the person who came up with the challenge receives credit and wins 250 points; and everyone receives the joy of watching me take on that challenge all month.

In the event that the winning number belongs to a modified version of someone else’s challenge: the person whose number I rolled wins 500 points; everyone who contributed to the challenge receives shared credit and wins 250 points; and everyone receives the joy of seeing what I do with the challenge all month.

In the event that the winning number belongs to a vote for one of the example challenges I came up with myself: the person whose number I rolled wins 500 points and a mention, but that mention will probably be preceded by qualifiers; I receive one facepalm; and everyone receives the joy of knowing that I must now complete a challenge that I inadvertently set myself up for.

In the event that a person would win points but does not have a DeviantArt account, those points will remain unwon.

If the winning challenge is in direct conflict with an official FFM challenge, that day’s official challenge will take precedence. However, I will do my utmost to find a loophole that lets me respond appropriately to both. I am pretty good at finding loopholes sometimes.

In the interest of complete transparency, as well as to facilitate keeping track of things, the list of challenges (and challengers) will be kept public and current. Numbers will be assigned based on the order in which challenges are received.

The winner(s) should be announced on the afternoon of June 18th.

Challenges So Far

  1. All 31 stories MUST have a word count that is a prime number (between 55 and 1000). ~ inkedacrylic (DeviantArt)
  2. Do three or more interactive stories per week. ~ ilyilaice (DeviantArt)
  3. The beginning of each story must overlap by at least one word with the ending of the previous story. ~ anonymous contributor
  4. Include either an epic saxophone solo or a conspicuous lack of an epic saxophone solo in every story. ~ Damon L. Wakes
  5. Have one character appear in each of the stories. ~ TheBrokenBride (DeviantArt)
  6. Make each day a silly story in a serious setting or a serious story in a silly setting. ~ jdeyke (DeviantArt)
  7. The Travelling Shovel of Death must appear in at least two stories per week. ~ MillieBee (DeviantArt)
  8. ALL the challenges.  Resolve conflicts randomly on a per-story basis. ~ jdeyke (DeviantArt)
  9. Upvote #4. ~ jdeyke (DeviantArt)
  10. Upvote #5. ~ ffaunax (DeviantArt)
  11. Your stories must begin with each letter of the alphabet, in order. Since there are 31 days in July but only 26 letters in the alphabet, make up the difference by starting the extra stories with the five horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, Famine, War, Pestilence, and Business. ~ Damon L. Wakes
  12. Include rainbows, queerness, or some representation thereof in each and every story. ~ glitterxgraphite (DeviantArt)


This challenge, whatever it ends up being, will in fact be layered on top of another handicap: I’m going to be out of the country for the first two weeks of July (this is also why the deadline isn’t later in June). Although this means that I might not actually be able to write a story every day, I do intend to write all 31 stories at some point inside of July. I traveled during the first part of FFM last year, too – it was a challenge, but I ended up victorious.

Looks like I’m adding another challenge each year, eh?

If this one goes well, I’ll do it again next year. And next time I’ll pick two winners.

(If it goes very badly, on the other hand, we’ll just all have to pretend it never happened.)