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Text Thoughts [an unofficial challenge]

May/June 2024 Writing Prompt/Challenge

By BellePublished 2 months ago • Updated 22 days ago • 6 min read

Here we go again! Since my last challenge "In the Animal's Mind [an unofficial challenge]" got such a good response, I thought I would go ahead and create another one!

Originally I wanted these to be a monthly thing, but considering the amount of prompt ideas shuffling in my brain and my eagerness to let them out, I thought it might be okay to be bimonthly occasionally (the bimonthly that means twice a month, not every two months!) in which this is the challenge for May/June (or the second May challenge, in other words).

Also, a special shoutout to everyone who entered the last challenge! Y'all made my month!

So, let's get into it!

The Prompt

Write a story that is entirely made of a text message conversation(s).

This is a pretty open-ended challenge, and it might sound lame, but hear me out!

I remember reading books as a kid that were entirely made of a text format, where it was like a play, but without any stage direction. (For an example of one of these books, see the attached excerpt at the end of the page.) You have to be pretty witty to make a book entirely made of dialogue, where the plot often takes place in the breaks and pauses between messages, and the reader is left to catch up on whatever hints the character gives them.

It doesn't have to be a single text conversation. It can be a group chat, it can be a collection of different chats that you crawl back and forth from, in which the organization of chats would have to be given in headings of some sort. The messages can also shift between platforms (DMs on Instagram, Snapchats, iMessage, WhatsApp, etc.) if it's beneficial for your plot. It could also be a string of emails!

Also! To prevent from limiting you – It can be a conversation within a comment section (on any platform)! You can give insight as to what it is a comment on (indicating what the post is). It could be a thread on X or Reddit. Anything you'd like!

And! It does not have to be of a specific genre. It could be a creation of poetry through messages (like a Shakespearean text conversation), or even a great monologue. The person being texted (or receiving) does not have to respond. The texts/messages can be as long or as short as you'd like. And you don't need to worry about the use of "u," "r," "kk," and other shortened text forms, unless it is beneficial for the story to use text lingo (or if you just really want to!).

It could be a horror story, a romantic story, comedic, sad, a statement on mental health, society, psychosis, anything you can set your mind to!

I think this will be fun.

Ooh! Here's a tip! If you want to show a character's thoughts without revealing them to another character, you could included DELETED messages/texts, in which you could indicate that the message is invisible to the recipient now that it has been UNSENT. Something to play with, I think.

The Criteria/Rules

Word Count: Usually I'd say to aim for around 500 words (or 350+) but since this is texting and the story will be really only dialogue, just go with whatever feels right! There's no submission too short in this case (as long as Vocal still allows you to publish it). Just please don't write me a novel, think somewhere between 0 and 1,000 words.

Link back: At the end of your work, include a link to this page so the challenge prompt comes up!

Comment: Come back and comment the link to your submission once it has been published! I can't wait to read them!

More than one submission? I ENCOURAGE IT. GO FOR IT. I would love to read any number of submissions if you have more to write! I just ask that each submission be in its own publication.

Entering previously published work? DO IT. I don't imagine there are many stories published that fit this challenge, but if you have one, go ahead and enter it! I'm more than happy to view work that you have written prior to the challenge if it fits the prompt!

Deadline: This challenge will end on June 15th at 11:59pm MST! Since this is the May/June challenge, it starts mid May and ends mid June (although I did start this one a little early, to allow you some time to get the creative juices flowing).

Now, I know this challenge won't be for everyone, so if there are too few submissions and I believe the challenge would benefit from an extension, I may make one. However, I will not make any extension in the week leading up to the deadline. Since the deadline is June 15th, no extensions will be made after June 8th. (If for any reason there is an adjustment to the deadline date, I will notify all contestants and edit this publication.)

ALSO! I realized something since the last challenge:

Edits to your work: If you have submitted your work, and know that I have read it, but you have made some edits, please let me know that you have edited it, so I don't judge it based on the unedited version. I will also be looking at the "last edited" dates on the date of the deadline to make sure this does not happen. However, please do not make any edits to your work after the deadline (or at least between the deadline and release of results)!

Invite!: So this is not a requirement, but please feel free to share with your friends and invite others to join the challenge! I'd love to see more responses/submissions, if at all possible! Eee!

The Judging

I will do the judging once the challenge closes. It should take me approximately a week to complete, so let's shoot for June 22nd. However, if for any reason this date has to be adjusted, I will edit this publication and notify all contestants.

My eligibility? So, I don't claim to be the best person for the job, nor do I claim to be a scholar of the lit canon. I am a BEd student with a major in English Language Arts, if that helps my credibility at all.

I will judge the works based on writing, plot/story, language, and creativity. Another publication will be written and published on June 22nd with the winner and top 3, as well as a little blurb rationalizing my choice. Links to all submissions (regardless if they made it to the top) will be included! I encourage you all to check out each other's submissions!

Prizes? So, if you participated in the last challenge, you'll know my prizes aren't that great, aha... I unfortunately cannot offer tips yet as prizes, but I hope to be able to in the future! For now, the prize for winning the challenge is that I promise to read, like, and comment on 5 of your works, as well as subscribing (if I haven't already). I will be looking for some better ways to prize the winner, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to comment! I hope that these comments, likes, and reads will at least boost your page a little.

Thank you all! I am excited for this one, as I haven't seen many text messaging works on Vocal yet. I look forward to reading your submissions! Happy writing!

P.S. If you comment below that you are planning to enter, I will send reminders two weeks before (June 1st) and one week before (June 8th) the deadline if you haven't made submissions yet.

For some organizational inspiration, here is an excerpt from Lauren Myracle's book TTYL (a book made entirely of text conversations):

(P.P.S. This work was so long for no reason. If you read all of that, cheers to you!)

The Entries

  1. Dharrsheena Raja Segarran "The Cabin of Silence"
  2. Mike Singleton - Mikeydred "The Business Model"
  3. Christy Munson "The Plan"
  4. Shirley Belk "Tournament Trash Talking"
  5. Silver Serpent Books "Unread"
  6. Amanda Starks "The Shadow & the Eagle"
  7. Amanda Starks "What are Friends For?"
  8. Paul Stewart "An Unexpected Conversation"

PromptsWriting ExerciseWriter's BlockInspirationChallenge

About the Creator

Belle

I host unofficial challenges and enjoy writing microfiction and poetry.

ALL EYES ON RAFAH. 35k+ murdered in Palestine. 80k+ injured. 25k orphaned. ~10k missing/under rubble.

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Comments (14)

  • Chloe Gilholyabout a month ago

    I love the sound of this

  • Paul Stewartabout a month ago

    https://vocal.media/fiction/an-unexpected-conversation - boom got in just in time! Sorta! or something. Anyway! Enjoy - I hope you do!

  • Amanda Starksabout a month ago

    THIS IS SUCH A COOL PROMPT, WHAT?? Okay, so I want to write something new using actual text lingo and messing with deleted messages BUT I do have a dialogue only story that's an elder telling a folk story to a young girl: https://vocal.media/fiction/the-shadow-and-the-eagle It's a 4 minute read, so if it's too much/too long don't worry about entering/reading it! Figured I'd throw it out there! (:

  • Here's my entry! I hope the timestamps are okay :) This was actually super fun! https://vocal.media/fiction/unread-ts9601ea

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    Belle, here is my entry: https://vocal.media/unbalanced/tournament-trash-talking Great challenge. Thank you!!!

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    I love that the prize is a promise to read 5 of the creator's works! Truly grand. I'm going to see what I can do :)

  • Mackenzie Davis2 months ago

    What a cool challenge! I may have to try it out! But if not, looking forward to reading some others. I read one story like this a few months ago for the fairy tale challenge, and it was very good. How fun!

  • Christy Munson2 months ago

    My entry, for your reading pleasure https://vocal.media/fiction/the-plan-9x3ah009j

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Ah Belle, Sorry I missed the last challenge. This sounds interesting and I like the idea of telling a story or part of a story in text form...so I will see what I can come up with! Well done on the success of your last challenge and I'm sure this will get a lot of creative results! :)

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    Mmm, I will have a think about this...

  • I have done several chat fictions, but will do another one. Here is an old one https://vocal.media/fiction/the-business-model

  • I've added this to the Challenge thread in Vocal Social Society on Facebook

  • I have one that I've written before. I'll leave the link in the comment below

BelleWritten by Belle

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