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Where is the snow?

Hey folks! I need some help writing the next episode of a fast-paced crime story. $$$ Prizes on offer to anyone who would like to join in the fun

By Raymond G. TaylorPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 6 min read
Drugs haul, cocaine and meth, BPS public domain image

A $50 prize challenge: This all started as a simple entry, humbly submitted to Vocal's snow micro challenge. Now it has grown into a fast-paced crime fiction series, I need some help developing (and concluding) the story

I have been truly delighted with the reaction to my entry to the snow micro challenge: Telltale crimson trail. A story about bloodstains in the snow, drugs, a (too-)clever detective, cigarettes and a cup of coffee. So many people asked me to continue the story that I gave it a go and have ending up writing four more episodes... so far. Now struggling to write the sixth. I even had some suggestions about how the action might continue. As well as guesses about where it was going and some of the unanswered questions.

$50 total cash prizes on offer

Gotta thank the wonderful Vocal team for providing the inspiration and motivation to do some more crime writing which I am really enjoying. Although genre was of course not specified, what other interpretation could anyone have put on it? That's the great thing about Vocal challenges. Whether you win or not, they spur us on to do some more great writing. Not comfortable writing micro fiction? All the more reason for giving it a try. Although, in my case, micro writing is no chore. I love paring a story down to its bare essentials so that it can fit it into a trim 250 (or 100 or 50) words, so I am always happy with this format. In this case, although Crimson Trail was written as a complete story, it also presented endless possibilities for a continuation, as several Vocal creators commented at the time.

Have you read all or any of the episodes so far?

  • Part one: Telltale Crimson Trail
  • Part two: Ten Minutes to Mask a Murder
  • Part three: Meltwater
  • Part four: Chain of evidence
  • Part five: Work to do

Each part of the story is exactly 250 words, sticking to the original snow micro challenge, even though that challenge has now closed. What I am now offering is a chance to join in the fun by writing your own episode of the continuing crime story. $25 cash prize (paid as tip) for the best episode of the continuing story written by anyone using the Vocal platform. I will also pay $5 for any ideas for plot twists or developments that I am able to weaver into my own narrative. So you get the chance to write your own self-contained 250 word story using the characters and plot so far (or even coming up with new characters).

Although I have a vague idea of how I plan to run this story to a conclusion, there is no reason why there could not be alternatives. So here's the deal. There are two ways to contribute to this ongoing story:

  1. Write your own complete 250-word episode of Telltale Crimson Trail and publish it in the usual way to your Vocal account, and
  2. Suggest a plot development turn or twist, or guess what happens next, or how it all ends. What do I have in mind? Whether you come up with something I hadn't thought of, or correctly guess where I am taking it, if I use the plot idea in any subsequent episode I will send you a $5 tip.

Fair's fair and, as creative writers we oughta get paid for our creativity, right? Okay, I am not a media mogul or hugely successful publisher so I can't offer a huge fee for this help. Just at token payment from me as a thank you, and to add a little fun-size incentive to participate. In short, I will pay:

  • $25 to the best complete 250-word episode
  • $5 for any plot idea that I use in my ongoing story

To enter the $25 challenge, simply write an episode of the story that began with Telltale Crimson Trail and publish in in the usual way to your Vocal account. Then put a link in comments and please link back to this article. The episode must be exactly 250 words (I am not going to count) and published as a microfiction to the Fiction community. Don't forget to select microfiction or the story could be rejected as having too few words.

Need a clue to get you going? What happened to the bag of cocaine that was lifted from the dead body in episode one?

To enter the $5 challenge, you can either guess what happens next or suggest what should or could happen next. Easy as that. I am looking for plot development ideas and suggestions or anything that correctly anticipates any actual development in any subsequent episode that I write. The first five correct guesses or best suggestions, will win $5. For example, you could suggest/guess that the character Stevie returns to John's home with a warrant for his arrest (sorry, no prizes for this one). If I use your guess or suggestion, you will see it in a subsequent episode, along with a suitable credit at the end. I will credit anything that I use. If two people guess or suggest the same thing, the first to say so in comments below gets the prize.

Rules and copyright

Please feel free to use any of the material I have written so far, be it character names, plot developments, situations, places, scenarios, in your own story. I make no claim to any of these things, other than the published words. You can even copy chunks of text, within reason and if it helps, but please credit/link at the end if you do. Any rights to complete stories written will of course remain with their creator according to the laws of the relevant jurisdiction and Vocal Ts&Cs. For the story ideas part of the challenge, by participating, you agree to allow me to use any ideas you provide without further obligation or limitation. Usual community rules apply, along with decency, equality, inclusion and respect generally. As the sponsor I will have sole discretion over who wins. I make no commitment to use any material offered and reserve the right to edit anything I do use without further reference. Just to reiterate, if you write an original story, it belongs to you and is for you to use as you see fit.

HOW TO ENTER THE CHALLENGE

To enter the $25 challenge, write a complete 250 episode of the story that began with Telltale Crimson Trail. It can either pick up where the last episode left off, pose an alternative scenario or outcome to an existing episode, or go off in a totally different direction. You have complete creative freedom over your work. I would suggest you center the action around the MC John (haven't said what his surname is yet) and/or the other main character Stevie but feel free to go your own way. You could continue the first person POV or switch to any other mode you like. Although I haven't said yet where the story takes place, there is a clue in episode 4: Chain of Evidence. Or feel free to locate, or take the action, elsewhere. As I say, the creativity is entirely down to you. For a winner, I will be looking for an original and exciting way to continue or end the story, and one that follows the overall theme and atmosphere. Once you have written your story, publish to the Fiction community, selecting 'microfiction' among any other story options. Deadline for entries is the Ides of March. You have about three weeks.

For the $5 challenge you simply have to either guess correctly where the plot is going next, how the story might end, or come up with an interesting and relevant idea where you think it could or should go next or how it all ends. Simple, yes? I will pay $5 to any correct guesses or suggestions posted in comments below that subsequently appear in any episode written by me. Up to a maximum payout of $25. No deadline, I will continue to pay until the cash runs out.

Payments will be made as tips via Vocal and any participants who are not Vocal+ members will forego any payment unless you want to use facebook messenger or some other means of providing an email address or other details for a PayPal payment or Amazon voucher.

Any further details and ideas will be discussed in a thread I will shortly start on the wonderful Facebooks support group: Vocal+ Assist

Thanks for reading and do please have a go at this unofficial challenge. I am so excited to see what you will come up with. Meanwhile, I will do my best to complete and post up episode 6.

Thanks for reading

Ray

Writing ExercisePromptsChallenge

About the Creator

Raymond G. Taylor

Author based in Kent, England. A writer of fictional short stories in a wide range of genres, he has been a non-fiction writer since the 1980s. Non-fiction subjects include art, history, technology, business, law, and the human condition.

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Comments (10)

  • Poppy 5 months ago

    This is an awesome idea!

  • Mackenzie Davis5 months ago

    I was inspired, lol. Here is my take on part 8. https://vocal.media/fiction/interrogation-go6ox0if8

  • Mackenzie Davis5 months ago

    Ooh, great idea! I love that you're involving the community at large. I'm excited to read the alternate storylines!!

  • Lamar Wiggins5 months ago

    Here's an alternate version of episode 7. Sorry if I read the prompt wrong. I didn't know you were publishing a part 7 until after you got submissions... ooops! 😅 Anyway, here it is. https://vocal.media/fiction/a-rat-in-the-cage

  • Lamar Wiggins5 months ago

    Cool idea, Ray. I guess I'm off to read the ones I haven't yet to see where you are at! I'll be back with something, lol.

  • Kageno Hoshino5 months ago

    My entry(I did a prediction of episode 6): https://vocal.media/fiction/loose-threads-pb5000iyu

  • Scott Christenson5 months ago

    Put on my crime fiction noir hat this morning and wrote two chapters, no huge twists but added some local scenery: https://vocal.media/fiction/the-encore-part-1

  • I'm a tad confused. Is it $50 or $25 for the price? Either way, that's sooooo generous of you! As for the challenge, let's see if Mr Brain decides to cooperate. Right now he's like, "Don't look at me, I just published a poem". Lol. Looking forward to reading all the entries and suggestions!

  • Scott Christenson5 months ago

    This is a cool idea, I really enjoy dreaming up plot twists, will get back with something soon! 250 words makes it a lot easier;)

  • Rachel Deeming5 months ago

    Well as Rick would say, my interest is piqued! What to do? Write or suggest? I will have a think. As you know, I devoured all the instalments so far. Great idea!

Raymond G. TaylorWritten by Raymond G. Taylor

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