February Short Story Challenge

Introduction to the Challenge!

Welcome to 2016 folks!
Since we will be meeting online this year, perhaps you could start by introducing yourself to everyone else with a quick one liner “reply all”, or leave a comment on our blog or on our Facebook page. This will be especially important if you are residing outside the Riverland and haven’t met any of us!
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This month we have a short story challenge of approximately 800-3000 words (not a hard rule) in a historic genre using the theme “Into the dark”.
Here are some things you might like to consider when preparing your work.
  • Are you familiar with historic stories? If not, perhaps you could prepare a short list of reading material so you can see how other writers have done this.
  • Which period in time would you like to set your story? You may choose to have your story set against sweeping historic events, such as wars, epidemics, great discoveries such as penicillin or exploration, or great eras such as the Renaissance or Dark Ages.
  • Think about the term “Into the dark”. Are your characters afraid of the dark? Excited? Are they using it to conceal, or is it part of their everyday life? The darkness can provide a point of conflict for dramatic tension in the story.
  • Will you concentrate on the historically accurate details of the physical world around your characters, such as their clothes, houses and tools? Or will you concentrate on their human characteristics such as their beliefs, society and interactions?

Here are some suggested books to read which are great examples of historic novels.

The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons – set in WWII in the siege of Leningrad, a novel set against a sweeping background of the drama of war

The Light Between Oceans – M L Stedman – set after WWI off the West Australian coast, focussing on the internal conflicts as a result of horrendous experience and a decent character.

Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean M Auel – a classic historic series based on meticulous research and speculation about how the earliest humans and neanderthals may have lived.

The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa Gregory – a gripping yet questionably inaccurate account of the grapple for power in Tudor England by various houses at the court.

If you have other books you suggest, please feel free to share.

There will be more tips, hints and exercises throughout the month.




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