Days left until the Sept 24th deadline: 11
Prize money: $350 and counting
Submissions so far: 22 total (19th: 3, 20th: 6, 21st: 5, 22nd: 8 )
Recommended number of words for your next submission: 1,000
Allowed number of submissions per entrant: 3 per century=up to 12 total.
So…you’ve got just over a week to write one or more very short stories for a chance at honor, glory, and over $350–and the field is still quite open. What might you do? A few thoughts:
Like speculative fiction? Try alternate history
Eight entries leaves plenty of room for competition in the 22nd century. But the 19th century is almost embarrassingly open. Why not slip in with an alternative history? I mean–all you need to put together is one moment in a thousand words. Give us an 1844 meeting of the apostles–with William Smith and Brigham Young at odds while Thomas B. Marsh presides. Tell us about the day in 1898 when Wilford Woodruff escapes from hiding and makes it safely to the new headquarters of the Church in Mexico. Describe Orson Hyde’s unexpected audience with Sultan Abdul Majid, or the day David Patten shows off the pocket watch that took a bullet for him in Missouri to remind the Saints that they don’t need to be afraid of what Johnston’s army could do. Have fun!
Remember that the mundane can be magical
Big moments in our past or future can be cool. But little moments can have their own power. How does an 1830s British convert feel when the transatlantic telegraph connects Utah and England in the 1860s? What does the kid in 1915 think about her family’s first “home evening”? What does a small branch in the Netherlands do when an African convert’s baptism is scheduled to take place the same time as the 1978 World Cup Final their national team came from behind to make? How does a family in India process it when a missionary who comes from the country of Hollywood and porn starts to teach them the law of chastity? How does a young woman’s nonmember boyfriend react when a Mormon actually wins the American Presidency in 2084? What secret does a boy or girl try to hide from his/her parents in 2135?
Find a character and a moment, and then just pound it out
You can enter up to twelve stories in this contest. And who cares if they don’t all turn out? Half of writing is motivation–let the money and the limited glory be motivation to get as many concepts as possible committed, however primitively to the page. Some you may come back to. Most you probably won’t. But in the process you will learn something that carries over into your next project, that makes it fuller and richer. And that’s what will make this contest worthwhile, in the end, for you…and for me.
Good luck writing!