At one point I had a webzine, and one of my favourite things about it was running writing competitions.
I found so many good writers that way – many of them went on to be successful in their work as well. I was only a step along the way…but it was so satisfying to see them move along like that.
I am half toying with the idea of reviving the webzine – it actually depends on if I go and do this Masters Degree I am looking at – however I thought that I would revive the competition aspect.
Below you will find a story prompt. It’s quite detailed. Use the prompt to start your story and then continue on from there.
This is a “for the fun of it” challenge, whatever you submit will be completely yours to do with as you will, all I ask is that I be allowed to publish the top 5 entries on my site for a month.
Word Limit: 5,000 words in addition to the prompt.
Deadline: 31st March
The house on the edge of the village had been empty for over thirty years. The roof was half caved in from an oak tree that had fallen in the last big storm and the garden was more like a jungle than the meadow that the house stood in the middle of. The local kids would play in the meadow, dare each other to climb the apple trees in the back garden and throw windfalls at the house itself. None of them ever went closer than the weed choked pond that lay a couple of metres beyond the back door.
A faded For Sale sign emblazoned with the logo of the only Estate Agent in the village stood beside the large front gate.
One morning, a sold sign replaced the For Sale sign. The village rang with the sound of gossip and rumour; especially when the sold sign was joined by steel link fencing around the house and the meadow was cut for the first time in thirty years. Portacabins were parked at the front of the house and slowly the area around it filled with supplies and equipment. The day that the workers arrived, a group of villagers gathered just beyond the safety fence.
“So what are we supposed to be doing, Mike?” a youngster in a too big hi-vis safety vest and well fitting hard hat asked as the large group of workers walked toward the house.
“Boss said that the whole place is being pulled down, kid. The trees and shrubs are being moved further out and the rest will be ploughed under. Our crew’s job is to clear the place of squatters or anything that might be wanted. The old lady who sold the house said that she left a few items of furniture when she moved in with her daughter and they never got round to picking them up again.
“So it’s just a walk through then?” the kid sighed, “That’s always the creepiest part of the job.”
“Never mind, Kid. I’ll stick to you, get you out of any difficult situations.” Mike patted the kid’s shoulder awkwardly.
The workers split up into smaller groups to do their assigned jobs. Mike, the Kid and four others headed into the house. The front door was already unlocked and had been shoved back against the peeling wallpaper in the hallway beyond.
Pausing in the hallway, Mike read off names and gave them areas to work in.
“Where are we going?” the kid asked as Mike led the way back outside.
“We’ll do the Garage. It’s just round the side. The Estate Agent says that it’s locked up tight, the way that the Basement and Outhouse are. We might have to break the door down.”
The kid absorbed this information silently.
The main garage door was padlocked and none of the keys that Mike had on the ring worked. “Guess we’re breaking it then. Go and grab a crowbar, kid.”
The kid dashed off and came back with a crowbar.
Mike inspected the padlock, hasp and door carefully, “The wood’s rotten. This should be easy.”
He slid the crowbar into the gap behind the hasp and pulled the bar toward him. The wood splintered and cracked. Mike tried again. There was a bit more splintering.
“Third time’s the charm, Kid.” Mike muttered and pulled on the crowbar.
The screws holding the hasp to the door pulled out of the wood and Mike stepped back abruptly, “That’s the ticket. Open the doors wide.”
The sunlight flashed off dusty metal and glass.
“There’s a car in here, Mike.” the kid said.
“Good, something to sell for the old lady and her daughter then.” Mike stowed the crowbar in one of his trouser leg pockets and followed the kid inside.
The kid wandered around the car, looking into the boxes stacked around it, “Lots of stuff in here. Should I start hoicking it outside?”
The kid selected a box, picked it up and ignoring the tiny spiders that spilled from the gap behind it, carried the box outside.
Mike looked at the car carefully, “That’s a vintage car I reckon. Probably worth quite a bit to the right person, especially if it doesn’t need much doing up.” He tugged on the door handle. “Locked.”
Checking the keyring, he found one that looked like it would fit and tried it. The door opened silently, with a billow of dust that set Mike coughing.
“You all right, Mike?” The kid came back in, dusting cobwebs and spiders off themselves.
“Yeah, just a bit of dust…” Mike peered into the front of the car, “…Looks like this baby is in pretty good nick.” He twisted and looked in the back seat.
The keyring dropped out of his hand and he stumbled backward…
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
So, start your writing brains up and have fun with it – there’s no genre to stick to and “The Kid” is deliberately description-less other than the safety equipment.
No age limit or any other stipulation either.
I’ll be doing the same thing – it’ll be fun to see what different people come up with.
I’ll post the submission details later in the month – just concentrate on writing for the moment!