Mash Stories is a brilliant new on-line community for writers with a seasonal prompt-based contest.
Contestants must write a story under 500 words using three randomly chosen words. It started up at the beginning of this year with the words bunker, tennis ball, and animal rights. The winner was Miles Rausch, who crafted a gripping flash “Nearly Nine”. In five hundred words he manages to develop several characters while building tension.
The shortlist for the current season is up and one of my pieces is included. The words we had to work with were relativity, cathedral, and monkey. “Upside-down and Sideways” is one of a couple speculative fiction pieces among the list of seventeen stories. We’re making a brave showing, but the straight fiction tends to do a lot better popularity-wise, whether it’s because of genre preference or dedicated followings.
Anyway, when I started playing around with the ideas, letting the words tumble around my head, I stumbled across M.C. Escher’s sketch Relativity. The wiki on it has a decent run down of the sketch, highlighting that the picture operates around three separate gravity wells (hence the “real” world, the upside-down one and the sideways one in my story). The first scene I got down on paper had my main character interact with the fellow carrying a wine bottle on the lower right half of the page (a scene that never made it into the finished product).
Around the same time I was crafting that tale, a friend of mine had come down with a nasty case of vertigo. From there, the tale coalesced. Check out Mash Stories, vote for your favorites, or check out the new list of words (oxidation–love–alphabet) and craft your own piece for a chance to win $100. you have 82 more days.