2021 Writing Challenge Recap
At the end of 2020 I decided to challenge myself by trying to write a new flash fiction science fiction story every month in 2021. It seemed like a good way to stretch my writing skills and maybe get a few stories written. And it seemed like way more fun that trying to make sourdough or any other pandemic hobby. I selected twelve different subgenres or scifi themes to write each story around to give myself a bit of an extra challenge. (You can check out my original post here.)
I’m happy to say that I completed my challenge. Sometimes it took to the last day of the month to finish my story, and I pretty much went over the 1000 word “limit” with 11 of the stories, but I did keep all of them under 2000 words, and most importantly I got them all written! Twelve months and twelve flash fiction stories. I even managed to squeeze in an extra story in the year. And even better, I sold two of those stories! I hadn’t planned on that bit, this was a personal challenge, not something I was expecting to make money one, but getting a couple of my stories out into the world was a nice feeling.
I’m not sure what I will do with the rest of these stories. I might try and pitch them to different places and see if they can find a home. I’ve pondered creating a collection to sell them on my own. Or maybe I’ll post them here or share them in our newsletter. But in the meantime, here’s a breakdown of each month’s theme and a brief summary of the story that I wrote.
Theme: Alternate History
Story: One Small Step
Two young children experience the Apollo 11 moon landing in a world where a tragic event gave women a chance to become NASA astronauts.
Theme: Time Travel
Story: True Love
A man returns from a time travel vacation and commiserates with a bartender about meeting and losing his true love. (This story was sold to the Simultaneous Times podcast! Go give it a listen!)
Theme: Aliens (Invasion)
Story: Venus Manifesto
What if we’ve been duped about what is really happening on Venus, and their invasion of Earth?
In a world controlled by tech conglomerates, how does one fight the cyber big brother? One septuagenarian may have the answer.
What makes a true utopia, and can it truly be called that if someone is left out?
(This one has had some nibbles to be published, so keeping my fingers crossed. Also, it’s the only story to be under 1000 words.)
Theme: Aliens (First Contact)
Story: The Encounter
A humble honey wagon driver has a close encounter of the strange, and possibly lucrative, kind.
Theme: Military Sci-Fi
Story: Battle of MID-929
Can one soldier change the course of a war when they’ve never even passed astronavigation?
Story: First Steps
After the planet is visited in the 1950s by an alien and his giant indestructible robot, Earth responds by sending a spy to try and learn the alien’s secrets. (This one is fan fiction I wrote in homage to one of my favorite scifi movies, the classic 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.)
Theme: Space Western
Story: Treasure of the Janatians
A treasure hunter and his robot companion are in for a surprise when the locate the treasure of the Janatians.
Theme: Gothic Scifi
An Englishman is hired by the Austrian scientist Baron von Kreuzungmeister and makes a breakthrough in biology that cause the local villagers to storm the Baron’s castle.
Story: Trinity of Justice versus the Agents of E.R.O.S.I.O.N.
Three heroes must fight the fiendish Agents of E.R.O.S.I.O.N. and stop their nefarious plot, after a little help from the hero, Mister Montage.
Story: Vive La Révolution
The Verse was supposed to be a benign playground, but the pursuit of user data has turned people into nothing more than data sets to be exploited. And the only way to stop it is from within the Verse.
I had a lot of fun writing these stories and I hope I will be able to share them with you in some fashion. In the meantime I’m working on repeating my challenge for 2022, this time writing a different fantasy-themed flash fiction story each month.