Monday, September 13, 2010

Dance Battles and Short Story Contests

Or, Is That a Flash Drive In Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

This weekend I got a chance to compete in a flash fiction contest put on by the City of Las Vegas for the Vegas Valley Book Festival.

To make it more awesome, billie the girl and Mercedes M. Yardley from my super-awesome critique group, The Illiterati, joined in and we strolled into the place like the three amigos.

It was fun to meet other writers, see some familiar faces from the local writer’s group meetup (Las Vegas Writers Group), and try to write a winning 500 word short story off a prompt for the chance at $500. (Dude, that’s a buck a word.)

But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. When the 90 minutes of write time was up we had to turn in our pieces to be judged. There are many possible ways this could have been accomplished, but the way chosen was to load your story onto your own personal flash drive, turn it into the contest coordinator to keep for several weeks while they figure out the winners.

Someone offered to let everyone use their flash drive and put all the stories onto one. I suspected a sabotage attempt. Mercedes aptly dubbed it the Syphilis Drive. That made me think of someone holding out their used Kleenex and saying “Hey, anyone else need to blow? I don’t want this to go to waste.”

Flash drives. Yeah, I can picture the logistics planning meeting:

“How’re we gonna collect the contest entries?”

“Oh, I know. They can just turn in the Word files on their personal flash drives with no distinguishing personal features. I’ll give them back at some indeterminate time.”

“But… it seems that things could go a little wrong there. They might get lost; computer viruses are transmitted by flash drives; or people might have personal files or data on them…”

“Relax, we’re the government. What could go wrong?”

At least after the contest Mercedes and I had an epic Dance Battle in the parking lot. Video evidence was confiscated and destroyed in the interest of national security.

But it looked something like this:

Oh yeah, we won't know if we won for another few weeks, so stay tuned (all three of you)


  1. I like how the dog's jowls are flopping in the wind.
    I'm just sayin'.

  2. Yeah, baby! Our awesome dance moves were the BEST!

    May I note that neither Mason nor I used the Syphilis Drive. But billie the girl...well, she succumbed.