Thursday 360 Challenge

Welcome to Thursday 360!

Are you a Christian writer? Think you can write a mind-blowing short story in 360 words or less? Let’s see what you’ve got!

Here’s How it Works

New posts will publish here on Thursdays. Write a 360-word (or less) flash fiction story based on the photo prompt (featured near the bottom of this post) and enter it in the comments section below. The results will be posted the following Thursday along with the new prompt. Winner will get the opportunity to display the Champion’s Badge on their website.

Rules and What-not

The rules are pretty simple. All entries for the current challenge must be posted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, March 23rd. They must be original, unpublished stories inspired by the photo prompt and they must have no more than 360 words (title doesn’t count). Stories don’t have to be Christian in subject matter, but cannot contain foul language, erotic, anti-Christian content, etc… (Let’s try to keep it G-rated, folks.) By posting, you attest that your entry conforms to these rules; I am in no way liable if it doesn’t. I reserve the right to reject/delete anything that does not follow the rules.

All entries remain the property of their authors.

Results for Last Week’s Challenge

Being Old by Daleen Cowgar: An elderly man struggles with being old. However, he bonds with a young boy from a troubled home and finds that, with age, comes blessings he didn’t know before. He discovers that he can make a difference, not only despite his age, but because of it, and that it’s really not so bad being old. There’s a really great message here. Thanks for sharing, Daleen.

Grandpa’s Trip to MacDonalds by Charles W. Short: A man attempts to set his grandson straight on a matter of religion after he begins to be swayed by a false doctrine at his girlfriend’s church. The grandfather’s keen insight and wry humor really make this story while getting the point across. Good work, Charles.

Champion: Charles W. Short

Here’s your e-badge, Charles.

updated thursday 360 e-badge

 

And the Best Characterization Award goes to Daleen Cowgar. Here’s your badge, Daleen.

new thursday 360 best characterization award

The Prompt

And here’s the prompt for this week’s challenge in honor of the First Day of Spring tomorrow.

Remember the deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday, March 23rd.

Photo “Untitled” taken 2/21/10 by Paola Camargo. Made available at Flickr.com under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

Also, remember to become a follower so you can get email notifications of results and new posts.

 

Check out Christian Flash Weekly after you’re done for another great contest to help you hone your short fiction skills.

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10 thoughts on “Thursday 360 Challenge

  1. Anna Mae’s Cover

    Her cover was brilliant. No one would ever suspect. She was the perfect picture of a home maker.

    She would sit on her porch every afternoon, sometimes alone and other times with neighbors and friends. When she has company she dressed impeccably. If they sit on the side with the bougainvillea she wears a dress with pink flowers and uses the teacups with pink roses. If they sit on the side with the lilacs she wears the purple dress and uses the teacups with grape hyacinth. In either case she wears green nail polish, the finishing touch.

    It was all too perfect. She would offer cucumber sandwiches or biscotti. They would chat amiably about the neighborhood and family members. She maintained her cover with a well-rehearsed choreography. Unpleasant conversations were diverted, polite topics were rehashed, and on goes the dance, protecting her cover.

    Eventually the culture changed. Her neighbors went from wearing dresses to bell bottoms to parachute pants to whatever else fashion demanded. She never changed, she was afraid to blow her cover. Her hair turned white and her visitors thinned out. Everyone knew her, liked her, waved their greetings, but nobody stopped anymore to allow her to rehearse the pleasantries of her well-worn conversations.

    One day, she didn’t come out to the porch, but no one worried. A few days passed and then an odor rose up.

    The police found a diary, the documentation of her life. Pain, after her father had been killed in World War Two. Heartbreak, after multiple miscarriages, ending in a divorce before such things were acceptable in polite society. Then for the next several decades it spoke of loneliness, covered by what she perceived as the constraints of polite society.

    No one knew her pain, sorrow, or loss. She felt she must be the worst of sinners, that God was judging her, that she needed a Savior; but she felt it was impolite to say so. She poured out it all into a diary to hide it away and then closed her cover around it.

    342 words
    http://www.twitter.com/CharlesWShort
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  2. Mom’s Garden

    WC: 254

    In the back of my mind, I could see Mom sitting calmly in a garden, nails painted, eating cake and drinking tea.

    I look across the table at her. Her nails are short and chipped, her hair is pulled back into a low ponytail. She looks exhausted.

    What is she doing? Going to bed?

    No.

    She’s going to her second job so that we can eat.

    What am I doing?

    I’m going to Joey’s house to ‘study’ school.

    We’ll both look at our books for about five seconds and then turn on his games.

    I remembered my teacher’s words this morning. ‘You’ve got terrible grades, J.J.!! Do you want to get out of those slums? This is the way to do it!!’ When I walked toward the door, I heard him mutter, ‘Welfare. The lazy people want us to do the work for them.

    ‘Mom has worked her whole life for us,’ I wanted to shout back at him. ‘We don’t need Welfare.’

    I heard Mom’s car start up, two coughs and a choke, and then sputter down the road.

    Mom deserves her garden.

    The only person who can get it for her is me.

    I picked up the phone. “Hey. Joey. I can’t make it today. No. Not tomorrow either. Maybe some other time.”

    And I’m gonna get that garden for her.

    I opened my Algebra book and started studying.

    That was me back then.

    Now I’m a doctor.

    And Mom sits in a garden, nails painted, eating cake and drinking tea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love, Tea Gardens, and Converse Sneakers

    As out of place as a river bass in a teacup. That’s what I was. From my mint green nails to my blue Converse sneakers.

    Yet here I was at a formal tea in a Victorian garden with my future in-laws.

    I wanted nothing more than to melt into a puddle and seep down between the cracks of the Travertine tiles beneath my shoes.

    Charlie came up behind me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “What’s wrong?”

    “They hate me.”

    “That don’t hate you,” he said turning me to face him. “They just have to get used to you that’s all.”

    “Charlie…we were fools to think this could work. You’re family’s got money growing out of their pockets; mine hardly has enough spare change for a pack of gum. I’m a starving artist; you’re a corporate executive. I’m an American; you’re British…and, boy, is that obvious today. Just look at them; look at me. They look like they belong in the Queen’s entourage; I look like a college girl from Toledo…which I am, but at least I could’ve dressed up a bit if I knew it was going to be a formal tea. Why didn’t you tell me?”

    “Because I didn’t want you to stress about it or try to be someone that you’re not,” his eyes bored into mine as he spoke. “I love you, Olivia Morton, for who you are. I love you in a frilly dress, I love you jeans and sneakers, I even love you when you’ve got paint on your nose and your t-shirt looks like a drop cloth. I love you, all of you, because you’re wonderful, and I want my family to see that too.”

    Well, what could I say to that?

    I smiled despite myself. “You’re the sweetest man alive, you know that?”

    He grinned. “True, but I like to hear you say it.”

    I chuckled and shook my head. “Alright, come on then. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

    “Work?”

    “Yep, we’re about to un-proper-ize your family.”

    His eyebrows went up, but his laughter rang out across the garden as he followed after me.

    Approx. Word Count: 360

    Host Entry — Not Eligible to Win

    Liked by 1 person

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