Still Diverting

This is an update of my post originally entitled A Diversion, published – would you believe – in 2013 !

Challenges from Chris Fielden and Friends

I’ve been following Chris Fielden’s challenges for many moons, at

I enter short stories in his two-yearly To Hull and Back competitions and have even been shortlisted.

(My story, ‘After Life’, is in To Hull and Back Short Story Anthology 2018, available as kindle or paperback – not the edition I’m pictured with above, which was my prize for winning an Easter flash fiction competition on his followers’ Facebook group, Authors of the Flash Fiction Writing Challenges, or AOTFFWC).

The To Hull and Back competition is currently open again until the end of June 2023, for those interested. There is a word limit of 2,500 words and an ‘early bird’ discount for entries up to March 31st.

AOTFFWC is a lighthearted and responsive group, and Chris is generous with advice. Among other things, his website offers exhaustive listings of current competitions and advice about entering them. Since I first discovered it, the site has expanded to include services such as editing, formatting and critiques at reasonable prices.

There are also writing challenges.

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These are free to enter and offer aspiring writers, like me, a chance to see our contribution published online and, eventually, in print; albeit as a tiny proportion of a volume. Chris publishes anthologies of each writing challenge once the requisite number of contributions have been posted, and their sales benefit different charities (details are on each challenge’s web page – links below).

Although not originally tempted by these challenges I was, for some reason, drawn to read about the 81 word challenge – probably as excuse for further ignoring my outstanding editing. (That’s ‘outstanding’ as in ‘overdue’ rather than ‘very good’.)

I butchered a quick flash that wasn’t doing much anyway, down from 275 to 81 words, and sent it in.

Once my 81 words appeared on the website, I was hooked.hooked

Most of the volumes to which I contributed have now been published. If you’d like to contribute, here are links to the web sites…

Those below are now closed, but follow the links to learn about the published anthologies

Each challenge involves wallowing to your heart’s content in constructions regularly deplored by writing gurus, incorporating as many cringe-making turps as you can think of and all the deliciously sinful splurgles you can fit in.

(Do I get brownie points, Chris, for demonstrating all the challenges I’m eligible for in one sentence?)


Why not give it a go?

Let us know in the comments if you decide to take part in a challenge. Include the number of your contribution, so we can go in and read it.


Copyright © 2023 – All rights reserved.

8 thoughts on “Still Diverting

  1. I feel extremely fortunate to have happened upon Authors of The Flash Fiction Writing Challenges almost 2 years ago while doing a search on Facebook.

    It’s the most wonderfully active group I’ve ever belonged to. The monthly challenges are great. I love the admin and the other members of this great group. I am thankful that Christopher Fielden started this group. I admire him greatly for what he’s done and is doing to help writers and encourage creativity.

    I was very honored to have one of the admin, Michael Rumsey, message me asking if I’d like to host a monthly challenge. At first I was taken aback and told him, “No!”
    At first I said ‘no’ mainly because I doubted my ability. I realized this is a golden opportunity that I shouldn’t pass up. I figured that Michael and the rest of the powers-that-be either saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, (or they were just plain desperate?) So, the next day I messaged Michael back and I told him, “Yes!”

    The monthly challenge was Monday Word and I had a blast! With the continued encouragement from Michael and the other admin, as well as my fellow members in the group, I discovered that I was able to do host the monthly challenge just fine.

    Michael contacted me again through Messenger and asked me if I’d like to take over hosting another challenge for the month of November entitled, Friday Frolic. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to say yes this time.

    What I like about hosting these challenges is having to come up with ideas for the weekly challenges during the month AND coming up with examples for the other members to follow. It’s very fun and stretches me.
    Last Friday was my last Friday hosting the monthly challenge and Michael is taking over today and I have to get into the group and judge the winner (the absolute worst part of the job!) and let Michael do the challenge for the month of December.

    I’m looking forward to the next time he asks me to take over a challenge.

    If you are a writer and you want to stretch your writing skills and have fun at the same time, I heartily suggest to anyone who’s reading this post to check the group out on Facebook and join. I’ve invited a number of my friends to join myself.

    Well, I best head on over to the group and announce the winner!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is, indeed, the most active group I am a member of, and I think that’s because the challenges are so diverse. Sadly I don’t have as much time to take part as I did when I first joined, as I’ve been busy with hubby’s ill health and my writing group and u3a responsibilities (as webmaster) but I like to read responses to the challenges

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember in the very beginning of my joining the group, you came in pretty often to take part in a few of the challenges. Now I rarely see you.

    Even though you’re very busy with your other responsibilities, but at the same time, you miss coming in and taking part in the various challenges.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At the moment I’m trying to rewrite a story I submitted to People’s Friend along the lines my editor has suggested (although I’m not sure I completely agree with them, but I’ll know when it’s done.) And at the moment we’re travelling to London an back quite frequently for family committments, so my online time is limited, especially since I left my laptop power lead at home this time. I’ve ordered a spare to keep at the London end and it’s just arrived 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Is this the novel you spoke about? The one you said you don’t expect to finish it?

    That is the worst thing… Leaving the usb cord behind. I’m glad you were able to order a new one so you can get to working on that Great American….err! British Novel of yours!

    Are you originally from London?

    I got a bit of trivia for you. Did you know the first city that reached a population of 1 million was Rome. The second city to reach 1 million was London. The third city? New York City, of course!

    I learned that a while back. I love trivia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep – I originated from East London – Stoke Newington. Although I wasborn in a nursing home on the other side of London (the posh side).
      This is a longish short story I submitted to the Friend after nobody else was interested in it – I wrote it a long while ago. I’m about to revisit it in the hope they will buy it this time around (and I’ve learned a lot since I wrote it).

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Revised version sent off yesterday. Main character changed from first person to third person to match characters in other scenes. Actually I do agree with that – I just couldn’t see the ‘other scenes’ working in first person. Message to self – read through advice more carefully before going away to think about it. Actually, this story was originally written in third person before I took out the ‘other scenes’ for a shorter word competition. It’s all been changed several times since then, so I still had to edit from the start (and still found mistakes I’d missed).

          Liked by 1 person

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