Three Cheers and a Tiger Fall 2017

Stories submitted to the 2017 Fall “Three Cheers and a Tiger” short fiction contest must follow the theme: “the  de-escalation of a potentially violent situation.” Your entry must also follow guidelines below.

Entries must be received by 5 PM Eastern Time, Sunday, September 24, 2017. The challenge is to write and submit a complete story in 48 hours. There is no registration and no entry fee.

SPECIAL:

Conflict has long been an inspiration to spec fic writers. In choosing this year’s theme, we’re inspired by real world events and are eager to see how SFF writers interpret not only the theme but the world in which we find ourselves. What world will you create and what will it say about our own?

EVERY YEAR:

Stories MUST be based on the theme provided.

Stories MUST be speculative fiction (sci fi or fantasy entries are welcome; read past winners to get an idea of what subgenres judges prefer).

Stories MUST fall within word count parameters. The word count range for 3CFall 2017 is 3000–4000 words.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens September 22, 2017 at 5 PM ET and the deadline for submission is 5:00 PM ET September 24, 2017.

Email entries to threecheers17[@]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Three Cheers Contest Entry

Paste your story directly into your email. No attachments please.

Follow general Three Cheers and a Tiger guidelines and general contest rules:

Three Cheers and a Tiger Guidelines

General Contest Rules

 

Dead of Winter 2016 Winners

The winning stories in our Dead of Winter 2016 contest are:

1st: “The Hands of Fate” by Ellis Sinclair
2nd: “The Dead of Winter” by Catherine J. Link
3rd: “Helping Hands Retreat” by Red Lagoe

These stories will be published in our March 2017 issue.

We are also awarding an honorable mention to “The Philosophy of Pre-Determinism” by Michael Grantham. Although the story will not be published, we appreciated the story’s clever callbacks to Manos: The Hands of Fate and its telling of the story of two minor characters, both cleverly named.

We enjoyed reading every entry and thank the entrants for sharing their creativity with us.

Dead of Winter 2017 opens October 1 and we invite you to enter. Our next contest is the 48-hour challenge “Three Cheers and a Tiger,” which runs the closest weekend to the beginning of Spring.

Keep writing! The Master would approve!

The 16th Annual “Dead of Winter” Writing Contest

Stories submitted to the 16th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2016) must use the theme THE HAND OF FATE (your entry must follow guidelines below).

This year’s theme is inspired by the 50th anniversary of the cult horror film Manos: The Hands of Fate. You may take as much or as little inspiration from the film as you like. You do NOT need to use elements of it for your story, although we’d like you to be inspired and have included some ideas about that below. Your only “must” is to use the theme THE HAND OF FATE.

SPECIAL:

Manos is universally acknowledged as one of the worst films ever made but its fans have latched onto its endearing elements. If you invest an hour of your time in watching the weirdness unspool, you’ll find something memorable, whether that’s a line of dialogue, a thrift store quality prop, or the strangely charismatic Torgo (as well as “the haunting Torgo Theme”). There’s a good story buried inside this weird little movie.

Note: the commentary tracks make the film more bearable to sit through; both include supplementary material to pad out a two-hour run time so the film itself begins about a quarter to halfway through (look for grainy footage of a family in a convertible). Manos: The Hands of Fate runs a little over an hour.

There are also several articles, reviews, and synopses online.

Ideally, your entry will not only follow the theme THE HAND OF FATE but will also employ some element of the film that inspired it. Examples (plot & character) include:

  • A couple/family gets lost on their way to a vacation resort
  • A couple/family finds something unexpected when they arrive at their destination
  • A cult whose leader is betrayed by his/her assistant
  • A cult revolts against its leader
  • A man who embraces 60s-era masculinity finds himself at the center of a situation he can’t control
  • A child who replaces a beloved pet with something sinister
  • A woman whose physical beauty makes her a target of desire for one, a “prize to be won” for another
  • A caretaker who abandons his/her post and faces physical consequences
  • The making of a low-budget movie goes awry

You might also be inspired by the time setting (1966), geographic setting (rural Texas borderland), or the film’s underlying (and unintended) themes, like sexism or servility.

We are not asking for, nor will we accept, Manos fanfic or any point-by-point retelling of the story of Manos: The Hands of Fate. Do not use the characters of Michael/Mike, Margaret/Maggie, Debbie, Torgo, The Master, or The Wives. You may take inspiration from them for your original characters.

EVERY YEAR:

  • Stories MUST be based on the theme provided.
  • Stories MUST be set in winter.
  • Stories MUST fall in the horror genre*.
  • The word count range for DOW2016 is 2000–4000 words.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2016 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2016.

Email entries to dow2016[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines

manos-torgo-dow2016

Apparently when you make a bet about telling a horror story, you end up either with Frankenstein or Manos.

The 15th Annual “Dead of Winter” Writing Contest

The 15th Annual Dead of Winter Writing Contest is OPEN!

Dead of Winter is a horror fiction contest.

This year’s theme is: THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN

Word count parameters: 1500-3000 words

Stories submitted to the 15th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2015) must use the theme THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN. We invite you to take inspiration from this artwork by Tom McCarthaigh (described below):

Tom McCarthaigh is an illustrator from the United Kingdom. His work conveys an atmosphere of mystery, magic as well as possible danger. Tom has worked with local zine writers in Bristol as well as clients from around the world. This year, his moth design was chosen as the hologram for Bristol’s very own printed currency.

Tom McCarthaigh is an illustrator from the United Kingdom. His work conveys an atmosphere of mystery, magic as well as possible danger. Tom has worked with local zine writers in Bristol as well as clients from around the world. This year, his moth design was chosen as the hologram for Bristol’s very own printed currency.

You may take as much or as little inspiration from this work as you like. You do NOT need to use elements of it for your story; you must only use the theme THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN.

Be sure to read both the Dead of Winter contest rules and the general contest guidelines before submitting your entry. Due to the autumnal elements of our visual prompt, stories may be set in fall or winter for the 2015 contest.

Deadline for entries is December 21.

Image description: Black & white sketch with a marbleized blue sky. Five children wearing Halloween costumes (a small jack-o-lantern appears behind them). The background includes a house (or houses), barren trees and a few leaves. 

14th Annual Dead of Winter Writing Contest

The 14th Annual Dead of Winter Writing Contest is OPEN!

Dead of Winter is a horror fiction contest. This year’s theme is: TOYS IN THE ATTIC.

Stories submitted to the 14th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2014) must use the theme Toys In the Attic. A child’s plaything must feature prominently in your story and the story setting should be an attic, penthouse, or other “top floor.” Be creative with other setting elements, including time period and geographic location.

Be sure to read both the Dead of Winter contest rules and the general contest guidelines before submitting your entry.

Deadline for entries is December 21.

Questions? Feel free to ask them here or at the forums.

Three Cheers and a Tiger Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest

The Fall 2014 Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest is now open. The deadline for entries is Sunday, September 21 at 5pm ET.

This fall’s topic is: What Went Wrong?

Write a story under 5000 words about that time that a promising hypothesis was disproven, a step missed in a procedure, or some crucial ingredient was omitted that seemed obvious to the person who wrote the recipe, but not to the one who was reading it.

Be sure to read both the Three Cheers and a Tiger contest rules and the general contest guidelines before submitting your entry.

Your 48 hours start now. Good luck!

A Midsummer Tale Winners!

Toasted Cheese is happy to announce the winners of the 2014 A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest:

1st: “When We Still Knew What It Meant to Be Kids,” creative nonfiction by Krista Varela
2nd: “Hip Hip,” fiction by Alexander Drost
3rd: “Rise Up Singing,” fiction by Eric E. Wallace

Congratulations Krista, Alexander, and Eric!

First place receives a $35 Amazon gift card and second place receives a $10 Amazon gift card. All three winning stories will appear in the September issue of Toasted Cheese.

Kudos to everyone who entered. We hope you’ll join us for A Midsummer Tale again in 2015 and that you’ll pass the contest info along to your writing friends! Next summer’s theme will be announced April 1, 2015.

TC’s next contest is the Three Cheers and a Tiger 48-hour writing contest, which runs the weekend of September 19-21. The fall rendition of 3 Cheers has a science fiction / fantasy theme and is judged by Boots and Broker.

Fall Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest Results

Judges Broker and Boots have finished reading and judging the stories for the fall Three Cheers and a Tiger writing contest and are happy to announce the results:

Gold: Cheryl Clark, “Nights and Wishes”
Silver: Kate Lansky, “Save What We Can”
Bronze: Lorraine Nelson, “Get Carter”

These stories will appear in the December issue of Toasted Cheese, and the winner and runner-up will receive gift certificates from Amazon.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered. We had a lot of fun reading your underground railroad stories.

Our next contest, Dead of Winter, is currently in progress: click here for more info. The next Three Cheers and a Tiger writing contest will take place the weekend of March 21-23, 2014.