October 2021
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Use “You probably haven’t heard this.”
  2. Use these five words: agricultural, child, incredible, country, church
  3. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: feeling, perforate, cottage, jungle, mislead.
    2. Use the phrase, “There was a person I knew.”
    3. Write about something done for healing purposes.
  4. Start with this line: I’m thrilled to announce…
  5. Use the phrase, “I’m not that good.”
  6. Start with this line: She would’ve made a great leader.
  7. Write about a flat tire.
  8. Set your story on a disastrous date
  9. Use the phrase “It’s been Saturday all week.”
  10. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: waterfall, meeting, rescue, sword, occupation.
    2. Use the phrase, “It’s mostly fluff.”
    3. Write about making predictions.
  11. Write about missing a whole season.
  12. Set your story at a tiny wedding
  13. Your characters exchange a knock-knock joke.
  14. Write about a month of awareness
  15. Your character coins a word.
  16. Set your story in a cabin in the woods
  17. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: biscuit, clash, policy, suffering, solve.
    2. Use the phrase, “Give or take.”
    3. Write about cancelling an event.
  18. Start with this line: We understand why you’re frustrated.
  19. Write about driving a train.
  20. Write about an uninvited guest
  21. Write about being bad at keeping secrets.
  22. Start with this line: My research led me down a rabbithole.
  23. Write about an interrupted routine.
  24. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: horseshoe, porter, glove, sea, spider.
    2. Use the phrase, “Make it fit in the box.”
    3. Write about making copies.
  25. Compare a child to their younger self.
  26. Start with this line: Would you like to join our team?
  27. Use “Blessed are the pessimists, for they shall have made backups.”
  28. Use these five words: animate, famous, rage, daughter, beautiful
  29. Write about visiting a former workplace.
  30. Set your story during a high-profile interview
  31. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: canvas, skate, plaintiff, auditor, thinker.
    2. Use the phrase, “Which one is it?”
    3. Write about an absurd challenge.

2021 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest Winners!

Toasted Cheese is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Mollie Savage Memorial Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest:

  • 1st place: “The Broken Heartstone” by Cara Brezina
  • 2nd place: “The Story I Have Not Told” by Robin Hillard
  • 3rd place: “How Can We Live Without It?” by Ian Bentwood

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everybody who entered. Look for the winning stories in the December issue of Toasted Cheese.

TC’s Dead of Winter horror writing contest is currently open for entries! Click here for more info.

21st Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Featured

Stories submitted to the the 21st Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2021) will use the theme STAY OUT OF THE ___ .

Since childhood, we’ve been warned to stay away from certain places like the forest or an abandoned house. We’re also told to stay out of arguments or not to shake the family tree. After all, it’s for our own good. What could possibly go wrong if we disregard this fundamental advice? Your characters will get to find out in the horror story you’ll write by completing and using that theme.

Your entry will not only use the theme but will also use it in a central way, not as a peripheral or “dropped in” detail. Give your story a unique title.

EVERY YEAR:

Stories MUST be based on the theme provided.
Stories MUST be set in winter.
Stories MUST fall in the horror genre.

HOW TO ENTER:

The contest opens October 1, 2021 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2021.

Email entries to dow2021[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry.

Include at the beginning of your entry: Title (word count)

The word count range for DOW 2021 is 1000–5000 words. You may round your word count however you like (example: a 4853-word-story could be “4853,” “4850,” or “~4900”). Stories that do not fall within word count parameters will be disqualified.

Follow general contest guidelines and general Dead of Winter guidelines.
See DOW guidelines for prize information.

September 2021
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about weird traffic as evidence for a mishap.
  2. Use these five words: resigns, bungled, indigestible, record, dystopia
  3. Write about the sound of construction, far away.
  4. Start with this line: I’m convinced he’s allergic to…
  5. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: position, forget, ostracize, timber, awful.
    2. Use the phrase, “The same old thing.”
    3. Write about figuring something out.
  6. Set your story in a treehouse
  7. Write about a holiday not shared by everyone present.
  8. Use these five words: creativity, scheduled, update, self-worth, lifelong
  9. Write about getting new glasses or lenses.
  10. Start with this line: They just hit rock bottom.
  11. Write about private mourning for a public event.
  12. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: girl, advance, corner, register, uncle.
    2. Use the phrase, “That’s ten times in the last week.”
    3. Write about dim memories of a similar situation.
  13. Write about something that makes no sense to the narrator.
  14. Write about a short film
  15. Write about obsessively sorting something that didn’t need it.
  16. Start with this line: If I’m being totally honest…
  17. Use the phrase, “We don’t have enough people to do that.”
  18. Start with this line: He’s trying to buy votes.
  19. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: breeze, salon, administration, remain, condition.
    2. Use the phrase, “Open it up.”
    3. Write about an automation failure.
  20. Use these five words: worried, staging, history, impressive, farmer
  21. Write about doing busy work until dinnertime.
  22. Set your story during a murder trial
  23. Your character writes a haiku.
  24. Set your story at a party with cupcakes
  25. Write about cracking knuckles before getting to work.
  26. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: aviation, explicit, insistence, manufacturer, charismatic.
    2. Use the phrase, “Was that tonight?”
    3. Write about being too tired to stay awake.
  27. Use the phrase, “Begin in the middle.”
  28. Start with this line: Who gets custody of _____?
  29. Use the phrase, “One last time.”
  30. Use these five words: processed, ambiguity, cemetery, quarters, packing

The 2021 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest is CLOSED

Your challenge for the 2021 Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy Writing Contest:

Write a fantasy or science fiction story under 4,000 words about trying to regain a power, sense, or technology lost to an act of nature or a widespread disease.

Be sure to read both the Savage Writing Contest rules and the general contest guidelines before submitting your entry.

Your 48 hours start now. Good luck!

Toasted Cheese 21:3

Featured

The September 2021 issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Jenny Hockey, Joanne Holdridge, Vicki Mandell-King, Timothy Pilgrim & Russell Rowland; flash by Natalie Schriefer; fiction by Omid Fallahazad, Minh Tam T. Le & Ann Zhang; and creative nonfiction by Elizabeth Bernays & Kolton Knapp.

TC 21:3 also includes the 2021 A Midsummer Tale Writing Contest winning stories by April Vázquez, Robin Kirby & Christina Hoag.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews The Shot by Anne Greenawalt.

The cover image is by Anna Fox on Flickr, with additional photos by photographers around the world, all of whom have generously made their work available for use under Creative Commons licenses. Please click through and check out their photostreams.

Congratulations to all. Happy reading!

August 2021
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: place, digital, iron, pumpkin, peanut.
    2. Use the phrase, “Expect heavy precipitation.”
    3. Write about merging cuisines from different places.
  2. Start with this line: The apocalypse is coming.
  3. Write about recovering from illness or injury.
  4. Set your story at a closed border
  5. Write about apologizing for being late.
  6. Write about a personal attack
  7. Write about watching a plume of smoke.
  8. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: plaster, perfume, argument, swell, conscious.
    2. Use the phrase, “That won’t work.”
    3. Write about trying to stay awake.
  9. Write about not apologizing for being late.
  10. Use these five words: stars, missing, nuclear, powerful, accident
  11. Write about missing deadlines.
  12. Use these five words: outage, classic, concert, trial, exchange
  13. Set your story on Friday the 13th.
  14. Set your story during a snowstorm
  15. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: island, density, general, copy, sister.
    2. Use the phrase, “If it were reliable, it wouldn’t be magic.”
    3. Write about almost missing a deadline.
  16. Start with this line: She wants to be seen as something other than a mother.
  17. Write about a doctored recording.
  18. Write about something kept in cages
  19. Answer a child’s “That’s not fair!” complaint.
  20. Use these five words: superfans, behavioral, journalist, debate, airport
  21. Use “How does this thing work again?”
  22. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: waiter, chew, magnitude, joint, population.
    2. Use the phrase, “It seems less noisy.”
    3. Write about an inconvenient modern technology.
  23. Write about a bad case of the Mondays
  24. Write about a well-deserved bath
  25. Write an incident in your character’s childhood.
  26. Use these five words: grifters, gravesite, befitting, defeat, network
  27. Write about not being able to come up with the right word.
  28. Use these five words: flashpoint, shortage, packing, cheers, fight
  29. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: half, release, jewel, X-ray, double.
    2. Use the phrase, “How do we clean that?”
    3. Write about disobeying rules.
  30. Write about a great mystery
  31. Write about clay on a potter’s wheel.

 

2021 A Midsummer Tale Writing Contest Winners

Toasted Cheese is happy to announce the winners of the 2021 A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest.

First: “My Virginity and Other Losses” by April Vázquez
Second: “Boys Will Be Boys” by Robin Kirby
Third: “The Night on the Rock” by Christina Hoag
Honorable Mention: “Invincible” by Bari Lynn Hein

Congratulations!

First place receives a $50 Amazon gift card, second place a $15 Amazon gift card, and third place a $10 Amazon gift card. All three stories will appear in the September issue of Toasted Cheese. We enjoyed your creative and poignant takes on the “coming of age” theme.

Kudos to everyone who entered! We enjoyed your creative and poignant takes on the “coming of age” theme.

Please join us for A Midsummer Tale again in 2022 and pass the contest info along to your writing friends! Next summer’s theme will be announced April 1, 2022.

Our next contest is the Savage Science Fiction / Fantasy 48-hour writing contest, which runs the weekend of September 17-19. See our contest page for details.

July 2021
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write four paragraphs of description of the setting of your story.
  2. Use these five words: wondering, assessment, hidden, evidence, tracking
  3. Use the phrase “battled to a scoreless tie.”
  4. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: reader, theory, pause, drawer, reaction. Bonus word: earwax.
    2. Fill in the blank: “Where did I put my _______?”
    3. Write about studying a map.
  5. Write about a freaked-out dog.
  6. Use these five words: bloomers, rundown, transformed, starry, photos
  7. Write about the sound of an appliance running.
  8. Set your story in a courtroom
  9. Write about eating out with a family member.
  10. Use these five words: influx, security, breach, reborn, bleed
  11. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: case, version, leave, tourist, precedent.
    2. Use the phrase, “where did that come from?”
    3. Write about correcting someone.
  12. Use these five words: stalled, joint, win, gems, forcibly
  13. Write about being confused by a calendar.
  14. Set your story at a poetry reading
  15. Write about rushing to open a restaurant.
  16. Start with this line: What did you miss most while you were away?
  17. Write a child’s bedtime story.
  18. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: cylinder, fairy, straight, temperature, warm.
    2. Use the phrase, “As far away as possible.”
    3. Write about a large animal.
  19. Write about a health worry.
  20. Write about being scared
  21. Write about settling in a different country.
  22. Write about a sexual assault accusation
  23. Write about summer snow.
  24. Set your story in space
  25. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: transport, throat, impound, suppress, hang.
    2. Use the phrase, “I’m not sure what happens now.”
    3. Write about giving up trying to explain something.
  26. Set your story at an awards show
  27. Drop everything and write a Haiku.
  28. Start with this line: I’m not sure why I put myself through this.
  29. Write about cleaning out the refrigerator.
  30. Use these five words: cliffhanger, poet, buckle, hero, twist
  31. Make up a name for a day of the week.

 

June 2021
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about poison.
  2. Set your story in a traffic jam
  3. Write about getting the cold shoulder.
  4. Use these five words: calling, double, lifetime, policy, treason
  5. Write about being disappointed after a major accomplishment.
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
  7. Write about a favorite place to sit.
  8. Set your story at a funeral
  9. Write about tasting something special.
  10. Use these five words: watch, crow, parity, coffee, justice
  11. Write about staying up very late to finish a book.
  12. Start with this line: He said he meant it as a compliment.
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: inappropriate, arrange, projection, plead, update.
    2. Use the phrase, “It looks the same to me.”
    3. Write about craving a stimulant.
  14. Start with this line: Two lucky winners will receive…
  15. Write about waiting for quitting time.
  16. Write about a character wearing robes
  17. Write about a misremembered quotation.
  18. Start with this line: The stakes just got higher.
  19. Write about discovering a surprising shared interest.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: ceremony, scheme, prey, charm, hesitate.
    2. Use the phrase, “Repeat after me.”
    3. Write about uncooked food.
  21. Use the phrase, “Was I daydreaming?”
  22. Use these five words: fastidiously, patience, director, zero, imminent
  23. Write about unconventional clothes.
  24. Use these five words: imaginative, intersect, genius, false, analysis
  25. Use the phrase, “It’s just six months til Christmas.”
  26. Write about a complicated threat
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: paralyzed, claim, formation, positive, fail.
    2. Fill in the blank: “Not enough room in the _______.”
    3. Write about being unable to hear.
  28. Start with this line: Where are they now?
  29. Use this phrase: “Why isn’t it red?”
  30. Set your story in a wildfire