October 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Reminisce about a vacation or holiday
  2. Write about an adverse drug reaction.
  3. Write about how remarkable it is that someone is not looking at their phone.
  4. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: sensitivity, message, realize, bake, trivial.
    2. Use the phrase, “No, I don’t believe it.”
    3. Write about quitting a game that can’t be won.
  5. Write about a delight found in the midst of tedium.
  6. Start with this line: “What was the outcome of the struggle?”
  7. Write about carefully choosing an alias.
  8. Write about a visiting scholar.
  9. Write about the impression someone else is living parts of your life.
  10. Start with this line: “Nobody bothered to tell me.”
  11. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: realize, leftovers, extension, mug, favorite.
    2. Use the phrase, “Is it Friday yet?”
    3. Write about trying to focus when drowsy.
  12. Include these 3 characters in a story: educator, groundskeeper, counselor.
  13. Your character writes a letter to his/her younger self.
  14. Start with this line: “I was 110% sure I was right.”
  15. Your character finds a letter purporting to be from an older self.
  16. Write about a digitization project.
  17. Write about trying to figure out a beekeeper’s suit.
  18. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: thaw, mourning, attract, stem, number.
    2. Use the phrase, “sounds like a plan.”
    3. Write about being interrupted when dancing alone.
  19. Write about deciding not to come home from a trip.
  20. Use these five words: outreach, index, peppermint, decline, nations.
  21. Use this: “You’re not wearing that.”
  22. Start with this line: “That is a huge leap.”
  23. Write about being caught drooling.
  24. Set your story at dawn during a heatwave.
  25. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: prosper, disk, satisfaction, biology, able.
    2. Use the phrase, “the best ever.”
    3. Write about a stack of mail or lots of incoming messages.
  26. Start with this line: “Don’t be fooled.”
  27. Write about getting a multi-colored hair dye job
  28. Write about a secret cinnamon bun recipe.
  29. Write about dreading an oncoming holiday.
  30. Set your story in a city park.
  31. Write about a new widow in a fake graveyard.

20th Annual Dead of Winter short fiction contest

Featured

We are thrilled to announce the opening of the 20th Annual Dead of Winter contest (December 2020) and to mark the occasion, we’re doing something special with this year’s theme.

SPECIAL:

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, not using the theme as a title.

Choose from one of these previous DOW themes for your short horror fiction entry:

  • ALASKA
  • ALTERNATIVE SANTA
  • THE AWARD
  • BLOOD RIVER BRIDGE
  • DEATH AND WINTER
  • FAMILY TREE
  • THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS
  • THE HAND OF FATE
  • THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE
  • HEART AND SOUL
  • HIDDEN GRAVE
  • THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE ROAD
  • IT’S NOT NICE TO FOOL MOTHER NATURE
  • THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN
  • NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED
  • THE PODCAST
  • SKULL AND BONES
  • THE SOUVENIRS/TROPHIES OF A RETURNED SOLDIER
  • TOYS IN THE ATTIC
  • URBAN LEGEND
  • VENTRILOQUIST
  • WHAT’S POSSIBLE ON THE LONGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR

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, 2020 and the deadline for submission is 11:59 PM ET December 21, 2020.

Email entries to dow2020[at]toasted-cheese.com with the subject line:
Dead of Winter Contest Entry.

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

The word count range for DOW 2020 is 1000–5000 words. You may round your word count however you like. 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 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. “Who had ________ on their Bingo card?”
  2. Incl. these characters: ? worker, geological engineer, soil conservationist
  3. Write about unexpected cold weather
  4. Set your story on a desert island.
  5. Set a story involving adults in your primary school.
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: spontaneous, clear, fascinate, pump, appointment.
    2. Use the phrase, “There’s a person I know…”
    3. Write about a chance to do something over.
  7. Write about getting mail for a former resident.
  8. Start with this line: “He was rather quirky.”
  9. Write about rediscovering something you once thought important.
  10. Write about something that’s seasonal.
  11. Use this: “For a retired person you sure are busy.”
  12. Incl. these 3 characters: fitness instructor, locker room attendant, coach.
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: fleet, stomach, seize, favorable, sunrise.
    2. Use the phrase, “Rumor has it…”
    3. Write about a change of heart.
  14. Use these five words: networks, meaningful, ask, tea, review.
  15. Write about figuring out what’s wrong with a car.
  16. Start your story with light snow falling.
  17. Write about finding a book down behind the others.
  18. Set your story in an old-growth forest.
  19. Write some foreshadowed atmospheric setting information.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: donor, mouse, peanut, stage, systematic.
    2. Use the phrase, “The day I discovered…”
    3. Write about asking for help.
  21. Write about the latest tech gadget.
  22. Start with this line: “You’re in luck.”
  23. Write about a month that drags on for most of a year.
  24. Write about truths and myths.
  25. Write about walking through a ruined building.
  26. Include these 3 characters: web developer, computer programmer, designer.
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: weak, excavate, allow, assumption, beard.
    2. Use the phrase, “Whatever they decided.”
    3. Write about smelling smoke.
  28. Write about a benefactor.
  29. Write about getting something done just before the deadline.
  30. Start with this line: “Make sure you are prepared.”

Three Cheers and a Tiger Fall 2020 is CLOSED

Your challenge for the Fall 2020 Three Cheers and a Tiger Writing Contest:

Write a fantasy or science fiction story of up to 3,000 words on the topic of returning to a childhood neighborhood to find only one house still inhabited.

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!

Toasted Cheese 20:3

Featured

The September issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Mark Hammerschick & DS Maolalai; flash by Tim Conley, Susan DeFelice, Mike Dillon, Nora Nadjarian, Mandira Pattnaik & Lucy Zhang; fiction by Genevieve Allen, Priyadarshini Banerjee, Marie Barry & Bartosz Maj; and creative nonfiction by Carol Shank.

TC 20:3 also includes the 2020 A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest winning stories by C.A. Rowland, Justine Gardner & Emma Williamson.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews The Monsignor’s Agents by Bill Lockwood.

The cover image is by stu_spivack 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 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about a nap at an inappropriate time.
  2. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: bill, flood, modernize, history, hang.
    2. Use the phrase, “Call me back.”
    3. Write about finding something surprising.
  3. Write about a tragic anniversary.
  4. Write a coming-of-age story.
  5. Write about plans cancelled by weather.
  6. Start with this line: “I still remember…”
  7. Write about stumbling across vital information.
  8. Include a character with tattoos, a long beard, and black-rimmed glasses.
  9. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: change, veil, dribble, find, private.
    2. Use the phrase, “Cook until done.”
    3. Write about managing one’s losses.
  10. Include these 3 characters: dancer, physiotherapist, massage therapist.
  11. Write about being unable to count something.
  12. Use these five words: sleeves, compensate, foundation, crispiest, homebodies
  13. Use this: “I can do that. How am I going to do that?”
  14. Write about a fictional game.
  15. Use the phrase, “What happened to me?”
  16. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: proper, awful, bucket, catalogue, continental.
    2. Use the phrase, “I think it’s stuck.”
    3. Write about an umbrella.
  17. One character gives a concise statement of the situation.
  18. Set your story during a thunderstorm.
  19. Write about herding unwilling animals (or humans)
  20. Start with this line: “It’s a bitter pill.”
  21. Use this: “How did it get to be August already?”
  22. Use these five words: stream, ocean, gingerbread, cautiously, devastating.
  23. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: appointment, sum, bless, incentive, cafe.
    2. Use the phrase, “Let’s just ignore that for now.”
    3. Write about giving someone an unflattering nickname.
  24. Use these five words: world, sticky, political, delicacy, doll.
  25. Write about being annoyed by broken equipment.
  26. Use these five words: crude, twisting, process, pie, failure.
  27. Write about rewriting a business plan in a hurry.
  28. Write about a restless neighborhood.
  29. Use the phrase, “Who ordered that?”
  30. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: cellar, clearance, indoor, annual, state.
    2. Use the phrase, “I don’t even know what to ask.”
    3. Write about trying to leave no footprints behind.
  31. Write about the satisfaction of a job (almost) well done.

July 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about forgetting to turn the calendar
  2. Write about a reconciliation.
  3. Use the phrase, “That’s been cancelled, also.”
  4. Use these five words: preach, junk, audio, risk, season.
  5. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Write about an anonymous message.
    2. Use the phrase, “Is it everybody, or just me?”
    3. Use the following five words: solid, cow, convention, dribble, invisible.
  6. Use these five words: required, slush, smoke, exchange, palette.
  7. Write about a dog who hides to avoid his/her pills.
  8. Write about a character who needs PTSD therapy.
  9. Write about sharing an anniversary with someone much younger.
  10. Write about a miscommunication when texting.
  11. Use the phrase, “What was I doing before lunch?”
  12. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Write about a new, larger, machine.
    2. Use the phrase, “the ones you love.”
    3. Use the following five words: dog, battle, integration, deficiency, priority.
  13. Write about a not-so-routine dentist visit.
  14. Write about a budget travel trip.
  15. Use the phrase, “What month is this again?”
  16. Include these 3 characters: urban planner, architect, general manager.
  17. Write about a bookshelf that collapses in the night.
  18. Set your story on a late afternoon train.
  19. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Write about a garden. ·
    2. Use the phrase, “maximum extent possible.”
    3. Use the following five words: necklace, basin, understand, bold, contract.
  20. Set your story in a hostel.
  21. Write about preparing for a storm.
  22. Use these five words: shame, finals, high-profile, catio, humor.
  23. Write about trying to fix a mistake.
  24. Write about your latest purchase.
  25. Write about a really annoying typo.
  26. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: rise, margin, sea, return, redeem.
    2. Use the phrase, “carnival atmosphere.”
    3. Write about a fancy word for a simple idea
  27. Rewrite the same scene, only in the dark.
  28. Start with this line: “Your dinner is waiting.”
  29. Write about carefully examining paper money.
  30. Write about a mentor.
  31. Answer a question with another question.

2020 A Midsummer Tale Winners

Toasted Cheese is happy to announce the winners of the 2020 A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest.

First: “Staring at the Sky” by C.A. Rowland
Second: “Morning Run” by Justine Gardner
Third: “The Shave” by Emma Williamson
Honorable Mention: “Personally, I Feel Nothing” by Chelsea Wilson-Flynn

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.

Kudos to everyone who entered! We received 50+ entries again this year and enjoyed your varied and thoughtful explorations of the “quarantine” theme.

We hope you are all safe and well in this challenging year. Please join us for A Midsummer Tale again in 2021 and pass the contest info along to your writing friends! Next summer’s theme will be announced April 1, 2021.

Our next contest is the fall Three Cheers and a Tiger 48-hour writing contest, which runs the weekend of September 18-20. See our contest page for details.

TC recommends: Ravynscroft

Congratulations to TC editor Richard Edgar (Ana “Broker” George) on the publication of their second novel, Ravynscroft! This new story follows Ravyn as she begins her second act after splitting with her wife. Ravynscroft is the second book in the Necessary Lies series.

Broker’s Goodreads author page

Amazon link for digital or paperback version

Ravynscroft (Necessary Lies, #2) by Richard Edgar
Ravynscroft (Necessary Lies, #2) by Richard Edgar

June 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write a character talking to themselves.
  2. Include these 3 characters: family doctor, medical assistant, pharmacist.
  3. Use the phrase “Create a diversion.”
  4. Use these five words: purchase, time, hungry, commutes, jacket.
  5. Write about forgetting a weekly event.
  6. Use these five words: scorpion, talent, curly, machine, better.
  7. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: hover. shallow, precede, depressed, traction.
    2. Use the phrase, “What am I going to do about that?”
    3. Write about a sunset.
  8. Use these five words: model, insane, morning, skirt, criticizes.
  9. Write about a garden.
  10. Include these 3 characters in a story: zoologist, chemist, microbiologist.
  11. Use the phrase “Orange paisley turtleneck.”
  12. Write about elephants.
  13. Write about losing track of the day of the week.
  14. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: decade, dramatic, ambiguous, slogan, organ.
    2. Use the phrase, “Why is this so hard?”
    3. Write about working around a broken or poorly designed widget.
  15. Write about plans for an unusual birthday party.
  16. Start with this line: “Privacy is an important issue.”
  17. Write about cheating at solitaire.
  18. Write about a devastating fire.
  19. Write about someone with an unusual number of parents.
  20. Write about taking a risk.
  21. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: filter, torch, assume, reluctance, listen.
    2. Use the phrase, “I haven’t ever been there.”
    3. Write about waiting for a delivery.
  22. Start with this line: “____ isn’t having a good week.”
  23. Write about waiting impatiently by the mailbox.
  24. Include these 3 characters in a story: merchandise buyer, model, hairdresser
  25. Write a conversation with a long gone friend or family member.
  26. Set your story at a children’s playground.
  27. A character realizes they really are different.
  28. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: exile, area, soldier, dangerous, extend.
    2. Use the phrase, “Was there a sign that I missed?”
    3. Write about something that’s on sale.
  29. Write about turning in homework early.
  30. Start with this line: “One day in [year], I got an email…”