Right, let's get started. First of all, some T's and C's:
One: this is open to teen writers (no older than 16)
Two: refer to One.
Three: I'm giving you the topic.
Four: refer to One.
Five: closing date is Friday 14 August.
So what's on offer?
A copy of the first book in my Rudi and Raven series for teens: The Organ Grinder's Monkey. Check this site if you want to know what it is all about 'cos I ain't including it here. This newsletter is long enough. The book is in eBook format, by the way, because COVID stopped the presses and the distribution channels so I had no choice. Paperback will be out when it is out, and now you know just as much about the current lie of the land - when it comes to publishing dates and when I can do what I want to do - as I do.
What do you have to do to win?
Super easy. I want you to write me a short story. I want no less than 1000 words. Trust me, that's easy. 1000 words is nothing. I eat a 1000 words for breakfast. If you have four decent paragraphs you're at 1000 words already. But don't let that stop you. If you send me 2000, coolio. If you send me 3000, happy. Just don't go below 1000 and we can still be friends.
What kind of story am I looking for?
Go ahead and pick the genre of your choice: space opera, epic fantasy, mystery, period drama, romance, horror...it's your choice.
What is NOT your choice, though, is this: I want you to use the following opening lines, and then build your story from there. ONLY these opening lines. This is how your story starts. What happens from there is up to you.
And the opening lines are not part of your 1000 word minimum. Count 1000-plus from the point where my introduction ends.
I was sitting in the cafe, the late afternoon sun streaming through large bay windows. Dust devils danced and frolicked in the rays, just out of reach of a questing finger. As I lowered my glass a man sat down in the seat across from me.
I looked left, right, behind me. Tables were open. There was no reason for this guy to sit at mine. I opened my mouth to speak but he held up one finger.
"There's no time," he said. "You don't know me but I know you."
He leaned in. "Time is of the essence. So listen closely."
That's it. That's your intro. What does he tell you? What is the meaning of all this? What happens then? What happens next? What happens at the end?
That's up to you. And when you're done, send your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll announce the winner via email and video, on my channel, and I will include your story on my social media pages. If you are comfortable with it and your parents allow, I will put up a picture of you. If you prefer that not to happen, you can remain anonymous and I will respect that.
Internet safety is, after all, a given in this day and age.
And if you have two or three ideas for this instead of just one, then submit them. I will consider them all.