This year a fellow writer told me about the Golden Donut Short Story Contest. It’s a 200-word story based on a photo. I was immediately intrigued and decided I’d give it a shot.
Here are the Contest Rules:
The rules are simple—write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). The image in the photograph MUST be the main subject of the story. We will not provide clues as to the subject matter of the image, or where the shot was taken. That is for you and your imagination to decide. Remember, though, what you see in the image absolutely MUST be the MAIN subject of your tale.
*Again, the photo above absolutely MUST be the main focus of the story, not just a mere mention within the text.
All stories are to be polished and complete, meaning they must have a beginning, middle, and a twisted surprise ending. Again, all stories must be exactly 200 words. Not 201 or 199! So read the word count rules carefully. Over the years, we’ve seen some excellent tales disqualified due to an incorrect word count.
Some notes on word count:
Hyphenated words, for the purpose of this contest, will be counted as two words, or three, etc., depending upon how many words make up the hyphenated phrase/word. Contractions will be counted as two words (it’s, don’t, etc.).
Every single word will be counted as a word. This includes: “a,” “and,” and “the.” To be very clear…if it’s a word, count it. If it’s part of dialog and you think it may be a word, count it. If it’s a stand-alone letter or group of letters, count it as a word. If it’s a number, count it as a word. If the number would include a hyphen if written out as a word, then count it as a hyphenated word. Social media and texting abbreviations will be counted as individual words. For example: OMG = three words. LMAO = four words. 2Nite = one word (tonight). AIAMU = five words (Am I a monkeys uncle). TCIC = 4 words (This contest is cool).
Moonlight hit the cobblestone. I transformed and attacked the closest tourist. Howls echoed. Fur flashed. I lived; so did my victim. Failure.
Seventy years ago, the Duke’s plan succeeded. He sought death, but to die he needed to infect another where he was infected: this room. He welcomed us, Guernsey child refugees, for it was war and children die in “accidents.”
That night, during the monthly wolf culling, while the villagers hunted and we slept in our bunks, our Guardian appeared in a different form.
His brute strength collapsed the far, locked gate. He pounced wounding us all. Hearing the assault, they raced to the room and killed the dying wolf, already partially reverted. Shocked with this revelation, the gate was repositioned. Later, they set the room ablaze. As I lay dying, my regeneration completed. Immediately engaged by the remaining moonshine, I escaped.
I returned for the Estate’s inaugural tour with his plan. Exhausted, alone, and desiring release from my monthly vulnerability, my fangs found no human flesh to infect. In the moonlight, the room had become a den of wolves. Reunited, we previously infected, breached the gate of our transcendence and ran to repopulate the Village.
Lee Lofland graciously granted me permission to post the photo, rules and my submission. This story didn’t win but it taught me a wonderful lesson: a complete story in 200 words is possible. It also pushed me to write clearer with precise words.