Monday 31 July 2023

#WEP August Challenge "#CHOCOLAT" - post August 16 - 18

Welcome to August's WEP CHALLENGE!

CHOCOLAT (Aug 16-18, 2023)

Hello! It's Sonia here, along with my co-host Denise, and we're excited for the August Challenge! This month's prompt is "Chocolat" based on the iconic movie title/poster. Before we get into the challenge, I'd just like to clear up a small point. The WEP Challenges are to flex the writing muscles and to enjoy the process. Please note,

None of our prompts require any prior awareness or deep knowledge of the film

We are a diverse community spread across the world, from Australia right round to America. The primary thing that binds us together is NOT any specialist knowledge of movies, art or books, but our love for writing. That's what we get together here to celebrate and to nurture and support. You don't have to be published or perfect (heck, who is?!) to write with us at WEP. All you need is love.  For writing.

WEP is open to all levels of writing - from newbie right through to published authors. Many published authors got their start by writing to WEP prompts. 

This year, our prompts happen to be based on movies but  I'll  say it again -

You don't have to know any background, nor watch the movie, nor write to that specific genre or plot. 

All you need to do is to bring your imagination and a writing device. Look at the title, look at the poster if you like and run with whatever element inspires you.  The suggestions are just that - suggestions. We're uber happy for you to ignore them and come up with your own interpretations.

   "Chocolat"+ YOU is all that's needed.  

We look forward to where this Challenge takes all of us!


The Story:

Set in a 1950s French village, during Lent, and based on a novel of the same name (author- Joanne Harris), Chocolat is the story of a "pagan" heroine Vianne and her battle against a repressive mayor Reynaud, who encapsulates the fear of change. No prizes for guessing the winner here, friends. It's the time of Chocolat!

But hey, we can put this story right behind us and allow the imagination to run wild!

The Possibilities:

Chocolat has many possible interpretations - base your flash on the confection itself, a chocolate shop, a cafΓ©, a 1950's setting, France or French cuisine, a suspected witch, a character with magical powers/recipes, a romance between two disparate or the outsider versus insiders theme, settlers versus nomads, prejudice, morality, hedonism, entrepreneurship, Lent, Easter and resurrection - or spring festivals from other parts of the world. So many ways to go and get creative!

As always, over to you.

Go HERE to our Challenges 2023 Page to read about ALL our prompts for the year!

Post - August 16 - 18 2023


 CRITIQUE PRIZE - 10k word critique

From Christine Rains

Christine says:
I am a writer, blogger and geek mom. I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I love a dark and gritty story. I have four degrees which don't help at all with motherhood, but make me a great Jeopardy player. Member of S.C.I.F.I and Untethered Realms.

Christine has four novels and several short stories and novellas published.

Check out all our critiquers in the sidebar. If you're wanting a critique, or a professional edit, think of our generous critiquers who give of their time, gratis.

WEP is a supportive writing environment where you are welcome to try new ideas, take risks, and put forth your latest WIP for feedback. Commenters are asked to be respectful, sensitive and to keep comments positive. 

If you have trouble commenting on blogs, please continue to leave a comment here (we're fortunate that Google hasn't messed up our commenting here) or on our C-Box. And if your blog comments are down and you have a blogger blog, consider changing your comment settings to Pop-ups, not embedded, temporarily, until google provides a fix.


Be in it!

A mock-up temporary cover created on Canva.


Submissions close on or before the end of December ‘23. So get your thinking caps on!

Nila is in charge of bringing this baby home. She has produced an Anthology Page. Check it our HERE.

All challenge winners are automatically invited to submit.

Anyone involved in WEP in the past is invited to submit.

You are invited to submit a flash fiction piece of between 500 words min - 1,000 words max to our upcoming anthology. This will be a work of prose fiction – no poetry, although a poem may be included within your predominately prose story.

All stories submitted will be written to the theme of  Gone!  Gone! Gone! Check the new Anthology Page to have your questions about the theme answered.

We aim to publish a high-quality eBook and print book. If your entry is accepted, you will be asked to perform further self-edits and the editorial team will do any final editing. WEP's raison d'etre is to improve writing, so the writing must be well edited and excellent overall. 

Don't forget to go to the new Anthology Page to read the full details!



 And... hello again! On behalf of the team, Denise & Sonia here.

At the WEP, we have an exciting, new section where you can keep an eye on all the new and upcoming book releases by members. New titles are luring and we have an eclectic list to help you find your next best read. 

So, friends, if you have a new release (maybe a few months ago) hitting the shelves, check out the GUIDELINES FOR NEW RELEASE POSTS above in Pages, follow carefully - we need you to speak big in few words with minimal editing from the team. Send it to: CC

We work on posts in advance, so the next opportunity for you is:

~~October 1~~

We'll need your copy in plenty of time to incorporate it into the post.

First, our friendly judge who always manages to judge WEP for us no matter how busy he is:



Preorder your copy today!


In this YA sci-fi adventure, Harica is gifted with the ability to defuse conflicts using her mind. When she is recruited to assist in resolving a war via an arranged marriage, she discovers that the reluctant bride-to-be has similar powers. Princess Jasmila doesn't use her powers for good and when Harica arrives to help with the marriage arrangements, she fights back and sends Harica into a coma.

It is through this comatose state that Harica discovers a mysterious liminal space populated by others who share her gift. In this new realm, she learns to do things she never believed possible, but soon things spiral out of control.

In the face of a terrifying and seemingly unstoppable adversary, Harica wrestles with the decision to come to terms with the dark side of her gift. Will she take ownership of it or turn her back on it forever?


Nick Wilford is originally from Brighton, England and now lives in a quiet town in Scotland with his wife, three daughters and six dogs. He enjoys writing speculative fiction, exploring the things that cannot be seen and “making the impossible reality.” By day, he works as a freelance editor and also has the pleasurable (and often highly challenging, given the talent on display) job of judging the entries to WEP. Amazon Author Page

And the second author is our very loyal WEP contributor, 




 World-ending secrets and threats…

In Proof of Existence, the thrilling sequel to Fractions of Existence, Gwendolyn is held captive by the Eyes in the Shadows, a dangerous religious sect hell-bent on freeing humanity from the shackles of life. The Existence must reveal themselves to rescue her. She confronts her true identity, self-doubts, and her forbidden attraction to Xavier.

When Existence member Heath goes off the grid, his life becomes a bargaining chip. With the Eyes in the Shadows poised to end human life forever, the Existence must reunite and harness their full power to stand against the looming threat. 

Proof of Existence is a mythological urban fantasy where the choices of a few could determine the destiny of all.


J Lenni Dorner (he/him πŸ‘¨πŸ½ or πŸ§‘πŸ½ they/them) 
Speculative Fiction & Writer's Reference Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge
Happily married and living in Pennsylvania (USA) on the original lands of the Lenni-Lenape people.
Sharing wisdom and knowledge passed on through stories is the goal of his soul.

Go ahead and grab your copies of these two fabulous books. And if you have a new release, get in touch with us now!

* Did you catch our third 'How-to' post? 




All published How-to posts are linked in the sidebar!


We'd love if you'd Tweet or post to FB or any social media site where you network! If you avoid social media, we totally get you.

WEP movie #writingprompt August 2023s "Chocolat" @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @SoniaDogra16 @jemifraser Sign up & post-August 16th thru18th! #amwriting #flashfiction #WEPFF #poetry #nonfiction

Get your thinking caps on for August 2023s movie prompt "Chocolat" @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @SoniaDogra16 @jemifraser Sign up & post your entry August 16th thru 18th! #WEPFF #amwriting #flashfiction #poetry #nonfiction

Join WEP @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @SoniaDogra16 @jemifraser, for the fourth movie Challenge of 2023, "Chocolat". Sign up and post your entry AUGUST 16th thru 18th #WEPFF #amwriting #flashfiction #poetry #nonfiction.

Check out the new #WEP #Anthology Page We are open for #submissions to all #WEP or #RFW members, past and present. @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee, @SoniaDogra16 @jemifraser


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Wishing you a fabulous August
Bring on the entries!


Our next movie prompt is for October. How about this? 
It will be hosted by our very own much beloved horror queen, Yolanda Renee. Go HERE for ideas ...

Post - October 18 to 20, 2023


Denise & Sonia for the team:

Sunday 9 July 2023

#WEP 'How-to Write #FlashFiction - article No 3

Hello all! Denise here!

Welcome to our third How-to post. You'll find the other two readily accessible in the sidebar.

So this time, especially with the Anthology to be released approx. May 2024, it is timely to write another post on:

How to Write Flash Fiction


Read as much or as little of this article as will be helpful to you. WEP has writers at all levels of their careers - some newbies who are just beginning to put themselves out there, to professionals who have spent years learning their craft. 

My aim is to provide something for everyone, not exactly an easy remit.

Jump to HERE *** to skip the preamble and go straight to THE STRUCTURE AND DESIGN OF FLASH FICTION.

Flash fiction is simply one way to tell a story. Telling stories is natural to all societies and appears to play a part in our individual and communal health. Once fire was discovered, the ancients gathered and unleashed their imaginations after a hard day hunting and gathering, swapped stories, or told of past generations.

Often more recent traditional societies gather around the campfire, sharing oral histories or news of the day – perceived threats to their lifestyle, where the animals and fish hung out, which they needed for the hunt … and so on.

These days, in First World societies, stories are more likely to be other people’s stories, gathered and curated for us and presented to us in the form of television news or documentaries, or streaming services where many of us binge-watch. Our smart phones or other devices contain many shared stories which makes it easy to read stories during our commute, which has led to a strong demand for shorter episodic stories (Kindle Vella, Radish, Wattpad...).


So … we know stories come in all shapes and sizes – (definitions may vary)

·       the epic novel of the style of GRR Martin’s Game of Thrones of a gazillion words - vary from the 200,000+ to Storm of Swords (424,000 words). 

·       the very popular commercial fiction of around 80,000 - 100,000+  words

·       the short novel, Harlequin-style - 50,000 words

·       the novella, 10,000 – 40,000 words

·       the novelette, 7,500 – 19,000 words

·       the short story, over 1,000 words – 10,000 words

·       then FLASH FICTION ... 1,000 words and under. Under 1,000 words we have more specific names for 100 word stories, 200 word stories etc. Dribbles and Drabbles etc.

This article is about writing flash fiction to the 1,000  word count, small enough to write on your smart phone during work breaks.


"Each drop encases its own separate note, the way each drop engulfs its own blue pearl of light." This description of rain, from Stuart Dybek's story "Nighthawks," is as close to a definition of flash fiction as I can offer. A successful flash enchants us, each small story successfully rendered engulfing us for a brief moment - in a 'flash,' in its own brand of light, or truth. And the effects linger on...

From the Flash Fiction article that has been reclining on WEP pages for many years, but in the way of Pages, rarely accessed.

Let’s nail what exactly is Flash Fiction.

It is simply a story in miniature, a work of art carved on a grain of rice—something of import to the artist or writer that is confined and reduced into a small space with the purpose of creating an intense, emotional impact.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe gave us the definition of the short story – must be able to be absorbed in one sitting - captures a mood or feeling which translates to the same mood or feeling in the reader.

Ernest Hemingway

Credited with the flash fiction craze, (no wonder I admire his fiction so much), Hemingway said: 'I am trying in all my stories to get the feeling of actual life across. Not to just depict life, but to actually make it alive.'


 Story, according to EM Forster in his book Aspects of the Novel, is ‘a narrative of events arranged in a time-sequence…the king died and then the queen died.’ A plot is also a narrative of events but with the emphasis on causality: ‘The king died, and then the queen died of grief.’ 

If it is in a story, we say, ‘and then?’ Forster tells us: ‘If it is in a plot, we ask ‘why’?’

The story is the what, the plot is the why. They both have to do with events occurring in time. Dealing with time is one of the most challenging aspects of fiction writing because what is on the page rarely corresponds with the passage of real time. A character may have a memory that lasts for pages, although in life those pages would have passed in only a second or two. Conversely, fiction writers can make lifetimes disappear with just a wave of their typing fingers. ‘Centuries passed’, we say, and as far as the story is concerned, they have.

But let’s not get too carried away with plots in flash fiction. Some writers claim that flash fiction is about ambiguity. In other words, life does not contain plots. Life is fragmented, chaotic and captures some of that ambiguity. Flash fiction is one of the most difficult forms of storytelling because it must embody all the techniques and consummate skill required in short story construction and then some.


You have at most, 1,000 words to play with. There is no time for elaborate preambles. Drop your reader directly into the action. Start your story as late in the narrative as possible. The conflict and tension should already be present from the beginning. You just need to drop your characters in the midst of it.

For example, in the flash I've written for Chocolat (upcoming August WEP) I begin with my main character arriving at her favorite restaurant in Paris:

"The restaurant, with its silky red walls and black chandeliers, wrapped its dark arms around me, welcomed me home to Paris after a long absence."

So we know the setting already, and I hope the reader is already wondering where she's been. So I drop that in the next sentence:

"As a war correspondent in the Middle East, food, any food was a bonus eaten on the run, but I can’t recall the taste, but I recall much else I’d rather forget."


Conflict is at the heart of story. As James Scott Bell said in his Lock Method for Structure: Put your characters up a tree and throw rocks at them. You may think that a story about a man wandering up and down the city streets contemplating the meaning of life will wow your readers. Think again. The ‘navel-gazing narrator’ is usually a bore. Too often he or she is simply an excuse to keep you, the author, from delving into more emotionally troubling, but far more interesting, material. Your reader should be able to answer the crucial question: ‘Where’s the trouble?’ by the end of the first sentence, paragraph or page. It’s not impossible to write a story in which a character is in conflict only with his or her environment, but it’s much easier to bring two people into conflict. Someone wants something, but a second person is in the way of them getting what they want. Or to make a story super interesting, maybe the protagonist wants to get away with something and someone tries to stop him. It is the oldest plot formula in the world. Which means it has been working for millennia.


There isn’t time for extended rising action of a novel or a short story or a long story. Still, there must be movement/action/conflict in your story. Maybe your protagonist suffers a sudden lapse of self-confidence. Perhaps. Maybe he encounters some aspect of the world so chilling that it stuns him into silence. Your characters might succeed, or they might fail, in facing the challenges in front of them, but at the end of the story they should be different than they were when it began. Understand the story arc.

My flash builds on the hints I drop throughout the story.

"The drink the waiter brought me tasted of rose perfume, a sweet flavor that clashed with my morbid thoughts. Guilt crept over me; I try to push it away, but it is impossible. Why should I survive to live another day, eat another joyous meal, while my fellow correspondent, Benoit, ate his last meal then stepped onto an IB?"



Most flash fiction stories use one setting only as moving between locations takes up too much time. Some stories need lots of detail. Some work well without too many specifics. Check your story for spots that seem blank or blurry (add more details) or cluttered and jumbled (eliminate unnecessary information). Remember that the simple fact of naming or not naming a location - Wal Mart or a large retail store, or Chicago vs a small town, may affect the level of detail you need to include in your story.


Paris is a great city in which to set a story, but do you know much about it? There are ways to find out precise details about settings, but arguably the best stories encapsulate details only a native (or regular visitor) will know.


You may feel that your story requires a sentence or two of tying things up, you don’t want to end before your conflict has played itself out, but don’t hang around too long after the climax. Consider deleting the last paragraph or two of your first draft. Leave it to your reader to puzzle out the meaning of your story.

For example: The where-to-end is always tricky. I played with several and still was not convinced it ended where it should. Then I remembered the theme, Chocolat, so I added the chocolate touch.

“I saw in the waiter's doleful eyes that he’d realized Benoit wasn’t coming back, and he offered succor in the way he knew best. He raised his eyebrows.

I nodded. Yes, please.


So, to summarize this section:

Flash fiction is a form of extremely short story-telling characterized by its brevity and conciseness. It is a literary genre that focuses on telling a complete narrative or conveying a significant moment or idea in a compact and condensed manner.

What sets flash fiction apart is its ability to create a complete story arc, including characters, setting, conflict, and resolution, within a limited word count. Due to the strict constraints, flash fiction often relies on evocative language, powerful imagery, and precise word choice to maximize the impact on the reader. Flash fiction can encompass various genres, themes, and styles, offering a quick and intense reading experience that captures the essence of a larger narrative in a condensed format.

I hope you learnt something about writing Flash Fiction, and we'll see some great stories submitted for the WEP 2024 Anthology. Happy writing!

Let's rock this Flash Fiction world!

Spread the word. A tweet is pre-written below. Add the Chocolat image to it if you like. Twitter loves images.

#How-to-write-flash-fiction,  #amwriting, #writersoftwitter, #writingcommunity,#writingcraft, #flashfiction @DeniseCCovey, #@yolandarenee @SoniaDogra16 @jemifraser


The best examples of a fine Chianti are a visceral tasting experience; an intense sense of place developing with a single sip – the same can be said of #flashfiction #writingcommunity #writersoftwitter #amwriting


Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction by The Rose Metal Press - my go-to. 

Up in Michigan by Ernest Hemingway – one of the flashes that began the short, short story revival in the 1980s.

Flash Fiction Examples -

Flash Fiction - WEP Pages - has many sites to access and more information.