Sunday, 20 March 2011


This week's flash fiction EXPANDERS!

What's it all about?

Every week, at around 15:00 GMT on a Sunday, I'll post a single word of inspiration. The challenge?

Expand that word into a 15-word story.

One word for every character in 'Porky's Expanse!' Your story can be on any subject and in any genre or style you like, dead funny or deadly serious.

There are two simple levels to the challenge, and these are explained below.
I'll pick the word based on a big event of the week in this part of the blogosphere.

An example with last week's word, which was elf. This is slightly less complicated than my usual attempts, but builds on the three past stories, using food, fort and stuff:

"The elf. Our only hope."
"Tired fiction!" 
"As we shall be."
"No," spake the dwarf.

You can do much better than that. This week's word links to the official announcement of Jokaero returning to Warhammer 40,000, then talk of the Squats, or maybe Demiurg. The word is rogue, from Rogue Trader, the first edition of 40K, where they last met.

Have a go in the comments here or post the story at your blog and leave a link. I encourage everyone to follow the links and give feedback to these creative people.

Here's the lowdown on those levels.

1  The first level is the epyllion, or 'little epic'. This is the basic challenge, as above. An independent story with 15 words, one of them the word rogue. You're ready to start now.

2  The second level is the epos, or 'epic'. Instead of an independent 15-word story, you can choose to develop someone else's story, from a previous week. Just write the next instalment. If it has 15 words, uses rogue and continues the story, you've done it.

There are two important things to think about if you choose epos. First, you should have the permission of the person who wrote the story you will develop. If anyone writes a 15-word epyllion or adds to an epos and is happy for others to develop it later, please say so, with something like 'for use in an epos'. Second, by using specific elements of someone else's story, we technically create a derivative work, so it's best to avoid this.

We have plenty of options available for the epos this week:

  • I'm giving permission to use my four stories - with food, fort, stuff and elf.

Time to EXPAND!


The Angry Lurker said...

Ewan McGregor the Rogue Trader brought a bank down, maybe even an entire country down.

Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

btw, any of my stories are also open for expansion.

I'll attempt an epos this week, expanding on your "elf"

"It's forbidden!"
"Correct, we'll be marked for death."
"We've no choice."
"Then we go rogue."

I note a few things here. Contractions are a great way to save words, but it's difficult to create natural language. Even that first line, I wanted to use "It is" to make it stronger.

Still not sure what I think of an epos. Maybe I just like fragments.

peter said...

I want to give it a try and I hope it's good English ;-):

My pocket was empty!
Wallet away!
I should have expected this in a “Rogue state”!

Greetings Peter

Porky said...

@ The Angry Lurker - Another review under the belt. That title always made the film stand out for me, and probably for many others. I wonder what sense of 'rogue' the first edition was using? It's a colourful word. Here the repetition hammers the point home.

@ Dave G _ Nplusplus - I had the same trouble in mine. I considered using a contraction, but was lucky enough to find another way round. It does make the grand-sounding a little harder to write, but you've done well here to get the gravity. Fragments are just fine. Going back to that discussion from last week, trying to tell a whole story in 15 probably means the thing needs more thinking about by the reader. When I look back at mine later they can seem impenetrable. On another point, yours this week makes me realise again the stories based on dialogue don't always show clearly how many speakers there are, and that adds an extra dimension, more potential breadth.

@ peter - Excellent English! The line "Wallet away!" is unconventional - it suggests the wallet jumping or being thrown, and we'd likely use something more like "Wallet gone!" - but it works very well here; it gives a fantastical twist, and more drama, plus the mystery of a possible magic, or even that the wallet has been tempted to leave by a real rogue! I don't think anyone could guess English wasn't your first language from that story. To be fair to rogue states though, the supposedly respectable ones also see their share of petty crime..!

Jennie said...

@Porky, I assumed Peter was making a (very funny) pun on the word "rogue", with a "Rogue state" in this instance meaning not only one that merited the disapproval of neighboring governments, but one that was formed by or largely populated with that class.

Anonymous said...

Rogue was standing open-mouthed and wide-eyed, having witnessed what Ellie had just done.

The full body of my efforts so far can be found at here. Anyone is welcome to have a play around with it.

Porky said...

@ Jennie - I think you assume very right..! Imagination failure on my part. That makes it a far better story even than it seemed, and demonstrates to me the danger of getting caught up in the technical.

@ peter - Sorry about that - it's actually beyond excellent..!

@ Jim Hale - It's coming along, and this 15 seems to give you a good bridge into the next development. Good idea with the page. I've never looked into to setting any up, but I can see the attraction in what you've done there. Very useful function.

Bix said...

The blue G.I. read the cover; Helm, Gunnar and Bagman laughed ‘Spelt Trooper wrong Rogue!’

The G.I. might be cheating but I gave it a go :D

peter said...

@Porky: Thank you for the compliment. :-D

@Jennie: thanks for the help :-D

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I've just been and added the first two words, Food and Fort too. It seemed a bit unfair to just dive in at Week 3. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oops... Nice one Bix! I'd count G.I. myself as it was used as a 'term' in its own right. Those names took me back too!

Peter's 'Wallet away!', while not common in modern usage, might be a suitable use in other times. He could of course gone for 'Wallet aweigh!' implying it was clear of the bottom, i.e. Free and clear. ;-)

Jennie said...

Better late than never, this week's is here.

Porky said...

@ Bix - I'm with Jim on this: clever entry, and G.I. is just fine. Good memory! It also shows 'rogue' is a solid addition to those Space Words of Doom.

@ peter - A compliment well-deserved!

@ Jim Hale - Now that's enthusiasm! The two new lead in smoothly and give us much more context. For me you've done especially well to avoid the 15-word sections seeming too regular, a danger as the instalments build up. Instead, the text has a very natural feel, as if we're getting just the information we need in each sentence. You'd get bonus points - if there were any - for 'aweigh'..!

I've left a comment at Jennie's, and as ever the story is well worth reading and re-reading.

Andy said...

Running a day late, but here's my little contribution:

How many more words may we expect? Maybe I should start thinking how to end it with a climax? I have some ideas, but it's difficult to plan without knowing how many more "chapters" will follow...

ArmChairGeneral said...

Midnight. The clock rung. The toll sounded the meter of the rogue's last performance.

Porky said...

@ Andy - Another great instalment. I was imagining the series would go on and on, but it turns out this may actually have been the last, more's the pity. There's nothing to stop you finishing it yourself though, according to the same rules, taking as long as you need. Fifteen instalments would seem right to me, for 225 words in total.

@ ArmChairGeneral - Full of character. You can almost see the moonlight. Reminds me - unsurprisingly given the combination of words - of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Midnight Rogue. A classic, and well worth a play if you can find it.

Jennie said...

@Porky - Last one? Why? Is something wrong? I've been worried about your uncharacteristic absence.

Hopefully, if you are cutting back here, it is because you've been hired at a fabulous, interesting, incredibly lucrative new job that is going to take up all your creative time while you do exactly what you've always wanted to do in the company of equally creative, fascinating, and entertaining coworkers.

@Andy - if Porky isn't going to continue this, I can pick it up for a bit, at least until we reach 15. I have a few more words picked out already...

Andy said...

That sounds like a plan! In the meantime I'm checking out your blog ;-)

Porky said...

@ Jennie - Nothing's really wrong, if we discount the limited number of hours in the day that is. Too few. If you'd like to take over the game, I'd be very glad, and I'm sure you'll do a wondrous job of it. If you go ahead, I'll post a link to direct across anyone who hasn't heard.

@ Andy - My recommendation is to read everything there.

Jennie said...

I put up this week's challenge here.