Fan Fiction Writing Workshop

I'm posting here what I hope will be the first of many writing challenges posed to all established and aspiring writers of MSW fan fiction. This isn't a contest, just a chance to see what's out there and have some fun. That means no prizes, but the editors will be pleased to give feedback on what you submit if requested.

RULES: (Don't worry, there aren't many)

1. Please keep the content of what you submit appropriate for general audiences.

2. All submissions that meet with editorial approval will be posted eventually.
-- 2a. If you don't want yours to be posted, just say so.
-- 2b. The time frame "eventually" is not fixed, and will be determined by the schedules of the editorial staff. Same goes for feedback requests - if you requested feedback, we'll get it to you eventually.
-- 2c. The editors reserve the right to remove or simply not post submissions they deem inappropriate for the website.

3. There are no specific deadlines on any of the challenges, but the editors reserve the right to close a challenge or remove it entirely at any time.

4. The editorial staff reserves the right to change the rules at any time.

That's all there is to it, so crank up your word processors and have at it. Click on the "E-mail Us" button when you're ready to send something along.

Email Us

Good night, and good luck.

Plot Bunnies, She Wrote (Open)
Submitted by Kath

The Challenge: The rules are pretty straight forward. You will be given a choice of title and plot bunny to develop a MSW story. Stories may be of any length, but must use all elements of the plot bunny and have relevance to the title.

Plot Bunny #1: That Which Goes Bump in the Night suggested by Kath
Insomnia  and an unrelenting heat wave grip the town of Cabot Cove, leaving its residents to wander the streets seeking relief in the wee hours of the morning.  When residents begin to turn up dead Mort suspects the heat, but later autopsies determine murder to be the cause.

Plot Bunny #2: Star Light, Star Bright suggested by Kath
In the local park one evening Jessica finds herself wishing on a star that her life with Frank could have been longer.  As the evening progresses, she is visited by a stranger who discusses how that simple wish would affect people's lives, including her own.

Plot Bunny #3: Our Man Sam suggested by Kath
Sam Booth, mayor of Cabot Cove, has begun to feel that Jessica Fletcher has had more than her share of the lime light and is convinced that given the chance he could also excel in crime solving. His oppertunity arises when two real estate con artists hire him to manage their books while they sweet talk the residents of Cabot Cove into investing in Green Real Estate Ventures.  With Sam working for them they are confident the town will plunge its last nickle into the venture, leaving Sam to hold the bag when they skip town. Sam, knowing from the start these men are up to no good, is determined to get the goods on them himself - a plan that turns more deadly than he expected.

Plot Bunny #4: The Great Outdoors suggested by Betsy
George and Jessica have had enough of prying eyes and decide that a camping trip is order (doesn't matter where). Sometime during their time getting away from it all, Jessica goes missing - and our beloved Scotland Yard detective has to find her.

Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced.

Holiday Challenge (Open)
Submitted by Stephanie

The Challenge: Write a short story (a 5-minute mystery) taking place during the winter holidays.

The Rules:
There are only two rules:
1. “G” or “PG” rating only
2. Page limit of 15 pages

Aside from that, have fun! Pick your own setting (Cabot Cove or elsewhere), create your own mystery (murder, or otherwise), and/or develop a new and interesting character. Perhaps that character is you! Could you be Jessica’s newest Cabot Cove neighbor? Could she be staying at your resort? Or doing a book signing in your store? Or dining in your restaurant? Whatever your choice, enjoy yourself and once again, have fun!

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced - No complex plot required and no need for half a dozen potential suspects. This is simply an opportunity to expand your writing horizons.

Deadline: Deadline? What deadline?

"Stephanie's Holiday Challege" - The Results!

The FanFic 100 (Open)
Submitted by Lizz and Lizzie

The Challenge: Lizz and Lizzie of the Pink Aprons Club (and authors of several fan fiction stories posted on this website) suggested this challenge, the point of which is to write one hundred fan fictions using one hundred specific word prompts - one story per prompt. Several other fan fiction communities are doing this, so we thought it would be fun to try it for MSW fanficdom as well.

The prompt-inspired fanfics do not need to be long or complicated - anything over a hundred words will suffice. It doesn't even have to have a mystery to solve. (That being said, if you want to write something long and complicated, by all means go ahead, knock yourself out.) Your fanfic does not need to have the prompt word in its title, nor does the word have to be the dominant theme of the story - the word merely has to be suggested by the story in one form or another, or somehow figure into it. You can use whatever meaning of a word you choose, and not just the most obvious one - for instance, "rose" could be the flower, but it can also be a reddish color, a woman's name, or the past tense of "rise." Your definition does need to be a valid one, however, by which I mean I should be able to find your interpretation of the word's meaning in Merriam-Webster's. And submitted fanfics do need to be MSW related and they do need to be in good taste (we're trying to run a family website here).

As submissions trickle in, I'll link each story to its prompt word in the table below. Any word without a link is fair game. If you want to reserve a word, e-mail me and I'll mark it as being claimed and await your resulting story with baited breath (but if you make me wait too long, I'll put it up for grabs again). And at the end of this we'll have one hundred MSW fanfics and be rich, rich, RICH! ... Okay, maybe not. But at least we'll have one hundred MSW fanfics to read while we're still poor.

Here's the official list of 100 word prompts, compiled by Lizz, Lizzie, and me:

1. Impression 2. Microscope 3. Pendulum 4. Snow 5. Bridge
6. Flannel 7. Seaglass 8. Gate 9. Pug 10. Rainbow
11. Iris 12. Fireplace 13. Reception 14. Grey 15. Fourteen
16. Merlot 17. Quilt 18. Wheel 19. Solitude 20. North
21. Blaze 22. Blonde 23. Cancer 24. Transparent 25. Outfield
26. Starlight 27. Drama 28. Peach 29. Address 30. Pearl
31. Velvet 32. Corona 33. Thanksgiving 34. Hope 35. Words
36. Focus(a)(b) 37. Us 38. Them 39. Cave 40. Village
41. Life 42. Million 43. Choice 44. Eyes 45. Ears
46. Party 47. Chains 48. Alone 49. Loss 50. Lullaby
51. Gravity 52. Faithfully 53. Forever 54. Storybook 55. Prayer
56. Forgotten 57. Space 58. Time 59. Discover 60. Almost
61. Beautiful 62. Discussion 63. Diary 64. Rain 65. Secrets
66. Someday 67. Ring 68. Rose 69. Fuzzy 70. Twin
71. Textbook 72. Slippers 73. Cell phone 74. Laptop 75. Fence
76. Desire 77. Tea 78. Enchantment 79. Music 80. Stage
81. Theatre 82. Linens 83. Juvenile 84. Nuptials 85. Heels
86. Shoes 87. Jeans 88. Sandwich 89. Sticky-note 90. Photograph
91. Donkey 92. Miscellany 93. Wardrobe 94. Paint 95. Poster
96. Prestige 97. Sharpie 98. Lipstick 99. Gum 100. Antique

** indicates reserved words

Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced. This is a good exercise in what I like to call "literary improv" - someone tosses out a random word and you make something of it, like a stand-up comedian soliciting suggestions for improvisation sketches from the audience. Watch a couple of episodes of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" and you'll see what I mean.

Curious about which authors penned which stories? Click on "The FanFic 100: Who Wrote What."

In Another Voice (Open)
Submitted by Anne

The Challenge: Pick a favorite scene or scenes from an MSW episode or from one of Anne's fan fictions, and tell the story from the perspective of one of the other characters (other than Jessica), in their own voice. (If you're unsure of what I mean, think Donald Bain: his books are written from Jessica's perspective, and in her voice.)

You don't have to do the complete story from beginning to end; just a scene or two will do. Anne gives blanket authority to use and abuse her work any way you please so long as it is for the purposes of this writing challenge. As far as using material from an MSW episode, we'll just tuck this in under the category of "Fair Use" and thank MCA/Universal in advance.

Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced. This is an exercise in two writing concepts: point-of-view and first person narrative. It's geared toward the novice writer, but anyone can play. If you're a beginner, it's a good one to cut your teeth on, because we've taken care of the heavy lifting for you. If you've got some writing experience, this is a chance to stretch your imagination without having to worry about silly things like whether the plot makes sense.

"In Another Voice" - The Results!

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