Friday 25 May 2012

#ThursThreads - Siobhan Muir

Have I covered enough flash fiction contests? Nope. Barely scratched the surface. Thursday Threads is a little different from most. It integrates the previous winner's entry into the next week. You can trace all the 100-250 word winners together through one weaving thread. Cool? I think so. I'm pretty sure Siobhan thinks so. It was her idea.

You've been hosting Thursday Threads for a number of months. What made you decide to host a flash fiction contest?

Actually, it was a friend of mine in the Flashfiction circles begged me to put together a challenge for Thursdays to round out the week. At the time, there were challenges on every other day and she's a flashfiction addict, so she needed her fix on Thursday. I wasn't sure I'd make a very good host, but we talked about what kind of challenge to post and went from there. So far, it has been a great success and it has brought new writers in each week.

I've noticed there's something nearly every day. I'm missing Wednesday... I heard about a Humpday challenge, but haven't seen anything on that recently. If you host or participate in a Wednesday flash fiction challenge, please tell me in the comments!

How do you select your judges? Do you have a roster planned in advance?

I usually ask folks a week in advance (though there have been last minute judges as well) to judge. I haven't set up a roster - what a good idea! lol

I don't possibly have a roster or interviews planned in advance... no, nothing like...What's that over there? Thank you for having me judge! That was great. Do you ever have trouble choosing a line from the winner for the next thread? Does your judge have any input?

Sometimes it comes down to two lines in the previous story and if I can't decide, I'll ask my husband which one he likes. I choose them based on length and what I think will make the most interesting line to get the writers' muses going.

The word count for Thursday Threads can range from 100 to 250 words. How did you decide on that range? Do you find more stories are at the long or the short end? Do you, when you judge, have a preference? Do you have a preference as a writer?

I chose the range of at least 100 words because anything less would essentially be just the prompt line, and there were three other flashfiction challenges that had 100 words as their limits: #TuesdayTales, #FridayFictioneers, and #FridayPictureShow. I wanted something different, but #MenageMonday had 200 words, so I chose 250 and counted the prompt as part of the final word count. For the most part, I get tales right around the 250 word mark, but every now and again someone writes 100 words or something around 180 words. I don't have a preference when I'm the judge. If the tale is well developed in only 100 words, it's great to me. As a writer, I like the extra space to be able to make my tale the best it can be in the limited word count.

I feel freer with the longer counts. #MotivationMonday goes all the way to 500. What was the best turn out for a Thursday Threads, the most entries?

I think the best turn out was 24 entries. We have some steady regulars who come back each week and they're great writers.

I think I know who you mean. Not only regulars to your contest. There are some people gifted at the tiny story. You include other content on your blog, six sentence Sunday, releases and reviews. How do you choose what to post?

I'm all about promotion of myself and other authors. I have my days set aside for #ThursThreads and Six Sentence Sunday, but the other days I like to post interviews, guest blog posts, and writing experiences to vary the content. I like to promote other authors because it helps them get a larger audience, and it helps me in the same way. Their fans come to my blog and see what I'm doing. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

Where do the books you review or spotlight come from? How do you choose them?

The books and authors I host are often from the publishers we share or are friends I've made through Facebook, Twitter, and conferences I've attended. As an author, I think it's incredibly important to make connections within the author communities. Working together to cross promote helps everyone and makes us all successes. I know that sounds like an old 1960s flower-child poster, but looking at this business as a competition makes it harder for everyone and creates animosity between authors. It takes a lot of work to write and publish and promote a story. I'd rather work with other authors to promote both of us so we aren't reinventing the wheel each time.

I know many authors, just among those I've interviewed, who agree with you. Sharing blog space and readers seems an obvious way to cross-promote. makes a note to ask for a post when Blue Moon House releases Oh, uh, ignore that. Thank you for your time and answers, Siobhan.

Thanks so much for having me today.

Siobhan is the author of Her Devoted Vampire, available from Evernight Publishing. Her latest novel, Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack releases May 23 from Siren Publishing.