AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

February 27, 2009

Elaine Ash Challenge

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 2:02 am

Is this of interest to anyone? I’m putting out an open call for short stories, 3,000 words or less, that are either not yet ready for publication, or have been turned down. I will put the selected story (or possibly more than one) up on my blog with gentle but insightful suggestions for improvement, and where I feel the story is “challenged.” The writer will then get busy with  revisions, each published in order, until the story is deemed “ready.” Flash fiction is okay too!


My aim is to remove the mystery from working with an editor. As the story improves in stages, it will show how the right revisions can gradually develop characters, plot, style and voice, with a beginning that “hooks” readers and endings that surprise and satisfy.


Does this seem like a fun and educational idea? I look forward to your comments. Please send submissions to with “Challenge” as the subject line, and tell me a little about your experience…or lack of!


This Challenge is solely the project of Elaine Ash, and is separate from Beat to a Pulp, even though David Cranmer knows about and approves of the idea. 🙂00000001



  1. I think it’s a great idea and generous as well. How long does one have to send a story in? I would love to submit something but I am currently separated from my work.

    Comment by iasa — February 27, 2009 @ 2:56 am

  2. Hello Eva! I hope your name is Eva, if not please correct me. I’m going to leave the Challenge open until I have my story. Actually, I should put a word count maximum up there, say 3000 words or less. Flash is okay too. I’d say it’ll be open around 10 days unless I get flooded.

    Comment by ashedit — February 27, 2009 @ 3:13 am

  3. Cool idea. You could be in for some work, though!

    Comment by Charles Gramlich — February 27, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  4. I think Mr. Gramlich is right! Be carefull what you wish for! 😉

    Comment by Paul Brazill — February 27, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  5. It’s fresh blogging material. That’s a good thing.

    Comment by ashedit — February 27, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  6. This is a great idea. I spent four years in an unlit closet of rough drafts and empty beer bottles believing they were finished until a female named Lady D and a guy named Neil Smith gave me some pricelss guidance and much appreciated time. I like this Elaine. Writers need more editors such as yourself.

    Comment by Frank Bill — February 28, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  7. This definitely sounds interesting, and something that I will probably give a shot at doing.

    As the old saying goes, “Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.”

    Comment by Georgie B — February 28, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

  8. Bring it on ladies and gentlemen! I have room for a few more.

    Comment by Elaine Ash — March 1, 2009 @ 2:49 am

  9. This is a great idea. I’ll agree with Frank on this one, editors are invaluable, especially when you’re first starting out, and Neil Smith, Tony Black, and Aldo Calcago have been huge helps in me creating far slimmer, stripped down fiction.

    Comment by Keith Rawson — March 5, 2009 @ 6:37 am

  10. Are you still accepting stories for this?

    Comment by Keith Rawson — March 25, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  11. Dear Ms. Ash, I am enthused by your offer of Feb, 2009. I am a writer working on a story about loss. The story’s vital signs comply with the word limit. May I send it to you since the blog offer does not offer any link to send it. abe bunis

    Comment by abraham bunis — January 3, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

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