Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Challenge Still Open

I’m Home and Back At Everything in the Morning…

But wanted to answer one question about The Great Challenge.

You can start any time you want and you don’t have to tell me. The first prompt goes up on the 14th. But you can start when you want. How will I know you are starting? I will get a story from you. That starts the streak.

I will have a list of those in the challenge and will note when you hit a week and then read your story in the middle of the week. If you miss a week after you have started, I will send you a note saying you have the $600 Workshop Credit.

And yes, the challenge still has spots open.  Here are all the details again…

The Great Challenge…

Every week, on Teachable, a new story prompt will appear. That prompt will be a video prompt that will be short, maybe with a writing tip with it, most of the time just explaining the prompt, the origin of the prompt, or maybe even some ideas possible with the prompt.

The Great Challenge is to write a short story a week and turn it in to have me read it that week. (Yes, I will read and comment every week on your story and answer questions about the story writing process.)

You can use the prompt if you want, but you don’t have to. Only rule for the story is that it be original that week, not something from your inventory.

Again, you can use the prompt or not. Your choice.

No genre limitations.

Length from 2,000 words minimum and up to 15,000 words.

It has to be turned in by Sunday midnight West Coast Time to count in the challenge.

I will read the story that week and get you a reader response.

The cost is $600.

If you miss, at that point you get two regular online workshops or $600 credit toward any online teaching, such as Pop-Up series or lectures or classics or lifetime workshops.

So in essence, you are buying two workshops, just as my challenges have been in the past.

The Great Challenge Reward…

First, you have a new short story every week to get out to markets or up to readers for as long as you can keep the streak alive

Second, if you hit 26 weeks in a row without missing, you will get three workshops instead of two. ($900 value in workshops.)

And third, if you hit 52 weeks in a row, you will get a lifetime subscription of your choice to all workshops, all lectures, all Pop-Up series, Study-along, or Las Vegas workshops.


This has to be limited in numbers. If it is still visible on Teachable, then you can sign up. When it reaches the max I can read of stories in a week, I will announce and pull it down.

So, in summary…

The Great Challenge consists of the following…

— Video story prompt every week.

— Dean will read your story every week and make comments and answer questions.

— Stories must be minimum of 2,000 words, max length is 15,000 words. No genre limits.

— If you miss, you instantly have credit for two workshops.

— If you get to 26 weeks in a row, you get three workshops when you miss.

— If you get to 52 weeks without missing, you get a lifetime subscription.

— Cost is $600. (And yes, if you miss, you can buy back in and start over.)

— First weekly story prompt goes up April 14th.

— Sign up on Teachable under The Great Challenge header, where the story prompts will be each week.

— This will be limited because I just can’t read too many every week.

Questions, write me.

Sign up on

This is going to be great fun.


    • dwsmith

      John, let me say simply that I suck at even thinking of flash fiction, let alone having an opinion of it. I want stories to read. Not sections of daily life. So getting a bunch of flash fiction is not my idea of a good time, to be honest. So nope.(grin) If your story comes in under 2,000 words, write another that is longer and just send me the longer story.

      • John D. Payne

        As it turns out, I’ve only written two or three pieces shorter than 2000 words in my life. So I don’t expect I will write a great deal more. But I was just curious. Thanks for your answer.