vssCollab Challenge

What is vssCollab?

If VSS is a new concept for you, it stands for Very Short Story. You write a Twitter length story snippet using the prompt of the day.   Click for a VSS example
I wrote a story snippet with the two prompts from #vss365 and #vssLiminal. I highlighted the prompt words in red for this example.  
The maitre_d’ wouldn’t let me enter the establishment. Just because I wanted a conversation with the lovely lady waiting at a table by herself. But a flash of my clan’s business card gained me grudging access. I couldn’t let on that I knew her. —Hiro #vss365 #vssLiminal

  In vssCollab, we'll merge two sets of VSS prompts, make threads of interconnected VSSes, and share them online. Plus, we have two optional parts for extra fun. You can submit your best stories to our free zine we'll electronically publish and you can join our Read our Best stream on Twitch.     Click for an example of connecting VSSes
The first VSS in my series of tweets was this.  
The maitre_d’ wouldn’t let me enter the establishment. Just because I wanted a conversation with the lovely lady waiting at a table by herself. But a flash of my clan’s business card gained me grudging access. I couldn’t let on that I knew her. —Hiro #vss365 #vssLiminal
  Then I continued the story in another tweet.  
Her perfect lips formed a frown as she read the fine text. "What's commensurate mean?" I kicked myself. What the hell did they use legalese for? She's smart, but uneducated. So, I ordered dinner for us and quietly went through the contract with her. #vss365 #vssLiminal

  I managed to post 13 tweets in this story. If you post them in the same thread, people will easily be able to read the whole thing. You may also want to track the threads/stories somewhere. They could be fodder for future writing! For an example, here's where I store mine.


Goals for vssCollab

  • Get eyes on the participants' work
  • Have flexibility - so no one feels pressured if they can't post for a day or so
  • Our own list of prompts


    How to Join + Challenge Details

    To get the most out of the challenge (zine and read aloud promo), you'll need to sign up. If you just want skip signing up and join in on only the vsses and prompts - that's fine, I'll still read and retweet.   The challenge will run each month, from the first to the last day of the month.
    Entrants must write about their own world/story setting. Sorry, we will not accept fanfiction for this challenge. (While fanfiction is fun, it's just not suitable for our contest. We'll be making a zine from the best entries and aren't able to deal with the legal side for such stories. If you are looking for a place to post fanfiction, we can recommend AO3.)   Sign up by the 10th of the month to get the most out of the challenge. (Though later signups are accepted.)
  • Sign up via this form
  • Then hop over to ShyRedFox's Discord
  • Join the 'member' and 'vssCollab' groups in the #roles-and-commands channel, so you can pop into #vssCollab and say hi. We'll post updates here and can help each other out if we get stuck on prompts.
  • Sign up for a free World Anvil account account, if you don't already have one. (We require you to have a World Anvil account, so we can link to your profile information with contains your social media info, etc. We'll also host our zine, forums, and competition information on our World Anvil site.)
  • Follow vssCollab on Twitter.


    How to Participate in the Challenge

    There are multiple ways to take part in the challenge.

    The VSS Segment of the Challenge

    This is the only required portion of the challenge.   Use BOTH the daily prompts from our chosen VSS list (such as #vss365) and vssCollab in your VSS. (Prompts and which prompt lists we are using are listed at vssCollab Prompts and https://twitter.com/vssCollab.)
  • Post your VSS on Twitter with the vsslist tag (such as #vss365) and mention vssCollab so participants can find them and retweet as they like. If you wish add a hashtag for your world/brand. You don't need to add # to the prompts.Twitter seems to give less preference to tweets with many tags. They suggest using only 1 or 2. We'd like to see your tweets do well! See example below.
  • She could only diminish the spotlight of writing the Techo app by hiding deep in the caverns of Sumichou. She’d meant well. But those who hired her to write it? They pushed the app to be far more intrusive than she’d intended. #vss365 vssCollab #LiminalChronicles
  • The vssCollab account will retweet as many of the challenge VSSes as we can. You must have vssCollab and #vss365 in your tweet for me to find it. We'll probably retweet 1-2 times/day.
  • It would be appreciated if you'd retweet for your fellow participants too! To find the challenge's tweets: retweet from vssCollab on Twitter or a search for vssCollab + #vss365. (I saved that search in TweetDeck for vssCollab and it works great!)
  • It would also be sweet of you to retweet other tweets from the #vss365 hashtag. The #vss365 community is great and a lovely way to make new friends on Twitter.

  •   The goal is to have multiple VSS tweets that make a larger story or story fragment.
  • We recommend making a Twitter thread of these.
  • If you wish to do one thread for all the posts or a thread for each set of stories, that is up to you. Make it easy on yourself. Make a bookmark of your threads, you'll need them later! (Tweetdeck is nice for this. You can make a column for your thread.)
  • You can and are encouraged to make multiple stories. The month's tweets don't ALL have to be about the same story. If you want to try to to make them all into one story, more power to you. Just be sure the words work in naturally and remember this is meant to be a low-key challenge. Don't stress, ok? I chose the option for multiple threads to have options for when words really don't work with our stories.
  • If you'd like to put your VSSes on a page (World anvil or otherwise), let me know via Discord or the sign up form so I can link to it on your profile block of the participant's page.
  • Please use the prompt pairs for a certain day together in the tweet.
  • You can use variants of a word. For example: 'resolve' - if 'resolved' or 'resolves' work better in your VSS use those. And 'birth' can be used as 'birthday'.

  • Can we add to story threads later in the month? (For example: if we started a story thread and went on to another because the prompts didn't fit. Can we add to the first one?)
    YES! I've done that with my own story threads and it works nicely. Just keep them within the same month.
      We do not require you to complete the VSS every day.
    Life gets crazy sometimes, so don't guilt yourself. But we will encourage you to do your best to complete all the VSS prompts.   If you complete the VSSes for every day of the challenge month, we'll give you a badge to show off your VSS prowess. Fill out the form by the 5th of the month after the challenge to claim your badge. I'll Discord DM you the badge in a WA/BBCode link and PNG file format so you can post it on your WA profile, a VSS page, Twitch streams, or wherever you like.


    Bonus Segments

    We have two fun options beyond tagging vssCollab to help you get eyes on your work.


    We'll be making a free publication of the best of the submitted stories hosted on the vssCollab homepage, simply for joy of sharing our best works. No money will be involved.   Publication will be non-exclusive.
    Meaning you can publish your stories anywhere. We don't own your stories! You do! We just want to help bring eyes to your work.   To be in the zine, you'll give us permission to publish them to our site in our zine with credit to you. This will be on the submission form.   This is a flash fiction zine, where entries are read in 5 minutes. These stories are teasers for your books, series, and worldbuilding.  
    Zine Submission Guidelines
    Each author may submit up to two of their best multiple vss stories (a minimum of 2 VSSes threaded together) for the current zine.
      Please do your best to edit your submissions before submitting. We wrote these stories in little bits, so go a head and make them flow. If you didnt' get to 'finish' the story in the tweets, you can do that in your edits. If you have to remove a few prompts to make the story work well, that's ok. Try to leave most of them. If I see stories with very few of the prompts, I won't be able to accept them.   I had imagined a traditional definition of story. As long as they make sense as a whole for the reader, it's fine. We'll allow continued stories and see how it goes. (<- If it bites us, we'll remove that option.)   Please, grammar and spell check at a very minimum. If you need a free grammar and spell checker, Hemmingway is a good one.
      The maximum word count/story is 1.5K . This is about the number of words possible (minus tags and mentions) for the month's tweets.
      Please keep your submitted stories to PG-13 at maximum. This challenge is open to writers of all ages.   Trigger warnings: For stories with topics like suicide, non-consent, graphic violence, etc. When we put a story in the zine (online WA and PDF format), I would like to put a trigger warning. For your tweets and your own story pages, what you do is up to you.   Submissions must be received by the 10 of the month where there is a call for submissions.
      Use the Google form to submit your best VSS stories that use multiple tweets to make a storyline. Submission does not guarantee publication. Publication is at the editor's discretion.   We hope to have the zine published by the end of February.   We anticipate posting a zine at least quarterly. But if we can manage it, we'd love to do a monthly zine.  

    Live Reading

    Join us for the Best of the vssCollab read along on https://www.twitch.tv/shyredfox. Date and time are posted on the front page of vssCollab.
      Please adhere to the max word count for the Zine so everyone can have a turn to read.

    Have questions?

    You can contact us via the following.
  • vssCollab on Twitter
  • Ask on ShyRedFox's Discord in the #vssCollab channel.
  • Ask Amy/ShyRedFox in her streams on https://www.twitch.tv/shyredfox


    Table of Contents



    Moved the PG-13 requirement to the Zine submission area. Also added information on trigger warnings.
    Added info on participation in vsses only vs zine and read aloud promo. Updated how to get your badge.
    Updated guidelines on editing and submissions. Clarified that story fragments are allowed. Updated where to ask questions.
    Removed specific dates to make the challenge info work for multiple months.
    Added more details to the single vs multiple threads section to emphasize that how you choose to do your threads is up to you. I mean this to be a non-stressful challenge. Also added clarification on word variants.
    Adding an FAQ section
    Updated the VSS participation to clarify
    1) both prompts need to be used for submission in the zine
    2) you can use word variations
    3) you need to thread at least 2 VSSes together for submission in the zine 4) it would be nice if you retweeted from the #vss365 tag too. (It's a wonderful community.)
    5) Clarified rules on story threads. You can go back to a story thread you left.
    * Added request to retweet participant VSSes and what I need to find your tweets and retweet them.
    * Zine: Updated submission info to extend the submission date and to include maximum word count. Also added that submissions aren't guaranteed publication.
    Updated VSS tweet section with link to Twitters Dos and Don'ts regarding Hashtags, added recommendation of 1-2 hashtags and example.
    Added "Submission does not guarantee publication." to the zine information.


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