Category Archives: #TickleTuesday

#TicckleTuesday – Theme: Life Drawing #flashfiction

Theme will be Life Drawing, but don’t start until Midnight. A textual life drawing is a short story that paints a picture, describes a scene, and doesn’t need to include a narrative. Think of it as the writer’s equivalent of a sketch. Go to the FaceBook Group (will need membership) or and reply to the video entitled #TicckleTuesday #3 here

You can either record 30s for extra credit (about 50-60 words on average) or 60s (which would be two Ticckle videos, so please label them part 1 and part 2 when you respond. A minute is probably 120 words from my experience. Alternatively, record a FaceBook video or an audio file (AudioBoo or SoundCloud are both good). If the sound of your own voice horrifies you, please do push your comfort zone, but I’d rather have a text entry that I will record than no entry at all.

And we have all week but extra extra credit for submitting tomorrow, Tuesday!

If you use a picture as your prompt, please upload it if you are willing.

#FiveSentenceFiction – Learning: “A Flower for Algy”

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Lillie McFerrin hosts a Five Sentence Fiction competition on her blog. This week’s theme is Learning.

Here is my entry:

“A Flower for Algy”

Dei sei dat wen du oprashun is dun ai wul be abel to raez mi hand an get pikd to anseh keschons to.

Mi hed hurts todaey, but I got picked and gaev gave the riteght answer to Miss Kinnian s qukestion.

Alice is pleased with my progress, but the exponential rate of development frightens her, unless it is just an excuse for suppressing the feelings we have for each other.

Alice, being intelligent teaches you a lot, but lerning, I hav fownd, taks hart not hed, and aim sad dat it tuk so long to no how ai felt abowt yoo bekos ai no its to laet.

Dei sei de oprashun werkd fo a waeil but it dint stik, so Miss Kinnian is sad to and kries wen shi seez mi.

#TicckleTuesday a 30s audiovideo #flashfiction compo Tomorrow

I learned a lot from the relatively small start of #ticckletuesday (details at second #ticckletuesday will happen tomorrow. There are a number of ways that flash fiction writers might be involved. Firstly, Ticckle (the 30s video blogging service) is not required; it was what gave me the idea of doing something other than text, but is inspiration more than respiration. So, if you would like to write a really short story – about as much as someone could reasonably recite/perform in 30s (I’m keeping the physical limitation) – the prompt will be given, at 12am UK time, and you have a day to submit. Once you have written your story, you have a number of options:

1) Respond to the Ticckle video that provides the prompt over at (look out for #TicckleTuesday #2 in the title. This will be a 30 second video, and either needs an iPhone/iPad App or a flash enabled Mac/PC to record. You can review attempts until you are happy. Posting a link to the original text would be good.
2) Upload a video to the FaceBook Group (You will have to request to join first, so do that now if you can to help me avoid a rush). Try to keep this to the original 30s, but so long as the story itself is within those limits, you will be ok. Again, posting the actual text of the story as a comment would be useful
3) Use SoundCloud or AudioBoo to create a FaceBook sharable audio file (again remembering to fit your story into 30s), and then share the link with the FB Group. There are tutorials on how to do this, if you don’t know how. Remember to attach a link to the original text of the story.
4) Post your text either as a comment on the FaceBook Group or on the relevant blog page, on my blog

So long as there aren’t too many text only stories, and they aren’t too long for 30 seconds, I’ll record any that aren’t spoken. It’s all for fun. Hope you can come by.

#fivesentencefiction – Bliss

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Lillie McFerrin hosts a Five Sentence Fiction competition on her blog. This week’s theme is Bliss.

Here is my entry:

“Look Out The Window”

‘Bliss’, the Internet search engine, Google, showed her, was a well cut lawn stretching towards the horizon, under a fluffy cloud peppered blue sky.

She spent far too much time staring at computer screens. Her compulsory ‘Health and Safety: Use of Visual Display’ training told her she should take an eyestrain break.

Like she had time to look out the window for ten to twenty minutes every hour? That was when she had the idea for, but (Damn it!) someone had beaten her to it again.

What have I learned from #TicckleTuesday?

The idea is great
Although it was the first Ticckle Tuesday, with only a handful of entries, so far, I’ve had good feedback; especially on the fact that hearing a story in the author’s own voice is something special. The rigour of having to record only 30 seconds – inspired by Ticckle’s own technical restrictions – is also a critical part of this Flash Fiction Compo that makes it unique and worth continuing. Well, I think so anyway, but there will need to be a few changes for the next one…

Tech issues are a problem
Ticckle itself is in “beta”, so can be forgiven a few quirks. However, the biggest problem encountered was audio playback failing for some of my Ticckle videos; the ones giving examples and instructions. These played fine on my phone (in App and Safari/Chrome browser) and fine on an iMac, but when accessed via FaceBook link on PCs participants reported low/no sound. 🙁

Ticckle’s web site having no Search function doesn’t help, with the only filtering being an imposed popularity/recency floating of Ticckles to the top; only saved by how few there are currently. A shame, as it reduces ‘discovery’ of story entries. The only way round this I can see is to ‘suggest’ compo submitters ‘ticckle’ (that is their term for Like/thumbs up/voting for videos) the main theme announcement in App or on the web site, as well as promoting the direct link by FB/Twitter/blog.

Lack of audio presents accessibility issues as well. There is no means of subtitling ticckles 🙁 and I’ve noticed that FB style comments, while allowed, don’t seem to be getting counted properly. I left some explanatory text below a Ticckle video, leading to this blog and the FB group, but the no. of comments reported didn’t change from zero. Only clicking to comment revealed they were there at all.

Finally, Ticckle’s progress bar, which counts down the 30s, seems a bit laggy. As a matter of habit, I allow half a second after beig told “Go!” In recordings to make sure it has really started; more than this gets

uncomfortable for the listener. At two seconds most people will be assuming there’s something wrong, from my experience working in Radio, even with our most recent experience of “buffering” on the Internet. However, the bigger problem is the cut off at the end, which always seems harsh, and a little early (?) to me. So, I’m consciously finishing 1-2 seconds early now, to make sure Ticckle gets a clean fini…
Seriously, with a small curtesy delay in starting, and a necessary early finish, we really only have 28s to record our stories. So, I’d say don’t include the title in your recording!

Some authors need to submit text
Mostly, this is technically driven – audio drop outs, participants not being Ticckle-literate, etc – but accessibility us a problem generally. So, possibly stupidly, I’m offering to record submissions for those who cannot submit via Ticckle themselves. This could get out of hand, so I’ll need to keep reviewing the workload, but has several advantages:
1) it keeps 30s flash fiction open to as many writers as possible
2) it enables participation by those who don’t like (to hear) their own voice
3) it levels the playing field for Ticckle user votes, which were always intended to be part of the review process
4) it gives me a vocal challenge to interpret the texts
5) it renders the competition immune/separate from Ticckle itself, in case the service dies.

So, the competition lives on. Lessons have been learned. There’s still time to enter – here (leave a comment on the theme announcement post), the FB group, or directly via Ticckle

Something Meaningful

Less than 3 hours to go. @ticckle need #TicckleTuesday #flashfiction to be “meaningful” Ideas. Stories that other users can comment on too!

This is a result of some DMs back and forth about the nature of Ticckle itself. I was worried at first that this discussion would veto #TicckleTuesday before it had begun, but the point is to foster debate and share new ideas!

So, I’m going to give my example story – after all I do know the theme already 🙂 – as a personal, real life tale from my own memory. Other people can be more creative, but it’s Ticckle’s platform; if they want debate on instead of creative use of their service.

Getting ready for #TicckleTuesday

Less than a day to go. Putting out the RT requests on Twitter, etc, but I know it is going to be a slow start – unless Stephen Fry retweets of course 🙂 in which case we could get into double figures! – but I don’t mind a slow start. Writing for a 30 second story seems impossible, but if 50wordstories (search on FaceBook and Twitter) can succeed, so can we. It could be a joke, a poem, a “vertical slice” (effectively the pitch for what would really need to be something longer), or just a wonderfully compact narrative.

If nothing else *I* will be having a go. So, you will get at least one story on Tuesday. To give you an idea of what to expect, here (in text form) is a 50 word story I submitted to for the SUMMER STORIES competition, which has the theme “camping or picnic”; there is still time to enter BTW. This can be performed in 30 seconds:

Title: Weather Warning

“Aren’t you worried about the hurricane warning?”

“No. Are you?”

“We’re rather exposed, under canvas, and the storm is nearly here!”

“This tent is foolproof. Once erected properly it will withstand a hurricane. The material is Force Ten proof. The poles, carbon fibre. And the pegs, machined magnesium alloy.”


#TicckleTuesday Announcement of the first ever 30s Flash Fiction compo

Competition starts 12am 30th July where a theme will be announced on Ticckle, FB and Twitter. Participants will have 23 and a bit hours to write, record and upload a 30s story to Ticckle, the new social media platform. After that people can leave comments or response videos for any/all of the stories, and I’ll pick my personal favourite as well. The only prize will be honour, but since you can’t buy that it is priceless!

Sign up for the FaceBook Group

Follow @TicckleTuesday on Twitter

See the official announcement via @ticckle