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The Inside Scoop: What we’re looking for this season

Every season is designed to invite stories that explore a different theme that readers enjoy. Havok is designed as an ongoing contest in which a winner is picked for each genre day of the week (mystery, science fiction, humor, thriller, and fantasy) and each monthly theme. Those top thirty will eventually be collected into an anthology designed to give readers a unique experience, both cohesive and chock-full of variety.

For a better chance to nail this season’s theme and get noticed by our editors–and have a better shot at inclusion in the anthology–here’s the inside scoop about our current season and what we’re looking for.


Season Eight: Vice & Virtue

You’ve heard of the Seven Deadly Sins. You’ve seen the four Greek virtues. And there are myriad other lists throughout history that define humanity’s positive and negative character traits. But how often have you seen them applied to actual characters? We thought it would be a truly polarizing—and entertaining—experience to slap an entire season’s worth of vices and virtues on those characters we love (and love to hate). So go ahead. Pull out the best and worst your creations have to offer and lay it on thick. But remember to keep things PG-13. After all, too much of a good thing is, well, a bad thing.

How to integrate vice and virtue into Havok’s genres

Mystery Monday

  • Investigate a crime committed by someone with a vice
  • Feature an investigator with a virtue
  • Someone finds puzzling evidence of a vice or virtue (“who is stealing all the desserts from co-workers’ lunches?” or “who is leaving the anonymous gifts?”) and tracks down the culprit
  • Feature someone solving a mystery who has a vice (a scientist with a bad temper, a greedy insurance investigator, a corrupt cop)
  • During an investigation, telltale clues from the culprit’s vice (or virtue) lead to their capture.

Techno Tuesday

  • Feature any vice or virtue in a futuristic setting.
  • Take a vice or virtue to an extreme with technology, species evolution, or cultural progression.
  • What vice (or virtue) would create the most interesting dystopia?
  • What virtue (or vice) could motivate a significant scientific or technological breakthrough?

Wacky Wednesday

  • When a vice (or virtue) goes awry, hilarious antics ensue.
  • In pursuit of their vice, a character goes to absurd lengths.
  • Your character has good intentions (virtue) but everything they try goes wrong.
  • Someone with an annoying vice is best friends with your character. What is the final straw in their relationship?
  • Someone with a virtuous streak decides to befriend the city’s worst criminal. What happens?

Thriller Thursday

  • Someone’s life is at stake. Is it a virtue or a vice that saves the day?
  • Pursuit of a virtue (or vice) leads your character into a deadly situation.
  • A stock broker has their most thrilling day of trading yet.

Fantasy Friday

  • Use any of the above ideas, and set the story in a fantasy setting with fantasy races/creatures.
  • Explore common animal legends or obscure cultural myths that feature a vice or virtue.

NOTE: We’re mostly looking for morally traditional stories where vice is bad and virtue is good… but occasionally it’s interesting to explore the gray areas where virtue is paired with gullibility and creates a problem, or where one vice is the lesser evil than another. Above all, explore the topic using compelling characters in a memorable situation. Tap strong emotions and make us feel something, or explore hard questions and make us think!

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The best way to stay in the loop about what we’re looking for and get story prompts and news about special author opportunities is to join our free author newsletter. Use the button below and click the checkbox for Writers on the signup page.

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Welcome to Havok, where everyone gets  free flash fiction every weekday and members of the Havok Horde can access the archives, rate the stories, and contend for reader prizes! Join the Horde, or enjoy today’s story… we hope you’ll do both!

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