Assistant Editor Cheryl Haimann is the author of the long running how-to column, Backyard Astronomy. She has written numerous non-fiction articles on poetry, politics, and film. She has also participated in National Novel Writing Month several years running. But she has never submitted any fiction to the Press. Her response to the editor is always:
"I don't have any fiction."
Normally this wouldn't be an issue, except that Cheryl has also been known to drop tantalizing hints about her (entirely fictional) NaNo novels. Hints that have included back alley gun fights, cigarette smoking jaded heroines, and a tropical island of passion.
It is enough to make the staff writers foam at the mouth with curiosity.
Since Cheryl is adamant about refusing to let the editor read any of the fiction she claims she doesn't have, the editorial staff has decided to hold a contest. If we can't read Cheryl's fiction, we'll try to write fiction as if we were Cheryl. Since she is the only one who has read any of the fiction the contestants will be trying to emulate, Cheryl has kindly agreed to be the judge.
So here it is. The official "Write Fiction Like Cheryl" contest rules.
Direct questions about the contest or the rules to email@example.com. If you have questions about Cheryl's writing style, you are welcome to post them in the Filthy Piker discussion forums.
Anyone. Press staff writers, non Press staff writers, people residing outside the U.S., and maybe even Cheryl herself.
A work of fiction between 250 and 5000 words in length, done in the style of author Cheryl Haimann. Since we don't know what kind of fiction Cheryl writes, we're just going to have to go out on a limb and continue with the Piker Press standard of no erotica, please. Beyond that, you know about as much as the rest of us now.
Entries must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 31, 2004, 11:59 pm. Contest participants give one time electronic publication rights and permission to maintain a copy in the electronic database to the Piker Press; all other rights are retained by the author.
Winners will be announced in September on the Piker Press forums under the Piker Press category. Winning selections may appear in the Piker Press.
Because Cheryl won't let us read the real stuff.
Possible publication in the Press and the respect and envy of all your friends. Or at least all your friends amongst the Press staff.