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What is a Vignette anyway?

On the Sea Lion Press Forums, we run a monthly Vignette Challenge for Alternate History fiction. A vignette is an old term for a short and descriptive piece of writing that captures a brief period in time. A snapshot of a timeline that never existed.

Contributors are invited to write short stories (short is a loose description, there's no maximum or minimum length) on a specific theme, which is changed monthly. So in one month the challenge might be to write a story about LGBT Alternate History (which led to Roshita Narasimhan's 'Scarlet') and the next the challenge might be to write a story about an Alternate history Apocalypse (which inspired Liam Connell to write 'The Name of God is God Himself').

We have ran 39 monthly contests in the forums, on themes as diverse as Football and the American Civil War, and produced over 400 excellent short stories. Anyone who joins the Forums can get access to read those stories (they're in the contest sub forum of the writing forum which is visible upon making a free account) and also enter the contests themselves.

I highly recommend anyone interested to give it a shot. They're good writing practice, a good way of honing the craft and getting ideas down on the page and you can normally expect feedback from the rest of the community.

Moreover, every month a poll is posted for readers to vote for their favourite vignettes and every month one of those vignettes is reposted on this blog (check out the tab here) and shared on social media as one of the best examples of the writing that emerges from this community.

And Sea Lion Press has published nine short story collections, found here, which collect some of those vignettes. The contest on 'Revolutions' became 'Grapeshot and Guillotines', the contest on 'Operation: Sea Lion' became 'Fight them on the Beaches' and the contest on 'the First World War' became 'N'oublions Jamais'.

Hopefully you can join us for the next Contest. A new one is announced on the 1st of every month in our forums.



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