Post 54 / Hour 61: Announcing Flash Humor Contest #4
Our Guest Judge: Thomas Kohnstamm
By Dave Fox
This contest has ended. The winner will be announced in 100 Hours Post 83.
It’s time to announce our topic for our fourth and final flash humor writing contest. But first, a review of the rules:
- Your story must be 500 words or less.
- Your story must be original, written by you and you alone during the contest period. You may not submit stories you have written previously.
- If I catch anyone plagiarizing, I will exercise my right as a scathing humorist to publicly humiliate them. I am not kind to plagiarists.
- If you are under the age of 18, you must have permission from a parent or legal guardian to enter.
- Submissions for contest number four must be received by the end of hour number 85. Now that I’m posting the hour numbers in real time, there should be no confusion about this.
- To enter, please e-mail your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please do not post your entry as a comment on this page. I can’t promise it will be sent to the judge if you do that.)
Our judge for this fourth and final contest is Thomas Kohnstamm, author of the controversial and hilarious, “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism.” When Thomas’s book, about being a Lonely Planet guidebook researcher, and came out in 2008, it touched off a big scandal in the travel publishing industry. Thomas claimed that in order to afford to be able to research Lonely Planet guidebooks, he was forced to (1) violate their policy about accepting free perks, and (2) become a drug dealer on the side. The first of those two infractions, he claimed, were routine behaviors among Lonely Planet researchers.
It’s an edgy, train wreck of a read – hilarious and riveting, but not for the faint of heart or those who are easily offended.
I got to know Thomas in person after his book came out and was pleased to discover he’s a far gentler and nicer guy than his book might have you believe. (Sorry, Thomas, for divulging that sordid secret about you.)
With that in mind, feel free to submit your most no-holds-barred travel humor tale this time around on the following topic:
Your story can be about you or about those who you have observed. Thomas elaborates:
“I would ask to see Bad Tourist stories that steer clear of cliche and of mocking people’s appearance. I want to see storytelling about the humorous things people do and the silly decisions people make when outside of their own culture … rather than going for the obvious and mocking some corny cruise ship tourist outfits or something. … Avoid the cliche or if [you] want to mock a cliche, dig a little deeper into it and why it’s a cliche.”
To add to Thomas’s remarks, avoid stereotyping any particular nationality. Be more creative than that.
The winner will receive:
- An copy of Thomas’s book, “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?” (Again, a warning: this book is not appropriate for sensitive readers, but it’s a wild read if you’re not easily offended.)
- Your choice of any two of my books.
- A written critique of one piece of your writing — maximum length 1,000 words — or a 45 minute writing or humor coaching session by phone, Skype (or in person if we are ever in the same place.)
Again, entries are due by the end of Hour 85 – 7 PM Monday Pacific time, 10 PM Monday Eastern time, 3 AM Tuesday GMT, 11 AM Tuesday in Singapore, 2 PM Tuesday in Sydney.
Want to learn how to write your own hilariously scathing travel tales? Dave’s online writing course, “Professional Humor Secrets for Writers, Speakers, and Other Misfits” can teach you how… and it’s sale at a big discount for the duration of this “100 Hours of Humo(u)r” online festival. Find out more here!