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The Harlequin challenge is now closed. Quite possibly we were all still smarting from Children of Earth, so hopefully this fortnight's challenge is a bit more broadly stimulating. Thanks, though, to all those who played.

You can find the stories by clicking the challenge:harlequin tag.



Challenge 7: Five Things



If you've spent any time reading fanfiction in any fandom, you've probably come across the "Five Things" story model. When it first sprouted it generally presented in the form of five snapshots of alternate universes ("Five Things That Never Happened To [Character Name]" being the most common title of such stories, doing exactly what it says on the tin), but over the years its characteristics have broadened. These days, a "Five Things" story is simply a set of multiple scenes -- generally not with the same chronological timeline -- that have a connecting theme.

The Five Things model can be one of the most fun to play with, letting you explore ideas and get your hands (very briefly) dirty without becoming mired in a larger plot.

There are the AU scenarios -- the obvious "Five things that never happened to..." that can span from forks in paths: what if Andy instead of Gwen had witnessed the resurrection gauntlet scene that first time? What if Jack had stood firm on his refusal to hire Ianto?

Or you might want to go more extreme with a set of entirely alternate universes. For example, "Five teams Torchwood Three never was" -- crewing a tourist ferry, ping pong champions, a gang of highwaymen/women...

If the AU route isn't for you, you might explore a theme within the canon framework: "Five artefacts Ianto catalogued," "Five autopsies Owen conducted," "Five cases Gwen solved," "Five times Jack went against his instincts."

The best thing about Five Things is that it's perfect for flashfic -- your ideas can be quick and spontaneous. Scenes don't need to be long, plot is rarely required. You've got two weeks to play around -- the challenge will close Sunday 23rd August.


Please drop by and give us more prompt suggestions for future challenges. You can comment over on the prompt post.

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