Imagine that instead of getting birthday cakes and bedtime stories, you spent your childhood like Jazz from Barry Lyga‘s new novel I Hunt Killers (which you can begin reading on Figment). Jazz’s father is very good at his job and—like any proud father—wants to pass down his special skills to his son. Unfortunately for Jazz (and 143 other people and their loved ones), Dear Old Dad is the world’s most infamous serial killer. Now that Billy Dent has been put away for good, Jazz is determined to use everything his father taught him to hunt and capture those who’d copy his crimes. But is Jazz strong enough to reject his destiny as his father’s heir apparent?
This week, we want you to go on your own hunt for a serial killer. Each day for the next five days, we’ll announce a new writing prompt that takes you further into a murder investigation. You’ll have 24 hours to write a piece of 100 words or fewer. We’ll be selecting three winners per day to receive copies of I Hunt Killers, 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad, and The Drowned Cities (Paolo Bacigalupi’s newest book which isn’t even out yet!) and, of those three winners, the writer of the best entry each day will also win an “I Had a Killer Time with Barry Lyga” t-shirt. Check back here every day this week for a new prompt and a new chance to win!
4/9 Prompt: The Discovery of the Body
Jazz swept his binocs over a bit and caught a glimpse of the evidence bag as G. William held it up in the sunshine. For a heart-stopping instant, he was sure what he saw in the bag couldn’t be for real. But the sheriff’s stance gave Jazz a perfect, binocular-enhanced view of what it held.
And that made Jazz’s heart pound so hard he thought Tanner would hear it from where he stood. A body in a field was one thing. It happened. A drifter. A runaway. Whatever. But this . . . This portended something new. Something big. And Jazz had a sinking feeling that people would be looking at him with accusation in their eyes. Only a matter of time, they would say. Had to happen sooner or later, they would say.
— from I Hunt Killers
Your challenge: Write about the discovery of a dead body. You have until Tuesday, April 10 at 11:00a.m. to enter.
4/10 Prompt: Evidence Collection
“Ever hear of Locard’s Exchange Principal?”
“Oh, sure,” said Howie said. “I saw them open for Green Day last year. They rocked.” He played a little air guitar.
“L-O-L,” Jazz deadpanned. “Locard was this French guy who said that any time a person comes into contact with anything at all, there’s a two-way trip involved. Stuff from the guy gets on the thing—hair, maybe, or skin cells, dandruff, whatever—and the thing gets stuff on the guy—like dust or paint or dirt or something. Stuff is exchanged. Get it?”
—from I Hunt Killers
Your challenge: Write about something that gets unintentionally left behind. You have until Wednesday, April 11 at 11a.m. ET to enter.
4/11 Prompt: In Remembrance
“Look,” he said, hesitant at first, but gaining confidence with each word, “if you want to memorialize her, you don’t do it with a . . . with a thing. That’s not what life is about. Life isn’t about”–gloves, and iPod, a driver’s license, a lipstick–“things we own. If you want to honor someone, you don’t do it with things. You do it with action.”
—from I Hunt Killers
Your challenge: Write a tribute to someone (real or fictional, alive or dead). You have until Thursday, April 12 at 11a.m. ET to enter.
4/12 Prompt: Informing the Public
Halfway to the Hideout, the Jeep’s radio—tuned to a local hard-rock station—broke in for a news brief, and Jazz heard G. William’s voice. He pictured the sheriff standing at a hastily arranged podium on the steps outside the sheriff’s office, probably wiping sweat from his brow with one of those special handkerchiefs, even though it wasn’t remotely hot out. Lights would flash; there would be a babble of voices from the reporters present, as G. William announced . . .
—from I Hunt Killers
Your challenge: Write a scene in which someone has to share some unpleasant news. You have until Friday, April 13 and 11a.m. ET to enter.
4/13 Prompt: Confrontation
Your final challenge: Write a scene in which someone confronts another person. You have until Saturday, April 14 at 11a.m. ET to enter.
How to Enter:
1. Read the full rules.
2. Create an account on Figment.com.
3. Start a new writing of 100 words or fewer.
4. Tag your writing with KillerFlash on the Details tab.
5. Press “Publish Now.”
6. You should receive a pop-up confirmation of your entry, and in about two hours or so, your piece should appear among the submissions.