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The Theme

The Musical

This year the theme will be borrowed from song titles. And just the titles, not the lyrics themselves. So a song based on the title ‘Hero‘ wouldn’t follow verbatim the lyrics and ideas of either the Foo Fighters or Mariah Carey song, but will instead be used as a launch pad for an original story of their own. A list of song titles will be posted up the morning of the event (at the actual FTI, not on here) and the challengers will pick the title of their choosing (the order of selection is based upon the order in which the participants arrive).

Previously The theme from 2011 – The Machine of Death

Last year some of the participants came up with the idea of having an item that would be mentioned in the different comics. Not everyone chose to do so, but those who have read all of them may have noticed that the term ‘pickle’ came up a great deal. Well this year I wanted to have this expanded to have a common theme carried through the stories, and I’ve been granted permission by Ryan North, creator of the fantastic Dinosaur Comics, to use a concept of his to this end. The actual comic strip that comes up with the idea is here.

The premise is that, after a simple blood test, people are told how they are going to die in an ambiguous way (‘Old age’ could mean getting hit by a pensioner, whilst ‘Suicide’ could mean being killed by someone else trying to commit their own suicide). A book, called Machine of Death was released that collected short stories based on this premise.

For the challenge, participants will draw a card out of a bag to determine which death their story will be based upon (please note that the story does not in fact need to be morbid, please feel free to read some of the stories in the PDF at the link above to see what is possible with this idea). The deaths will also be tailored to allow for any theme the participant chooses (fantasy, sci-fi, superhero, etc). More specific details will be provided to those who chose to sign up for the challenge.

A few quick notes:
• I don’t want to use this premise, does that mean I cannot participate? You are certainly welcome to participate even if you choose not to use the premise. However, as I am hoping to get a sponsored limited print run done of the themed stories, only those that choose to use the theme will have their full stories published. All other participants will be given a limited number of pages in which to showcase their work.
• I don’t like the death I was given, can I have another? After everyone has done a blind draw, participants are free to trade with another if they so choose. If after this, you are still unhappy, you will be allowed to draw another card.
• I have another issue, can you address it? I will certainly try, feel free to email me at

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