It’s the Most Wonderful Day of the Year! Join Me for the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Deal Me In Challenge!

The Deal Me In Challenge is BACK!!  (And so am I! – at least I hope to be a more active blogger in the new year!)

Everyone gets busy with Real World responsibilities, and sometimes it is hard to find enough time to make room for a healthy amount of reading. The number of books I’ve read per year has been steadily decreasing the past few years and hit a new low in 2019 when travel, other responsibilities and interests continued to carve out more and more of my available time. Not to mention that the “Deal Me In Office Headquarters” (i.e., my residence) was rendered uninhabitable by a tornado(!) halfway through the year. I’m set up and settled down a little again now in downtown Indianapolis and am planning on a big new year for the blog AND for the Deal Me In Challenge.

When I started blogging, it only took me a year ( 🙂 ) to invent the Deal Me In Challenge (I actually got the idea from (I think retired – does anyone know what became of them or what they moved on to? I’d love to know.) bloggers Padfoot and Prongs who were doing a similar project only with books. Short stories are obviously much less of a reading burden (anyone can finish ONE short story a week, right?) so I did a test (solo) run of the DMI Challenge in 2011. In 2012 a couple more bloggers joined in and the number of participants just kept growing. I’m very proud in the knowledge that literally THOUSANDS of short stories have been read ALL OVER THE WORLD as a result of this challenge. So… I guess all that’s left to ask is….

Will YOU become part of this great tradition in 2020?  The rules of the challenge are not difficult:

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Deal Me In logo above designed by Mannomoi at https://dilettanteartiste.wordpress.com/ follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/callmemanno

What is the goal of the challenge?

To read 52 short stories in 2020 (that’s only one per week – versions with a lesser story requirement are noted below)

What is the purpose?

To have FUN and to be exposed to new authors and stories and maybe get in the habit of reading a short story a week. Isn’t that enough?

What do I need?

1) Access to at least fifty-two short stories (don’t own any short story collections or anthologies? See links to online resources below)
2) A deck of cards
3) An average of perhaps as little as just thirty minutes of reading time each week

Where do I post* about my stories?

(*You don’t have to post about every single story, of course, – or even ANY story – but if you have something to say about the story you read any given week, your fellow participants would love to hear it.)

1) On your own blog or website if you have one. I must say the challenge was indeed created with bloggers in mind, but non-bloggers – or anyone really – can benefit by challenging themselves to read just one story a week.

2) If you don’t have a blog or website you may comment on any of my Deal Me In posts, sharing thoughts on your own story. Better yet, you can tweet about short stories you read using the hashtag #DealMeIn2020. In fact, I encourage everyone who does blog about the stories they read to use the hashtag (which I will link to in my sidebar in 2020) when you publish a post. Fellow DMI’ers can find them more easily and, hopefully, retweet them too.

How do I pick which stories to read?

The 52 stories themselves are totally up to you. Before you get started reading, come up with a roster of fifty-two stories (you can use any source) and assign each one to a playing card in a standard deck of cards. It can be fun to use different suits for different types of stories, but that is optional. I’ve often included one wild card for each suit too, so I can maybe read a story I’ve heard about during the year, or read another by an author I’ve discovered through this challenge. Each “week,” (if you’re like me, you may occasionally fall a story or two behind – that’s okay) you draw a card at random from your deck and that is the story you will read. There are links to many participants lists in prior years’ sign up posts (links below) if you want to see some examples. I’ve just about finalized my reading roster and will link to it here when completed.

The Deal Me In Challenge Through the Years…

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

 

What if I don’t have time to read a story every single week?

You don’t have to read your stories on a regular schedule (I almost always fall behind at least once during the year) and can catch up once a month if your prefer – OR try one of the challenge variations noted below, the Fortnight (or “payday” if you prefer) version is one story every two weeks or the “Full Moon Fever” version with just thirteen stories read or selected on seeing each full moon…

How do I sign up?

Leave a comment below with your URL, and I will link you on my home page, where I hope to eventually have a section in my sidebar for “2020 Deal Me In Participants.” I hope to occasionally publish some kind of wrap-up post, linking to other Deal Me In participants’ posts I’ve seen recently, or just giving an update on how things are going.

Late sign-ups (we always get a few) are allowed and encouraged too. If you can, I’d love you to add where in the world you’re blogging from and where or how you heard about the Deal Me In! challenge.

Some short story resources:

Links:
Classic Horror Stories:
AmericanLiterature.com short story of the day
EastoftheWeb’s short story of the day:
The Library of America’s short story of the week archive:

Free online novels.com has a wide selection; or check here for a few more. Heck just google “free short stories on line” and you’ll have enough to last a lifetime of Deal Me In Challenges!  Check out The New Yorker too. Last I checked you could access a limited number of their published stories per month. If your local library is like mine, they’ll likely have a good collection of annual O’Henry Prize-winning volumes, or the yearly Best American Short Stories anthologies, I often visit this section of my library and “knock out” out a couple stories on lazy afternoons. Looking for some really short stories? Try here If you have recommendations for other free sources of short stories, feel free to share in the comments.

Deal Me In Variations:

The Deal Me In “Fortnight Version” – just use two suits from your deck and assign a story to each card, drawing a card every two weeks. If you get paid bi-weekly, you can use that as a reminder to draw a new card (I guess this makes the fortnight variation a.k.a. The “payday version.”) You could also use a euchre deck and include the two jokers to make up your Fortnight Version deck.

The Deal Me In “Euchre Deck Version”If you work for “one of those companies” where you only get paid twice a month on the 15th and 30th, e.g., use a euchre deck!  Note: I’ve experimented with an accelerated euchre deck version for a couple readathons, especially the 24 in 48 readathon, where, instead of trying to read 24 hours out of 48, I try to read 24 short stories in 48 hours. Also pretty challenging!

The Deal Me In “Full Moon Fever Version” – this would be the baby steps way to ease into the Deal Me In routine, basically reading just one story a month (who doesn’t have time for that?). Just use one suit or face cards only and you’re set. Seeing the full moon in the sky can also serve as a reminder – “hey, I need to read my next short story!” 🙂

Not sure when the full moons occur? Not surprisingly, that information is available in many places on line, one of which is HERE.

You could also try using the new moons, as well, or BOTH new and full moons. In the past, we’ve had a couple Deal Me In’ers have a full moon add-on in addition to their 52 stories.

Other participants in the past have added their own wrinkles: Reading a story a week for only half the year, reading two at a time and trying to find a “connection” between them, reading essays, plays, poems, or famous speeches… Feel free to twist, spindle or mutilate this challenge any way you see fit to suit your own plans – the only element that should probably remain is the use of playing cards to determine your reading order.

So, how about it?  Are you UP for a challenge? If so, Deal Me In 10.0 might just be for you!  Shall we “Deal YOU in?”