Inspired by a Picture: Black and White Boys - A Writing Challenge

This challenge is to write a story based on the picture below.

2017 Inspired by a Picture Challenge - Black and White Boys

The stories have been uploaded, and are here for you to read and enjoy. When you have enjoyed them please come back here before the closing date for voting and mark up to three stories that you rate as the most successful at interpreting the picture for you, and, separately, up to three stories that you feel are the best three overall. Obviously you may vote for different stories in each voting category.

The schoolboys in this picture, taken in 1969, probably in late June, are aged 16 and 17. The oldest turned 17 in the previous November, the youngest is to turn 17 in the coming August, though deciding which is which is impossible. They're regular boys, nothing special about any of them, probably. In life some were successful, others less so. One was head of a very important local government department. One was even knighted for services to his nation. But that is whatever real life is. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to construct whatever you see as their lives, grabbed in this snapshot. In the unlikely event that you know their real names, please do not use them.

Runners and riders

Full entrants

The stories are as follows. The order changes each time the page is refreshed, to try to get folk to read and rate all the tales:

Until polls open this is just a list. Once they open the titles link to the tales.

Cast your vote

There are two ways. Each story has a survey at the foot which relates to how well you judge that it met your needs as a reader. That's probably the most useful for the authors. After that, once you have read them all, please come here and rate them all, if you like, one against the other.

Which two stories interpreted the picture best

You may tick a maximum of two stories for those you believe gave the best interpretation of the picture. The stories are listed in the order they arrived with us

Dura et Pulsans
Nick Park

Current Results

Which are your favourite two stories?

You may tick a maximum of two stories which you enjoyed the most The stories are listed in the order they arrived with us

Dura et Pulsans
Nick Park

Current Results

Please remember to submit each poll separately. I wish you could tick all you want in each poll and click only one 'submit', but that's not the way it works.

Voting period

Voting lasts for three weeks only. Polls open on 11 March 2017 at noon, and close at noon on 1 April 2017. Poll opening and closing is programmatic


The basic rules are simple:

First, special for this challenge: Please look carefully at the picture. The lads in it are in need of counting. The number is not immediately obvious. Your story needs to incorporate each and every boy in the picture in some role or other, not just mentioned in passing. Better count them accurately, perhaps with a magnifying glass! I know with absoute confidence that one of those boys in the picture is most assuredly gay. The picture is from the 1960s in a British "Public School", which is a private school, and the boys are in their school uniform. There is nothing that says your story needs to reflect that with accuracy, or even at all.

  • There is No Minimum word count, though aim for a broad minimum of 3,500 words. If you don't get that many, you don't get that many. It's an aiming point! If yours is shorter then it's shorter. Submit it anyway
  • No maximum word count. Sometimes more is better. Sometimes less is more. It's your story, so you decide.
  • The author may be one person, or more than one writing in collaboration.
  • A short story is as valid an entry as a novel, and vice versa. Multiple chapters are fine.
  • Format is to be .doc, .odt ideally, .rtf, .docx and .txt if you must, .htm and .html are acceptable. If you really must you can put your text in the body of an email, but I will hate you for ever. Do not send pdfs or any other format. They will simply not be considered.
  • The story must be submitted as a file. We will not scrape it from another site
  • At our sole editorial discretion stories may be accepted or rejected.
  • The title of your story should be your own invention. It really ought not to be whatever we have called the challenge.
  • The email address for submissions is

The story may be a new story, an existing story published in this site or elsewhere, or current work in progress (ie part of a serial that you also enter in the challenge). For this challenge, the more so since the picture is a cliché, absolutely no stories with adult/youth themes or heavy BDSM content will be allowed, and no exceptions will be made. Scatology, coprophagy, or faeces play will not be accepted. Diaper fetish is, likewise, deprecated.

Stories do not need to contain or avoid sexual encounters, nor need they be gay male stories, though authors' attention is drawn to the fact that this is primarily a gay site, with a gay male majority in the audience.

All stories that are accepted for the challenge will remain the copyright of the authors, and the authors and submitters give an absolute assurance that the stories may be published here. Authors' attention is drawn to the copyright statement on the front page of this site. Stories accepted into the challenge and published on the site may not subsequently be withdrawn.

By submitting a story into the challenge the submitter gives an absolute assurance that he or she has the right to submit the story, that it is their own original work (or that they have the author's permission to submit it), and that it does not break any other person's copyright. Should the submitter be in breach of any undertaking in law, the submitter agrees that the webmaster be held harmless and that any such breach is the total personal responsibility of the submitter. Anyone recognising a work as their own and submitted without their consent, or having any issues with it should register this by clicking here and emailing the webmaster, explaining their reasons in detail.


An overall results page shows all the results gathered in one place. Obviously polls have to be open for the results to show! Until polls are open it is pretty obviously a work in progress.