The Future of Pegman

Gentle readers & writers–

The fate of the Pegman prompt is in question.

These past few years, both Karen and I have enjoyed hosting this prompt, but a palpable lack of interest in recent weeks has made us question whether it’s worth it to continue. Both she and I are hard at work on other projects; short story competitions, novels, queries, etc.

Pegman was started as a way to help writers shake off the certain staleness that is often seen in regular contributors’ work (e.g.,  every story features a murder, a beaten woman, time travel, or some kind of “gotcha” ending, etc.).

The idea was to open the world a little, look at other places and other cultures, research events and locations that would never occur to us. The purpose is to get better at this strange craft while supporting other writers…and have fun doing it.

So we’re going to ponder a bit and see if we want to keep going. We’d love to hear from you one way or another.



About J Hardy Carroll

J Hardy Carroll is a novelist and comics artist currently residing in one of those soundalike states that starts and ends with a vowel .
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40 Responses to The Future of Pegman

  1. Dear Karen and Josh,

    I so understand. Facilitating a blog challenge looks simple. Just post the photo and the challenge and wait for the response. Would that were all there was to it. People don’t see the behind the scenes cat herding that often comes into play. Then there’s the weekly commitment. I’ll admit there have been many weeks (as you well know) where I’m ready to chuck Friday Fictioneers. Then add to it, the other projects…ie novels, short stories, submissions and exams. (Oh, you have a life outside of Pegman… who knew?)
    Although I enjoy Pegman, I’ve had a lot on my own plate of late, not the least of which has been to complete a novel. (As well as write for Friday Fictioneers) and plenty of etceteras.
    As I said, I’ve enjoyed your blog challenge, but know where you’re coming from. If you decide to continue, I’ll do my best to participate when I can. If you decide to let it go, you go with my sincere thanks for your commitment to other writers.

    Shalom and Happy Holidays,


    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Rochelle. Yes, it’s a lot of work. I do appreciate the discipline involved, but I have enough challenges in that department of late! We’ll keep you posted.


    • k rawson says:

      Thanks Rochelle. I have no idea how you manage the enormous commitment that is Friday Fictioneers. You make it look effortless! It was great to know you have the same frustrations as we do (wondering if you should chuck it all 🙂 Nice not to feel all alone. You know we are always delighted when you join us, and understand when you can’t.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dale says:

    What I like about Pegman is it does exactly what you wanted. It takes me out of my usual – not that I have a usual – but it did entice me to Google places and learn about them and try to incorporate what I discover into my stories. I might not always participate but I do enjoy it.
    And as a facilitator, it would be nice if you visited us all. There aren’t that many. 😉 I also realise this can be difficult as you are both busy with many other endeavours.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. crimsonprose says:

    But …. but …. I’ve only recently started to contribute, still getting the hang of it.
    But I do know what’s involved in hosting a challenge, though mine’s only been running for less than six months. And to do that while also prepping a novel (in my case a five-book quint) and between that, managing, just, to squeeze in a life. So I shan’t throw a tantrum and squeal it’s not fair. I’ll just keep watching this space.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Joy Pixley says:

    I love the Pegman prompts, and hope you will continue. I have been buried under insane deadlines recently and have not been able to do any writing at all for weeks. After the end of April, I’ll be able to participate again. Thanks so much for the work you’ve put into this!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Joy. I appreciate you taking the time to let us know.

      Liked by 1 person

    • k rawson says:

      We miss you Joy, but I definitely understand about the deadlines. Hope your April goes well!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joy Pixley says:

        Now that I’m back home (I was traveling over the weekend, on top of everyone else) and my computer has let me access the internet again (ARGH),let me add a bit more. Pegman is absolutely my favorite flash fiction challenge. The prompt gets me started in a specific place, but gives me enough flexibility to look around for just the right angle or scene to inspire a new story. Half the fun is seeing what images the other writers choose, and learning more about the location in the process! I also think that it leads to more interesting stories, because people aren’t stuck with a static (often specifically odd) photo and have to struggle awkwardly to say something that fits.

        I echo the other comments that I recognize how much work it is to manage a challenge like this, and appreciate all the effort you two put into it! On the one hand, I think it’s a shame that you don’t have a bigger following (although it is still early days for that), because it’s such a clever and cool concept, and done so well — you deserve the recognition! On the other hand– and this almost feels like a dirty secret — I actually *like* having a smaller number of stories on a regular basis. It means that I can readily commit to reading every story and really paying attention and commenting on them, not rushing through and being stressed out about it. If there were five or ten times more writers, I don’t think I could handle the additional work.

        All of that said: I would be sorely disappointed if you stopped running Pegman, but I would totally understand. Best of luck on all your other projects, either way!

        Liked by 2 people

      • k rawson says:

        Aw, this kind kind comment means so much! I like that it’s a small group too, although it has been extra small lately. Thanks for taking the time to post this, Joy. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Dear Josh and Karen,

    I’ve noticed lately that participation in Pegman has fallen and am so disappointed for you two because it is such a great idea! I love going places with the Pegman gang and discovering waterfalls, rock formations, tangles of phone wires… and creating a story, then reading others. Also, the extra 50-words beyond Friday Fictioneers is like a little present each week.

    As I said, I’ve fallen back on both writing practices because I’m trying (note that keyword – trying) to edit my story. A long hard slog as you both know. I’ve been working on this novel for over 25 years! (Although I have written another, unpublished novel that also needs revisions.) Evidently, the first one is my true love.

    I would enjoy your keeping Pegman. If he survives, I’ll do my best to stop by each week. I do appreciate the practice to keep my words down to a dull roar.

    Thanks, Lish


    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Lish. I appreciate the feedback. I get you with the novels, too. I’m picking one up that I set aside some years ago.


    • k rawson says:


      Editing is the worst! Turning on the critical part of my brain sense the muse into hiding. Sounds like you suffer the same sort of frustration. Always love having you. Your kind comment really made me feel great. Love that people love Pegman for the same reasons we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love these prompts, but understand the concern. I do read them and contribute when they “speak to me.” Thank you for the ones you have given us so far.


  7. k rawson says:

    It’s been so heartwarming to read everyone’s responses. Thanks to all for your kind feedback about the prompt. It’s been encouraging to hear people enjoy it for the very same reasons we do. I’ve learned so much about writing, the world, and history, by touring the globe with Pegman.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lynn Love says:

    Hi Josh and Karen,
    I’ve definitely been guilty of not taking part in Pegman over the last few weeks. I’ve hardly been on WP at all to be honest, as I’ve been trying to push on with a final draft of my WIP using feedback from my lovely betas – thank you again Karen!
    I too love the prompt, always thought it was such a terrific idea, exploring unusual (sometimes to me, unheard of) places across the world. I enjoy so much finding an unexpected detail in a photosphere or on street view and weaving a story round it.
    But … we do all have our own writing, work, family commitments and taking part is often difficult and I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for you two with all of that and your ‘curating’ duties on top too. I’d love Pegman to keep going – because it’s utterly unique and inspiring! – but totally understand if you feel the effort you put in is too much.
    All I can do is echo what Joy and others have said – we love Pegman but understand if you feel his time has come to an end.
    All best wishes to you both,
    Lynn x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Lynn. I think with all this feedback it’s become clear that this is definitely worth continuing as long as we can. We hope to see more participation as people have time. Thanks to you and everyone who took the time to write us. JHC

      Liked by 1 person

    • k rawson says:

      Thanks Lynn. I’m so excited to hear about your progress on your WIP. I can’t wait for the final draft! We are so touched by everyone’s kind comments we are definitely going to keep Pegman going. And we’re not going to take it personally when people can’t show up every week. And be delighted when they can!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn Love says:

        Well, it might take a while yet, but I’m still plugging away! So glad Pegman will be around for a while longer. You and Josh do such a great job. I will try to visit more often, to see where he takes me next 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I appreciate your work in opening up the world
    through Pegman- I’ve learnt a lot from
    checking out the locations, & enjoyed reading
    others’ posts. What inhibits me is being ignorant about the political & cultural trends
    of the locations, & offending people. My stuff .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, it’s fiction after all! Thanks for your contributions. You are always welcome.


      • Thanks Josh. As others have said, I do appreciate the energy and curiosity about the world that you & Karen share with us. I’d be happy to keep on contributing, also fully understand if you wanted to take a break.

        Liked by 1 person

    • k rawson says:

      Yes Francine, you are always welcome here! One thing I wanted to mention is that while much has been said about how Pegman is a great way to learn more about a place, it’s also just a prompt. Contributors are welcome interpret the location however they like. Maybe it makes you think of a certain food, of song, of something you saw on your way home from work. What I’m saying is the location doesn’t have to be taken literally. I often don’t!

      Doing Pegman shouldn’t feel like a homework assignment. We all have busy lives. It’s meant as a way to practice writing, polish skills, try new things, have fun, and meet other writers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Karen – what you say is so helpful. I like all the things you list – polish writing, polish skills, meet other writers…. and having fun. I do love reading other’s stories – they are an inspiration.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I am sorry I have only just seen this post, Josh and Karen, as I was scanning through What Pegman Saw to find dates for the Talking Statues stories I contributed to WPS for my latest collection of flash fiction that is in the final phases of editing. I hope you do not mind me replying now. I am glad for WPS, and thank you for all the hard work you put in, infront of the scenes and behind the scenes.

    I am sorry, Josh, that I do not fulfil your requirements for setting up What Pegman Saw and hope my lack of historical research and/or geographical research and/or accent (all your strengths) has not rankled too much.

    I look forward to the weekend when I can put on my thinking cap and try to create something fresh, something different, something new. I always read all the stories first, before adding mine to the melting pot. The lack of comments from all contributors does niggle sometimes but that is the beast of social media, isn’t it. More take than give. I always try to give, and will keep giving to WPS for as long as it shall continue.

    I wish you both the best of British luck in all your novel and short stories and other literary endeavours. Sincerely.

    Thanks you once again,



    Liked by 1 person

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