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Writing Challenges Chronicles Writing Challenges including the popular '75 word challenge' and the new '300 word challenge'.

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Old 29th September 2011, 05:43 PM   #166 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

So, might as well open myself up to some feedback. Never done this before so i found it difficult. I am also the kind of guy who finds it hard not to explain everything.


No Golden age



A whisper at the back of his mind. “He always stares. I wonder what he sees.” He ignored. Staring through the eyes of another into the eyes of the dead, I sighed. The slaughter resumed. Ages come ages pass, I watch, no matter the eyes, nothing changes. There was no golden age, no time when man was more than he is. Generations come and kill for the same reasons as their forbears, revenge, greed, fun....
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Old 29th September 2011, 08:07 PM   #167 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Oh dear. I need to confess, again, to not really understanding an entry. I do understand some things sometimes, I promise.

I think I understood it from "The slaughter resumed...." and it was well written, if not terribly cheerful. I liked the idea of the eternal observer within different people (although I didn't know who or what it was). And I've just realised that "He ignored" was "He ignored the whisper."

I quite liked that there was a little sting in the tail with 'fun', but it was quite a little one. Hope that helps. I think an issue with the challenge stories is that everyone is reading 40 odd stories -- often all in one go -- and if one is hard to understand often people don't puzzle over it but pass on to the next.
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Old 29th September 2011, 09:22 PM   #168 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex View Post
Oh dear. I need to confess, again, to not really understanding an entry. I do understand some things sometimes, I promise.

I think I understood it from "The slaughter resumed...." and it was well written, if not terribly cheerful. I liked the idea of the eternal observer within different people (although I didn't know who or what it was). And I've just realised that "He ignored" was "He ignored the whisper."

I quite liked that there was a little sting in the tail with 'fun', but it was quite a little one. Hope that helps. I think an issue with the challenge stories is that everyone is reading 40 odd stories -- often all in one go -- and if one is hard to understand often people don't puzzle over it but pass on to the next.
Thank you for the comment about it being well written. The observer is female. She actually has a whole history of her own that goes back to the earliest times when the world was still very young (it being quite ancient at the time of this story). But that cant be put into a 75 word story. I think that is what i found hardest. As i mentioned above i like to explain things and give a history. I should have a better opportunity to explain things in the 300 word challenges.

It does help, thank you. And i agree 40 odd stories, especially since i'm not used to reading short stories.
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Old 29th September 2011, 10:28 PM   #169 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ökuţórr View Post
So, might as well open myself up to some feedback. Never done this before so i found it difficult. I am also the kind of guy who finds it hard not to explain everything.


No Golden age




A whisper at the back of his mind. “He always stares. I wonder what he sees.” He ignored. Staring through the eyes of another into the eyes of the dead, I sighed. The slaughter resumed. Ages come ages pass, I watch, no matter the eyes, nothing changes. There was no golden age, no time when man was more than he is. Generations come and kill for the same reasons as their forbears, revenge, greed, fun....
Well I kind of understood it.

Your telling of the time 'things were better back then' is uttered by all and sundry. However, they never were. Things have always been driven by dog eat dog, what's mine I own, stuff you lot I'm OK, which for this planet, in recent years, has been based on man and his greed, selfishness and lust for things other.

The story was fine, (OK a little bit vague but hey these stories require a bit of effort from the reader) I just didn't think it applied to "behind the scenes" which is why I didn't go for it.

OK, there's an entity who watches but he doesn't participate behind the scenes, he just observes.

Hope that gave some insight.

TEiN
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Old 30th September 2011, 09:12 AM   #170 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

As Hex says a well-written piece, but...

I understood the idea behind it, as precised by TEiN, but the actual specifics -- ie who/what/where/how -- were missing as far as I was concerned. That isn't necessarily fatal to a story, and you certainly conjured up an atmosphere well, but for me the lack of specifics made it harder to engage with the piece. I think it would have been far stronger if you could have made it clear who she was, what was going on and why.

I am still very confused by the opening lines -- who is "he" whose mind has the whisper? Who is the "He" referred to in the whisper? Is the "he" who is ignoring, the same person as one of those? I'm even more confused now you say the "I" is a woman. It is difficult to get over everything in 75 words, but not impossible, it's a question of finding the right words.

The "He ignored" wholly threw me since it makes no sense on its own. If Hex is right, then either "He ignored it" (which is admittedly weak) or something like "The whisper at the back of his mind -- “He always stares. I wonder what he sees? -- he ignored." which is unwieldy. The simpler "He ignored the whisper..." may lack poetry but it has the advantage of being understood! Frankly, though, I'm not sure the whisper added anything since we don't know who is saying it or why.

Another problem I had -- which I had with a number of other pieces this month -- is that it wasn't enough of a story for my taste. It's a reflection on what is or what has happened, rather than something actually happening, ie giving a beginning, middle and end. Again, that's not necessarily fatal, since many people voted for stories about which I'd have said the same, but it does create an extra hurdle in the search for a vote.

Also, being excessively pedantic, I hated "forbears" -- I know it's a legitimate variant spelling, but it made my nit-picking talons itch!

As everyone who does these will tell you, writing in 75 words is a real challenge, and despite my comments I think you did well. I hope to see you next month!
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Old 30th September 2011, 10:34 AM   #171 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

I liked it, in fact I think it made my first short list, my take was that it was some type of entity/soul somewhere along the lines of the movie Fallen? I did have to reread the first sentences a few times the first time I read it, I think Hex and The Judge have given good feedback there.

I'm happy for anyone to give feedback on my story as well, I've a thick skin You mentioned entries meeting the criteria for story TJ, how about mine? It's a scene but is it a story?

And the last line, the story wasn't meant to be serious but too much of a pun?
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Old 30th September 2011, 03:38 PM   #172 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Now that we've got this lovely feedback section, I would love feedback on my stories as well.

My story this month was rather simple, a little play on my distrust of mega-businesses like Walmart, but I'm not sure it was clear or enjoyable.

The Naked Truth

“Well, it’s done. MegaMart renegotiated their contract and Shoemaker can’t keep up with demand.”

“We can pull more folk in to cover the workload. “

“Shoemaker wouldn’t make but a penny per pair, not enough to keep Misses in fabric.”

“No more clothes, then? Can cookie sales go toward pants, shirts, anything?”

“That segues to next order of business.”

Jeremy sighed, “Megamart has begun phase one to open a new MegaStore….in Baker’s Grove.”
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Old 30th September 2011, 04:10 PM   #173 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Oh, this was so close to being on my short list -- and I was so close to understanding it.

I loved this piece, but (ahem, sorry, repeat after me) I don't think I understood it. And the thing I found frustrating was that I thought I should understand, but I didn't completely get it.

I got (and loved) Shoemaker not being able to make but a penny a pair, but the Misses and the fabric and the cookies and Baker's Grove I didn't understand
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Old 30th September 2011, 04:24 PM   #174 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Ah, well, my original attempt did have 150 words, so you can imagine the cuts I made. I think they were too steep. I was afraid this was only apparent to me, and it would seem this was so.

The Shoemaker and the Elves: the shoemaker had help making the shoes, and in turn the Misses made clothes for the elves. Thier business thrived because of the workforce behind it. And the previously naked elves got to enjoy fine clothing made just for them.(although our megamarts of today leave no room for whimsical small business owners like the Shoemaker and his Wife)

Baker's Grove (Hollow Tree Bakery) may be and american thing. I hadn't thought of that. The Keebler Elves live in hollowed out trees and make a popular brand of cookies here. (but big business, again, tend to take over anywhere the little guy might try and eek out a living)
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Old 30th September 2011, 04:57 PM   #175 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Bookstop,

I'm afraid I didn't get nearly enough out of this story. I looked at it as a kind of shot at the "Wal Marts" of the world. I had no elves involved. I now know the fairy tale you were alluding to, and as an American if I had picked up on the elves I might have got the tree reference. When you said your story originally had 150 words and you cut it down to 75 I think I started to understand. IMO not many people can do this successfully. When our story starts out much bigger we have to cut things ruthlessly. When we do that often we can cut integral information because we know what the context is.

Some months ago I wrote a story trying for a surprise ending. (For those of you with photographic memories --- it was the piece about a man making revolutions, laps, of a generation ship.) But no one caught on. Too much of the story was in my head and too little on the screen.

I'll bet that if you had someone else read your story before posting you could have corrected the gaps in information problem and your story would have been a serious contender. Your idea was that good.
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Old 30th September 2011, 05:07 PM   #176 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Thank you, Parson.

I agree with you. I had thought it might be a problem, and I did have my sigificant other read it first, but we had just had a big discussion about Walmart, and he overheard me making reference to the Shoemaker story to one of the children, so I'm thinking his head was where mine was and him getting it was to be expected.

It's funny, because ususally when I write something for the challenge, I only end up cutting about 5-10 words to keep it to 75, but I was feeling rather passionate about this one and did make too many ruthless cuts to try and make it work (which I ended up not doing).

Again, thank you. It's still nice to know the idea was something, even if my execution lacked a bit.
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Old 30th September 2011, 07:34 PM   #177 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

This was my first attempt at this challenge and my first attempt at writing to a specific word count, which I found to be more difficult than I previously imagined.

So I shall submit my virgin effort for feedback

The Hidden Knife


Hidden from view I hear him arrive, your dearest brother, your greatest rival. Unsuspecting he greets you warmly.

I hear your reply, harsh accusations in a fearful voice.

The warmness is gone, an argument ensues.

He steps forward and you reach for me, a moments doubt and then swift action. You bury me deep in his chest, bathing me in his warm blood.

Your voice is triumphant as you declare yourself king.


Looking forward to the October challenge now
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Old 30th September 2011, 08:30 PM   #178 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Ooh a bit Macbeth there and second person I think interesting. Only thing really for me is the harsh accusations in a fearful voice. Either he was harsh or fearful ? But maybe it reminds me of the awful term passive aggressive (like I ask my husband would he rather I was passive or aggressive?)
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Old 1st October 2011, 12:41 AM   #179 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Everyone Deserves A Holiday.


They watched another android roll off the production line.

“Lacon, truly excellent! And my report will say so,” said Endsbeigh, receiving a smile in return.


***

In Paris Lacon sipped champagne. “The inspection should be finishing about now,” he said to his wife confidently, “R182 will be doing fine. I’m sure he’ll remember everything I said.”


***

“S407, come in,” said R182 gesturing to a chair. “My name is Lacon and I’m going away for a while…”





Quote:
Originally Posted by Perpetual Man View Post

mosaix – A great mind twisting piece from mosaix. A robot programmer slips away leaving a robot copy of himself in his place, but the robot decides it can do the same thing and programs another... does the robot know it’s a robot, is the ‘original’ having lunch with his wife actually a robot? Mind bending fun!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Percival View Post

mosaix

A fractal story: at every level it would look the same. Very interesting. There was a hint that there might be no people which I found fascinating (and quite believable in that world).

Both Perpetual and Percival were right about the original version in which they were all androids, including the inspector, their human counterparts taking the opportunity to enjoy themselves elsewhere. Unfortunately that version ran to about 210 words. And therein lies the heart of the Challenge - not only having an original idea but maintaining the idea (and clarity) whilst editing the story down to 75 words.

In the end I settled for Lacon being on holiday whilst R182 stood in and impersonated him and, as Lacon suspected, R182 "remembered every word he'd said".

The problem, as I saw it, was that the story had to be read at least twice to be understood and I wasn't sure that, with over 40 stories to read, everyone would have the patience to persevere.



Last edited by mosaix; 1st October 2011 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 1st October 2011, 01:21 AM   #180 (permalink)
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Re: Improving our Challenge Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Bookstop, I missed the shoemaker and the elves tie in as well. I think I'd have got it if there had been something to clarify it was elves talking though the line "No more clothes, then?" maybe should have been enough considering it hasn't been all that long since I read the story to my daughter. Not being familiar with Hollow Tree Bakery I also missed the last reference completely.

Mith, I really liked that story. For me you nailed writing from the knife's pov and I thought there was a feeling of enjoyment from the knife as it was used without it neccessarily being a magical living dagger. As has been mentioned before having to reread a story to get the full impact can be a problem if people are reading through the entries together but this was clear and enjoyable (of course I've also read great entries that I didn't get at all the first time around). A great first entry.



Forgot to copy my story here when I posted before so:


Filling in Eternity



Apparently God told riddles to Shiva.


It looked like Osiris and Apollo, Freyr and Nammu danced to the tunes of the Greek Pantheon.

Various Goddess-like figures raced for the joy of movement, leaving a Rainbow Serpent to welcome new arrivals.

In many places and at many times, evidence of the event (if possible) would have caused confusion, anger and sadly, imperceptibly, swelled the gathering.


But then who knew the afterlife had free dress days.
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