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#1 Old 12th Mar 2009 at 4:06 PM Last edited by Gemmareno_SC : 19th Jun 2009 at 10:21 AM.
Writing Challenge! [Eighth challenge posted!]
This is a little something that my teachers used to do, and I thought it would be a good game of sorts for us writers to get together and have a bit of fun and critique each other's work while it's still raw.

The idea is that I (or a volunteer! ) post an outline for a challenge that the players have a week to post. The challenge will usually have a time limit of 15-30 minutes and a maximum of 2000 words as well as some criteria to fill.

The criteria will vary from using a certain technique, style, writing in a certain genre (for people like me who don't write outside one particular genre), writing a scene with a given theme and characters or writing from a given picture.

As I said, you would have a week to post what you've written in this thread and you would get helpful feedback from everyone else here. No editing is allowed bar from correcting punctuation and spelling to the best of your ability without a dictionary. Couple of days of feedback and then we do it all over again with something different!

I would have started it straight away but I'm shy like that, so I wanted to post the idea first and see if anyone is interested in taking part? It will be roughly every week but it's only 15 minutes a go or something and it's more fun when you have lots of people and different styles emerging!

Any questions? :D

------------------------------------------

Challenge 1.

Challenge 2.

Challenge 3.

Challenge 4.

Challenge 5.

Challenge 6.

Challenge 7.

Challenge 8. <--- Present challenge!
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Scholar
#2 Old 12th Mar 2009 at 9:58 PM
Seems like it might be fun, however I don't understand what it is one is suppose to do. Sorry!

Sims, like life, is very unpredictable. One minute you're eating four day old pizza, and then the repo-man steals your only sofa and you're in tears. ...then the food poison kicks in.
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Original Poster
#3 Old 12th Mar 2009 at 11:26 PM
It's basically a writing exercise each week where I set a theme, genre or scenario and you have to time yourself for 15 minutes while you write something off the top of your head, post it straight here with no editing and we all critique them together. It's just a way of trying out different styles of writing that you might not try otherwise. Hope that makes a little more sense?
Scholar
#4 Old 12th Mar 2009 at 11:29 PM
Yes, it does make more sence now

Sims, like life, is very unpredictable. One minute you're eating four day old pizza, and then the repo-man steals your only sofa and you're in tears. ...then the food poison kicks in.
Lab Assistant
#5 Old 12th Mar 2009 at 11:40 PM
mmmm sounds like a great idea....
Woul love to do it!
Ok, so are you waiting for more people or waiting for someone to start?
Mad Poster
#6 Old 12th Mar 2009 at 11:46 PM
Sounds like fun, although it will drive me crazy because I'm such a perfectionist when it comes to writing. Before I share any of my work, I read through it at least five times, and I often end up making numerous revisions. I can't promise to participate in the challenge every week, but I'll happily participate when I can.

Do I dare disturb the universe?
.
| tumblr | My TS3 Photos |
Test Subject
#7 Old 13th Mar 2009 at 5:18 AM
It sounds like a great idea (I just joined this writing group, by the way), I'm not sure I can keep up with your pace, but I can try ...

Currently playing HP's Uber Megahood - check out http://simstate.wordpress.com
Lab Assistant
#8 Old 13th Mar 2009 at 6:44 AM
It would be very interesting to compare the different ideas that everyone would come up with, and fun of course! I'm much like Rabid though, quite the perfectionist. On top of that, I'm terribly slow at writing and I always end up changing my mind. But besides all that, I'd give it a go.

And also, would it be cheating if I took as long as I wanted within that week to think up an idea before actually writing or is it protocol that the time starts when you think or do anything towards the writing?
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Original Poster
#9 Old 13th Mar 2009 at 9:46 AM
Hello guys, wow the response has been fab, I'm so pleased! I was hoping to get the first one up at the beginning of next week as a test run! Don't be worried about the pace of it, it's only a bit of fun to try and hone some new techniques!

burnziiy, generally you shouldn't have any time to think about it, the idea is to see how you react to certain stimuli and to increase this with practise so as to get creative juices flowing! On some there will probably be a designated "study time" in which you might have five mins to look at a given picture etc.

I know this is over the internet so who's to know if you do plan it, but it takes away the purpose of the challenge. This is spur-of-the-moment writing and nothing you post should be polished or revised.

simstate, welcome to the group! And don't worry about pace. The word counts will be very small and some challenges may get posted later that need more time. You certainly don't need to participate each week if you feel any strain!

Rabid, no editing! Heh. This is the challenge of it. You can of course revise spelling and things until the cows come home, but you should not rewrite any of it or cut any out.

Again, thanks everyone for the response!! If you have any ideas for techniques etc that we could try some weeks, please PM me and I'll incorporate all your ideas to keep it varied!
Mad Poster
#10 Old 13th Mar 2009 at 11:18 PM
Wow, this sounds really fun. I'll try to get involved every week, but the amount of homework I'm getting might not let me participate every time. Hopefully this will get me used to having other people read my work.
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Original Poster
#11 Old 14th Mar 2009 at 2:18 PM
Yeah, that's probably what I need it for too - I'm too defensive about what I write and end up not getting the criticism I need.

First challenge should be up tomorrow night (Sunday) so we'll have some writing to do next week! :D
Mad Poster
#12 Old 15th Mar 2009 at 3:24 AM
That's perfect timing. After Monday I'll have two less assignments to do, so I'll have plenty of time for the challenge.
Top Secret Researcher
#13 Old 15th Mar 2009 at 6:33 PM
I'll probably do this too, and for the people that have trouble with keeping themselves down to 2,000 words or 15 minutes and no edits, may I recommend Write or Die?

It's a website that plays an annoying noise when you stop writing, and it lets you write for a set amount of time or words. Then if you tell it you're done it will give you your writing with no carriage returns, so when you c/p it to here you'll have one chance to edit it so that you can reinsert the carriage returns.

The humor of a story on the internet is in direct inverse proportion to how accurate the reporting is.
Mad Poster
#14 Old 15th Mar 2009 at 7:17 PM
If we ever wanted a change of pace, I've participated in writing challenges called drabble challenges. The prompt is a phrase or word, and then the participants must write a one-hundred to five-hundred word snippet including the prompt. You can edit it as often as you want, too . I love the original challenge idea, but this might be a bit easier when we're all busy and looking for something less challenging.

Do I dare disturb the universe?
.
| tumblr | My TS3 Photos |
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Original Poster
#15 Old 15th Mar 2009 at 8:58 PM
Challenge 1
Thank you for the link, FurryPanda! I'll probs have a squiz on it in just a sec!
And Rabid, yep I've got some planned that use only a few words or just one. I tend to find that the smaller the prompt the more varied reactions you get!

Challenge 1

Your narrator is experiencing an emotional turmoil of some kind. You must write about the problem, emotions and anything else related to this.

The catch is that your narrator is an inanimate object.

Guidelines.

- Your piece must be written in the first person narrative, i.e. me, we etc.
- You have 15 minutes to write this. Either time yourself with an alarm or phone, or use the useful link by FurryPanda
- You must have a minumum of 500 words, although you shouldn't go over 2000.
- Copy and paste straight onto this thread. Do not edit or rewrite your piece. Spelling, grammar and punctuation can be revised but without a dictionary and such.

Everyone is encouraged to critique or in some way comment on other people's challenges. Feel free to take detailed critique to PM, but remember that a lot of tips could be appreciated and used by all!

Most of all, have fun! You have until next Sunday night to post your challenge.
Scholar
#16 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 1:00 AM
Default my challenge 1
. . . got bored, and had time to spare.
I might have done something incorrect, so sorry for that

For many a years I haved roam the land. North to South, East to West. I've seen more sights then an avid couch potato. Grime is my middle name and gasoline is my perfume of choice. I am a car. Just a car, you think? Not just any car, might I add. My owner purchased me on a chilly, autumn day many years ago. There I had rested many a weeks on that lot, just waiting for that special someone. Once I got washed and polished up, I was extremely excited. This, however, wore off faster then fingernail polish.

Now a days my trips are less lengthy, my sights less breathtaking. With all the new hot rods out on market, no one finds the interest in driving me, a year 2003 Tiburon any longer. Sure, I guzzle your gas faster then you make the thirty dollars to refill me, but is that to blame?

We have been so many places together. Why did you leave me parked at the back of your driveway after all these years? Am I not as efficient as my younger self was? Am I some horrid eye sore to drive about? Does my unpolished paint, and bug filled liscense plate turn you off?

I suppose that darn Kia is to blame. My own sister you purchase. To think that you tossed me aside like a weed when you found that more fuel efficient drive. I guess that's the way you like them now, big and efficient. I see how it is. You tell me to blame the economy. But, that's not what it is, I know.

I have it all figured out. You change cars like the Earth changes seasons. You chose me when you were that younger, healthier self. You enjoyed me for a few years, "got your money's worth", as you said. But, now your needs, or luck, has changed. Since you love to spend excessive amounts of your not so hard earned cash, you decided to buy a multipurpose deal on wheels. With room to spare, she has plenty room for all the junk you decide to pack in the trunk, and, saves you gas along the way. Well, I am sorry that I was made compact. But, that used to be the way you liked it.

So, just for you, I will sit. Day in and day out, through rail, hail, snow, and brutal sun, I will stay parked. Don't bother driving me, don't even bother looking my direction when you go get into your dream ride. I just let you know, that I look foward to that day, that day that your precious little Kia comes and sleeps beside me. Just remember, I was your first, your only, and your best, Hyndai.

Sims, like life, is very unpredictable. One minute you're eating four day old pizza, and then the repo-man steals your only sofa and you're in tears. ...then the food poison kicks in.
Mad Poster
#17 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 1:16 AM
I loved it, clw . I don't know if you intended to be funny or not, but it struck me as irreverently humorous to read about a vehicle acting like a jilted lover .

Do I dare disturb the universe?
.
| tumblr | My TS3 Photos |
Scholar
#18 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 1:30 AM
indeed Rabid, I found myself crackin up, and infact writing about a real life car and situation :P

Sims, like life, is very unpredictable. One minute you're eating four day old pizza, and then the repo-man steals your only sofa and you're in tears. ...then the food poison kicks in.
#19 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 1:47 AM
This prolly sucks....used Pandas write or die...scared the heck out of me. Lol. Ment to be slightly depressing.

Everyday I stare at the same blank wall on the same worn wood table. I am a clock. A antique clock. It is, I guess, my job to stare. I've looked at the same wall for generations now, and I know there's a change in the air. Where there was no...what is it....telephone, there is. From wall-mounted to cordless. There are electric ovens, that sometimes don't work...or so I've heard. The blare from the televison has become more and more obscene as the years have gone by. I watched old friends go away. The old pictures...they where worth so much money! thrown away. The old war medallions...pieces of worthless metal...sold to some dealer. I'm actually suprised me and my old friend, the table, have made it this far. We have heard it all...Pearl Habor, the Cold War, Vietnam, September 11, yet.... It's hard to describe the feeling that your help is no longer appriceiated. I think our time is near, the be replaced with a digital clock. A nice, fake wood table massed produced in China. Oh....I think I hear them now. It's my time. But wait! I'm valuable! Think of the money! I hear you humans complain about money! Me, and this table hear, could be worth a small fortune! You have no idea whos hands crafted us! They could've been famous! Their pieces could be worth millions! Yet you'll through us away...to be whittled away...sliver by sliver.... Oh well...even magical things must end. My chime shall no longer ring in these halls. I shall no longer hear the laughter of children, the suprised shouts at the presents on birthdays or Christmas. Oh well....to my final home I go.
Test Subject
#20 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 3:31 AM
Default My contribution - be brutal! I can take it - ha ha - Writers need thick skin
I hate it here in this junk yard - the rats gnaw at my insides day and night - all I see around me are dirty, broken, unwanted things ... a beat-up old car with blocks for wheels, old dolls missing their heads, a broken-down dishwasher. I don't belong here.

I was a beautiful bed once - with a shiny brass headboard and a good springy cushion. My master and mistress picked me out of all the other beds at the local furniture shop.

"Oh, there" she had cried out, "This is the one we need. It's just the perfect price for us. Please?"

She'd looked up at my master with her winsome smile that he could not resist, and I was delivered to their new home the following day.

They were newly weds, you see. I was a good bed; they never heard a word of complaint from me. Those early days of their marriage, I had a good work-out every night. Hands clenched on my headboard, bodies pounding down on me, but I could handle it. My springs kept their spring and I enjoyed listening to my master and mistress make love to each other every night.

Then my master got signed into a high profile baseball team. They were very excited when that happened, I can tell you! I felt their celebration too, the morning after. But my mistress stripped off the soiled sheets and I was good as new. Soft and cushiony and smelling of her favorite fabric softener.

Then came the long lonely nights for my mistress. Endless nights waiting for my master to call. Nights of tears. Nights watching the Hallmark Channel.

Then my mistress started to get frequent visitors again. I had never realized that she had so many male friends! And I was happy. Once again, I heard laughter in my mistress’ voice.

But I was not so happy when my mistress started to use me. With other men.

No! - I wanted to cry out! - My master owns me - I don't want these strange men on me!

But I was only a bed, what could I do?

So now strange hands clenched the headboard. Strange voices permeated the night. Grunts. The rustle of silk sheets. Squeaky sounds of the springs.

"What the h*** is this!!!!"

It was my master's voice. I had never heard him sound so enraged. So angry.

"Oh, please. I'm so sorry..." My mistress had cried and pleaded. "Please..."

I felt the blows. I felt the hard steel flash down. Again and again. Through my mistress' body. And through me. Pieces of stuffing flew in the air. I felt hot sticky liquid flow down, soak down through the mattress.

Oh no - it will be murder to dry clean that - I thought.

Then the air was rent with the sound of sirens. And important men in blue uniform came to take my master away. Men in white came to take my mistress and her friend away. Men in white coats came to dab the sticky fluid from me. I was paraded around together with the knife. I was evidence you see. Then I was kept in a locker for the longest time. No one bothered to clean me up. No one bothered to change the sheets.

And now, I am here, all alone, in the city dump. I miss my mistress and master.

ETA: When are we supposed to start critiquing each other? It would be best if everyone had submitted their stuff by then, right?

ETA: I tried to add the cool widget from Write or Die, but it wouldn't take here. So I made a picture instead. Thanks to Fuzzy Panda for the tip!



ETA again! Oh drat - I need glasses - I just went back to Gemmareno's post and realized that I totally missed reading this line : "Your narrator is experiencing an emotional turmoil of some kind. You must write about the problem, emotions and anything else related to this."

Yikes! All I read before I wrote this was : "The catch is that your narrator is an inanimate object."

Sorry, my narrator is kinda an emotionally stunted bed that doesn't quite realize the gravity of what happened. I'll try to read ALL the instructions next time!

Currently playing HP's Uber Megahood - check out http://simstate.wordpress.com
Mad Poster
#21 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 6:26 AM
I could see them coming. To tell the truth, it scared me to no end. In fact, I'm sure it would scare anyone in my situation to no end.
They had finished the rest of their food, and their head was turning slowly, hoping to find me. If I could scream, I'm sure I would be screaming. It was terrifying. Knowing that I was going to be next.

There were so many things I had wanted to do in this lifetime! So many things I would never get the chance to do. Go to Europe, climb Mount Everest! And besides, it wasn't even an honourable death. It wasn't as if I was going to be made into a fruit salad or anything. I was just going to be eaten plainly.

Who even eats fruit like that nowadays? Everyone I know eats fruit in a fruit salad, or some sort of fancy dessert. But no. Not me.

Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!

They were pushing their chair back now. I have to get away. I could try rolling. I don't know how that would work, but I'm sure I could figure something out.

Maybe if I tilt myself to just one side and try to push myself. I know Banana isn't going to be any help. All she thinks about is how her skin is looking.

They're standing up now. They've spotted me. I have to have some way of escape. I can't die like this!

Wait a minute. I'm almost there. If I just shift this like that, maybe bounce up and down a bit. Maybe, just maybe they won't have seen me. All I have to do now is stay really, really quiet, and it will all be okay. At least, that's what I have to tell myself. I don't want to spend my last moments in this fruit bowl waiting and knowing that I'm going to die.

I have to just try and blend in with the apples. Nobody wants the apples. And I'm sure this person is no different. Yes! That's it! I've stumped them. They could have sworn they saw me out of the corner of their eye, and now I'm gone. But, what if...What if they find out that I'm just covered in juice, and not actually an apple. I don't even look that much like an apple. I don't have a stalk.

Jeez, they're going to catch me, they're going to peel me, and then they're going to eat me! I can't bear to die like this! I don't know what to do. Nobody will help me. They're all too afraid that if they try and help me, then they'll get picked themselves, and no one wants to be eaten. Well, except for Fig, but she's always been a little bit odd.

If I just lie here completely silently, then maybe I have a slight chance. But only slight. I can't do this. I can't lie here when I know that they're going to eat me, and that I'm going to die! It's just not that easy!

Plus, people don't carry knives around. It's not going to be like I'm just cut in half. I have to endure the agony as they peel me apart, limb from limb. I don't know if I can go through that.

Oh no.
They've seen me.

They're smiling now, and not the sort of angelic smile most people see. It's the evil smile. The one where you know you're going to have to go through pain before this is through. And I don't like pain.

Aah! Damn it! They've picked me up. I don't have much time left now. I'd like to say a few things before...the end. Mum, Dad, I love you both. Banana, despite your vanity, I love you, and I always have! I need you to know this before I die!

Please, not me!

Oh no. They've started peeling my skin off. Ouch! Ow! Damn! If peeling the skin off this much hurts, I don't want to know how much the next part will hurt. I really, really don't. I hope I make them sick. I hope I'm overripe. In fact, I am getting on in weeks.

Why do they always pick the orange?

Word Count: 700
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Original Poster
#22 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 11:08 AM
Yay, thank you posters! *hands out cookies*

simstate, no worries, your entry had emotional turmoil, namely confusion! Hehe. About the critiquing, there's not really any time set aside for it. However, if people think it would be a better idea to have a few days specifically for this purpose, then that's fine! If so it'll probably be towards the end of the week when most people have done it.

Keep 'em coming guys!

ETA: Happy 16th Rabid! :D

ETA2: Aww, I just saw your blog entry about this challenge, simstate, thanks for spreading the word! ^_^
Top Secret Researcher
#23 Old 16th Mar 2009 at 11:30 PM
Default The Story Of An Alarm Clock
[i]This is my story of an emo little alarm clock. Feel free to criticize, I am always seeking to improve.

Mornings. I HATE mornings. There is nothing worse than the sun peeping over the edge of the horizon, bathing the world in crystalline red light, and knowing that soon you are going to be smacked, violently.

It all seemed so nice and harmless, that first day. I had just come all the way from China, sitting in a stuffy little box with a window in the front so people could see in,a nd I could see out. The only problem with the trip from China in that little box? I was facing the back of someone else's box. I spent most of the trip thinking about playing tiddlywinks. Is that a dignified thing? Playing tiddlywinks? No, its not. Stupid US Freight, I hope that boat and its boxes burn.

I don't, not really, I'm not a morning person enough to be able to act magnaminous. If I heard about the ship and all its electronics burning, I'd be sad. Make no mistake.

So I got to this huge building, and I mean it was bloody huge. Like... Have you people ever stood in front of an airplane? You don't realize when you're in it how huge it is, but it's... huge. There was a big sign in front of it that said "Wal-Mart" and I got put on a shelf with a ton of other people, and in front of us there was a shelf with hats on it, and under every hat was a little yellow and white slip of paper on us that said in black letters "Hats:$3.98 Wal-Mart Always Low Prices"

I sat in the Wal-Mart for... a really long time. Maybe you can't comprehend how long a hundred thousand footsteps is, but that's how long I was there. I exaggerate, but only a little, I had a lot of trouble counting footsteps when I was on a shelf. What kind of marvelous powers do you suppose I have to count the swaying of people's hips as they pass by, when that's where eye level is?

Then there was a day, that seemed like every other. The lights came on. I whined and moaned about how much I hate mornings, and then... the day went by as normal. And then lunch time came. It passed like normal too. Then closing time came! It passed like normal too. I'm only saying this so you appreciate how vital to my plight now the next part of this all is. You don't want to hear it? Fine! I won't tell you, and I'll skip right to the good stuff! You ungrateful...

I didn't mean that. It's just that its morning, and I really don't like mornings.

So the next day, the day after normal day I-really-can't-count-that-high, someone picked me up in my box, and I looked through the clear cellophane at a kind faced woman with curly brown hair, a full mouth, and grayish green eyes. She was quite easily the most lovely creature I had seen. Then again, given that I had spent all of my life in a box or looking at people's hips, that doesn't say much.

"Oh, here's a cheap one Carl," she said, and without another look she ahnded me to some acne ridden child. Carl, for that was his name, was not as pretty to look at as his mother. He had stringy greasy brown hair, heavy lidded eyes, a pouty mouth and arms like a gorilla's. No, not like a gorilla, more out of proportion. Picture a stick man made out of toothpicks. Picture that same stick man with jointed arms and legs. Picture the stick man's forearms being carpet tubing. That was how out of proportion Carl was. It was bloody scary.

So the two of them put me in a shopping cart next to a Nikon digital camera. I asked the camera what he thought of his new master, and the camera went on for the entire trip that if Carl's mother were to photograph her son, Nikon would surely die. I thought he was exagerating, but a while later as I was watching from Carl's end table she did take his picture as he posed with the cat, and the cat got startled and clawed the mother's leg, and she dropped and killed Nikon. Pity I didn't get him to forecast my end.

As I said, I would up on Carl's end table, and he took me out of my box and fiddled with my dials all crisp and clear like. I tried to take it in diginifed good humor, but goodness me, it tickled! And then... he left. I was all alone for the first time... ever.

The next morning I felt the sun rising, all gilded and red over the window sill, and I felt my hatred of mornings melting away. How could something this bright and clean and beautiful be anything but a marvel of perfection? I sang out in joy at this gorgeous sight and then... And then Carl's arm came crashing down onto the top of my head and I was stunned into silence.

This happened for months, I would ring in the new day, he would hit me, and I came more and more to hate mornings. But today I was knocked onto the floor, and now I can't see the sun, all I can see is this beige carpeting, with a soda stain and little tufts of lint. And as the morning is coming, and I can't see that beautiful sun, and I'm not afraid of that brawny forearm... I ring again. And this time its not because of the dials that Carl fiddled with all those months ago.

I'm... I'm happy.

The humor of a story on the internet is in direct inverse proportion to how accurate the reporting is.
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Original Poster
#24 Old 22nd Mar 2009 at 12:26 PM
Aww, I loved that one FurryPanda!

Damn, I'm sorry for not getting one in myself - so hypocritical! It's Sunday again, so I'll put another challenge up a bit later if we want to give it another go this week?
Scholar
#25 Old 22nd Mar 2009 at 3:53 PM
sure, I thought it was fun to do, even if not many people submitted one. Maybe people just didn't have time .. . .

Sims, like life, is very unpredictable. One minute you're eating four day old pizza, and then the repo-man steals your only sofa and you're in tears. ...then the food poison kicks in.
 
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