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Friday, January 22, 2010

The Friday Challenge - 1/22/10

This week in The Friday Challenge...
Henry Vogel introduces his new Total Immersion Theory of literary criticism. What's better: writing qua writing that stuns you with its sheer brilliance and style, or writing that effectively sublimates out of existence, leaving you completely submerged in the world of the story? Join the discussion...

Bruce Bethke comes in three days late with his explanation of writer's dues and the paying thereof, but we decide to run it anyway, just to get it out of the queue. Join the discussion...

Ultimate Geek Fu slaps around the latest season of 24, stabs it in the kneecap with a ballpoint pen, and never even gives a thought to reading it its Miranda rights. Is Jack Bauer really just the John McClane from an evil parallel mirror universe, or is there something more sinister at work here? Join the discussion...

Kersley Fitzgerald bends time and space to take us on a tour of a wonderful place that no longer exists; her Grandmother's bookstore. For all that writers talk about the importance of ideas and words there is a strangely tactile pleasure to be found in holding a physical book that e-books are hard pressed to match. Join the discussion...

Also, Kersley explains the terrible truth about writer's block (2010 calendars are may still be available!), the inmates discuss the views from their respective places in the asylum, and with all of that said, we move on to new business.

Who is Mendacious Smith?
As you might remember, last week's challenge was to write a brief character sketch of a named but otherwise unknown and undescribed character: Mendacious Smith. As of the deadline, we have received the following entries:

Torainfor, "Friday Challenge: Mendacious Smith"
Watkinson, "The Friday Challenge: Mendacious Smith"
Snowdog, "Who is Mendacious Smith?"
Miko, "Who is Mendacious Smith?"
Passinthrough, "Smith"
Ben-El, "Mendacious Smith"
Athor Pel, "Mendacious Smith"

As always, even if you haven't submitted an entry this week—even if you never submit an entry in any week—you're invited to read, comment on, and vote for your favorite. Don't be shy about leaving feedback on the authors' sites, either. Writers thrive on knowing that someone out there is actually reading their words. The winner will be announced on Sunday, January 24.

And now for this week's challenge.

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
A few weeks ago Kersley Fitzgerald gave us a terrific column on the way that the setting itself can function as a character in a story. Rather than recapitulate her words here, I want you to take a minute now to go back and re-read that column: link.

Back so soon? Are you sure you read it?

Okay, that's better.

This week's challenge is simple: I want you to visualize a setting. Not who is in the scene; not what happens there. It can be the general setting for your story or just the backdrop for a key scene; where it starts, where it passes through, or where it ends. Indoors or outdoors; real or imaginary; as broad as from horizon to horizon or as constricted as the two square feet in front of your face. Just close your eyes for a minute, and really see that setting in your mind's eye.

And now I want you to describe that setting, and bring it to life for the rest of us. Keep it brief. A paragraph will do; 500 words will be too long. Help us to us see what you see.

As always, we're playing by the badly out-of-date Official Rules of the Friday Challenge and playing for whatever is behind equally badly out-of-date Door #3. The deadline for this challenge is midnight Central time, Thursday, January 28.

And also as always, remember: the objective here is to have fun!
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