This week in THE FRIDAY CHALLENGE
Guest Columnist Sarah Pottenger wraps up her series on the proper care and feeding of commas. Mere niggling pedanticism? No, folks, I can tell you that if you don't learn to use punctuation correctly, editors will remember it, because it makes more work for them. Might, "Oh, him again; I just can't face any more of his comma faults today," make the difference between a rejection and a sale? Why take the chance? Today's homework assignment is: Join the discussion...
Henry Vogel delves into a thorny question: is it racist to object to changing the race of a well-known fictional character? And why can't white people talk about race without getting nervous in the first place? Join the discussion...
Bruce Bethke pales in the face of comparison to Henry but still delves into an only slightly less thorny question: is THE FRIDAY CHALLENGE a Christian site? Join the discussion...
Splattering Guts for Fun & Profit and Ultimate Geek Fu team up, in a weird sort of way, as Bruce declares this "Let's All Dump on Wild Wild West Week" and opens fire on his favorite albatross. If you want to talk specifically about The Guns of Wild Wild West, join this discussion. If you'd prefer to join a somewhat wider-ranging discussion of what went wrong with westerns in general, or of what you expect to be wrong with The A-Team, that discussion is right here.
Newcomer Stephen117 takes the win in the 5/28/10 Friday Challenge, "Geek Confessional," but all the entries are worth reading, so one more time, here's the link. Also, Kersley Fitzgerald explains how she keeps that daily motivation to write, and the inmates discuss the view from their respective places in the asylum. All this and more, this week in THE FRIDAY CHALLENGE.
A Truly Fantastic Book Review
Speaking of challenges, the 6/4/10 Friday Challenge was to write a truly fantastic book review, and we'll just leave it at that. As of the deadline we have received the following entries:
Avery, "Unbeskorrnt Mnebeholiths ova Scri’bo’lari"
Miko, "The Future in Review"
Arvid Macenion, "Book Review of Stars over Kristallnacht"
Vidad MaGoodn, "Roger Giblet's 'Write Now Guide for Authors of Speculative Fiction'"
Vidad MaGoodn, "Dana DiGovmod reviews 'Hot Love, Cold Rocks'"
Rifkind, "You and Your Genome, 4th Ed."
Some comments here: the entries from Arvid, Vidad, and our mystery contestant are all on drop.io, and you must sign in to read them. The password is "challenge." Apparently Arvid Macenion is the pod person who has replaced Stephen117, or something like that, [
If I've missed any entries, or if anyone want to try to snowdog an entry in after the deadline, please let me know so we can fix this list. As always, even if you haven't posted an entry this week—even if you never enter in any week—you are invited to read, comment on, and vote for your favorites. Don't be shy about leaving feedback on the writer's sites, either. Writers thrive on knowing that somewhere out there, someone is actually reading the words that they write.
The winner will be announced Sunday evening.
The Western Pitch
I once was told, "If you can't write your idea on the back of a business card, you don't know what your idea is." That's probably true—if you're dealing with someone who has the attention-span of a gnat—and it's entirely applicable in the context of this week's challenge, which is to write an elevator pitch.
If you're not familiar with the concept, it works like this: imagine that by some incredible stroke of luck you have ended up alone in an elevator with—oh, Steven Spielberg. You have thirty seconds in which to convince him that you have a great idea for a movie. What will you say?
This being the end of "Let's All Dump on Wild Wild West Week," I am interested in westerns this time around, and that's what I want to see: your elevator pitch for the western you would make, if you could just get the backing.
It can be an adaptation of an old TV series: I recently bought a boxed set of Wanted: Dead or Alive and am enjoying the heck out of slowly working my way through it, one marvelous little morality play at a time. It could be a story from history: Sacagawea's Nickname, by Larry McMurtry, for example, is just loaded with hints of tales that beg to be told more fully. It does not even have to be a western per se: for example, I think The Sons of Katie Elder could be updated into a terrific urban contemporary drama, and in fact once wrote a treatment for doing just exactly that. If I can find it, I'll post it on drop.io. (And Watkinson, for your benefit I will also point out that one of the best "westerns" of recent decades, Quigley Down Under, is, strictly speaking, an Australian.)
But that's this week's challenge. The Western. Rehabilitate it. You have thirty seconds. Go!
As always, we're playing by the loosely enforced Official Rules of THE FRIDAY CHALLENGE, and playing for whatever is behind Door #3—or what the heck, tell you what. To make this one really interesting, I'm hereby putting up a signed copy of Wild Wild West as first prize. (And second prize is two copies? No, I reckon not.)
The deadline for this one is midnight Central time, Thursday, June 17.