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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Friday Challenge - 12/17/10

Fenders crunch, are you listening?
In the lane, the chrome is glistening.
We're sliding tonight, oh what a fright,
driving in a winter wonderland.
That's right! It's time once again for the Somethingth Annual Friday Challenge Holiday Song Parody Contest!

The rules are simple. Take one overused, overplayed, and overtired holiday-themed song—if you can't think of one, spend ten minutes in any shopping mall or convenience store and I'm sure a worthy candidate will immediately become apparent to you—
an insipid Christmas song.
And then put on your Weird Al glasses and, ...er, improve the lyrics.
Chipmunks roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at the scotch
Nothing obscene, profane, scatological, X-rated, or sacrilegious, please. If you're one of those people who has serious problems with Christmas, you're in the wrong place. But if you've already reached the point where you're going to scream if you hear "that" song one more time (whatever "that" may be)—
want a hippopotamus for Christmas...
Well, here's your big chance to return the favor.

As always, we're operating under the loosely enforced official rules of the Friday Challenge, and playing for whatever is behind Door #3, unless I can dig up a suitably tacky special prize. The deadline for this one is midnight Central time, Thursday, December 23rd. And remember: if
Jingle bells
Batman smells
can become a rhyme for the ages, you've got to be able to do better!

Current Challenges
Just a quick reminder that the current Greater Challenge, "Telepathy," is still open. In fact, we haven't picked a closing date for it and are still waffling between 1/6/11 and 1/13/11. Your thoughts, comments, observations, or suggestions?

Also, the 11/27/10 Challenge, "The Little Worm That Did," is still very much open. Should we pick a closing date for this one or just let it run for an indeterminate span of time?

A few notes on method
In the Comments following the "Telepathy" challenge post, M suggested—and Arisia seconded—that Henry, Kersley, and I also write stories for this challenge. In a separate email, M then went on to expand on this argument at some length, and quite persuasively. However...

While Henry and Kersley are free at any time to choose to participate in a challenge, I am not and will not. This is a rule I made for myself at the outset, and I'm sticking to it. Tempting as it may be—and believe me, there have been times when it has been very tempting—I will neither enter a challenge myself nor create a pseudonymous sock puppet and permit him to enter a challenge for me.


Trying to make this as succinct as possible: I have suffered through far too many creative writing classes and workshops in which the unspoken core idea was, "There is but one true way to write, and that is the way I do it." It gets worse when you get out of school and into the publishing world. Here, you will find far too many writers-turned-editors who deeply, profoundly, and unthinkingly embrace the same idea: "This is but one correct way to tell this story, and that is the way I would have told it, had I bothered to." John W. Campbell Jr. was the worst offender in this regard, but the fields of genre fiction are full of such people, many of whom are still working today, so that's all I care to say about it at this time.

If I were to enter a challenge, then, however implicitly, I would also be making the statement: "There was but one right way to answer this challenge, and this is it. Study it! Emulate it! Follow me!"

I recognize this as something of a failure on my part. In the field of political bloggery especially there are writers who have built large and dedicated audiences by encouraging their readers to emulate their style and repeat what they've said or written with parrot-like dedication.

But as for me, the thought of being surrounded by people who are repeating what I say and trying to imitate my voice—well, I think that's one of the torments of Hell that Dante edited out of Inferno because it was too horrible.

I already know what my voice sounds like. What I want to hear is your voice.

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