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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Friday Challenge — 6/24/2011

This week in The Friday Challenge:

Guy Stewart gets lucky, and makes the most of it! (Why are you looking at me that way? He said it first.) • Join the discussion...

Henry Vogel observes behavior that could either be described as double standard, or a Rube Goldberg singularity in action. • Join the discussion...

Guy Stewart admits he invented the equivalent of "Starfleet for talking dolphins." • Join the discussion...

Bruce Bethke and Karen Bethke team up to analyze True Blood, and they seem to be in favor of it. (But a larger question remains unanswered: What would Bruce think of vampire furries?) • Join the discussion...

Daniel Eness threatens menace, for potential rather than kinetic reasons. • Join the discussion...

Arisia and Ryan J manage an impromulgable tie in Ernest T. Scribbler's Unbeskorrnt Mnebeholiths fanzine challenge. • Join the discussion...

All this and more, as the close proximity of Ice Cream Soda Day and National Chocolate Eclair Day results in a sugar rush of unforeseen proportions, and the inmates discuss the view from their respective places in the asylum.

Clarke's Third Law

As of the deadline for our current challenge, we have received the following entries (listed in their order of appearance within Files > Friday Challenge 2011 06-24):

  • “iWill” by miko

  • “The Land of Jade (and Ed)” by miko

  • “New Beginnings at Colony 405” by Ryan J

  • “MAGIC” by ApolloKioku

  • “The Best of Times” by Arisia

  • “The Devil You Don’t” by xdpaul

  • “The Devil's Path” by Arvid Macenion

An enthusiastic “Huzzah” to all who have entered! The judges are now considering your submissions. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 26 June 2011.

Pitch Black, and Then Some!

And now it is time for this week's Friday Challenge, courtesy of Arisia:

One would think that a writer would be creative by definition, but actually I'm a much better copier than original creator. So after thinking about it for a while and coming up with only one idea (which would be a good exercise but kind of boring), I cheated. I asked my son.

He's very good at thinking up interesting writing challenges, which he calls assignments. Two of his more memorable ones for me were “Yellow” and “Five really geeky young guys and a gorgeous, dressed-up girl walked in the door together.”

Today's idea was “Write a story or part of a story that takes place in total darkness.” That sounded intriguing to me. This is absolute darkness, no light whatsoever. Not blind people, because their other senses are already enhanced to compensate. And not computers or other personalities that wouldn't need sight. Just ordinary people who depend on being able to see and now can't see anything. You must find other ways to describe the surroundings, the action, and the people. And you must include how the darkness affects the story.

You can write as many or as few words as you want, in any genre.

Anyone can enter, except for Arisia. You may enter as many times as you wish, but each entry must be independent of the others. There is no word limit, but you are still not allowed to build on anyone else's setup.

Everyone is asked to vote, and to say a few words about what they liked, and why. Or to say a few words about what they disliked, as the case may be; by submitting an entry, you implicitly agree to accept criticism, because there will probably be some handed out, and no one is immune. When voting, please rank a work as either “0” (not so good), “1” (not as bad), “2” (could have been better) or “3” (pretty good stuff!). If you give either a “0” or “3” vote, feel free to argue in support of your reasoning.

Don't like the negativity? Feel free to think of the levels as “0” (Not bad for a first attempt), “1” (Right on!), “2” (Holy cow, I wanna buy this now...) or “3” (Sweet mother of God, how did you write something this awesome?!!). The point is to clearly differentiate, and rank according to your own preference.

For the purposes of this challenge Arisia will be serving as Ye Olde High Marker, Voluntarily Walking th' Plank.

As of now, we are playing by the loosely enforced and slightly modified rules of The Friday Challenge. All entries are due by 6 AM Eastern time on the morning of Friday, 1 July May 2011. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 3 July 2011.

The Thing without a Name (A Greater Challenge!)

Finally, as a reminder, there are two weeks of writing time left in our current Greater Challenge:

A little over a year ago, our founder said, "One of my deeply held beliefs is that science fiction is merely horror with an engineering degree, and that a lot of the "classic" stories of the genre are memorable not for their SF stage dressings, but for the emotional impact of their horrific stories."

We never really did anything with that, did we?

Okay, here is your chance! Think about the all things that frighten you. Think about the monsters under the bed. Think about the scary things that dwell deep down... and then show us how they tick. You can have up to 7,500 words to frighten me as much as possible. Your entry must be at least 1,000 words for me to even consider it.

For this challenge, I only want complete stories. If it's a beautiful fragment, but not convincing as a whole, it will be disqualified.

Anyone can enter. No exceptions. You may enter as many times as you wish, but each entry must be independent of the others. You are still not allowed to build on anyone else's setup... unless you receive their permission, and they agree to a collaborative effort.

All entries in this greater challenge are due by 6 AM Eastern time on the morning of Friday, 8 July 2011. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 24 July 2011. (That's approximately four two weeks in which to write, and two weeks in which to judge. Use your time well.)

Oh, there is one more thing... but it is the most important! Have fun. Always have fun.
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