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Sunday, July 10, 2011

And the winner is...

Our tenth challenge finds us wielding clubs and swinging wildly at one another. (Arvid says: "Fun!")

If any of you are able to take a second look at your own work, and see ways in which to improve a concept so that it can be more successfully developed, the effort will be worthwhile.

Those of you who vote are allowed to assign a range of “0” to “3” points, per entry. Since challengers may not vote for their own stories, a bonus of 2 points is given to a participant's highest-ranked work, if that participant also takes the time to vote on the other entries.

Official judges receive a 30 point allocation, to assign as they see fit. The only restriction is that at most, only half of those points may be given to any single entry, and there is no requirement for a judge to use the entire 30 point allocation.

Arvid Macenion is about to put on the “Editor Hat.” It's sort of like the “Sorting Hat” they use at Hogwarts (“Are you trying to start something, Potter?”), but a little less sarcastic.

Everybody was Kung-Fu/Laser-Gun/Magic-Spell/Starship/Dinosaur Fighting!

“Fight” by Ryan J

Arvid Macenion: This fight I thoroughly enjoyed. I can visualize the movements, the dodges, the otherworldly filaments of the Great Ones whipping out and even glimpse the expressions on Master Sender’s face. I’m not sure what music the choreographer would go with, but whatever it would be would be epic. The play of the magic in the battle, the sudden and abrupt ending, all of it worked for me. Very well written.

Another element I greatly enjoyed is the characterization of Magic in the story; it really gave the story that atmosphere of forbidden and dark magics. I was worried about Aristides, clearly he thought what he was doing was right but the powers he dealt with were great and terrible beyond most people’s comprehension. A very good showing of what is essentially a Warlock Ascension.

He is no true villain, wanting power for power’s sake, but the levels to which he is willing to stoop to save the world from this doom only he and the Great Ones can see shows him as no gleaming hero either. The almost offhanded “I’m sorry” sadness he felt after killing his former mentor felt real, the last gasp of a grief not truly felt. The human mind has more than Sight and the Vision. With Aristides focused on the Vision, he judged his actions only in reference to the greater threat, while Hadge saw the individual actions as whole and judged from the actions alone. This leads me to the Gray question: Is it your intentions or your actions that define you? Who is to know?

miko: 3 / Ryan J: voted! / xdpaul: 3
Arvid Macenion: 9
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 17

“I've got your backup... Right Here!” by radaliendad

Arvid Macenion: This Fight was far too short. I would have very much liked to hear more of the fight under the surface of the Facially Tattooed Mosh Pond but the fight on stage was fairly solid. I could see the initial fight with the Music Ghoul clearly, even how he danced a little as he fell back into the pit.

The singer really prefers the direct Jab, which is probably why the Athletic Woman in Red Pajamas was able to so easily dodge. It was the misguided leap she didn’t see coming. I honestly hadn’t thought of that spin of the Backup Singer.

Supposedly one of the original purposes of bridesmaids dressing similar to the Bride was to confuse an assassin or to act as bodyguards. I hadn’t really thought of that being applied to Backup Singers at a Hard Rock Concert. Food for thought.

miko: 1 / Ryan J: 1 / xdpaul: 2
Arvid Macenion: 6
Total: 10

“Only the Arquebus, by H. Beam Piper” by xdpaul

Arvid Macenion: I’m very glad that I took the time to read the title and check out the Wikipedia page before actually reading. Otherwise it would have had to be done afterward which would have taken away from the initial reading. Paratime and the Terro-Human history were highlighted in enough detail for the reader to get the idea early on but were too central a theme for that mention to feel like enough. The fight scene lasted nearly the entire story in small clips. The jocular nature and feel of this fight I liked, the “alien” dismissive and annoyed with H. Beam Piper trying to discover the right method of wining. The fighting was dynamic and engaging but woven too much through the story that, especially in its later pieces, held too many mentions requiring knowledge of Piper’s Works.

miko: 2 / Ryan J: 3 / xdpaul: voted!
Arvid Macenion: 7
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 14

“Summer on the Steppe” by Triton

Arvid Macenion: This Fight was powerful, visceral and close in. I could follow every movement and hear every retort, screeching tire, and squelch of cold mud. The warning at the top was born out in full and I was right with the protagonist all the way through the battle and his attack of grief on his knees in the bloody mud at the end. In my challenge I mentioned fight scenes being put to music. The only music this battle would require would be the heavy beating of the heart, the painful breath and the sucking of mud. The setting of the story worked as well, the integration of a car chase and subsequent crash in the fight added to the Bruising feel of the action and led right up to the final fight scene. If you could give me a bit more reasoning why the cars stuck together, perhaps because one car was missing the side mirror and the the other car’s side mirror punched into the hole, lock-and-key style, that wouldn’t have been as incongruous. Unlike some others I thought the Dadgummit behind the Draganov wasn’t so strange, although perhaps some harder expletive might had been better, or some quick reasoning why he is so used to censoring himself (perhaps his partner looking at him in the car before Gregor caught up and saying “Dadgummit? and Jimbo explaining) I guess its just the particular brand of Texan hard violence.

miko: 1 / Ryan J: 2 / xdpaul: 1
Arvid Macenion: 9
Total: 13


Based on the numbers, we have a clear winner... but also a close spread between the other challengers:

4th Place: 10 points — “I've got your backup... Right Here!” by radaliendad

3rd Place: 13 points — “Summer on the Steppe” by Triton

2nd Place: 14 points — “Only the Arquebus, by H. Beam Piper” by xdpaul

1st Place: 17 points — “Fight” by Ryan J

Congratulations, Ryan J! As winner, you are hereby invited to propose next week's challenge, scheduled to be announced the morning of Friday, 15 July 2011. (As a multi-crown winner — and bearing in mind that sick family members should come first — you also have the option of passing the “Editor Hat” to the challenger of your choice.)


So what was the lesson of this challenge?

Arvid Macenion: Writing a fight scene that flows while still maintaining the pace of the story is not the simplest of tasks but the Four entries I got this week just go to show how diverse the Friday Challenge Participants are. Even more, we have a widely diverse number of Genres presented: Fantasy(Fight), Science Fiction(Arquebus), Hard Action Fiction(Steppe) and Hard Rock Fiction(Backup). Please excuse my inability to properly name Genres. All the entries this week had that feel, that Fight Scene Tug, and writing this stuff in the corner of a Burger King with free Wi-Fi, I know I’m getting looks due to the giant hard grin on my face.
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