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Monday, October 31, 2011

And the winner is, part deux...

They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and... well, some are more "ooky" than others, but this is Halloween!

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 numerically 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 (“Brainnnns... are not easily found among Hufflepuffs, are they?”), but a little less sarcastic.

Arvid Macenion: I've always wanted to have a Halloween story challenge, as I joined last summer and the 2010 Halloween challenge was preempted by other concerns. I've always appreciated the Halloween Holiday, the night of ghouls and candy. I was sad when, at the tender age of 15 I was informed that I might be getting old for it. The smiles and the candy are put aside, for the contemplation of the dark evils that exist beyond the reach of light. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days of carefree ghouling, when Halloween nights meant candy and fun.

My Friend-and-rival Carmine has often said of me that its not that I want to know What lies beyond the dark mask, its that I want to know that something IS. It's the unknown that I feel prickling my neck hairs; its the unidentifiable mutterings hanging just in my hearing. Goblins and Boggarts, Werewolves, and Vampires, Demons and Devils I can fight. Its the darkness itself I cannot strike. So I set this challenge to see what it was to see what IS behind these tales... you, authors of The Friday Challenge. And you did not disappoint...

The Third Annual (whaaaaaat??!) Halloween Story Challenge

“Our Favorite Holiday” by Larian

Arvid Macenion: Oooh... a very tastefully done story of horrific Halloween intrigue. Mature it may have been, but I thought it carefully described to the point where I wouldn't call it X-rated. There may have been a few spelling errors or the like but I could see the story for what it was. I have often wondered what the daily life of the oft-depicted Halloween horrors would be, and whether they only existed on the day or whether it was merely a fun holiday for them as it is for us humans. I do agree however that the specific naming of their species at the end was probably unnecessary, although I myself didn't see the Rex reference until it was mentioned by another commenter. I also like the interplay between the three when it came to the reaction to our protagonist's father and mother; makes me want to know more about how their species' society functions. Overall a delightful tale; twisted and sensual without necessarily being dark.

Arisia: 0 / Jack Calverley: 3 / miko: +- / Tyler Tork: 1.5
Arvid Macenion: 7
Total: 11.5+-

“Legal Recourse” by Tyler Tork

Arvid Macenion: Heh... precedents. Its good to see that some still follow the older ways. I liked the protagonist although, naturally I expect, I still don't know exactly who or what he is. I was expecting a spook but his closing line made that unlikely. An old man, knowledgeable of the old laws, forced to live beside a family of religious yuppies. Rough. A great story, from an interesting perspective. I just hope that Reese's are considered Treats so that no children will mark my house.

Arisia: 2 / Jack Calverley: 2 / miko: ++ / Tyler Tork: voted!
Arvid Macenion: 6
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 12++

“A Holiday for Howard” by miko

Arvid Macenion: A touching tale of the season. I feel for Howard. For so many sickness or injury is a glancing blow; either you get better and reach levels at or near your previous experience, or the damage is too extensive and you die. But for those who fall into that valley in-between, life can become a chore, a matter of endurance. The story was touching and heartfelt, well versed and everything I expect from you Miko. Love it.

Arisia: 1.5 / Jack Calverley: 1 / miko: voted! / Tyler Tork: 2
Arvid Macenion: 5
Participation bonus: +-
Total: 9.5+-

“Reunion” by Vidad

Arvid Macenion: The Life of an Avenger is such a hollow thing. It can fester below the surface leaving not a ripple on the surface until the moment comes. The revenge may be a seething pit of fire, consuming everything, or it can by a tiny flame, never forgotten long enough to go out, steadily burning up everything else inside the shell over years and years. Poor Daniel. I loved the structure, the development and how you demonstrated the progression of his disease. However, I don't really see any Halloween in this story. I may just be missing it, but after several read-throughs, I'm afraid that if it is present, it is simply nor prominent enough.

Arisia: 2.5 / Jack Calverley: 1 / miko: +- / Tyler Tork: 2
Arvid Macenion: 4
Total: 9.5+-

“The Road to Odinmorden” by Jack Calverley

Arvid Macenion: A change and a challenge she wanted, and never did she think what a challenge might mean. Her mother's apparition was right; be careful what you wish for. Because a challenge is not a challenge without the potential to lose. This story really had the Halloween, "deep dark places" vibe to it, and I really liked how the truth behind the dark grey backdrop is never truly revealed. Haunting, scary, and with just that edge of the beyond to it. If the skitter upon the roof was not so deft in catching itself from rolling off the edge, she might not have made it as far as she did.

Arisia: 2 / Jack Calverley: voted! / miko: +- / Tyler Tork: 2.5
Arvid Macenion: 8
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 14.5+-


This week's winner skitters into first place, with a runner-up in hot pursuit:

2nd Place: 12++ points — “Legal Recourse” by Tyler Tork

1st Place: 14.5+- points — “The Road to Odinmorden” by Jack Calverley

Congratulations, Jack Calverley! As winner, you are hereby invited to propose next week's challenge, scheduled to be announced the morning of Friday, 4 November 2011.


So what was the lesson of this challenge?

Arvid Macenion: Halloween season has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. Perhaps because of the duality of how it is seen by children and then adults. Perhaps its because it has become the focus for all the darkness we can conceive of. Who is to know? The stories this week certainly brought forward many different viewpoints. Halloween is many things to many people. So perhaps knowing Who is behind the darkness is just as useful as What is in the darkness...
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