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Sunday, October 16, 2011

And the winner is...

(This “And the winner is...” is being posted a little earlier in the day, due to borrowed technology and schedule considerations. Next week should be back to evenings.)

I heard the news today, and oh boy, was it strange...

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.

Triton is about to put on the “Editor Hat.” It's sort of like the “Sorting Hat” they use at Hogwarts (“What do you mean, my subscription to The Daily Prophet ran out?!”), but a little less sarcastic.

Triton: I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this week's challenge. We even had an entry from the Sceptered Isle! Let's see how everybody did:

Local Newsworthy

  • “Summary of Investigation” by Arvid Macenion

    Triton: I liked the suspense and the buildup a lot; I was hooked right up to the end. Unfortunately, I didn't like the punchline at all. Maybe it's because I've heard the “seven ate nine” joke many times before, but it kind of ruined an otherwise cool story for me.


    I did really like the artist's rendition of the crime scene. It made me laugh. Frankly, it kind of saved the story for me. I'd heard the joke before, but hadn't seen it in picture form before. Editorially, I would delete the “Investigation Activity Report”. You've already served up the punchline, which is essentially the conclusion of the story, so you should just follow it up with the picture. Which is awesome.

    Arvid Macenion: voted! / Jack Calverley: 3 / xdpaul: 3
    Triton: 7
    Participation bonus: 2
    Total: 15

  • “Verdure Inferno” by xdpaul

    Triton: Pretty good; you always have an excellent way with words. I especially like the weirdness of the real-life news story of a pumpkin growing in a pear tree. Adding in a tall tale angle was a nice touch, too. I particularly like the “face shock-frozen like an owl's” line - that's a nice piece of imagery. As an editor, I would remove the first couple of paragraphs and start the story with “From the fluttering shade”. I would also de-emphasize the color green. I think the repetition serves as more of a distraction than anything else. Other than those points, though, I think it's a pretty neat story and especially timely considering the season. Good job.

    Arvid Macenion: 3 / Jack Calverley: 2 / xdpaul: voted!
    Triton: 9
    Participation bonus: 2
    Total: 16

  • “Hand-me-down Memories” by Jack Calverley

    Triton: This is an old and oft-used device, but it's inspired by actual living history recordings in London (as per the challenge criteria), so it gets a pass. And I definitely like the “peas in a pod” line – that's a nice homage to the pod people of yesteryear. I have to say that overall, though, this story was a little hard to follow. I would suggest adding more description as well as being more specific as to what is going on. I was puzzled by several things: are the original memories of the other victims still in their respective bodies in a repressed state? Or have they been removed completely and stored entirely on a computer? Because I got both impressions at different times in the story. The stuff about the cops didn't really work; if the Bingmans are masquerading as the original hosts, why would the police have a list of their names? If the “cult” members are criminal suspects, then the names on the list should be those of the bodies, right? Or, if the police aren't a credible threat, then why didn't the cult become more suspicious of Jim? There's just a little too much that doesn't quite fit together. I also had to consult the Urban Dictionary for “mob handed”. When writing for a primarily-American audience, it's a good idea to be careful about using British idioms. There's a potentially neat story here, but it needs cleaning up and fleshing out.

    Arvid Macenion: 3 / Jack Calverley: voted! / xdpaul: 2
    Triton: 3
    Participation bonus: 2
    Total: 10


Stop the presses! Okay, I've always wanted to say that. What are you supposed to do once they've stopped, anyway?

We have a winner:

1st Place: 16 — “Verdure Inferno” by xdpaul

Congratulations, xdpaul! Since you also won last week, and already proposed a new challenge for this week, you have the option of proposing another new challenge, scheduled to be announced the morning of Friday, 21 October 2011, or passing the “Editor Hat” to the challenger of your choice so that you may more quickly participate again.


So what was the lesson of this challenge?

Triton: Thanks again to those who braved the hazardous waters of literary criticism and submitted entries. I also appreciate the end-notes detailing the respective real-life news stories.

One of those real-life news stories stood out as more “out-of-the-ordinary” than the others, and that was the one about the pumpkin in the pear tree. That's some weird, wild stuff. Nice job, xdpaul; that's the kind of bizarre item I was hoping for.

If nothing else, I hope this challenge topic has inspired you all to plumb the archives of your local area's history for potential story ideas. Because when truth is stranger than fiction, then maybe truth and fiction deserve to meet each other somewhere in the middle.
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