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Friday, February 3, 2012

The Friday Challenge — 2/3/2011

This week in The Friday Challenge:

The Silver Princess is recalled. Requiescat in pace.Join the discussion...

Allan Davis asks where your ideas come from. Some of you give serious answers. • Join the discussion...

Bruce Bethke is unnerved by a culturally-correct film oddity. • Join the discussion...

M gets around to setting up a web thingy. • Join the discussion...

Jack Calverley wins our It's something in the water... challenge, and his victory is announced in the comments. (Oops!) • Join the discussion...

All this and more, as anyone who didn't feel empty enough after The Day the Music Died continues with Create a Vacuum Day, and the inmates discuss the view from their respective places in the asylum.

Conan, Icehawk, and Vidad Walk Into a Bar

As of this morning, we have received the following entries entry for our current challenge:

Jack, would you prefer we leave the challenge open for another week (in which case a winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 12 February 2012), or give feedback now (in which case you would be the only participant, and opinions rendered by the evening of Sunday, 5 February 2012)? And to sway the vote, is there anyone else who wanted to enter this challenge, but ran out of time?

"Call me Ishmael."

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

There is a story which starts thus:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

And another which starts thus:

Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.

Jonah—John—if I had been a Sam, I would have been a Jonah still—not because I have been unlucky for others, but because somebody or something has compelled me to be certain places at certain times, without fail. Conveyances and motives, both conventional and bizarre, have been provided. And, according to plan, at each appointed second, at each appointed place this Jonah was there.

(The two stories are Moby Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville, and Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.)

The challenge this week is to select your own allegorical name, drawing suitable parallels to your own life, or that of your fictional character, and craft a new opening, with the promise of a hook.

Anyone can enter, except for Jack Calverley. You may enter as many times as you wish, but each entry must be independent of the others, and you may not build on anyone else's work.

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, Jack Calverley 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, 10 February 2012. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 12 February 2012.

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