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Friday, March 2, 2012

The Friday Challenge — 3/2/2012

This past two weeks in The Friday Challenge:

M receives a visit from his wife's family, and defers the action for a week. • Join the discussion...

Bruce Bethke spreads rumors of a reboot, and ponders the necessity of such things. • Join the discussion...

Kersley Fitzgerald discusses the problematic “middle ground.” • Join the discussion...

Henry Vogel gives a flip answer... then follows it up with a completely serious, lengthy exposition. • Join the discussion...

Bruce Bethke is uncomfortable laughing at televised stereotypes. Perhaps the secret involves picturing members of TFC in place of the cast members? • Join the discussion...

Kersley Fitzgerald discusses the impact of POV, and why sometimes a story is more powerful if you choose the “wrong” one. • Join the discussion...

Nicholas Whitley wins our “What a twit!” challenge, by default... and to the best of our knowledge, he is still at large. • Join the discussion...

All this and more, as Old Stuff Day prompts us to do something other than the “same old stuff,” and the inmates discuss the view from their respective places in the asylum.

Moving Right Along / “And now for something completely different...”

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

Given the delay, and the nature of their respective entries, we'll go with a previous suggestion: Both of them should walk the plank.

A Challenging Proposal

And now it is time for this week's Friday Challenge, inflicted by M:

Participation has been dropping off. Early last year we started strong (pent up energy!) and rode the wave for a few months, until the summer slump was followed by an autumn malaise, and then a winter freeze.

Now, we all know that there will be an ebb and flow to your involvement. Frankly, we hope that the current diminished participation in the challenges is a sign that you are all busily sending out your material to paying markets.

But it is a little disappointing, week to week, to see an individual excitedly propose a challenge, only to be met with a “Thunderdome” scenario, or worse, a solitary response.

While our visible online numbers have been dwindling, the face-to-face writers' group in which I participate has been experiencing explosive growth! Some of the participants there have also entered — and even proposed — challenges here, so the lack of online involvement isn't from lack of interest in writing, or obtaining feedback.

That leads me to think that it might be the challenge process itself. Over the past few years, we've varied between a rotating challenge proposal mechanism, to a system of proposals administered by a governing body, and back again. Is it time to adjust the mechanism, or our expectations?

Your challenge this week is to explain what sort of challenges would grab your interest, and how you would like to see them delivered. Continue with a rotating catbird seat? Shift the burden to a few dedicated individuals? Institute a subscription list for challenges, and consider the entries as Stupefying Stories submissions? Stuff an extra seventy-two hours into each week, so you'll have time to write?

Anyone can enter, with no restrictions.

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