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Friday, March 9, 2012

The Friday Challenge - 3/9/2012

Hi, Bruce Bethke here, stepping in today to try to shake things up a little. This week we're going to lead off with a new and different kind of Friday Challenge, and it's one I call:

I, The Jury

For the past few months I've been off working in another part of the Rampant Loon Press vineyard, putting most of my time and energy into getting STUPEFYING STORIES up and running. I couldn't have done it—we couldn't have done it—without an incredible amount of help given very generously by Marc, Henry, Beth, Vidad, Karen, and a whole lot of other people I'm not going to name right now for fear of turning this into an Academy Awards acceptance speech, but in the final analysis, the one thing that's really struck home in these past months is the realization that ultimately, the responsibility rests on me.

It is not always possible to reach a clear consensus. I can delegate to, enable, and empower other people all I want, but at the end of the day, I am the one who has to make the final decisions. Making decisions is not always fun, either, especially when you're doing the kind of hair-splitting sometimes needed to decide whether to accept or reject a story—but when you're the editor-in-chief, you are the judge, jury, appeals court of last resort, and executioner.

So for this week's Friday Challenge, I want you to try on my size-11 shoes for a change. There is a story posted at this link:

A Writing Man of Mars

I want you to imagine that you are the editor-in-chief, and this story has just shown up in your in-basket.

What do you do with it? Accept it? Reject it? If it's a reject, can the story be salvaged with a rewrite, and if so, what would you want to see fixed? It's easy to give something a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down, but I'd rather you explained your reasons why this story should see one fate or the other.

You have one week. Put your response in the Comments thread on this post, and let's all meet back here next Friday to compare answers. Have fun!

And now, on to other business...

This Week in The Friday Challenge
It's been a slow week, here in The Friday Challenge.

Kersley Fitzgerald writes about the philosophy of ethics. Join the discussion...

Allan Davis celebrates a new job, while mourning the apparent death of his wife's laptop. Join the discussion...

And we still haven't picked a winner in the 2/17/12 Friday Challenge, "Moving Right Along / “And now for something completely different...”, so to reiterate:

As of this morning, we have received the following entries for our current challenge:
Somebody comment on these things, okay?
Whither The Friday Challenge?
In response to the 3/2/12 rhetorical challenge, there's been some behind-the-scenes discussion, but not much overt action....yet. The most important development you'll find if you look around the site today isn't even here; it's over on the Yahoo file-sharing site. We finally found the keys to the fridge, and we've cleaned out all files older than January 2012. That alone should make the thing much easier to use. But on a related note: realistically, do we need a password-protected file-sharing site? The original reason why we set it up was because some participants were afraid that posting their Friday Challenge entries on publicly viewable web or blog sites would jeopardize their prospects for later selling stories developed from Friday Challenge entries.

Honestly, now: is this really a significant concern?

The lines are open. Your thoughts, comments, observations, and opinions are welcome.
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