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NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge #217 - "Discovery"

Charade

Member
Theme - "Discovery"

Word Limit: 2500

Submission Deadline: Friday, August 4th by 11:59 PM Pacific

Voting Deadline: Monday, August 7th at 11:59 PM Pacific.


Optional Secondary Objective: What a twist! Channel your inner Shyamalan and give us a great twist (or 2, or 3, etc.) in your story. Twist to your hearts desire. This may or may not mean including sexy turtles who turn out to be cyborgs from space. Or vice versa. Lady in the Water and The Happening may be required watching for this challenge to get you in the right mindset.

Submission Guidelines:

- One entry per poster.
- All submissions must be written during the time of the challenge.
- Using the topic as the title of your piece is discouraged.
- Keep to the word count!

Voting Guidelines:

- Three votes per voter. Please denote in your voting your 1st (3 pts), 2nd (2 pts), and 3rd (1 pt) place votes.
- Please read all submissions before voting.
- You must vote in order to be eligible to win the challenge.
- When voting ends, the winner gets a collective pat on the back, and starts the new challenge.

Important side note: A lot of our regulars like to write out short critiques/comments for the stories, but you can always opt out by simply adding a note like "I'd prefer no critiques" in the post where you submit your story. We're an understanding group and respect that not everyone wants comments on their work. Above all, we just want to read your story.

NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge FAQ
Previous Challenge Threads and Themes
 

Nezumi

Member
Nice theme! Secondary should make for some fun reads. Now let's see if for once I can stick to my plans *sigh*
 

Mike M

Nick N
Lady in the Water is not awful. Liked it more than the Village, though the unmitigated gall Shamalongadingdong to write himself a role as the most important man in human history weighs it down significantly.
 
Sorry I missed the voting in the last thread, I have been super busy in the past few days didn't have much free time. Anyway, interesting theme.. lets see if I can knocking something out..
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
Lady in the Water is not awful. Liked it more than the Village, though the unmitigated gall Shamalongadingdong to write himself a role as the most important man in human history weighs it down significantly.

Thank god for you Mike, I was afraid i was the only sane one in the room...
 

Tangent

Member
Congrats, Charade! Fun prompt!

Also, I responded to Flowers, Mike M, and Alucard in the last thread. Sorry if that's weird that I'm pointing this out here. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks!
 

Alucard

Banned
Tangent, it's cool. I keep a window on my phone open of the previous challenge for late replies and check it for a few days after the challenge concludes.
 

Alucard

Banned
By the way, if anyone has trouble with plotting or getting a clearer picture of where they want to take their story, I recommend Deborah Chester's SPOOC method. It's more meant for fantasy, as she discusses it in her book The Fantasy Fiction Formula, but I think it can apply to many other types of stories. It goes like this:

Situation
Protagonist
Objective
Opponent
Climax

For example...

Situation: The flask of immortality has been stolen from the fairies of Mulchwood Forest by an aging dark elf.
Protagonist: Torin, a traveling elven warrior
Objective: offers to get the flask back
Opponent: from the clutches of the evil dark elf, Grimfang.
Climax: Torin tracks and defeats Grimfang in combat and returns the flask to the fairies of Mulchwood.

You could also add a twist at the end like...

TWIST: The flask tempts Torin, who drinks it and gives the fairies back a fake, then turns into a dark elf himself.

Or something.

I've used this method for a couple of my stories as a jumping off point, and it has helped to give my stories more focus. It at least gives you a skeleton to work with, though I know it only really works with traditional situation/event stories that have a clear protagonist and antagonist. I hope this helps some of the writers here.
 
The "Discovery" theme is tempting but every time I try my hands on a GAF writing challenge I end up like this:



I'm not native to the English language which limits my ways to express myself greatly. It doesn't help that I love to write German prose which doesn't translate very well into English.

But hey, it's not called a challenge without a reason, isn't it? :D
I will certainly try to submit something worthwhile.
 

Alucard

Banned
Already started draft one and have an outline that's 90% complete. I kind of like it kind of don't, but I'll make it the best possible version of whatever it becomes.

...still unsure of the twist, but I'll worry about that when I get there.
 

Cyan

Banned
The "Discovery" theme is tempting but every time I try my hands on a GAF writing challenge I end up like this:



I'm not native to the English language which limits my ways to express myself greatly. It doesn't help that I love to write German prose which doesn't translate very well into English.

But hey, it's not called a challenge without a reason, isn't it? :D
I will certainly try to submit something worthwhile.

I think a lot of us end up like that. It's ok. :)

The only way to get better is to do it anyway!
 

Mike M

Nick N
Nice. You write way faster than I do, though. I got 1,100 words in over two hours today.

I'm clocking in at somewhere in the neighborhood of 2800. Gonna have to do some cuttin' on this one, but that's usually the case.

I feel like the "twist" as it stands is going to be wasted on people not familiar with some of my recurring characters and settings, but c'est la vie.
 

Cyan

Banned
Hey dudes, I'm traveling for a bit so won't be here for a hangout this weekend. I expect to have internet so you should still see a submission from me!
 

Nezumi

Member
Our biweekly writing hangout goes up in a little under 2 hours. I'll post the link in a new post 30 minutes before it starts. We're using google hangouts. There is a chat function, so microphones and cameras are optional. We'll follow a loose schedule of 30 minute writing periods with 10 minutes of chatting in between. So anyone who thinks this might help him to get some writing done for this weeks challenge or who just wants to drop by to bitch about the stupid theme or how Mike's writing pace makes you feel inadequate, feel free to join us.
 

Alucard

Banned
On a random note, Neon Bible by Arcade Fire is such a great album. Listening to it for the first time in ages and my God...such fantastic lyrics and nostalgic heartstring tugging.
 

Nezumi

Member
OK, I went from an idea to an extensive outline and I'm still confident the story will fit into the wordcount. Yay! Now I only have to write it...
 

Charade

Member
I'm at that point where you're not done writing but you know no way in hell will it fit under the word count as is.

OK, I went from an idea to an extensive outline and I'm still confident the story will fit into the wordcount. Yay! Now I only have to write it...

That's the easy part!

I'm so sorry.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
So I have a story almost done. And I think i might toss it because I am really feeling melancholic right now and just want to write some dumb sad thing about a girl and a cat. But I really should finish this first story :/
 

Alucard

Banned
This week has been brutal for me. My skin feels like rice paper and my eyelids are like anvils since coming back from vacation. The jet lag is real.
 

Cowlick

Banned
Submitting this early because I'm heading out of town and won't get another chance closer to the deadline. Should be able to read and submit votes, though maybe not feedback. We'll see.

Consumed (2459 words)

#entry
 

Tangent

Member
Question for Mike M that I'm posting here in case his response is helpful to others: Mike, what do you do when you are thinking of ideas? I usually write down a list of 10 - 12 ideas, and then narrow that down to 3, and then finally 1, and then get going. But this time, I'm stuck at three, and see problems with all three ideas... like how to make them into coherent stories... or not feeling 100% on board with any of the three ideas.

I think you said you think of one idea and just go with it. Are you like this with menus? Like you see, "OK, there's that turkey sandwich. I'll just go with that." And then do you put the menu down? Or are you the type that still looks at the other options? And do you go with the turkey sandwich even if the turkey sandwich doesn't really speak to you?!

With writing, do you go with an idea even if you're not 100% gung-ho about it?
 

Mike M

Nick N
Question for Mike M that I'm posting here in case his response is helpful to others: Mike, what do you do when you are thinking of ideas? I usually write down a list of 10 - 12 ideas, and then narrow that down to 3, and then finally 1, and then get going. But this time, I'm stuck at three, and see problems with all three ideas... like how to make them into coherent stories... or not feeling 100% on board with any of the three ideas.

I think you said you think of one idea and just go with it. Are you like this with menus? Like you see, "OK, there's that turkey sandwich. I'll just go with that." And then do you put the menu down? Or are you the type that still looks at the other options? And do you go with the turkey sandwich even if the turkey sandwich doesn't really speak to you?!

With writing, do you go with an idea even if you're not 100% gung-ho about it?

I write down ideas as they occur to me, so I've got a pretty good sized list at this point. If I don't immediately think of something for a challenge, I go to the list (this week's entry has been on my backburner for years, actually). If nothing there jumps out at me, then it's back to thinking about it, sometimes looking up secondary or obscure definitions of a challenge if it's a single word. But yeah, once I have something I can work with, I don't usually devote any more energy to coming up with more (unless what I'm doing doesn't work out and I start from scratch with something else, which I've done like exactly twice.).

I am a little more willing to entertain alternatives when ordering off a menu : )

And yeah, I absolutely go with ideas I'm not gung-ho about, and I think if I didn't say something about it in my write-up, regular readers would probably still be able to guess which is which. I go forward because: A) I'm kind of at a point where I can take a "meh" idea and make it work, even if it's more effort and slower than those sparkly ones that just kinda spill out on the page (I probably have fewer of those than some not the expect, given I've been doing this regularly for three and a half years) and B) Sometimes I just flat out surprise myself.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
I am probably going to tap out for this challenge. I don't have anything finished and I'm just really not feeling up to writing something in the middle of the night right now :/

Maybe I'll put in a DQ entry like Cyan last week but don't count on it.
 

Tangent

Member
I write down ideas as they occur to me, so I've got a pretty good sized list at this point. If I don't immediately think of something for a challenge, I go to the list (this week's entry has been on my backburner for years, actually). If nothing there jumps out at me, then it's back to thinking about it, sometimes looking up secondary or obscure definitions of a challenge if it's a single word. But yeah, once I have something I can work with, I don't usually devote any more energy to coming up with more (unless what I'm doing doesn't work out and I start from scratch with something else, which I've done like exactly twice.).

I am a little more willing to entertain alternatives when ordering off a menu : )

And yeah, I absolutely go with ideas I'm not gung-ho about, and I think if I didn't say something about it in my write-up, regular readers would probably still be able to guess which is which. I go forward because: A) I'm kind of at a point where I can take a "meh" idea and make it work, even if it's more effort and slower than those sparkly ones that just kinda spill out on the page (I probably have fewer of those than some not the expect, given I've been doing this regularly for three and a half years) and B) Sometimes I just flat out surprise myself.

Cool thanks! And yeah, sometimes I look up the definition of a word used in a prompt, too, even if it's a very simple word. I also have a list of ideas, but they tend to be for longer pieces that would require more research, character development, or more components to the plot.

It's amazing how everyone comes to their final submissions so differently. I bet Nezumi has the exact opposite approach that you have. She probably waits for the most sparkly of sparkly ideas and then creates a masterpiece. However, I'm sure there are times that she waits too long for the sparkles, and then she is left with something that she considers "meh" but she's a fine writer and makes it work -- with much effort -- but not slower -- since she's out of time. So it's interesting that you sometimes are resigned to starting out with a "meh" idea and you make it work, and I bet there are times that Nez ends UP with a "meh" idea and makes it work.

Anyway, thanks for describing your process. I'm sure someone has asked you before, since you seem to have a unique approach (like a billion drafts in an hour), but I just needed to hear it again, to get a better understanding of all the approaches to writing. Okay, time to put down Dave Eggers, my evaluation report for work, and snacks. Time to wiggle the fingers and start typing.

Side comment: I wonder if we're going to get a lot of science fiction submissions with this prompt. In my brainstorming process, "discovery" lent its way to more than half a dozen science fiction themes, even though I rarely write science fiction.
 

Alucard

Banned
I'm exhausted and apologize for the parentheses notes in a couple of parts of the text. Didn't have time to do any editing beyond draft one, but I hope there's still something to enjoy in it for you guys.
 
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