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NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge #218 - "The Door"

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Theme - "The Door"

Word Limit: 2500

Submission Deadline: Friday, August 18th by 11:59 PM Pacific

Voting Deadline: Monday, August 21st at 11:59 PM Pacific.

Grace Periods: Each of the above deadlines will be followed by a 6-hour grace period. Submissions made after the end of the grace period will be ineligible, and votes cast after the end of the grace period will not be counted. Remember that these are grace periods, not extensions of the deadline--you should still submit your work or cast your vote by the deadline set above.

Optional Secondary Objective: Risk - Take a big risk in your writing!

Stop and think for a moment. What would be a big risk for you to take? What have you not tried because you're worried you'll blow it? What have you been reluctant to do because it's outside your comfort zone? What would be something difficult or scary to do in your writing, but probably also helpful for your own growth?

Have you paused to actually think about it? Ok, now click the spoiler:
What did you think of that made you immediately think "no that's too risky"? Do that. :)


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
 

Iceman

Member
Jun 11, 2004
5,567
2
0
Pasadena, CA
Even though I'm supposed to be using all my free time on another project I'm dropping an entry for this one.. it's too compelling.
 

Noisy Ninj4

Member
Mar 29, 2012
2,265
0
405
In.


 

Charade

Member
Nov 23, 2013
1,786
0
305
Congrats Cyan!
Is it bad i just googled "famous doors"?

Ah, grace periods, my old friend. Not that they ever really left :D
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
So here's my risky thing: I'm going to be taking a break from the creative writing challenges for a while.

I had a long conversation with one of the instructors at the writing seminar, and came to realize that I'm mostly continuing with the challenges because of a) years worth of momentum and b) worry that I might stop writing altogether if I don't have the obligation/deadline of the challenges. But that obligation comes with a downside: not as much motivation or mental space to work on other things. And I've let myself get a bit stale with the challenges--which is maybe unsurprising after participating in 217 of them so far.

Thus, a break. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to focus on. I plan to look back at some of my older stories for editing and to start sending around. I'll look at my NaNo from last year and see about continuing (or more likely, partially rebooting) it to see where it goes. Maybe I'll do a third draft of my space opera novel and finally hammer it into readable shape. I may write more short stories!

I'll probably still poke my head in once in a while to see how you guys are doing. And for this challenge in particular, I will read all the entries and vote as normal, since I'm the OP and it seems only fair. I might even write to the challenge theme occasionally, without submitting anything. We'll see.

It might sound weird to some folks that I consider this risky (especially if it feels risky to you to write a story to submit to these threads, which btw you should totally do!). But it feels like stepping out into unknown territory. While I sometimes wrote bits of things when I was younger, that very first writing challenge almost ten years ago is what kicked off my honest-to-god proper writing. It pushed me from a rare dabbler to a real writer.

And now the streak ends at 217. Time for someone else to outdo me and submit to 218 challenges in a row!
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
So here's my risky thing: I'm going to be taking a break from the creative writing challenges for a while.

I had a long conversation with one of the instructors at the writing seminar, and came to realize that I'm mostly continuing with the challenges because of a) years worth of momentum and b) worry that I might stop writing altogether if I don't have the obligation/deadline of the challenges. But that obligation comes with a downside: not as much motivation or mental space to work on other things. And I've let myself get a bit stale with the challenges--which is maybe unsurprising after participating in 217 of them so far.

Thus, a break. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to focus on. I plan to look back at some of my older stories for editing and to start sending around. I'll look at my NaNo from last year and see about continuing (or more likely, partially rebooting) it to see where it goes. Maybe I'll do a third draft of my space opera novel and finally hammer it into readable shape. I may write more short stories!

I'll probably still poke my head in once in a while to see how you guys are doing. And for this challenge in particular, I will read all the entries and vote as normal, since I'm the OP and it seems only fair. I might even write to the challenge theme occasionally, without submitting anything. We'll see.

It might sound weird to some folks that I consider this risky (especially if it feels risky to you to write a story to submit to these threads, which btw you should totally do!). But it feels like stepping out into unknown territory. While I sometimes wrote bits of things when I was younger, that very first writing challenge almost ten years ago is what kicked off my honest-to-god proper writing. It pushed me from a rare dabbler to a real writer.

And now the streak ends at 217. Time for someone else to outdo me and submit to 218 challenges in a row!
Ends of an era : (
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
Cyan let his eyes slide over the room. There was the beat-up desk. There was the chair. There was the empty page and pen. He smiled with satisfaction and took a deep breath that felt truly earned. Slipping his jacket over his shoulder, he turned the doorknob and stepped over the threshold into a brighter world.

See you around, Cyan. You've really done every single challenge? Damn. Well done. Good luck with the next step.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
Cyan's last one (seriously man that's some dedication, well done and good luck) and my first one. I really like the theme for this one and have already got a good few ideas stirring in my head. Thought that even if it ends up being terrible there's no harm in it. Guess my risk here is just doing the damn thing; but I won't be lazy and try and be risky some other way.
 

John Dunbar

correct about everything
Mar 10, 2007
17,286
1
0
cyan, i can tell you that when you stop submitting stories for these challenges you won't write a single goddamn word.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
cyan, i can tell you that when you stop submitting stories for these challenges you won't write a single goddamn word.

Nah. I can see his angle too. Time to take a serious look back and see what's salvageable and potentially rewrite-worthy so that he can submit it.

On a personal note, I just filled a page with a bunch of brainstorming for my story and think I have it pretty clear in my head...even had an ending that just sprung to mind as I was scribbling away in my notebook. I feel much more confident about this story than the last one and hope I can harness the raw creative flow to hammer out a good chunk of the first draft tonight. Let's go!
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Oh damn, good luck Cyan.

The theme now seems a bit symbolic :(

Just a little bit!

I really do hope people go for the secondary. :D

cyan, i can tell you that when you stop submitting stories for these challenges you won't write a single goddamn word.

Haha, this is certainly possible! But there's nothing to stop me coming back if that's the case.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
Welp, only got 329 words down over the last hour and fifteen minutes, but it's a start I guess, even if it's a pathetically slow one.

Haven't been as consistent with my writing these last few weeks and it's already affected my speed. It's like a muscle...gotta use it to maintain it. I'll push myself more tomorrow.

'Nite, gang.
 

Nezumi

Member
Aug 8, 2011
3,374
0
590
39
Small town near Frankfurt in Germany
Nooo, hangouts won't be the same without your timer of doom, not that you don't deserve to take a break, but it's still sad :'(

On topic, I guess a risk for me at the moment would be not to overthink my story until there is no more time to actually write it, like literally sit down today and just write it...that shouldn't feel so difficult like it does:(

Basically I should just do the unrisky thing instead of taking my usual last minute risk. Which means however I'm not doing the secondary...

I could try and write literary fiction "shudders*

Can't wait for half the stories to be written in second person.

I for one already did that in the past. I think I even won with it :p
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,378
7
1,105
Greater London
"Stop and think for a moment."

Woh. Okay.

"What would be a big risk for you to take?"

That's a good question. I don't really feel fear the same way others do.

"What have you not tried because you're worried you'll blow it?"

Nothing? I fail at something or other every week.

"What have you been reluctant to do because it's outside your comfort zone?"

Nada. Zilch. I don't like wasting people's time; time is a precious commodity; but that's something completely different.

"What would be something difficult or scary to do in your writing, but probably also helpful for your own growth?"

Anything Biographical. I like my privacy. Separate to that: I've wanted to write essays for a while now. The non-soap boxy.

"Have you paused to actually think about it?"

What the the essay? Yes. Absolutely. But I don't want to waste people's time with piss poor examples; piss poor examples are those examples that don't shed light on the human condition. What I mean by 'piss poor' is examples that are a waste of time. Not just those that may appear on the surface quite passive and boring.

What did you think of that made you immediately think "no that's too risky"?

I don't seem to feel fear like other people when it comes to writing. It's not particularly courageous. Since it's not really brave if you don't feel any fear. Some people are afraid of walking out the front door; for most of us; its just walking on the street.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
I'm super sad to see the oldest hat at these challenges go but I absolutely understand his reasons. I've thought about doing the same more than once too. If I didn't force myself to write a good deal of stories outside of the challenges, I'd probably have dropped off the challenges to try this earlier. I'm sure I'll write a long sappy post before the end of this challenge, so until then, enjoy not having a word limit Cyan; I can't say I'm not really curious what the thing you write utterly for yourself is.

As to the challenge: I'm kinda in Ashes's boat. I like to think I take an okay number of risks in my writing and do a bunch of different stuff. The riskiest things I can think of are just genre's I don't do often, but I have done them in the past so not really a risk. I'm debating nonfiction (or maybe even poetry) but I'm not sure how comfortable I am revealing how utterly boring a person I am tbh. At the very least, this challenge forces us to think a lot ahead of time.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
Gotta say that this is a lot harder than I thought it'd be. Writing something knowing that it's going to be seen, even anonymously, is difficult. It's like my brain keeps thinking I have to make everything perfect the first time through yet I know that's a dumb thing to be thinking. I also keep flip-flopping between past and present tense with neither really "clicking" as much I want for the story I'm writing.

Who would have thought that doing something productive would be so hard?
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
Everything I write is a risk. My entire sense of self worth is wrapped up in winning these competitions, and you people just keep kicking me and kicking me!
 
Jan 28, 2007
12,339
0
910
Everything I write is a risk. My entire sense of self worth is wrapped up in winning these competitions, and you people just keep kicking me and kicking me!

"Because it's so much fun, Jan!"


Also, the idea of needing to win a competition with random competitors seems statistically illogical to me, since you'd never know what kind of competitor you're up against in advance, and being 'beat' for say, 100 times in a row, says nothing about your own ability other than shitty luck for a 100 times in a row.
I understand though, but this suddenly occurred to me.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington

"Because it's so much fun, Jan!"


Also, the idea of needing to win a competition with random competitors seems statistically illogical to me, since you'd never know what kind of competitor you're up against in advance, and being 'beat' for say, 100 times in a row, says nothing about your own ability other than shitty luck for a 100 times in a row.
I understand though, but this suddenly occurred to me.

I actually do check my win percentage from time to time, because I'm neurotic like that. I used to be somewhere in the neighborhood of winning maybe a third of the time, but now I'm at like maybe 20%. Shifting audiences and their collective tastes over the years and generally larger pools of entries to split the vote certainly have more to do with it than my actual writing, I think.

More than anything I just like getting feedback. I can only self-diagnose so much.
 

Tangent

Member
Mar 15, 2010
658
0
0

Sad to see you go, Cyan! Lucky for me, you're extremely local, so maybe I'll see you all the time. Maybe?

In the mean time, I hope you do some great things with your writing! It's always good to refine your skill, in maybe a different audience, and take your work to the next level when you're ready, so good for you for realizing it's time and doing that.

Also, I just wanted everyone to know: Cyan is really good at making this particular face. ;)
Don't kill me, Cyan! But it's true!
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
You know when you have what you think is an awesome idea but then once you start writing, the execution isn't capturing the awesome feeling of the initial idea? So experiencing that right now.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
You know when you have what you think is an awesome idea but then once you start writing, the execution isn't capturing the awesome feeling of the initial idea? So experiencing that right now.

That's been happening to me a bunch lately. Ive been trying to mix up the narrator's voice in my head, and thats been helping a bit.
 

Nezumi

Member
Aug 8, 2011
3,374
0
590
39
Small town near Frankfurt in Germany
Reminder that our writing hangout will be in around 90 minutes. I'll post the link about thirty minutes before the actual hangout. For those of you who don't know the drill. We'll meet up for 2 hours in which we have thirty minute periods of writing broken up by ten minute intervals of chatting. As always neither cameras or microphones are necessary (though especially the latter makes things easier).
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
You know when you have what you think is an awesome idea but then once you start writing, the execution isn't capturing the awesome feeling of the initial idea? So experiencing that right now.

I'm getting the same. Having an idea and fleshing it out into a 1,000+ word story are two entirely different things. Then there's the doubts; I'm doing a black comedy of sorts and I've got no idea whether it's actually funny or not because I don't know anyone else's sense of humour. Then there's me being new at this and not knowing whether my writing is anywhere near passable.

I don't know, man.
 

Nezumi

Member
Aug 8, 2011
3,374
0
590
39
Small town near Frankfurt in Germany
I've got nothing this time. I thought I had an idea but sadly, it went nowhere.

There are more ideas out there. Just get a new one.
This week I had an idea rather quick, but once I slept on it I hated it. Thanks to the hangout I now have a nice and shiny new idea I absolutely will finish up before the official deadline this time. Yes, I said it, BEFORE the deadline.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
There are more ideas out there. Just get a new one.
This week I had an idea rather quick, but once I slept on it I hated it. Thanks to the hangout I now have a nice and shiny new idea I absolutely will finish up before the official deadline this time. Yes, I said it, BEFORE the deadline.
 

Orb

Member
Jan 9, 2017
830
0
0
I'm definitely gonna have to take a rain check on this one, hopefully I can get more free time by the next challenge.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
That sinking feeling when you've only got 500 words down and the deadlines tomorrow!

Guess I'll have to just finish whatever I have, submit it and see how things go.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
That sinking feeling when you've only got 500 words down and the deadlines tomorrow!

Guess I'll have to just finish whatever I have, submit it and see how things go.

That's the spirit! I'm taking today to finally sit down and write my story, so don't feel too bad about being a little last minute :p
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
That's the spirit! I'm taking today to finally sit down and write my story, so don't feel too bad about being a little last minute :p

Thanks for the encouragement! My main issue right now is find how I can incorporate the "risk" element. The story I'm writing is one where the character really doesn't have many opportunities to face risk either literally or metaphorically. I've got a twist in my head but it would feel shoe-horned into the plot. I don't know.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Thanks for the encouragement! My main issue right now is find how I can incorporate the "risk" element. The story I'm writing is one where the character really doesn't have many opportunities to face risk either literally or metaphorically. I've got a twist in my head but it would feel shoe-horned into the plot. I don't know.

Seems to me you already are:
Gotta say that this is a lot harder than I thought it'd be. Writing something knowing that it's going to be seen, even anonymously, is difficult.

So don't worry too much about it. :)
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
I'm in the same sadsack boat as many of you it seems. :-/ Disappointed by my lack of writing the last seven days at least. Been focusing on building a nightly yoga habit instead.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
At least I got a good reason for slacking. I just got a kitten and he's adorable and I have to make sure he's not going to destroy everything I own. Also, he loves laying on my laptop because apparently, that's what all kittens love to do.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
So I only just found out you need DropBox Plus for password protection and I'd rather not pay £7p/m for it tbh. Could I put the link behind an tag instead or will that just complicate things too much?