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NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge #218 - "The Door"

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
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?[/QUOTE]
You can just password protect the file itself.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
That seems to be behind Dropbox plus. The link settings for both the folder and file have the "only people with the password" option greyed out.
I mean when you actually save the file, you can put a password on it (depending on what you're using, but even then there's stuff like PrimoPDF that'll let you do it if you don't have a native ability).
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
I mean when you actually save the file, you can put a password on it (depending on what you're using, but even then there's stuff like PrimoPDF that'll let you do it if you don't have a native ability).

Ah, I see what you mean. That worked perfectly, thanks :)

Now I just need to think of a name. That's a lot easier said than done.
 

Archurro

Member
Apr 12, 2009
762
0
0
Hey everyone, I'm new to thread and am considering joining in future challenges, but from glancing at some of the previous entries, it seems like most of these entries have a sci-fi or fantasy element to them (or possibly the samples I read were off base)? Is that a requirement or how this thread generally leans?
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
Ah, I see what you mean. That worked perfectly, thanks :)

Now I just need to think of a name. That's a lot easier said than done.

If you're wondering about passwords. A lot of regulars just tend to use a very specific catch all password for all our entries. If you're curious what it is, just click the quote button of this post :p


Hey everyone, I'm new to thread and am considering joining in future challenges, but from glancing at some of the previous entries, it seems like most of these entries have a sci-fi or fantasy element to them (or possibly the samples I read were off base)? Is that a requirement or how this thread generally leans?


Absolutely not a requirement. A couple people (myself included) usually do literary stories. We do have a lot of members who do write mostly fantasy, but that is no way a requirement. You can write whatever you want: sad dreary literary, bombastic space battles,
intense gay erotica
The world is your oyster!
 

weemadarthur

Member
Feb 27, 2012
3,598
0
410
Hey everyone, I'm new to thread and am considering joining in future challenges, but from glancing at some of the previous entries, it seems like most of these entries have a sci-fi or fantasy element to them (or possibly the samples I read were off base)? Is that a requirement or how this thread generally leans?

That's just authorial bias.
All entries are welcome.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
If you're wondering about passwords. A lot of regulars just tend to use a very specific catch all password for all our entries. If you're curious what it is, just click the quote button of this post :p

Oh I know the password lol I just couldn't figure out how to put it on. I know now so it's all cool.

Hey everyone, I'm new to thread and am considering joining in future challenges, but from glancing at some of the previous entries, it seems like most of these entries have a sci-fi or fantasy element to them (or possibly the samples I read were off base)? Is that a requirement or how this thread generally leans?

I'm a newbie too but from what I've read there's no limit to what you can or can't write about. People won't brush over your story if it isn't a certain genre. The only requirements are that you fit it within the word count, deadline and theme, after that it's fair game to do whatever you want.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
Fuck, I thought the deadline was only 3 hours from now. Turns out it's still only the 17th in pacific time. Well, at least I've got another day to refine and improve my story.
 

LaMagenta

Member
Oct 6, 2013
420
0
0
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.

Thanks for the moral boost! I wrote something today from an idea stick I pulled out of a writer's tool box.
hope it's good
 

Charade

Member
Nov 23, 2013
1,786
0
305
I will say as much as I'm an offender of writing almost exclusively scifi/fantasy, non-scifi/fantasy stuff does have the potential benefit of sticking out more among the field of entrants too.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
I dock points for anything that's not speculative fiction.

Also if it's first person present tense.

Or if you don't submit in manuscript format.

Or if you use a nonstandard password.

Or if I secretly fear you're better than me.
 

Sethista

Member
May 15, 2013
1,003
0
490
I will say as much as I'm an offender of writing almost exclusively scifi/fantasy, non-scifi/fantasy stuff does have the potential benefit of sticking out more among the field of entrants too.

Thats the main reason I stopped participating.
I loved going to the hangouts and having that exercise, but I write more personal stories, and rarely do world building.

I noticed more and more that this wasnt the focus here, which is ok. But I did feel I was writing drama and submiting to a sci fi contest.
Not saying that theres anything wrong with it, by the way.
 

Nezumi

Member
Aug 8, 2011
3,374
0
590
39
Small town near Frankfurt in Germany
Also if it's first person present tense


I almost did this too this challenge :D


Oh I know the password lol I just couldn't figure out how to put it on. I know now so it's all cool.



I'm a newbie too but from what I've read there's no limit to what you can or can't write about. People won't brush over your story if it isn't a certain genre. The only requirements are that you fit it within the word count, deadline and theme, after that it's fair game to do whatever you want.

This assumption just shows how new you are to this challenges :D

Wordcount we are super strict in though.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
Thats the main reason I stopped participating.
I loved going to the hangouts and having that exercise, but I write more personal stories, and rarely do world building.

I noticed more and more that this wasnt the focus here, which is ok. But I did feel I was writing drama and submiting to a sci fi contest.
Not saying that theres anything wrong with it, by the way.

No offense because I know I felt that way when I first started writing here, but through a lot of experiences and lost challenges, I learned that that is definitely not the case. We've had plenty of stories win that weren't genre fiction. Red, back when he posted stories in these threads, wrote a lot of really great literary stories and won a decent number of times. Ashes rarely writes speculative fiction, and the most speculative Tangent gets is with the odd fairytale. I for one, honestly don't care much for fantasy or sci-fi. It's fine and I enjoy it when it comes up, but if it gets a vote from me its because there was something I thought really good in its writing.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
I dock points for anything that's not speculative fiction.

Also if it's first person present tense.

Or if you don't submit in manuscript format.

Or if you use a nonstandard password.

Or if I secretly fear you're better than me.

This all sounds about right.
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
71
955
Thats the main reason I stopped participating.
I loved going to the hangouts and having that exercise, but I write more personal stories, and rarely do world building.

I noticed more and more that this wasnt the focus here, which is ok. But I did feel I was writing drama and submiting to a sci fi contest.
Not saying that theres anything wrong with it, by the way.

I tend to actually dock marks for fantasy/sci fi unless they are standout pieces. Anything that is a little different will stick in my memory much longer. That helps greatly when there are 10 stories to judge.

Plus, I never really thought of this as a contest anyway.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
Why on earth did I think it was possible I might finish this before the actual deadline... I should have known that I would eat those words...

Take a risk and finish what you have! You can do it!
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
I tend to actually dock marks for fantasy/sci fi unless they are standout pieces. Anything that is a little different will stick in my memory much longer. That helps greatly when there are 10 stories to judge.

Plus, I never really thought of this as a contest anyway.

There's a reason it's "creative writing challenge" and not "creative writing contest"!
 

Sethista

Member
May 15, 2013
1,003
0
490
There's a reason it's "creative writing challenge" and not "creative writing contest"!

I tend to actually dock marks for fantasy/sci fi unless they are standout pieces. Anything that is a little different will stick in my memory much longer. That helps greatly when there are 10 stories to judge.

Plus, I never really thought of this as a contest anyway.

That was poor phrasing on my part, I meant contest only on the sense that people tebd to follow specific guidelines, hence my "sci fi contest" comment. But what I hopes to get out of it more than anything was experience and helpful feedback.
 
Jun 14, 2014
3,569
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0
I always forget about these threads and remember them the day or day before it ends.

Maybe when I get home I'll whip up something in an hour or 2 just because id like to regularly participate.

Edit: or life can get in the way haha. Im bookmarking this for next time!
 

Tangent

Member
Mar 15, 2010
658
0
0
"Backoom" (54 words)

"Is there a backoom there?"

"Yeah there's a vacuum in there."

Lily stared at the door day in and day out. She talked about the vacuum all the time. Talking about her fear and the object of her adrenalin rush.

Then one day, she reached up on her tippy toes, and opened the door.

#entry

Because I might be Cyan's imaginary friend anyway, I'm also thinking about jumping ship. Mostly to limit the number of things on my plate. Still not sure. I'll see.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
25,000 words
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
Was lucky to get mine in at all. Did a late-night writing session that ended after 3am. Another first draft effort, unfortunately. :-/
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,378
7
1,105
Greater London
By the candle lit wind,
and the wholesome hearth,
where the firesticks
fizzle, crackle, and blow;
I write these lines,
trying to fill the darkness
with the light I don't have.

For why do we deny
that for all our efforts,
we are only whispering in each
other's ears, fighting the
decaying half light,
encroaching on our half
spent spirits, watching the
the trickle of sand and space;
as our thoughts build walls
stonewashed with the newest
preachers' subtle hate filled
words.
#entry​
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
Here are some votes. I've got comments I'll post a little later tonight.

Votes
1.
LaMagenta - because I got teary-eyed at the end
2.
Dongs Macabre - because his story reminded me a bit of Pyre and also went well the soundtrack I was listening to at the time
3.
Charade - because they too decided to go literal in theme interpretation.

HM:
Mike M - because, even if I don't think it came together, I liked how weird this was to read.

And some feedback:

Mike M: I appreciate your attempt at surrealism, and your descriptions definitely worked: that skull beetle thing was great. This was filled with some really great writing all around. My biggest issue is probably that the actual story tying this events together is a little too flimsy. Usually with such surreal stories, it's triggered by the character's mental instability and the surrealist nature is a metaphor for the MC's crazy, and while I got a sense that there was something off about your MC(is it just really bad OCD?), I didn't get enough to justify the level of fucked up this story eventually got. I also didn't like your ending, just because it felt like it grounded this incredibly bizarre story, but that is more in the realm of personal tastes. Overall, a lot of really great writing and descriptions, that stuffing meat into the arm was really clever. Giving you a lot of points for trying something pretty weird here Mike, even if it didn't work this go.

Plum: Welcome aboard! You got more than a couple laughs out of me, and I like your general premise and the way your ending comes full circle, ending on my most hated thing about technology. This was a good first entry and I'll try and keep my critical comments light. I think the best thing I can offer is to try a specific thing when editing (if you edit) of cutting out 10% to 15% of your word count. This is some advice I got from Stephen King's On Writing and I've always thought it was really good advice. Your descriptions, while none of them bad, are a bit too many in close proximity. That's why the 10% is good, try and cut out what is not necessary to your story, and you'll be amazed at the quality you have left.

Ashes: So I'm trying to go past the usual joke of ”Ha Ha Poetry" because this is a special time! A grim time! Like this poem! So the big issue I've always had with poetry is it is very tough to get a full concise picture. In my mind, that would be the thing that separates good poetry from a good series of lines, and I don't think this crosses that line. What stops it, I think, is that there isn't much visual consistency within it. Which is a shame, because you do have some excellent moments with the various sources of lights going into the beginning to your lack of it(which I think you should linger for another line to offer some counterbalance to the importance you placed on light). Also really enjoyed the way sand and space leads into stonewashed walls, that's some really good imagery leading into imagery that I wish continued from beginning to end here.

Noisy Ninja: This was weird for me structure wise. We went from a pretty good space battle with descriptions giving us a good kinetic feel for the action to a long letter from the captain about betrayal and how they won't lose this war. I feel like there is too much emphasis placed on ”THE WAR" at the end, because when you do that, it requires a bit of context on the enemy, what the war is about, yada yada, and I didn't get that context here. If it weren't for the letter, I would have been more happy with it as a scene about a brief space battle.

Charade: I thought a lot of the writing (and especially the pacing) were really on point here and for a story that should have been boring, it was interesting watching things play out as the door learned more about people and such. I got a good chuckle out of the dramatic effect bit, but I think the thing that does kind of weigh it down is, at its heart, it is about a door, and you give us a bunch of door facts. The door facts and the bits about left to right in human history were kinda dull (but I think I'd keep them because they feel right which is part of good pacing). I feel like for a proper emotional resonance, we needed to know a bit more about the captain, by the end, I cared a lot more about the fate of Computer. Also the ”That's not computer!" is a little on the nose especially w since it's easy to figure out that's not computer at that point.

LaMagenta: This hit home for me in a lot of way. It goes to show how much uncontrollable events in a reader's life can make a story really resonate. A couple minor things. I don't think your opening line is that strong, and I just want to use that to jump off into a bit of talk about setting. The line about them being Mexican American's doesn't really tell us a lot other than that the story is in america, everything else, we can piece together from the spanish. If you want to tell us we're in America, maybe mention the city or state they're in? I think that would work a lot better. I don't think you need to translate the La Prinseca line, the words are close enough together non-spanish speakers can figure it out. Finally, I got kind of weirded out about the Vet keeping the dog? I assumed they were going to get a new dog and lie to the kid tbh? Everything else though was great, I got very emotional at the end, Abuello was a really great character, and overall I really enjoyed reading this!

Keleesto: I was super lost by this tbh. I had to reread it, and I still didn't really get what was happening, John died, but didn't actually and that makes him special. And because he's special, he has to find this important door? And also he saved clementine at some point from a literal gang of ghouls? I think what throws me off is this story starts in the middle of a bigger story, but I don't know if that's the key reason I had a hard time following, because you don't really reveal the larger story at play until halfway through and I was lost before that. I don't know, I really wish I had better comments to offer, but I don't, sorry :(

Alucard: I like the change of setting in here compared to your usual fantasy setting. I also really like sky ships, in fact, I kind of have a hard on for sky ships. And I do like the idea of sky explorers selling pictures of rare things and that being the big source of income. The writing overall was good, but the action scene didn't really work for me, but I don't really know why? I liked this but wasn't a fan of the ending for personal reasons rather than technical reasons (I just don't like endings where the MC dies tbh).

Dongs Macarbe: So I know he says he isn't an executioner, but he kinda is, and they usually hire people who aren't any kinds of sentimental for executioners. Killing someone over and over again is actually a really rough job that not a lot of people can do, and I just don't see Philipe being able to last more than a week at the place. I am a little confused about the crime, are books banned in general, or just that book? Because I can't see any specific reason for that book specifically to be banned. I did love the choice between the chair or the vial, I think that offers a very interesting fold of morality into your story. Also really loved your restraint in dropping her name, I was kind of meh on you withholding it at first, but by the end that was definitely the right call.

Cyan: I remember when I first started out the challenges, being very impressed with the level of polish you and Mike put out each time and thinking there was no way for me to accomplish that. But I did, and then I set new challenges for myself based off of what you and everyone else did well and the long story short is that you were one of the people who helped me become a much better writer, so thanks!

Tangent: Boooooo! If you leave I understand, these are quite the time commitment, but I'll miss your writing a bunch. You write kids and kid stories so damn well! I don't think any other regular does child friendly adventures even half as well as you do! If you do end up stopping, at least corner some unexpecting business person in an elevator and pitch them a children's book idea.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
Flowers, thanks for the feedback. I was debating whether or not to kill the MC. Again, it's a story that had a stronger idea. In execution, I think a couple of sentences in my opening paragraph are clunky and needed at least one more editing pass, and most of it could have used a closer look, as I wrote most of it in two and a half hours after midnight.The whole theme of the story is trying to recapture the past and to ignite the spark and feeling that you had for something when you were younger. Quinn has seen it all and is basically cold inside at this point...finding leviathan was about trying to recapture the passion he has lost over the years, and the futility of chasing the past instead of being grateful for the present. The death was supposed to signify that futility.

I also agree with you about the action scene. I wasn't totally feeling it either, as you're left wondering "why the heck would Quinn throw his camera to Ryan if the whole ship is going down and everyone is probably going to die?"

Or something.

I'd love ideas for how this story maybe should have gone or if people like the general idea. I feel like this is one that COULD be made into something special with multiple rewrites.