Some of your favorite stories in the Writing Challenge -- NOT for voting.

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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Knivesout no more
Nov 11, 2003
Bangalore, India
Sorry to horn in on your post, JP, but I think this thread needs an introduction, and that it should come in the first post, and since I can't backdate one of mine ...

This thread was created to give everyone a chance to discuss their favorites before the voting opens. Voting will commence, as planned, after the midnight deadline on the 26th -- therefore, most likely, early on the 27th. In the meantime, we've created this thread for people to talk about some of the stories that have particularly impressed them so far. A long string of comments from the Challenge thread itself has been moved here.

Please remember, we come not to critique these stories, but to praise them. We have a Critiques forum. This is not it.

Also, everyone please keep in mind that the stories people mention here may not be the ones they ultimately vote for. In fact, they may take this opportunity to give recognition to stories they won't be voting for. So these comments should not be taken as either a preview of the actual voting, or a campaign for any one or several stories.


And now, to return to the original posting ...

My favourite stories so far:

Oh, To Be A Great Explorer by BookStop. Ouch! I usually feel trick stories are a facile way to make a very short piece work, but this was well-crafted and somehow the name Krinklet filled me with immense empathy.

The Dilemma by Mouse. The grounded, sassy tone reminds me of Kelly Link's style and I can see this scenario being developed in weird and wonderful ways, although this piece works as is.

Through The Looking Glass by Teresa for the imagery and control over language. Also, gremlins. And gargoyles.

The Key, by Chris, which just about squeezes in as spec-fic but is in every other way a wonderful story that is completely on point.

Survey Team by HareBrain which has a nice Warren Ellis post-apo feel to it and takes a cheeky dig at consumerism as well, which can only be a good thing.

Midnight Feast by RcGrant is, I think, a perfectly-formed, self-contained miniature. I love the scenario, would love to see more of it, yet I'm satisfied with the slice of it that's been shared here.

Jeff and Graham Explore A Planet by MattyK which shows that the 75 word limit is an opportunity, not a constraint, to a good writer.
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Re: APRIL WRITING CHALLENGE 75 words -- Read First Post Before Entering!

knivesout, you've just made me very happy before I have to go to work. Thanks! :D
Re: APRIL WRITING CHALLENGE 75 words -- Read First Post Before Entering!

knivesout, you've just made me very happy before I have to go to work. Thanks! :D
Well I agree.... that was a particular favourite of mine so far.

There are soooo many goods entries, this is going to be a tough one to judge I would have thought.
Re: APRIL WRITING CHALLENGE 75 words -- Read First Post Before Entering!

There are soooo many goods entries, this is going to be a tough one to judge I would have thought.

It is certainly going to be a tough one for me, because each story has it's own particular virtues, and how do you compare and weigh those?

However, some of the stories that stand out for me include The Journeyman, The Débutante, and Sympathetic Magic.

And there are more than two weeks left. It may be that the best is still to come.
Re: APRIL WRITING CHALLENGE 75 words -- Read First Post Before Entering!

Haha. I figured mine could've been on an elite list had I not had to adhere to the limit. I'd actually be very surprised if I won, to be perfectly honest.....

The ones that stand out for me are Survey Team, Decisions, Decisions, The Looking Glass, and Oh, To Be A Great Explorer.

But as has been said before, it would be tough to make a final decision....
Re: APRIL WRITING CHALLENGE 75 words -- Read First Post Before Entering!

Oh, can we do this now? Awesome. In my opinion, the ones that work best as stand-alone and somehow 'complete' ultra-mini stories are (in no particular order) The Key, Midnight Feast and Decisions, Decisions.

The rest of ours read more like small snippets from a larger piece.

Honourable mention:

- Through the Looking Glass, which - along with The Key - is simply of a higher calibre of writing (making me realise how stale and lifeless my own was). Gee, who could ever guess Teresa's a pro...
- Jeff and Graham Explore a Planet, for the dry humour.
- That bloke who wrote Join Me in Death. Fabulous job!
Oh alright, seeing as how everyone else is doing it...

Ecopoesis, or, sometimes the best defence is a damned good offence, by chopper
Just clever. I read it and wished I'd written it.

The Journeyman, by Talysia
Another clever one, I like the bittersweet-ness of it.

I Write Sins Not Tragedies, by mygoditsraining
Hmm, a couple of terraforming ones, and I don't even generally like SF!

Through the Looking Glass, by Teresa
Lovely and evocative use of words.

The Debutante, by Sephiroth
Hmm, on reflection a lot of the entries were bleak, but I particularly liked Seph's bleakness...

The Key, by chrispenycate
You had me at library.

Tough to cull just those from the very high quality entries we've had. Now, if you want to see the ones I hated, you'll have to highlight the following text (don't look if you don't want to know!):

Made you look!
I waited a day to post that Looking Glass story, and I was glad because I had thought of a better ending overnight -- the first ending was very bad. But then, last night, I thought of three words that would have made it so much better.

Next time, I'm going to let something sit a few days before I post it.
Me too, I wished I hadn't been so eager to post, I can see umpteen ways to improve my feeble effort.
I also waited a day, as I knew one of the words wasn't quite right (and, since I was at 76, there was the need to cull another one - oh the agony of having to choose!). Got a better, but still not perfect one in the end, but also hit on 'aeons' which was far better than its predecessor but which I hadn't previously seen as an issue. Funny how the mind works, isn't it?

Teresa, you can't leave us in suspense like this. An additional three words? Substitutes? Better for the story element or the description?

I've never before appreciated the problem the judges must have at Crufts. It's one thing choosing the best of a kind, whether best use of imagery, or best (worst!) pun as much as best working dog or large breed. But best in show? How to compare great dane and sealyham, bull dog and collie? At the moment, Ecopoesis and Survey Team are leaders, but I keep re-reading and changing my mind and others, among them I Write Sins not Tragedies, are catching up on the inside rail. (Oops. Mixed imagery there!)
The Judge said:
Teresa, you can't leave us in suspense like this. An additional three words? Substitutes? Better for the story element or the description?

As it is, I have 71 words, so I could have afforded to add three. And the three words I thought of belatedly would have added a dilemma and a turning point.

But I wouldn't be surprised if I spend the next two weeks thinking of ways I could have done it better. I am an inveterate reviser and tweaker.
in order of being posted, my noted shortlist includes:

Playdate with the alien (JP): it took a few reads, but i got it!
A Novel Machine (Cul): for the rather good joke
Seeking Normality (Leisha): Very well done.
Survey Team (HB): another good pun. Ursa will rage...
Midnight Feast (RcG): nice images
Sympathetic Magic (Judge): well-rounded and complete.

As Judge (can i call you The? :D) said above, i keep changing my mind. i also like I Write Sins... but because I recognise the title reference as much as anything else. And there's the rub: what to base my judgement on? Title? Language? Wit? Sum of parts against stunningly executed theme? Cripes.
Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has commented on mine - you've absolutely made my day! :D

There are some awesome entries on the thread; I keep going back to it to see if anything new has been added. My favourites so far (in no particular order) are:

The Dilemma - by Mouse. It made me laugh, and it was punchy. It just stood out as being different from many of the entries, and that's good in my book.

Seeking Normality - by Leisha. Heartbreaking. I gasped. *nods*

The Key - by Crispenykate. Partly the subject matter, but also the way you created the suspense. Really like this one.

Moving House - by Dave. I'd say that this would be the least likely thing I'd think of with the theme, and it soooo works. I love how delicate and simplistic it is. Written with a really light touch.

Foraging Party - by TobyTwo. You can just tell you're good. lol. The images, the completeness of it. You make me jealous. In a good way!

Gah! So many to choose from.
I really like a lot of the entries; picking one for the vote is going to be harder than thinking up my own entry, I reckon.

Honorable shout-outs though to Jayaprakash - the whimsical, from-the-hip style made me instantly smile; chopper - beating me to the terraforming punch DAMN YOU; and Mouse - killer final line. I love the juxtaposition of lyrical and outright surly.
I'm glad nobody nominated me as like couple of others I regret of posting too quickly. Next time I'll try to post it at the end of the month. My top three favourites are Chopper's, TobyTwo's and lastly but not leastly, Mister Graham's flash fictions.
You know? There isn't an entry I've disliked, so far... very hard to pick out why, but my favourites (in no particular order) are:

Midnight feast, The Dilemma, Oh Flip, Sympathetic Magic, The Key, Planetfall, Peter Graham's (disturbing...) To Walk the years and Survey Team (wasn't sure if the last line was a pun, or not)

And I realise that all these stories have surprise or interesting endings... hmm...
:eek: This thread makes me grin like an insane lunatic.

At the moment I know which one I'm going to vote for cos it gave me shivers. But I'm not gonna mention which one that was. ;)
I'm glad a couple of people have now mentioned Peter Graham's, which is a strong contender for my vote too at the moment. I wouldn't have thought it possible to get such emotional punch in 75 words.

Survey Team (wasn't sure if the last line was a pun, or not)

As in a pun on the planet? No. It might have been a mistake to choose that company over, say, Cadbury (which might then have given me a chance to call it "World of War-Kraft" so perhaps just as well. Topical though! :D)
Hehe. I never did expect my entry to be placed on any favorites list, and at least nobody said they hated it either, which is the best I hoped for.

It would've been far better had there not been that word limit.....
Survey Team (HB): another good pun. Ursa will rage....
As the Critiques sub-forum is only next door, I'd like to point out your misspelling of rave.

Basically, the more puns the better, as far as I'm concerned (as long as they don't pull the rest of the tale out of shape).

As in a pun on the planet? No.
The Master Plan is coming along fine: putting in puns is becoming a subconscious action. ;):)
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