DISCUSSION THREAD -- 350 Word Writing Challenge #50 (July 2023)

The Judge

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Congratulations, Victoria! I guessed you would win as soon as I saw the voting last night, though I actually expected there to be a tie-break which I would lose ignominiously!


Thanks again to all who voted or mentioned my story, including a late shortlisting from Daysman -- thank you!

As I mentioned before voting started, the opening line for my piece came to me out of nowhere, but I really struggled to get a story out of it as I became fixated on hunters in the frozen waste and nothing seemed to gel. Then it occurred to me I'd actually written a 75 Worder some years ago which had exactly that setting, so it ended up being recycled, though with a few more bells and whistles attached.
 

Cat's Cradle

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Congratulations to Victoria Silverwolf for an exciting come-from-behind victory!
And commiserations to The Judge, so close! I too thought, TJ, that we'd wake up to a tie-breaker today... it just had that feeling.

Thank you to Daysman for the listing, and TJ for the vote (and thank you for the kind words on my story), CC
 

johnnyjet

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Phyrebrat

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Congratulations Victoria and comiz to The Judge! A runaway win(s)!

This post is about the 350 and the 75 ;)

Thank you for the shortlistings and the votes from nixie, Ursa, Daysman, Sule, Swank, Paul J Menzies (and for the lovely words!), and Rjalex.

My entry was kind of autobiographical in the sense that about six months ago I shouted at a young woman selling The Big Issue. I pass her twice a week and I'm usually on the phone either sending a voicenote or on a call. Every time she talks to me with her pitch, it would drive me mad because I was on the phone and the neurodivergent in me would always stop concentrating and listen to her (Oh the joys of ADHD) which would then make me lose my train of thought and bla bla bla. I have quite a nasty mouth when my temper is triggered and I said some really unpleasant things. Or rather, said them in such an unpleasant way, I felt guitly for months and even used a different longer route so I'd not see her.

In the end it plagued my thoughts so I went up to her, gave her money and apologised. I explained that when I get sidetracked or interrupted it's really difficult for me to resist/get back on track; and that was my problem not hers. So now I pass her twice a week and we say hello and smile and I've made an acquaintance instead.

So all that ramble was to say that was where my story came from. I'd also recently watched Fourth Kind (set in Nome, AK) and a short story about the gold rush in Alaska. Kind of gave me my setting for the story, albeit in modern times.

My 75 was also deeply personal for me this (last) month and I did dreadfully in the 75 worder; my idea that cupid could give you a diesase for falling in love was a bit on the nose in terms of modern equivalence, but I was more interested in how an Edwardian/Victorian person would approach AIDS had it been around then. Two of my partners have been HIV positive and the profound depth of sadness yet acceptance they had (along with all the other people I know with HIV) regarding the need for touch yet being seen as untouchable, unlovable, is still going on today. The fact that love can cure it is kind of true (certainly nowadays the prognosis is so optimistic for HIV/AIDS) so that's how that story came about.

But the reason I bring it up is (hopefully) to highlight a point I often make. Over the years, we read from quite a lot of authors here of their disappointment in their absence of votes and/or mentions in these challenges. Not often, but it's noticeable over a long period. I always ask if they're happy with their story and if so, then that's all that counts. I enter simply to become a better writer; more concise; accurate word choice; bon mots; structure, grammar; all of it, and it requires only 75 or 300 words so it's a great, measurable way of learning (measured, I hasten to add, not by the votes, but by your mere engagement in it: If you've written and entered, you've learnt something).

I appreciate not everyone enters these challenges to simply improve for themselves, or for the reasons I do, but I did want to say as far as your opinon of your own work is concerned, votes are not the thing; your sense of accomplishment is. I entered my 75 last month and thought, Well, that's it, nailed it. Just give me the trophy already. It's probably what I'm most proud of in terms of my entries over the years, but no vote nor mention (I don't think). But it's important to remind yourself (oneself) that your initial sense of your own work is what's important.

Sorry for the ramble, I couldn't really separate this 350 post from the 75 one without it making sense so I put it here.

Anyway, thanks again for all the votes, and another hearty round of congratulations to @Victoria Silverwolf and bridesmaid (Aunt Mildred) @The Judge
 

Rafellin

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paranoid marvin

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Ah Phyrebat, your 75 word challenge entry now makes more sense, and I should have spotted the (intentional?) William Blake references/allusions.

It's a shame when sometimes an entry is overlooked due to a lack of understanding. I have a feeling that I have been guilty on several occasions with your entries. Which is a fault on my part rather than yours. Revealing the trick too soon can spoil the magic.
 

Christine Wheelwright

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Phyrebrat

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Ah Phyrebat, your 75 word challenge entry now makes more sense, and I should have spotted the (intentional?) William Blake references/allusions.

It's a shame when sometimes an entry is overlooked due to a lack of understanding. I have a feeling that I have been guilty on several occasions with your entries. Which is a fault on my part rather than yours. Revealing the trick too soon can spoil the magic.
Ahh that’s lovely PM, thanks.

Your point about not getting my odd entries is totally fair. I know I can be oblique and often I prefer to produce a story that the reader can decide the ending.

I’ve been writing more like this since realising that so much of horror or weird is about atmosphere and personal things rather than the other genres. For sure, the idea of the slow burn or slow anything here seems to be anathema but it’s my favourite kind of novel or thing to read. I read so many anthologies and love that with them the author rarely defines the outcome for the reader.
 

Starbeast

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Congratulations Victoria Silverwolf
@Victoria Silverwolf

Silver Medal @The Judge

Bronze Metal
@Cat's Cradle
@Paul J. Menzies
@Phyrebrat
@therapist

Star Wars Medals for everyone else.

My Story came from the disenchantment of Indiana Jones fifth film. It was all I was thinking about for months. For over a year I was astonished and stunned that I discovered the horrendous plan by Disney to ERASE the existence of Henry Jones Jr and credit all of Indiana's triumphs to that, that...know-it-all female character. Test audiences disliked that idea immensely. But after many re-shoots to please the fans, Indiana lives.

Screenshot 2023-08-16 2.16.57 PM.png

Never-the-mess. I decided to write my own "Indy" tale with a better sidekick, Ash from the Evil Dead series. I understand that the tale read like an Evil Dead story, but I wanted to honor Indiana Jones by placing him in the title.

Screenshot 2023-08-16 2.21.58 PM.png
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Wow! I stay away from the computer for a couple of days and come back to find this delightful surprise. I fully expected to grab the silver medal behind The Judge and be quite satisfied with that. For all intents and purposes, The Judge should be considered a co-winner. (And there were many strong contenders just slightly behind as well.)

Many thanks to you all!
 

BigJ

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Congratulations @Victoria Silverwolf on a well deserved victory!

For my own tale, thanks to @Rafellin, @Starbeast, @Cat's Cradle, @Elckerlyc, and @Paul J. Menzies for the listings/mentions/whatnot, and immense gratitude for votes from @Parson, @paranoid marvin (I swear I didn't see the title of your story before posting mine!), @The Judge, @johnnyjet, Victoria, and @THX1138. That's an immense response in my books, big thanks to all of you.

I'm typically okay at writing somewhat close to the word limit on a first draft, but this one ran away on me and I had to cull a fair bit before getting it down to 350. Glad to see the emotional impact I intended survived the cutting room.

my hometown of Misanthropia.
I'd ask if you were accepting immigration requests, but I imagine you might not want the company.
 

Astro Pen

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I was happy to get four votes and a couple of mentions. :cool: I completely forgot about the challenge so had to come up with something in one hour, and lob it in at 'first draft."
Turned out to be a rather promising idea and, as often happens, I will refine and extend it to a 2000 worder to shop around.
(Or add it to my 300 page "Nobody wanted this cobblers:(" collection.)
 

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