Discussion Thread - 300-word Writing Challenge #53 (April 2024)

@mosaix I just noticed your Stealth Vote after I submitted my choices. Thank you. Plus a huge THANKS for all of the mentions. You've all made my day shine bright.
 
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A lot of well spun yarns this month ;)

Shortlist
Stored Away - @Cat's Cradle
The tale of a Spaceman called Blardan - @AnRoinnUltra
One Step Too Far - @Elckerlyc
There’s No Answer To That… - @mosaix
Woven Commemoration - @Starbeast
Dream Weaver - @The Judge

Votes
The Spider Queen - @Victoria Silverwolf
Unbreakable Connection - @Peter V
A weaver woman lived on the moor. - @Teresa Edgerton *


* Yes, I know it was untitled, it's just I always use the first sentence or first few words when I'm making my notes
 
Hello.

I really struggled with reading this quarter’s entries. My mental <ahem> health has been poor for a while now and I had to read some of them a few times to get the story; you know what it’s like when you get to the end of a page and you have no memory of what you’ve read. I hate when I do that.

Anyway. I had three clear winners:

Cc

Astropen

Victoria

Rafellin

Troyzan787

Guttersnipe

Christine wheelwright

Paul j Menzies

Teresa *

TJ - what a lovely ending!

Swank*

Ursa*
 
It seems I failed to vote for three stories - later perusal says I only marked two. For what it's worth, my third choice was Teresa's story. And many thanks Elvet for noticing mine

My muse dropped in with a first line over Easter (now the first line of verse 3) while my sister and partner drove across to Zürich to meet her new grand daughter for the first time - a grand daughter now standing, if there's something to hold onto. I’ve only seen her on someone else’s smart phone.
 
Complex, colourful bunch this month - here's my 7 fave threads, inc. 3 votes *
@Cat's Cradle
@Astro Pen
@Peter V *
@Christine Wheelwright
@Luiglin *
@Elckerlyc
@Swank *

Thanks @johnnyjet , @Peter V and @THX1138 for your votes, and @Christine Wheelwright , @AnRoinnUltra and @Starbeast for your comments/listings, and as always, thanks @Parson and @Victoria Silverwolf for your kind reviews.

By all accounts (well, YouTube and Tiktok) the SF element in my entry is no longer SF after the release of GPT-4o… and it's still only Tuesday.

We live in interesting times.

D
 
Nothing like waiting until nearly the last minute but here I go to vote.

Shortlisted:

Stored Away by @Cat's Cradle because of the sense of quiet desperation it evokes.
The Spider Queen by @Victoria Silverwolf because it sounds like an ancient Fairy Tale.
Unbreakable Connection by @Peter V because it had such a great and unexpected ending.
mercede, n.: payment, reward, punishment by @reebee because it teaches an important lesson on power.
Story by @Teresa Edgerton because it is such a cold revenge story and yet it has a moral.

I voted for Stored Away by @Cat's Cradle; The Spider Queen by @Victoria Silverwolf and the story by @Teresa Edgerton.

I don't believe I've ever seen such a variety of interpretations, unfortunately I could not find one for myself.
 
As usual, I find the voting difficult to comprehend.

I understand that this is largely a subjective exercise, but aren't there some objective criteria? The competition rules require a story, ie some form of micro fiction, and yet vignettes, description, back story, lore, and other forms of expo are front-running the pack yet again this month, as they do every month. Pleasing yes, well done for what they are, yes... but are they stories? No. I know members here who have stated they won't vote for a piece if it has grammatical errors or typos... yet they apparently will vote for non-stories. I don't get the seemingly arbitrary application of the rules.

A narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Conflict. Story elements. That's what I'm looking for, and writing such is so much tougher to pull off than a pleasing vignette.

So for those who did deliver a story, a full-on standing ovation for your endeavour from me. Even better if your conflict or antagonist had some depth, sympathy, and/or grey-ness to it that made the writing feel less like polemic or propaganda and more like a story. So don't take the poll to heart: if you put up something with conflict in it, you've taken the harder path and your writing development will be better for it.

(And yes, I'm aware that the paragraphs above constitute stirring the pot. Good. As writers, we all want that over comfort and complacency, don't we?)

While this is not an exhaustive list of those entries that did have an actual story with actual conflict, I personally thought these writers provided the best efforts out of that group:

@johnnyjet
@AnRoinnUltra
@The Judge

@Cat's Cradle
@Starbeast
@Ursa major

With the top 3 as my picks.
 
@Paul J. Menzies — I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your opinion. These challenges are subjective on both sides (ie reader and author) so there’s bound to be differences in voting criteria.

We all apply our own biases. And if you translate it to the larger world of literature you’ll find even more diversity as to what constitutes a story. There are classics in genre fiction that get raved about that I don’t ‘get’. And then others that I’m surprised aren’t household names.

And I’m not beyond stirring the pot myself now and again ;)
 
My own criteria for what constututes a story in these Challenges is asking 'what happened in that entry'?

If it's just descriptive text, then notbing happens; it's like describing an oil painting. But I don't think that this happens very often in the Challenges.

With limited word count, there has to be a pay-off beteeen action and description; some side with one over the other, whilst some try for a more balanced option.

But what constitutes a story, and makes for a valid entry, varies from person to person. I have entered several timez (and won once) with entries that are purely conversational in format. It's arguable (although I'd disagree) that those don't constitute as stories at all.

But we all have our own opinions, and they are all valid when it comes to voting. But it also helps to emphasise the point that a lack of votes in the Challenges is rarely down to a lack of quality or a lack of ability from the author. Sometimes it's a case of gauging your audience.
 
But we all have our own opinions, and they are all valid when it comes to voting. But it also helps to emphasise the point that a lack of votes in the Challenges is rarely down to a lack of quality or a lack of ability from the author. Sometimes it's a case of gauging your audience.
Nor indeed should a zero points story encourage you start writing to please others rather than yourself.
I never approach these with a pedantic adherence to the brief. Rather as a seed for my imagination. So yes, those of a pedantic mindset will probably not vote for my entry, but it will go into my "ideas" folder and often emerge elsewhere in an elaborated/extended form. We are not here to pass an exam but for the sheer joy of creating prose. :)
 
As usual, I find the voting difficult to comprehend.

I understand that this is largely a subjective exercise, but aren't there some objective criteria? The competition rules require a story, ie some form of micro fiction, and yet vignettes, description, back story, lore, and other forms of expo are front-running the pack yet again this month, as they do every month. Pleasing yes, well done for what they are, yes... but are they stories? No. I know members here who have stated they won't vote for a piece if it has grammatical errors or typos... yet they apparently will vote for non-stories. I don't get the seemingly arbitrary application of the rules.

A narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Conflict. Story elements. That's what I'm looking for, and writing such is so much tougher to pull off than a pleasing vignette.

So for those who did deliver a story, a full-on standing ovation for your endeavour from me. Even better if your conflict or antagonist had some depth, sympathy, and/or grey-ness to it that made the writing feel less like polemic or propaganda and more like a story. So don't take the poll to heart: if you put up something with conflict in it, you've taken the harder path and your writing development will be better for it.

(And yes, I'm aware that the paragraphs above constitute stirring the pot. Good. As writers, we all want that over comfort and complacency, don't we?)

While this is not an exhaustive list of those entries that did have an actual story with actual conflict, I personally thought these writers provided the best efforts out of that group:

@johnnyjet
@AnRoinnUltra
@The Judge

@Cat's Cradle
@Starbeast
@Ursa major

With the top 3 as my picks.
I don't see how my entry lacks everything you mention. Maybe I need to go back to school.
 
Going off of the Pole for this 300 wooder challenge, I would say all of the stories were well received this month. Even us in the not voted for group as well.

I use these 300-word challenges to push and develop my story writing skills and imagination and to just have fun at it. True, many of mine are more in the 'Good idea' category, and some are just way too deep into the thinker side. But I wrote it and enjoyed doing so.
 
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