Scene Challenge of the Week

Madame BovaryWell, I think I’m finally finished editing a paper and ready to resubmit it to a journal. Hopefully this time it’s accepted. I’ve found that the most frustrating (and often the most difficult) part of trying to get published academically is simply finding journals to submit to. I’ve started keeping a list of possibilities simply because the search often seems like The Neverending Story–which is a movie that I have hated for a very, very long time. Anyway, I have a scene challenge for you and you all should know the rules, but just in case: I provide you with specific rules for how to write a particular scene.  Try to keep your scene under five hundred words, and try to keep it in the same tone as the introduction.  If I give a line that is very dark and depressing, then I don’t want to see a scene about a drunken monkey in a tutu…it just doesn’t fit. If I do give you a line about a drunken monkey in a tutu, then you should probably try for a funny scene.

Your challenge: Choose one of your favorite scenes from a novel. After reading the scene a couple of times, rewrite it in your own style and voice. The characters and basic elements of the scene should remain the same, but the way it is written should reflect your voice and style of writing, rather than the original author’s. This can be very challenging, so don’t be too disappointed if you need a few tries to go it well.

Plot Challenge of the Week

Alright, you all know the rules for the plot challenges, and you know how they work.  I do want to let everyone know that I am considering changing the format of the blog.  As you will notice, yesterday’s post was a guest post, and a very good one if I say so myself.  I’ve been writing this blog for several months now, and I’ve seen very little response to the writing challenges that I post.  Now, I realize that it is entirely possible that people are making use of the challenges, but not posting their responses for any number of reasons, and if this is the case then I do not want to deprive my readers of this resource.  So, I’m going to be asking for responses in a few posts over the next few weeks, do you (as a reader) see value in these writing challenges? Do you use them? If so, let me know so that I can keep posting them.  If not, then let me know so that I can provide better content for my readers.

You can use the cat in your story if you want to. 🙂

Today’s Setting: An empty room.  The door is locked with two deadbolts, and the windows are barred.  There are no furnishings of any kind in the room, and the characters do not know how they got into the room, or what is wanted from them.  You may treat the characters as if they are from a fantasy setting, a modern setting, a sci-fi setting, or a mix of all three.

You’re Characters:

Ejihama: A businessman.  Ejihama is a non-nonsense type of person who has little interest in anything that is not directly productive.  He does not care for speculation, thinks philosophy and literature is a waste of time, and generally assumes that he knows what is best in any situation.

Himmon: A mercenary.  Himmon is a soldier by trade, he was once a patriot, but fighting for his country led him to a number of questionable actions.  Now Himmon is a mercenary, and he considers himself a virtuous warrior.  Himmon only takes contracts that he feels that he can support, but he is a man of action.  Himmon sees the value in seeking out the deeper roots of things, but when it comes down to brass tacks he would rather take action than ask questions.

Peiter: A Scholar.  Peiter is a failed writer, philosopher, and part-time teacher.  He often deals with students that don’t particularly want to learn, which makes him a very frustrated man.  However, he is a man who likes puzzles, and especially finding their solutions, he wants to understand everything, and is always skeptical.

Autumn: A doctor.  Autumn is a woman who is often frustrated by failure.  Though she is a dedicated and skilled doctor, she doesn’t deal well with failure.  She understands that the nature of her profession includes death, but she sees every lost patient as a personal failure, and recently left her position because she didn’t believe herself capable of making a difference.  She is now struggling with her own self-worth.

Scene Challenge of the Week

That's quite a pair of chompers!

Alright, we’re back to normal, so this weeks scene challenge has no special rules or weird themes, just your normal craziness.  If you don’t remember the rules here they are: I provide you with the beginning of a scene (from a phrase to two sentences) and you finish it.  Try to keep your scene under five hundred words, and try to keep it in the same tone as the introduction.  If I give a line that is very dark and depressing, then I don’t want to see a scene about a drunken monkey in a tutu…it just doesn’t fit.  If I do give you a line about a drunken monkey in a tutu, then you should probably try for a funny scene.

Your scene:

“Hestrian stared into the massive jaws, feeling his knees shake at the thought of them closing around him…”

So, what is the thing with the jaws, and what’s going to happen to Hestrian?

Scene Challenge of the Week

Yummy!!!

So, Halloween is getting closer and it’s a holiday that’s all about sugar rushes and pretending to be someone you’re not.  This week I want to focus on the candy part of the holiday.  We all know what happens when a kid has too much candy, so now tell me some of your stories.  If you don’t remember the rules here they are: I provide you with the beginning of a scene (from a phrase to two sentences) and you finish it.  Try to keep your scene under five hundred words, and try to keep it in the same tone as the introduction.  If I give a line that is very dark and depressing, then I don’t want to see a scene about a drunken monkey in a tutu…it just doesn’t fit.  If I do give you a line about a drunken monkey in a tutu, then you should probably try for a funny scene.

So, your starter:

“Alex tore the wrapping off another piece of chocolate…”

Scene Challenge of the Week

Is it the Cookie Monster?

Does anyone else feel like Wednesday happens a lot?  Anyway, Wednesday means time for another scene challenge, and in honor of Halloween I want you all to take this scene and make it scary.  If you forgot, here are the rules: I provide you with the beginning of a scene (from a phrase to two sentences) and you finish it.  Try to keep your scene under five hundred words, and try to keep it in the same tone as the introduction.  If I give a line that is very dark and depressing, then I don’t want to see a scene about a drunken monkey in a tutu…it just doesn’t fit.  If I do give you a line about a drunken monkey in a tutu, then you should probably try for a funny scene.

Your scene:

“Amy let the oven drop open.  Pulling on her oven mitt she reached in for the tray of chocolate chip cookies that she could already smell…”

 

Plot Challenge of the Week

Addisol's father and two of his retainers.

Alright, it’s time for this week’s plot challenge.  If you can’t remember the rule here they are: I provide you with a setting, and up to five characters, and then you come up with one or more plots that would fit.  This weeks plot challenge is partially inspired by the movie Super 8 and partially by the anime Now and Then, Here and There.

Your Setting:  The setting for this plot challenge is a fantastical version of War-Torn Israel during the crusades.  Magic is very real, and happens on a regular basis.  Islamic forces summon wicked Djinn to do their bidding, while corrupt priests unleash horrific demons onto the battlefield.  More honorable forces on both sides do their best to ignore the horrors and rigors of war, and the wicked things that it drives men too, while battle both their foes and the creatures that are unleashed.

Your Characters:

Alec: A nine year old boy who was brought to Damascus as a squire.  He has seen battle several times, and is considering fleeing his duties, but has not yet made this decision.

Amim: Amim is seven years old, and was taken as a war captive during a recent battle.  He is currently held in a makeshift cell outside of the barracks.

Addisol: The eight year old daughter of a knight who was brought to war by her father, though she does not know the reason why.  She lives in the northern portion of Damascus.

Scene Challenge of the Week

Amin?

It’s Wednesday, which means that it’s time for another scene challenge.  I hope you all are ready to get creative.  If you don’t remember the rules here they are: I provide you with the beginning of a scene (from a phrase to two sentences) and you finish it.  Try to keep your scene under five hundred words, and try to keep it in the same tone as the introduction.  If I give a line that is very dark and depressing, then I don’t want to see a scene about a drunken monkey in a tutu…it just doesn’t fit.  If I do give you a line about a drunken monkey in a tutu, then you should probably try for a funny scene.

So, your intro:

“The room grew silent as Amin let the knife slip from his suddenly numb fingers.  The clangor of the knife hitting the floor seemed abnormally loud as he whispered, “What have I done?”

Alright, take off with it.  Surprise me!

Story Challenge of the Week

Remember...miniature giant space hamsters require timely feeding!

Bwahahahahahahahaha!!! It Monday, which means its time for another story challenge.  I’m sure most of you know the rules by now, but for any new people here they are:  I provide you with three words, a verb, a noun, and a random word.  You then use these to write a story.  Your story must be flash fiction (under 1000 words) and if you are going to post it in the comments, then please keep it around 500 words.  I’ll do my best to respond to all of the stories posted (or emailed to me), but I’m as busy as you are (maybe more), so I might not get to all of them.  Also, you may use any form of the words I post, but nouns must remain nouns, and verbs must remain verbs, etc.

Your words for the week are:

Verb: Eviscerate

Noun: Hamster

Random Word: Flying Machine

Have fun with these!  I would love to see some non-violent stories that include the word eviscerate – that’s a challenge.