ForumsArt, Music, and WritingTwiction Contest -- The Greatest Story Ever Told [Conclusion Pg. 12]

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Xzeno
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Xzeno
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Armor Games has seen its fair share of writing contests. Tellingly, only the poetry has really caught on -- all prose contests tend to fall through within the first round. Perhaps more tellingly, the haiku contest is the only contest that's particularly active and receives broad participation. This is because the haiku is so constrained and short that people can get away with hackish excuses for poetry by merely stringing a few sentence fragments together with a vague nod to poetic form, giving the work the title &quotoetry" without giving the poet any need to worry about minor details like "rhyme" or "meter" or "meaning".

However, pretentious merit factory that it is, the haiku contest is successful because it appeals to our desire to do something artistic without actually putting any work into it. Constrained writing is good for that. Now, while I clearly have some issues with how constrained writing manifests itself sometimes, I do think it's really cool in principle. It's cool to see how a ridged form can mean so many different things to different people, and it does give a good metric for judging.

I, personally, never had much of a taste for Facebook statuses or tweets: as you can see, I much prefer to ramble. However, I am charmed by the ridiculously tiny character count. It's a beautiful thing when someone uses so few words to make meaning. And besides, this is the Internet, so what could be more fitting? If our attention span can't handle a short story contest (I know mine can't), then perhaps this is the prose contest AG needs.

So here's the idea: I'll be running a Twiction contest. Twiction is a genre of microfiction that asks the author to compose a work of prose that is exactly 140 characters long, inspired by the character limit of a tweet (hence the name).

So, without further inflammatory ramblings, here are the rules:
1. All entries must be 140 characters in length. No more, no less. Entries not meeting this standard are automatically disqualified. If no one meets the standard, no one wins. Titles and/or author attribution will be counted towards this total.
2. Any characters count. Punctuation marks are characters. Spaces are characters. Newlines are characters. Tabs* are characters.
3. This is a prose contest. Do not submit a poem. Feel free to make use of meter and rhyme if you want, as you would in prose, but entries will be judged to the standards of prose microfiction.

*Subrule that hardly matters: What? Tabs? AG doesn't support tab characters, I don't think, but I will. Five consecutive spaces will be counted as a single character. This will probably be a pointless rule, because I don't see anyone having such a dire need to indent, but here you go. Note that this only applies to five consecutive spaces, not spaces broken up by any other characters, and not newlines. Just spaces. Furthermore, it's worth noting that five spaces will always count as a single character: it will not be counted as five, even if that would be more convenient.

Now, basic judging standards:
1. Overall quality of work. Good writing is important. Good ideas are important. This contest asks the writer to create something with a meaningful impact on the reader in very few characters.
2. Spelling and grammar. Because of the character limit, this standard will be used to discourage weaseling one's way around the limit by omitting or adding characters in defiance of English spelling and grammar. Not all entries need perfect grammar and spelling, of course, but it helps. If you deliberately choose to violate grammar/spelling rules, do so because it helps the story make meaning, not to fit within the character limit.
3. There will be a theme I guess maybe. Themes help people write these things, I think. I just always worry that people will adhere to them far too closely, which is often the case in other contests. If the theme is "freedom", you don't need to write about people seeking freedom, or enjoying freedom, or an essay on the nature of freedom. The only requirement is that you write something esoterically related to the vague concept of freedom.

And... I think that's it. So there you have it: Twiction contest. First entries due a week from today at midnight AG time (that is, Monday, May 28th). This week's theme is the Internet. I guess. If y'all are into themes. Seemed fitting, given the inspiration of the contest.

I'll be judging the first round. While I'm clearly not qualified to offer a merit as a prize, the winner will receive a merit if there is enough interest.

  • 122 Replies
jeol
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jeol
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PLEAAAAAAAAAAAASE

What do you say, Acmed?

Can we add unnecessary punctuation?
Hallfrost00
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Hallfrost00
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So, there was this really hot chick. She had boobs and stuff you know? So this dude thought she was beautiful, so they went out. the end.

Xzeno
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Xzeno
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Can it stay? PLEAAAAAAAAAAAASE
Oh, how could I resist the siren cry of &quotlease". Your entry will be disqualified if it does not meet the character requirement. If you are having trouble counting characters, I recommend the following:

public static int charsInTwiction( String tweet )
{
int count;
for ( count = 0 ; count < tweet.length() ; count++ );
return count;
}

That's almost exactly what my method looks like.

Anyway, moving on: Stormdragon, I count 139 characters in your story. Can you double check to make sure it fits in the character limit? The first line is 15, then the newline is 1, then the next paragraph is 123 characters. For a total of 139. I like the concept.

Hallfrost, your entry looks good. Not EXACTLY sure how it relates to the theme. I'll judge it as is, but if, say, I forgot to tell you there was a theme, feel free to submit an update.

I think having a range would be easier cause then I could express the irony of this in a way that sounds better.
Noted. Your opinion will be considered as the rules are updated after this round. Thank you for your feedback.
StormDragon
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StormDragon
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Think about it:
The internet is a place with unlimited space. Yet we had to come up with a new system so we will not run out of addresses.

Stormdragon, I count 139 characters in your story. Can you double check to make sure it fits in the character limit? The first line is 15, then the newline is 1, then the next paragraph is 123 characters. For a total of 139. I like the concept.

I did miss count but only because I counted the space between up and with twice. I added an extra space between the two sentences in the paragraph so it will fit the character count.
Xzeno
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Xzeno
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390

Looks like it fits now, Stormdragon.

Anyway, I may not get around judging until Thursday.

Xzeno
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Xzeno
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Or today. So here's the judging:

Honorable mention: Cenere! Cenere's entry, page 1, was disqualified for character count. However, the writing was pretty good.

So, the entries: I'll talk about them, just based on my impressions.

3rd place:

Think about it:
The internet is a place with unlimited space. Yet we had to come up with a new system so we will not run out of addresses.


While my Xzenoy devotion to technical accuracy compels me to observe that the Internet does not have UNLIMITED space, I like the idea of this entry: He is observing the irony of the fact that the system is limited for arbitrary reasons rather than hard technical/mechanical issues. The implication of this twiction is more than &quotlanning ahead is good", to me, it says something about understanding the nature of the thing one is working with. It calls for a sort of understanding that goes deeper than mere factual knowledge. It suggests that problems arise when the design of something is at odds with its spirit. One flaw is that its extra space is trying too hard to fill the character limit.

2nd place:
Little hamsters, scurrying about, sending data back and forth to their destinations. They travel along this pathway -- this series of tubes.
First, Poison gets mad cred for not using cats. Series of tubes that cats crawl through is overdone. The strength of this entry is its clear focus. It embodies the spirit of the contest: to say something in a very string of text. Poison's entry paints a single image to describe the Internet. The tubes, to me, can be seen as one of those tubey hamster playground places that are awesome. The hamsters are of course integral to the structure: without them, it has no purpose and no life. The hamsters are the masters of the tubes. But, of course, they are merely hamsters. Small creatures in a series of tubes so vast that none is able to truly grasp all of it. To me, it characterizes and Internet that is more than the sum of its parts, and somewhat alien -- yet the image choices humble the whole affair. This juxtaposition between mighty and vast forces and less awe-inspiring forces is this entry's strength. It gets one to think about the nature of the Internet... and hamsters, of course.

Winner:
Now feast your eyes as millions view your embarrassments--while biting the thumb--to add insult to injury; you only have yourself to blame.
To me, this entry does its job quite well. That job, is, of course, distilling a human experience to 140 characters. Maybe it's just because I post stuff I invariably come to regret, but this is a part of the Internet for me. It focuses on a feeling we all know too well: the feeling that comes with the aftermath of doing something you regret online. Be it a facebook status or a post on this very forum, that lonely humiliation is known by all. I presume. The wonderful thing about this piece is that Frank doesn't spend too much time spelling out the emotion, he merely expresses a situation and allows the emotion to flow from the reader.

It's also interesting that this was written for the theme of "the Internet". It suggests that the experience is one fundamentally understood as part of Internet usage (and it is, for me). I also like the characterization of those who see what you wrote. As with the Internet, they have no mercy, no sympathy, no emotional connection to you. The last clause suggests that the addressee of the piece knows that such reactions are inevitable: such treatment is a mechanic of the Internet, a force of e-nature, as blameless as a hurricane. We just make the mistake of standing in its way.

This entry manages to distill a fundamental human experience and relate it to the nature of the Internet as a whole in a well-written way. Thus it wins.

Anyway, due to popular demand, the character limit will be changed to UP TO 140 characters. Whiners.

The next theme shall be The Cold War. What? The Cold War? But that's like a historical event! Xz, you're doing this wrong! Everyone knows that REAL art is about vague adjectives and nouns! Something like "nature" or "love"! I mean, who writes FICTION about real life when one can just write some vague phrases tied around a theme? The answer is no one on AG. Yet the theme remains the Cold War. Yes, I am speaking of the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, feel free to take the message about the vagueness of themes in the OP to heart.

Entries are due one week from today.
StormDragon
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StormDragon
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"War, war never changes." The franchise Fallout said this. When I look at the Cold War or any other war, past or present, I have to agree.

I'm surprised I got placed in the top 3. I was thinking that I would get placed lower then that or not mentioned, as has happened so many times I have entered something.

Cenere
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Is this when I manage to write a 141 character long story, just to spite you?

Also, if I knew double spaces were grammatically correct, I would ttly have cheated too. Except, probably not.

Cenere
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Cenere
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At a wonderful 140 characters (as counted by Word):

Living life in fear, paranoia is a way of life. If one attacks, so does the other, and who are we to stop them? We are not politicians. Why?

And no, I don't know why the twiction I write is so depressing. It just happens.

Pois0nArr0w
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Pois0nArr0w
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Words like daggers, poised at the backs of government. Bullets cast of subterfuge fire from the dark. Men of many faces hide in the shadows.

Eeyup

ellock
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ellock
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Countries locked in war, silent and undefined. Hidden in the dark data gained and lost simultaneously, like vipers in grass ready to strike.

I had to change poised to ready to fit the text. I was at 145 the first time and cut a few things down and did it! I do miss poised though. Oh well. Hope you like it.

aknerd
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aknerd
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I wonder how much fear could have been averted, how many lives could have been saved, if we had just whipped out the old ruler back in 1947.

TackyCrazyTNT
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TackyCrazyTNT
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It is far too late realized that a chilly silence is more dangerous than all weaponry in the world, and that a wall of iron can be far colder than the iciest summit.

Strop
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Strop
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This is when I realise I don't know much about what actually happened in the Cold War. Australia wasn't really part of it, you know.

"People said they would do things. The world fearfully stood, waiting for them to do the things they said they would do. Nobody did anything."

ellock
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ellock
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@Strop: I barely know anything and it is apart of US history .

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