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
invisibleninjagirl
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invisibleninjagirl
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Purple skies and bright blue sunshine sprinkle across an imaginary land, breaking through darkness to take me to my fantasy world.

Cenere
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Cenere
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W1nnar: Cenere!

Yay!
So go and ask Gantic to give you a merit.

D:

I am entirely reading that as Science Fantasy and will go with that as my theme. Much more fun than either of those.

He began dissecting the dead being we had found earlier. A small being with more limps than should have been permitted by nature. And yetâ¦

Sadly, it's not perfect, and I have a strong urge to write more about it (the above is pretty much a sliced up version of what I originally wrote, but 350 characters seemed a little steep) but we will see how it goes.
killersup10
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killersup10
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Star ships, bullets people crying, blood everywhere. Robots coughing the hopes of humanity into the dread hole. Hope is death, the end here

aknerd
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aknerd
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I can't decide between two entries-

Ah, the pain as dreams of a million stars die! For I, the last on board the rocket, was the first to remember that I left the kettle on.

-and-

A cruel flash tears us from our dinner. My wife slowly floats toward me. In space, we both scream the same silent scream. We float forever.

Zahz
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Zahz
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To y0u It iS magic, to h3r it is sc1ence and to Me the dis4inCtion Is meaningless $o let us talk about something that matters. Like Destiny.



This is the cummings shot. Uh Gantic.

*gambit

jeol
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jeol
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D'ohw :/ I didn't think of that... I just wrote what was easiest to me :P

Not really sure if this ties in exactly with the theme, but here goes.

Staring at the great flaming beast, I implored of it to give me my true freedom. True freedom it gave me; the self-aware star enveloped me.

Also, I can never hit 140 exactly. That annoys me much so. >:

pHacon
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pHacon
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I am laaaaaaaaaaate. But since you said I wasn't, here you go.

As the metal beast flamed, screeching through the heavens, the pilot looked down to her home and prayed to provide for her impoverished kin.

P.S., her co-pilot is her girlfriend. Maybe.

Xzeno
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Xzeno
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Okay I got this.

The Mass Voidray Medal goes to: Invisibleninjagirl! I have to wonder why an invisible girl would train to be a ninja. Redundant much? Her name tempted me to name 3rd place "When Behind Dark Shrine" but that isn't as bronze a strat. Her entry:

"Purple skies and bright blue sunshine sprinkle across an imaginary land, breaking through darkness to take me to my fantasy world."

Is this sci-fi? Is this fantasy? I can't tell. Kick ***. I like this entry because it's so cheerful. It's just "this scene is nice. That's nice". And that's nice. I'd be tempted to label this one as a pure flight of fantasy, but Ninjagirl, pullin' a Cenere here, using context to create meaning where she lacks characters. The theme of the contest puts ambiguity in any piece, making us wonder if it's swords and sorcery or spaceships and stars. Or some Shadowrun stuff. Is this some fantasy world, or is it a distant planet? I like to imagine it's some Matrix-esque virtual reality.

So yes, I like how this entry is kinda cheerful. It's pleasant.

The Young, Fresh, Technomage Award goes to... KingOfAthlum! Athlum, huh? What's that? I don't know. King is already rocking the fantasy theme. But then he decided to go with the sci fi route. Oh well, it's whatever, here's his entry!

"His space helmet shattered, he stared at star and planet light by night. Waiting for the end for it was nigh. His luck....an alien flew by."

This is kinda weird, right? Silver medal, Aknerd owns that. But he was indecisive. He probably wanted me to pick the best for him (it's the first, by the way) but I decided to ignore his entries in judging instead! Yeah! You can't predict me! Just like Athlum's crazy fantasy name sci fi entry switchup. This thread is nuts!

This is the exemplar of what I call the "sad" entries. This, and its kin, are kinda downers. Bad stuff happens to people and life is sad. But since sad is really just happy for deep people, we over here in the twiction contest eat that stuff up. I like sad stories. Always have. And there's something about sci fi that lends itself to sad situations. HP Lovecraft would tell you the sci fi adds just another layer of mystery, creating a lonely and alien world, the only relatable features of which are the loss felt by the characters. I'd tell you... HP Lovecraft is a ******. But anyway, let's look at the sad entries and see why King's is the best.

Killersup's is nice because it tries to capture a single moment and show the results. And both are sad. However, the writing isn't as crisp as King's. The phrase "hope is death" in context scores Killer some MAD sci finess points.

Aknerd's better entry was cute and kinda sad. But the humor out of a sad situation mitigates the entertainment value of the sadness. So while Aknerd's made me laugh and cry on the inside, King's... why did it win again? Oh right. Aknerd couldn't decide. Otherwise he'd be solid.

pHacon enters late but I don't care he's in the running and OH! he enters strong! He sees Cen's female protagonist and raises him female homosexuality! pH is bringing the big guns to this one people, hoping he can bust loose another one of those instant win cards, and it would have worked if not for two key features:

1. The lesbianism is only mentioned in the postscript so only half credit there.
2. It's not as sad as the others.
3. I already imagined the character in your entry as Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, whose lesbian love interest is distinctly NOT her copilot. Although I almost reflexively assume it exists.

For those two reasons, pH does not manage to lock down that quick win.

King's entry, unlike the others, had an ambiguous ending. That's not better or worse by itself, although for what it's worth, I think ambiguity is easy and a little obvious. But King uses it well! The alien at the end. Is it gonna help him? Is it gonna kill him? Is it what put him in this bad situation in the first place. I personally imagine that the spaceman, with his shattered helmet, is looking at the beauty of space. Only at this moment does he fully understand the magnitude of humanity's actions, touching the heavens. Then the alien swoops by and obliterates him. The alien then presumably laughs and moves his ship up and down over the corpse. But hey, spaceman was saved from a more spectacular blood boiling exploding space death.

The reason I read the alien is hostile is because that's just what the ellipsis says to me. The reason I liked King's entry is not because I thought of that stuff. The reason I liked it is because it made me think of that stuff. While everybody's really done a good job of amping up the narrative element this round, King's narrative was just stronger and more evocative than the others. Oh, by the way, Aknerd, good job not losing your style but adding plot and characters. Thumbs up there.

The Self-Sustaining Maelstrom of Psychic Energy award goes to Zahz! His name itself being a sci fi reference at least as oblique as the one I just made, Zahz has tomfoolery ready to roll. He goes for some more wackiness this round and wins because why the hell not? His entry:

"To y0u It iS magic, to h3r it is sc1ence and to Me the dis4inCtion Is meaningless $o let us talk about something that matters. Like Destiny." I have no idea what the weird leetspeak is doing but e.e. cummings is a pretty boss guy so it's okay. So first let's analyze this artistic choice. Cummings shot. Oh ho ho ho. Clever. Wait, the cummings Gantic. The humor of the situation being that Gantic writes obtuse things rather than anything with actual literary value, and people assume they don't understand it because it's so good. It's a wordplay on gambit. Bam!

The only possible reason for the leetstuff is to put emphasis on the last line. Which is conceptually different enough to be noticeable, and its positioning at the end as its own sentence does that well enough. But okay. I liked this entry because the pacing is solid. It builds up nicely. Too lazy to talk more. Zahz isn't a real member of this community anyway. He wins.

The Blue Pill Award! This is the Champion's Corner, by the way. So it's Cen's entry!

"He began dissecting the dead being we had found earlier. A small being with more limps than should have been permitted by nature. And yetâ¦"

So here's the thing. We're continuing the Champion's Corner theme of mercilessly ridiculing the previous winner's effort even if it is good. So let's see... Cen's describing some creatures which have more limps than they should. Limps. I guess they got into a pretty dicey situation. I'm imagining the protagonist of this piece as a young vet who wants to treat all the kittens. And we end with... an ellipsis! I guess when Cen was cutting down from 'tree fiddy characters, he really needed to keep those extra periods.

I actually really liked this entry and had a lot of nice things to say about it. BUT THAT'S JUST NOT HOW WE DO IT IN THE CHAMPION'S CORNER! YEAH!

I'mma double post for the theme because this has gone on too long.

Xzeno
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Xzeno
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'Twas a dark and spooky night. You were walking through the woods back to your dorm one night when you saw, out of the corner of your eye, a pale-skinned woman with blood red lips. She enacts her dark seduction, but you escape the bloodsucking fiend, only to notice that it's the full moon. Your best friend, whose name is Becky in this scenario, transforms into a creature that is more wolf than man as a symbol of humanity's more bestial urges. You run for your life, making it back to the dorm just as Becky mauls some coeds. Having escaped from vampires and werewolves, you slip into your dorm, panting heavily. You think you're finally safe, but just as you turn on the light, man door hand hook car door.

That's right. In this round of the Twiction contest, our writers are arrayed against the creatures of the night! Whether it's vampire, changeling, werewolf or Shia Labeouf, your task is to write about the type of creatures that occupy a darker, more emo type of fantasy. No dragons and wizards, just a world of darkness.

The theme is Gothic Fantasy. I'm trying to explain what that theme means but I think you know when I say "vampires and werewolves and wraiths oh my!" Whether your drawing inspiration from nWoD or Twilight, have at it! The due date is Thursday, July 19th!

Cenere
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nWoD, you say? Sure.

He rose, shaking off the dirt and stones off his stitched, artificial body, and for the first time he could see the sun rise. He smiled.

Probably set the wrong mood for myself, but writing about the horrors of being a monster gets old after a while.

CheapCheep
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CheapCheep
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So, I hope I'm translating this right because this is my first time. What i'm getting at is that based on the theme, I write about the theme in excatly 140 letters? Hope so. Here I go!

Gothic Fantasy

The blacks and grays all twirl into a vortex of misfortune. This is my paradise. I befriend all who live by my rule. This world is mine to conquer. And none shall escape my world.

Yay! Exactly 140!

invisibleninjagirl
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Aww, shucks! Thank you, Xzeno! Third place all the way!

I also like the Shia Labeouf reference in the theme. Guessing you have a tumblr?

Well, without further ado, here is my entry!

I am the darkness, and the darkness is me. We are endless, and trying to flee from us will require you lose your humanity.

dair5
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I lowered my scythe to his chest. Dug in, and reeled out a soul. It was bitter, and dry. Another one slept by him. Soon heâd be bitter too.

killersup10
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As her cold lips meet mine under the blackened night, I feel my wrecked soul begin to open yet again as if it be a fantasy that I am to love




wow,all Killersup can say......

killersup10
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killersup10
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As her cold lips meet mine under the blackened night, I feel my wrecked soul begin to open yet again as if it be a fantasy that I am to love

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