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.

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Zahz
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Zahz
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His crimson, sanguine blood coursed onto the obsidian velvet from the twisted tortured fetter he called a soul.



Cause only posers use 140.

thisisnotanalt
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thisisnotanalt
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*Tears and raindrops stain his sword; no sorcery can fix this tragedy. The trees weep with him, his thoughts echoing across his surroundings.

aknerd
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aknerd
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She slides the rope over her thick slimy neck. With one last look at the piled bodies of those meddling kids, she closes her eyes and falls.

acmed
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acmed
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Pale skin meets a dark sinister shadow. Souls of black and white touch as the balance of right and wrong meet as one. Night dawns tonight...


I don't even anything...

CheapCheep
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CheapCheep
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Last day!!!

Xzeno
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Xzeno
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Alright *cracks neck* let's do this thing. And no, Invisible Ninja Girl, I do not have a tumblr. Tumblr is too mainstream for me.

The Dusk Award: Killer? WHAT'S UP!? Here's the entry: "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"

Alright, so one of the things I suggested as an inspiration was Twilight. So what does Killersup do? He writes about a vampire in love with a human. Awesome. I seem to remember more entries dealing with love before I started judging, but I think only Killersup's really deals with the theme of romantic love. I like how complex the last clause is. It actually took me a bit to get, but I really like the double meaning of "fantasy that I am to love". I like how this entry is primarily one of simple romance with sexy vampires, but its ending hints at darker possibilities. Gothic fantasy right there. Besides, I like romance. Well darn, I meant to compare it to other people's stuff but this genre was only really explored by Killersup.

The Lurking Shadow Award: The Danish Sensation comes in for another placing entry. Here it is: "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."

Cool. One thing I liked about this entry is that Cen's only real guidance was "like, vampires, werewolves and stuff" and he proceeded to be like "Okay. Lemme just write about this frankensteiny sorta guy." And guys, it's time to stop all the silliness and think about something: If Frankensteiny dudes weren't mentioned in the theme description, how did Cen know they would fly?

Cenere knows what's up, guys. That's just it. Cen isn't merely pawwing idly at the concept of Gothic Fantasy. He knows what gothic fantasy is like. Sewn together lab monsters are totally part of gothic fantasy. Frankenstein itself might even qualify as a work of gothic fantasy. Cenere does a great job of showing a lot in this entry. We can assume that this creature escaped from somewhere, violently, because of he debris. Cenere doesn't mention this, he just shows it.

But then, he describes the monstrous body of the creature. Then he describes it viewing what is to us a normal thing but to this creature has greater and darker implications. Then he smiles. This smile continues the theme of contrasting light and dark and creating a more sinister version of an everyday thing. It gains its sinister edge not only because of the dark implications of the first view of the sun, but also because of the previous associations of the creature's body and some scariness.

That's gothic fantasy. Not the only way to do it, sure, but it is definitely a good one. You don't even need evil monsters. I personally imagine the meat monster in Cen's issue as more of a victim, but it doesn't really matter. The way sinister elements are added to the story don't really depend on it.

Of all the entries, I feel like Cen's got the theme the best. But I feel like evveryone did a really good job with this theme. I've seen a lot of good stuff all around, but just casually, I think we do best with the "genre" themes, such as gothic fantasy and sci fi. I think those had the strongest pools of entries. Not that this means I'll only use themes like that from now on. I still want to use some general themes (i.e. "nature" "Internet&quot and revisit historical fiction. Beyond that, I want to do an exercise in form, which brings me to the next theme, which is- wait, we still have two more entries to look at.

The Creature of the Night Award: The surprise entrant! The man with a plan! That dude from the haiku contest! Acmed! "Pale skin meets a dark sinister shadow. Souls of black and white touch as the balance of right and wrong meet as one. Night dawns tonight..." Alright, this entry was one of what I mentally labeled the "dark entries" which was unsurprisingly most of them. Now, that isn't bad. It very obviously fits with the theme. Heck, one of the "dark" entries won, so don't be down on them. Acmed distinguished himself from the others by employing very strong contrasts between light and dark throughout. It's very ambiguous whether the light is being victimized or coming to some sort of peaceful compromise with the dark. "Night dawns tonight" is also an uncomfortably cool line. If it was on a movie poster (and it could be) I would laugh at it when my friends were around and repeat it to myself when no one could hear me to sound cool. I do that. *glances furtively over shoulder* sapphirenightmareblade!

Alright, since you won, go ask Gantic for a merit. He is the merit guy for this contest.

The Werecatgirl Award: In case no one knows, the winner from last round's entry is always examined here, and then mocked, usually for tiny grammatical errors. So the award goes to Zahz. Here's his crap excuse for an entry: "His crimson, sanguine blood coursed onto the obsidian velvet from the twisted tortured fetter he called a soul."

Zahz claims that only posers use 140 characters, but apparently posers also use 111 characters. Now, he says, more distinctly, "cause only posers use 140". While this is clearly unparsable, here are three options for what Zahz may have meant:

1. Because only posers use all 140 characters they are allotted.
2. 'cause (see how the apostrophe helps?) only posers use 140, the new drug sweeping our nations youth.
3. Because Darko, God of Darkness demands it.

I chose the first version. Onto the text of the entry. Zahz's approach to satire is thus: "Hey, I don't like this theme. So I'll do it exactly, but worse. That'll show 'em!" Of course, this only works if the satire is actually funny. Zahz went for "satirically dark" but ended up with "blackface".

Alright, so the next theme is our first exercise in form. The theme is... Palindromes! I know this is a challenging theme, but both of you that participate are absolutely super. For this round, your entry must be an original palindrome that tells a story of 140 charactes or less. Entries are due next Friday. And, uh... good freakin' luck.

Cenere
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Cenere
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I'll totally print that judging and put it up somewhere.

As for the current theme... :I

âOotsdrawkcabetirwcanikooâ.
Look, I can write backwards, too!

acmed
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acmed
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No.
Freakin.
Way.

I won? Seriously? Me?

...

Excuse me, while I go punch this dog....

killersup10
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It was about a vampire? umm sure why not *shrug*Killersup had not even thought about twilight.He was talking about a gothic boy kissing a gothic girl......but whatever mr.judge.

CheapCheep
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CheapCheep
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Ahh...I didnt place...

invisibleninjagirl
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invisibleninjagirl
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Palindromes...of all the things, Xzeno? Meh, I'll write it later :P

Zahz
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Zahz
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You're just mad because Birth of a Nation is uncomfortably close to being the funniest movie ever made.

CheapCheep
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CheapCheep
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Ego, deflated.

killersup10
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killersup10
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Moving like a RACECAR, running forward while falling backwards. Seeing through both parts with my EYE, both sides crumbling to a great hell.


This tells of a nascar driver who is going insane because he sees both infront of him and behind him.However when he trys to move his body tells him different and he fails.Its a hard consept to understand to some.It shows that what he is doing is all in vain.

killersup10
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killersup10
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Is killersup gonna win this round because nobody else post?????

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