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

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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
dudeguy45
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Bob paddled his kayak to see the aurora. But twas terribly cold up there, so he drove his race car to BoraBora; bit by snakes, to my horror.

i think that was harder than writing a poem.

aknerd
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These are all words.


We naive, not of fobbed evil, a reifier? A live deb: boffo to nevi anew.


Sorry if it is late...

killersup10
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Is the judge like.....dead or somthing???

aknerd
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Usually, when someone makes a theme like &quotalindromes", it is because they know they will get no seriously good entries. They do this because it is a simple way to justify ending a contest, without having to directly state that you want to end the contest.

killersup10
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Well that sucks.Killersup was hoping that this contest would be going for a while longer.Tis a sad day indeed.

Xzeno
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No, i just became busy at the same time. I adopted the master sleep schedule wherein you just take naps so you both spend 10 otherwise productive hours sleeping and are always tired. So I'm not going to be artful or write a judging in limericks or anything fun like that.

You fail. You all fail. Cen wins I guess for being on topic at all. But I won't hold it against him; he's eligible to win next round because it's a no contest Everyone loses.

BUT NOT EVERYTHING IS SORROW AND DEFEAT! We have the next theme.

We're going to try technical constraints again in a little bit. For now, we're doing more of our feel good best work, genres... sort of. This theme is more a trope than a genre. But oh, it's much more than a trope. It's my favorite trope. It's a trope that characterizes much of western literature and indeed the human condition. It is the story of becoming and being, of self discovery, of the meaning of life. It is not merely the greatest story ever told, but it is, in a way, the only story ever told, in millions of different ways since the dawn of humanity.

The Hero's Journey is the theme. So whatever that means to you, 140 or fewer characters by 14th of August.

aknerd
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Hey, I used a thesaurus and stuff! By middle school rules, that means I deserve at least a B-. And I mean, really, so what if my palindrome didn't use proper grammar, syntax, or, well, verbs? Stupid verbs. And the letter H. What is up with that? Why is h so unidirectional? Stupid H.

Also, protip: try taking eight consecutive one hour naps every 16 hours.

killersup10
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His unholy book by his side, the man set off into a unknown hell that will forever change him. With his poetry book in hand he will prevail.



yeah......

Salvidian
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The gallant knight donned his fantastical sheath and set out to dominate his to-be forsaken opponents. He'd not known the journey ahead...

139 characters.

Cenere
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I wrote about this story telling method once. I don't recall it going very well. Perhaps because the entire form annoys me a little with its happy-go-lucky plot outline. Sure, it's the outline of many big adventures and stories, but it is too easy of a play on the well known in my opinion.
Oh well.

He had come from a humble home, now facing the dragon to win a princess. But adventure was not his thing. He threw down his sword and left.

Not the most optimal way I could have told that story, but it will have to do for now.

killersup10
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He had come from a humble home, now facing the dragon to win a princess. But adventure was not his thing. He threw down his sword and left.


That was really simply worded,but......really well written.Quite strange indeed 0.o
aknerd
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Really, you were asking for this (though probably not):

Born in the throes of great sorrow, he now lives on in tacky billboards. He was too much, too much for one. We eat our heros made to order.

Get it? (And yes, that is how you spell the plural of that kind of hero, to save you the effort of checking)

flip_pride
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flip_pride
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"I hope I'm not late for work...", was the last thing he had said that morning. Now he's in a giant pig demon's stomach saving the world...

Xzeno
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Not sure if lack of interest in theme... or if judge missing killed contest.

The Dead Mentor Award goes to: Killersup! Killer entry, bro! His unholy book by his side, the man set off into a unknown hell that will forever change him. With his poetry book in hand he will prevail.

Oh man, an unholy book? This isn't very heroic. However, this entry almost nails word for word one of the core concepts of the hero's journey. The hero's undertaking effects some sort of internal change, which is the &quotoint" of the story, with the external events merely being the method of delivery. I liked this entry because it doesn't take "hero" too literally, mixing in darker images for a shockingly original take on- wait, poetry book!? This is just Dante's Inferno with some of the names changed, isn't it? Oh Ksup, trying to pull a fast one on us.

The Ragequit Award goes to Cenere! After *****ing and moaning about the topic, Cen came out with this: He had come from a humble home, now facing the dragon to win a princess. But adventure was not his thing. He threw down his sword and left.

Does this look like the hero's journey to you?
...
Yep, me too. It is. It's just the hero's journey. Atypical plotline, with a tinge of irony, but the core of the story isn't denying to trope. Humble average person rises to a great task (note that this entry most strongly represents the "hero goes to war" version) and has some salient moment of self-discovery. This entry is actually the best example of a simple, straight forward hero's journey. So HA!

Anyway, the reason Cenere does well in these things is because he knows how to show, not tell. He was conveying a simple concept, but he did it by showing the crucial, defining moment of internal transformation our hero had, which isn't easy. By using action instead of exposition at the crucial moment, Cenere made something that can be called readable in a tradition sense. The rest of you should look into showing and not telling too much.

Our advanced story tellers will note that Cenere TOTALLY TOLD about the dragon instead of really showing it. That was a-ok here though, because it brings the focus on the moment of the story that is shown, i.e. the &quotoint." Anyway...

The Hero of the Lore Award goes too...
*looks in envelope*

Really? Really? *sighs* fine. Whatever. Just give him his stupid gold medal already. He can have it. The winner was... AKNERD! YEAH! YOU GO MAN! IT SHOULD FEEL GOOD AFTER ALL THIS! Especially since you probably deserved it last round, I just literally didn't read your entry. Oh well, no one ever claimed this contest was well-run.

So yeah: Born in the throes of great sorrow, he now lives on in tacky billboards. He was too much, too much for one. We eat our heros made to order. As always, Aknerd makes a clever pun and does something cute for the round. Now, a great man once said that you don't win by doing clever and cute things. You instead win by... having a large, well composed army. The analogy kinda breaks down here, but the point is doing normal things right is the most consistent way to win.

But man, I thought Aknerd's was hilarious. Since second place was also a kind of jokey entry, I gave first to the one I thought was cuter and more clever.

So that wraps up this round. Which brings us to the next theme, which is... oh geez, what is it? Well when in doubt, just go with Natu -oh we already did that. Oh man. I really didn't think this through. You know what? Screw it. Love. We're doing love. Whatever. That's a good theme. Because really, Love and Death. What else is there? I would do Love and Death, but I've already seen The Notebook and don't want a bunch of first person widower whining about how great she was. So the theme is Love. Due the whenever you get around to it or August 22nd. Whichever comes first.

killersup10
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Love and Death. What else is there? I would do Love and Death


Ahhh yes,Killersup's specialty in poetry.This shall be awesome.
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