May 24, 2019, 08:59:06 PM

Author Topic: Contest Theme Ideas  (Read 31637 times)

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • Total likes: 2111
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2015, 01:45:23 PM »
Oh you know what I mean.
But ok, to be pedantic, "non-human animals" :P
 ;D
8)

Clearly an opportunity for a Peppermint story, so we'd definitely enjoy that!  ;D

I do have a story start about gnomes and goats ruminating somewhere.
She said "non-human animals", not "fictional races" and "demons".
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Nora

  • Dropped in from another planet avec son sourire provocateur - et Hades and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4537
  • Total likes: 3521
  • Gender: Female
  • The Explorer
    • View Profile
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2015, 03:28:42 PM »
Still waiting for the "Dragon" month with trepidation.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline ClintACK

Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2015, 06:46:02 PM »

Ooh...

  • MYSTERY (though 1500 words could be a challenge)
  • Western
  • Dystopia
  • Hook 'em Horns (must catch the reader's interest strongly in the first hundred words)
  • Alien (or Monster) PoV with a distinctly inhuman psychology or perspective
  • Big Alien Artifact (ala Gateway, Rendevous with Rama, Ringworld, 2001, and the like...)
  • Break the Rules: At least two adjectives per sentence and one adverb per paragraph.
  • Break the Rules: Dialogue -- without the words "said" and "asked".  Bonus points for every Tom Swifty.
  • BtR: Must start with at least 100 words describing the weather...
  • BtR: It's a Prologue!

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • Total likes: 2111
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2015, 06:52:43 PM »
  • Break the Rules: Dialogue -- without the words "said" and "asked".  Bonus points for every Tom Swifty.
I Hate Dragons by Brandon Sanderson. You're welcome.  ;D
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Eclipse

  • Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4007
  • Total likes: 1969
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2015, 07:03:29 PM »
Space alien zombie Oprah, she's hell bent on galaxy domination she's turned her sights on to earth where she becomes a chat show host and feeds on emotion from the guests. After draining her guest's emotions  she hugs her guest therefore disguising that there are now a empty body and gets to inject her..... 
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 10514
  • Total likes: 6149
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2015, 07:05:00 PM »
We're all giving out ideas, but I bet @xiagan already has everything planned until the end of 2020 ;D
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all" - Douglas Adams

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2015, 07:12:27 PM »
  • Break the Rules: Dialogue -- without the words "said" and "asked".  Bonus points for every Tom Swifty.
I Hate Dragons by Brandon Sanderson. You're welcome.  ;D

I like this idea!

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2015, 08:05:29 PM »
  • Hook 'em Horns (must catch the reader's interest strongly in the first hundred words)

that reminds me:
  • Gig 'em Aggies (make a farmer's life interesting)

Offline ClintACK

Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2015, 08:39:04 PM »
  • Break the Rules: Dialogue -- without the words "said" and "asked".  Bonus points for every Tom Swifty.
I Hate Dragons by Brandon Sanderson. You're welcome.  ;D

Very neat.

I was actually thinking of the opposite -- making us use "He remarked.  She snarked.  He objected." and so on...  The Writing Excuses exercise was to make the voices distinct enough you didn't need any attribution tags at all.

I wrote something for that writing prompt way back when and ended up with a little Sci-fi piece... oh, there it is.

Spoiler for Terminal Condition, 1247 words:
“Shut it down!”

“What?”

“Shut it down, now.  Then smash it to bits, shred the blueprints, delete the research notes, and pretend you never had this hare-brained notion in the first place.”

“Is this a joke?  Who is this?”

“You built a time machine out of a telephone – who did you think would be calling you?  I’m you, and this is not a joke.  We screwed up.”

“What happened to the speech?  Alexander Graham Bell had to live forever with, ‘Mr. Watson – Come here – I want to see you.’  Now I have to live with ‘Shut it down’?!”

“Yeah, I scrapped the speech.  Knowing what I know now, it really sounded pompous and I thought I’d spare us that.  Also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, I really wanted to impress upon you the importance of shutting it down.”

“This isn’t going at all like I’d expected.”

“I know.  Sorry.  Look, it’s been a rough couple of months.  It didn’t take more than a few weeks to realize this was a terrible mistake, but it took much longer to rejigger the dialing mechanism to make sure I’d be the first call.”

“Wait.  That doesn’t make sense – if you weren’t the first call when you built the device, how could you have placed the first call to yourself – to me?”

“That’s part of what I’m trying to tell you.  Each time I received a call and reacted in any way to it, the whole future changed.  Moments later, I’d get another call from that new future with another complaint.”

“That sounds great.  More opportunities to fix things, to prevent tragic mistakes and create a better future – wasn’t that the whole point?”

“Yeah, that was the idea.  But everything went sideways.  ‘Unintended consequences’ doesn’t begin to cover it.  No matter what I did, there was always another panicked call from the future telling me how it went horribly wrong, or else demanding just one more tweak.  And that’s when I realized the real problem.”

“What’s that?”

“Human nature.  It’s just not in our nature to ever be satisfied, at least not for long.  There’s no such thing as ‘good enough’ – no way to shape our lives without even a single regret.”

“Okay, so eventually you’re reduced to helping people avoid a fashion faux pas, or something.  What’s the big deal?  That means you’ve certainly made a difference for the better, no?”

“You’re not thinking it through.  Not surprising – I certainly didn’t when I was, well, you, or something like that.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“What’s the end state?”

“The end state?”

“Yeah.  How does it end – the constant tweaking, changing the future sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse?  How does it end?”

“In a better world.  No 9/11, no Titanic, no Challenger Explosion, no wardrobe malfunction or thalidomide or mishandled AIDS epidemic.  We can fix things.  Important things.”

“Dammit.  I really should have paid better attention in that Theory of Games class.  Because we totally missed this.  When you get your better world, you’ll still be getting calls – at best, you get an asymptotic approach to an unachievable perfect world, or maybe an unstable bi-state with two possible futures in which those on the other end of the line always believe the grass would be greener in the other alternative.”

“Okay.  So what’s the problem?  Those both sound pretty nice, actually.”

“No, you’re not getting it.  It means you will always be tweaking things, creating a brand new future each time with the risk of more unintended consequences, until the infinite series terminates.  So, what would make it terminate?”

“Stop with the Socrates impersonation.  Just tell me.”

“Only two possible end states: Either there’s no time-phone to call you from, or there’s no one there to call.”

“What?  That’s nuts.”

“It’s not.  I’ve got a record of more than two dozen calls – not every tweak our future selves have suggested to our past ones changed things the way we expected.  A lot of times we made things worse.  Unintended Consequences.  Stop the Titanic, one of the kids grows up to invent bioterrorism and kill a billion people.  Only in real life the cause-effect relationship is much nuttier – butterfly wings, and all that.”

“So we just stop trying?”

“It’s a losing game.  We can keep shuffling the deck and drawing a new hand as many times as we like.  The game ends when either we choose to walk away, by destroying the phone, or we draw a royal flush, accidentally causing the extinction of the human race.  How do you win a game like that?  There’s only one way.”

“Dammit.  Alright.  I’ll do it – but, if this is going to be the only call I ever get from the future…”

“10-36-43-69-74, Red 2.  Just under twenty million.  You’re welcome.”

“Um.  Thanks?”

“Just destroy it – all the notes, too.  And make sure to tell Arnie that you were wrong, it didn’t work.  Say something about Information Theory, that always makes his eyes glaze over.”

“Yeah, yeah.  Me smash good.  Don’t worry – though Arnie may be a bit skeptical when I cash the lottery ticket.”

“Spend it well.  Classic car, trophy girlfriend, throw some good parties for our friends, but save some for real life after you’ve sown your oats.”

“Sure, sure.  Hey.  Wait.  What happens to you?”

“Heh.  Wondered if I’d think to ask that when I wasn’t the one about to find out.  No idea.  Either I never existed except as an uncaused-cause to make the ontologists squeal, or else I go on and live the rest of my life in this alternate future.  No idea at all – I feel real, but of course that’s what I’d say.”

“But then… that would mean we’re not really risking the end of the world…”

“Maybe – it might mean that.  But if that’s so, we’re also not doing any good – all the disasters we tried to prevent still happened all the same, we just got to sidestep to a different branch of the Manyworlds Tree.  There was still an accident on I-93, we just took a detour and didn’t have to see the wreckage.”

“You’ve thought about this a bit more than I have – are we still sure I should smash it?”

“Yes.  Either we’re playing a game of chicken with the fate of the whole species, or nothing we’re doing could ever make a difference anyway.  Heads, we lose.  Tails, tie game.  The only way to win is not to play.”

“Wargames.  Nice.”

“Alright then.  Wish me luck, and hoist a glass for me, just in case I turn out not to have ever existed.”

“Will do.  Hey, Me?”

“Yeah?”

“Did you buy a lottery ticket too?”

“Yes.  I’d imagine if we are Manyworldly, there are quite a number of us who will be enjoying our megabucks in style.  If not, there’s just you.  And we’ll never really know which it is. You might be the only one of us – take that seriously.”

“This is getting maudlin.  I’m going to hang up now, smash this thing, and go buy a lottery ticket.  And I’m going to resolutely believe that you’re off somewhere driving a classic motorcar in your alternate world with a feisty redhead in the passenger seat showing a bit too much leg.”

“And I’m going to resolutely believe that you’ll grow out of that quickly enough and find a good woman who likes kids and dogs.  Twenty million will get you a pretty big house.  Fill it wisely.”


Offline Nora

  • Dropped in from another planet avec son sourire provocateur - et Hades and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4537
  • Total likes: 3521
  • Gender: Female
  • The Explorer
    • View Profile
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2015, 03:37:27 AM »
  • Hook 'em Horns (must catch the reader's interest strongly in the first hundred words)

that reminds me:
  • Gig 'em Aggies (make a farmer's life interesting)

That's easy... As someone with a lot of farming experience and the technical diploma to become a produce farmer and apiarist, and worked in many organic farms, I can imagine quite a few plot lines that would make a farmer a great character...
There is also a very popular manga called "Silver Spoon" that follows a young, pretty lost city boy who decided to apply for a farming high school outside Tokyo, more to get away from his family than by real interest, and how he evolves and grows into this new environment. It's very well drawn and plotted and is lots of fun to read!
Like on this one occasion where some of the boys become to share elated whispers about "it" coming, and them needing desperately to go and see it, and the MC becomes entangled with this master plan of escape of the dormitories through the night, so they can sneak in a field to see something, he's got no idea what! And then a massive beam of light appears and it's actually a monstrously massive tractor that is only used once a year, and the student wanted a picture of it and see it themselves.

Spoiler for Hiden:

Obviously we know nothing of this, like the MC, and wonder for half a page wtf is this alien warship...


As for ideas for the contest, I'm really not keen on Western! Or else a fantasy western...
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline ClintACK

Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2015, 04:47:02 AM »
Fantasy Western can be cool -- Alloy of Law... the Gunslinger...

And Western doesn't necessarily mean one-horse towns in the desert and dueling revolvers at high noon.  It's more about the edge of civilization where one man can make a difference standing up to the darker elements of humanity that threaten to drag us back into anarchy.

There are a bunch of stories like that with the trappings of an entirely different genre from Robin Hood to Firefly.  Han Solo is pretty much a Western character stuck in a different genre.



Offline ClintACK

Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2015, 06:48:46 PM »
One more:

  • Stories which start with the main character(s) dying and goes forward (not back) from there...

Offline Nora

  • Dropped in from another planet avec son sourire provocateur - et Hades and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4537
  • Total likes: 3521
  • Gender: Female
  • The Explorer
    • View Profile
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2015, 12:18:35 PM »
One more:

  • Stories which start with the main character(s) dying and goes forward (not back) from there...

But then whoever we follow is the new MC no? I sorta fail to see how this would work.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline JMack

  • Hircum Magna Rex of the Fabled Atku Temple, and writing contest regular
  • Writing Group
  • Ringbearer
  • *****
  • Posts: 6873
  • Total likes: 4691
  • Gender: Male
  • Our daily efforts are love poems to the universe.
    • View Profile
    • Tales of Starlit Lands
Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2015, 12:51:52 PM »
I'm hoping for "HORROR" as the theme for October. Or something else related to Halloween.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline ClintACK

Re: Contest Theme Ideas
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2015, 01:44:54 PM »
One more:

  • Stories which start with the main character(s) dying and goes forward (not back) from there...

But then whoever we follow is the new MC no? I sorta fail to see how this would work.

We're writing SciFi.  No need for death to be the end.  Several random ideas:
  • Mad scientist assembles a Frankenstein's Monster using the protagonist's brain
  • Protagonist dies fighting a zombie horde, and rises as one of the dead -- a helpless observer in his shambling corpse... or is he?
  • Reincarnation is real, and our protagonist accidentally missed the memory-wipe
  • Sword-and-Sorcery protagonist killed by evil demon-cultist with a soul-sucking death ray... "wakes up" in Hell, fights his way to the Hellgate where the evil demon-cultist is still summoning demons and gives him a big surprise
  • Protagonist's half-trained wizard boyfriend brings her back from the dead -- along with an unwelcome spiritual passenger
  • The Singularity has come -- and is resurrecting the dead as a charity project
  • Protagonist is subscribed to a Cryogenics service -- and it actually works.  He "wakes up" far in the future, as an indentured servant.
  • Protagonist plays chess with the Grim Reaper and wins!