Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction Writers => Monthly Writing Contest => Topic started by: Autumn2May on February 12, 2013, 05:32:26 PM

Title: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Autumn2May on February 12, 2013, 05:32:26 PM
Anyone have any thoughts on what they'd like to see for future contest writing themes?
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: blendyface on February 17, 2013, 07:09:32 PM
Famous quotes as a launching point. Perhaps, given the forum, fantasy or SFF etc themed.
 Ie.,
Base a short story around
"(blah blah blah)"
-Ray Bradbury

Although I have no such quotes on hand...
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Idlewilder on February 21, 2013, 10:50:35 PM
Famous quotes as a launching point. Perhaps, given the forum, fantasy or SFF etc themed.
 Ie.,
Base a short story around
"(blah blah blah)"
-Ray Bradbury

Although I have no such quotes on hand...

Oh I like this idea Blendy!

Anyone else got any ideas for themes? Broad, specific, sci-fi, fantasy - all ideas are welcome!  :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Arry on February 21, 2013, 11:16:08 PM
These are probably not very original.... but better than nothing :) (maybe))


You could just give a title and let people go where ever it takes them


Also, you could do something like Chuck Wendig does for his flash fiction contests: have a short list of things (unicorns, vampires, demons), a short list of sub genres, short list of locations and have people pick one of each to incorporate into their story


OK ... that's it for now. If I think of anything else, I'll let you know :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Jeni on February 22, 2013, 01:19:34 AM
You could incorporate a specific POV into the theme -eg say the story has to be written from the POV of a child, a woman, the 'bad guy', the pet goldfish etc.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: simonster on February 22, 2013, 09:32:22 AM
I don't have any suggestions for the contest.  I just wanted to say thanks (including Autumn and Lor of course) for running it.  It's been a good source of entertainment, both writing and reading. :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Jeni on February 22, 2013, 12:27:33 PM
I don't have any suggestions for the contest.  I just wanted to say thanks (including Autumn and Lor of course) for running it.  It's been a good source of entertainment, both writing and reading. :)

Yes. Thanks for encouraging Simonster to write stories I like reading  ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: simonster on February 22, 2013, 05:39:05 PM
I don't have any suggestions for the contest.  I just wanted to say thanks (including Autumn and Lor of course) for running it.  It's been a good source of entertainment, both writing and reading. :)

Yes. Thanks for encouraging Simonster to write stories I like reading  ;D

*Group hug*
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Jian on February 25, 2013, 09:47:31 AM
Famous quotes as a launching point. Perhaps, given the forum, fantasy or SFF etc themed.
 Ie.,
Base a short story around
"(blah blah blah)"
-Ray Bradbury

Although I have no such quotes on hand...

I like this idea. In the short story I submitted for the FF Anthology, I started it with a quote.

They say that in the second before our death, each of us under- stands the real reason for our existence, and out of that mo- ment, Heaven or Hell is born. Hell is when we look back during that fraction of a second and know that we wasted an opportu- nity to dignify the miracle of life. Paradise is being able to say at that moment: “I made some mistakes, but I wasn’t a coward. I lived my life and did what I had to do.”
-Paulo Coehlo



Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Fellshot on June 19, 2013, 06:19:03 AM
How about natural disasters? I don't think they'd be good fodder for a novel (at least not by themselves) but for something short it could work.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Mordekai on August 11, 2013, 08:40:34 PM
Maybe offer up the first line of a story, and then let imaginations go crazy?

Something like;

"It was the first time I had been allowed to go on my own..."

(You could trade out I and MY for the characters name and THEIR, of course... unless you wanted everyone to try a 1st person POV)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: May on August 21, 2013, 02:02:44 AM
Just show an image, perhaps an abstract image and have people write what comes to mind.

I also second Jeni's POV suggestion, seems interesting
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: sabrok on February 21, 2014, 01:29:00 AM
I would love to see a theme on employment, whether that be going on a job interview for a career as an assassin or a magician working as a alchemy trader. Everyone has to earn a living, right?
Title: AW: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on February 21, 2014, 07:28:05 AM
I would love to see a theme on employment, whether that be going on a job interview for a career as an assassin or a magician working as a alchemy trader. Everyone has to earn a living, right?
good one, will add it to my list. :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: sabrok on March 04, 2014, 12:27:10 AM
Another one that could be fun, Seven Deadly Sins.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Gaie Sebold on March 11, 2014, 09:11:16 PM
Fantasy pictures or cover art can work nicely as inspiration (classic cover art, like Mick van Houten's work, or much weirder stuff - there's a lot of it out there). So can those photos of abandoned places I keep seeing links to...like these: https://imgur.com/a/D9iDC.
Lines from poems or music lyrics can be pretty inspiring, too. 
What I love about these sorts of group challenges is that even when you have a single starting point everyone comes up with such amazingly different responses.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: G_R_Matthews on March 22, 2014, 08:29:20 PM
I like the idea of random pictures. One activity I had to do on my Creative Writing course was pick a random image from a magazine and just write about it... find the story in the image. Could be a good 'theme' :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ladygreen on May 01, 2014, 03:39:53 AM
Dragons! Come on, everybody loves them.  ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ladygreen on May 01, 2014, 06:55:24 PM
Ooh - one more.  Potions, or some sort of elixir imbibed with... fill in the blank.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: rwhegwood on September 02, 2014, 08:59:27 PM
Poisoned utopias.  Everything is good for almost everyone. But for one or a small few who are totally innocent their life is made a prolonged hell for reasons they will never know. It is their suffering as innocents that makes the utopia possible. An idea from Ursula K Leguin.

Small magics from the worlds of tinkers and fishmongers farmwives and goose girls.

Hidden places easy to stumble upon in our dreams harder to find upon waking.

Omens and portents

Impossible gifts.

Tools for obscure occupations (safety blanket softness adjustor, sock napper sequestration units, puppy breath installer, bad day event synchronizer). Stories have to feature tools used in an obscure occupation story.

Extraordinary senses...not psychic stuff....not super ordinary senses..new senses.

Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on January 29, 2015, 03:56:18 PM
How many themes are there currently waiting to be used? I noticed it's been a long time since anyone posted ideas in here, wondered if there's a long list still or if it's a good idea posting some more...
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on January 29, 2015, 06:43:18 PM
How many themes are there currently waiting to be used? I noticed it's been a long time since anyone posted ideas in here, wondered if there's a long list still or if it's a good idea posting some more...
To be honest, I have all the themes for 2015 and 2016 lined up already. But on occasion I'm changing them, switching them around or adding new ones if I like them more.

So if you have an idea, you can definitely post it but it could be that it won't be used for a year.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on January 30, 2015, 11:17:35 AM
How many themes are there currently waiting to be used? I noticed it's been a long time since anyone posted ideas in here, wondered if there's a long list still or if it's a good idea posting some more...
To be honest, I have all the themes for 2015 and 2016 lined up already. But on occasion I'm changing them, switching them around or adding new ones if I like them more.

So if you have an idea, you can definitely post it but it could be that it won't be used for a year.
Cool, I suspected that might be the case. Had a few ideas a couple of weeks ago, will have to see if I can remember them...  :D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on September 02, 2015, 12:57:20 PM
...yeah I never remembered them. (http://www.free-emoticons.co.uk/emoticons/Roll_eye/rolleye0014.gif)

One that I think could be really cool is music. A couple of times people have mentioned (or even linked to) specific pieces of music either as possible prompts or as something to listen to while reading their story, so I was thinking the task would be to choose a piece of music (preferably one available on youtube) and write a short story inspired by it. Music as a subject could also be intersting, so maybe people could choose between a story about music or musical inspiration (or both).

I think that'd be really fun anyway.  8)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on September 03, 2015, 11:05:03 AM
Another one is animals: the main character of the story must be an animal (real or imaginary).
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on September 03, 2015, 12:21:57 PM
Another one is animals: the main character of the story must be an animal (real or imaginary).
Just to be pedantic, we would write ours about humans if the theme was just 'animals'.  ;)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on September 03, 2015, 12:27:31 PM
Oh you know what I mean.
But ok, to be pedantic, "non-human animals" :P
 ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Henry Dale on September 03, 2015, 12:45:24 PM
Oh you know what I mean.
But ok, to be pedantic, "non-human animals" :P
 ;D

Nooooo, don't add limitations Bea.  >:( The point of the writing competition is to try to squirm your way out of the subject and getting away with it!  8)
...or was it writing a good story?  ??? I forgot  ::)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on September 03, 2015, 01:00:30 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
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on September 03, 2015, 01:23:54 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.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori 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". (http://www.zsoc.com/images/smilies/zsoc/serious.gif)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on September 03, 2015, 03:28:42 PM
Still waiting for the "Dragon" month with trepidation.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK on September 03, 2015, 06:46:02 PM

Ooh...

Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori 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 (http://brandonsanderson.com/i-hate-dragons/) by Brandon Sanderson. You're welcome.  ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Eclipse 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..... 
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on September 03, 2015, 07:05:00 PM
We're all giving out ideas, but I bet @xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148) already has everything planned until the end of 2020 ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: night_wrtr 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 (http://brandonsanderson.com/i-hate-dragons/) by Brandon Sanderson. You're welcome.  ;D

I like this idea!
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: m3mnoch 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:
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK 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 (http://brandonsanderson.com/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.

“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.”

Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora 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.

(https://listlessink.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/silver-spoon-tractor.jpg)

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...
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK 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.


Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK on September 04, 2015, 06:48:46 PM
One more:

Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora 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.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on September 10, 2015, 12:51:52 PM
I'm hoping for "HORROR" as the theme for October. Or something else related to Halloween.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK 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:
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Elfy on September 11, 2015, 01:05:55 AM
I'm hoping for "HORROR" as the theme for October. Or something else related to Halloween.
The ideal topic for October (the month of Halloween) would be Ghost Story.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on September 11, 2015, 01:06:58 AM
I'm hoping for "HORROR" as the theme for October. Or something else related to Halloween.
The ideal topic for October (the month of Halloween) would be Ghost Story.

This! ^
@xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK on September 11, 2015, 01:11:08 AM
I'm hoping for "HORROR" as the theme for October. Or something else related to Halloween.
The ideal topic for October (the month of Halloween) would be Ghost Story.

This! ^
@xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148)

Ooh.  Thirded.

Though I suspect I'd have an even harder time with horror than I am with intrigue, it's thematic, and it would be really fun to try.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on September 14, 2015, 09:19:12 PM
Great ideas, friends! We'll see when I'll use some of them. As said, the themes are fix for the next ~15 month but sometimes I decide to change or switch them, so we'll see.

Theme for October is probably: Fairies, flowers, princesses.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on September 14, 2015, 09:21:38 PM
Great ideas, friends! We'll see when I'll use some of them. As said, the themes are fix for the next ~15 month but sometimes I decide to change or switch them, so we'll see.

Theme for October is probably: Fairies, flowers, princesses.

Somehow, I don't believe you.  ;) :P ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on September 14, 2015, 09:23:34 PM
Fairies, flowers, princesses. Got it.

/goes off to start working on ideas.

/gullible Raptori
 
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Henry Dale on September 14, 2015, 09:37:16 PM
Great ideas, friends! We'll see when I'll use some of them. As said, the themes are fix for the next ~15 month but sometimes I decide to change or switch them, so we'll see.

Theme for October is probably: Fairies, flowers, princesses.

Will result in month with most horror themed stories  ???
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Elfy on September 14, 2015, 10:28:32 PM
Come on @xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148), you can do better than that, mate. They all have to be wearing something pink maybe?
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK on September 14, 2015, 11:20:01 PM
Ooh.  I'm thinking of a sequel to Fairy Godmother.  I'll call it Fairy Goddaughter.  The Cinderella story from the PoV of the godmother -- with Charming as a fairy prince to explain the weird slipper thing.  (He had a whole night of dancing and falling in love and the only thing he knows about her, to verify her identity, is her shoe size?)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on September 15, 2015, 03:01:02 AM
Great ideas, friends! We'll see when I'll use some of them. As said, the themes are fix for the next ~15 month but sometimes I decide to change or switch them, so we'll see.

Theme for October is probably: Fairies, flowers, princesses.

Somehow, I don't believe you.  ;) :P ;D

Awww had this great idea of a new version of "The Bachelorette Princess " giving roses to twenty-five frogs.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Doctor_Chill on September 15, 2015, 03:09:54 AM
Great ideas, friends! We'll see when I'll use some of them. As said, the themes are fix for the next ~15 month but sometimes I decide to change or switch them, so we'll see.

Theme for October is probably: Fairies, flowers, princesses.

Somehow, I don't believe you.  ;) :P ;D

Somehow, I do believe you.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on September 17, 2015, 03:45:39 PM
While I find your examples all very valid, I remain convinced that such a topic is too narrow and specific. Broader themes are better. In your case I'd go for "death and transitions"
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on September 18, 2015, 04:13:12 AM
While I find your examples all very valid, I remain convinced that such a topic is too narrow and specific. Broader themes are better. In your case I'd go for "death and transitions"

 ;D ;D ;D Just because you have obsessions with cannabalism and taking over other people's bodies. don't you dare turn Hades into a flesh eater  >:(
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on September 20, 2015, 02:52:23 PM
While I find your examples all very valid, I remain convinced that such a topic is too narrow and specific. Broader themes are better. In your case I'd go for "death and transitions"

 ;D ;D ;D Just because you have obsessions with cannabalism and taking over other people's bodies. don't you dare turn Hades into a flesh eater  >:(

Aaaww!! Damn it, @Lady_Ty (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=31869)... He actually is one... of sorts. He's a character of my under-work novella that was a meanie and did a fair share of unnatural things...

I'll work on it.  8)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on September 25, 2015, 07:52:09 PM
Another one, which I think would be awesome: Beginnings. Instead of having to write a complete story, you write the first 500-1,500 words of a longer tale. You have to hook the reader, and give a clear picture of where the story would go if it were to be continued. No conclusions of any type allowed (unless they clearly launch a larger plot). Voters should vote for the ones they feel most compelled to continue.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK on September 25, 2015, 08:03:50 PM
Another one, which I think would be awesome: Beginnings. Instead of having to write a complete story, you write the first 500-1,500 words of a longer tale. You have to hook the reader, and give a clear picture of where the story would go if it were to be continued. No conclusions of any type allowed (unless they clearly launch a larger plot). Voters should vote for the ones they feel most compelled to continue.

Ooh.  I like that one.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: night_wrtr on September 26, 2015, 12:54:14 AM
Another one, which I think would be awesome: Beginnings. Instead of having to write a complete story, you write the first 500-1,500 words of a longer tale. You have to hook the reader, and give a clear picture of where the story would go if it were to be continued. No conclusions of any type allowed (unless they clearly launch a larger plot). Voters should vote for the ones they feel most compelled to continue.

Ooh.  I like that one.


I second this.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 05, 2015, 09:57:12 AM
(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/cce89df947e4aafdb9b7256e3d530c88ac891671/0_0_3619_2173/master/3619.jpg?w=620&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&s=cddff5450ae82435fafb2542136a5374)
Illustration Tom Gauld

Found this today - maybe we could make up a Fantasy one and use it for a Theme one month - everyone chooses one item from each column for their story.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on October 05, 2015, 10:24:22 AM
Nude Kung-Fu Romeo & Juliet on a Speedboat!

Sing me up.  :D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on October 05, 2015, 10:35:21 AM
Love it :D

I'd do the Cockney Robot Othello with a New Ending ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on October 05, 2015, 10:47:03 AM
Love it :D

I'd do the Cockney Robot Othello with a New Ending ;D

But... then they wouldn't be nude.
On a motor boat.
That's bounces as it zooms through the water.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on October 05, 2015, 12:04:41 PM
Love it :D

I'd do the Cockney Robot Othello with a New Ending ;D

But... then they wouldn't be nude.
On a motor boat.
That's bounces as it zooms through the water.
I thought that each one of us would choose randomly from the table - you can do your Nude Kung-Fu Romeo & Juliet on a Speedboat and I do my Cockney Robot Othello with a New Ending ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 05, 2015, 12:08:29 PM
Yes I thought everyone could choose their own 8)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ClintACK on October 05, 2015, 12:23:54 PM
*scrambles around for an online dice-roller...*

*Ah, there you are: http://roll-dice-online.com *

*4-3-2-4*

Cockney robot Macbeth on Wall Street.

Hmmm...

*3-4-2-2*

French zombie Macbeth on Mars

*5-2-3-1*

Stalinist bicycling Richard III with a new ending

Hmmm....
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 05, 2015, 12:33:15 PM
Silent Hip Hop Hamlet with Dinosaurs definitely appeals.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 05, 2015, 12:40:52 PM
Really cool idea. What could we have as the categories? I think it'd be awesome to have like 5 or 6 categories, and then you have to use one item (or more) from at least 3 or 4 of the categories or something like that. Off the top of my head:

Character types (wizard, royalty, peasant, priest, pirate, thief, assassin)
Locations (castle, lake, tavern, dungeon, church, spaceship)
Emotions (angry, sad, happy, afraid, frustrated)
Magical Objects (wand, magic sword, wizard's hat, broomstick, scrying bowl)
Situations (battle, debate, lesson, argument, festival)
Random (dinosaurs, aliens, the kraken, lollipops, hairdressers)

A frustrated thief has a heated debate with an angry peasant in the middle of a festival at a castle after he accidentally steals a lollipop instead of a broomstick.  8)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 05, 2015, 12:50:40 PM
Really cool idea. What could we have as the categories? I think it'd be awesome to have like 5 or 6 categories, and then you have to use one item (or more) from at least 3 or 4 of the categories or something like that. Off the top of my head:

Character types (wizard, royalty, peasant, priest, pirate, thief, assassin)
Locations (castle, lake, tavern, dungeon, church, spaceship)
Emotions (angry, sad, happy, afraid, frustrated)
Magical Objects (wand, magic sword, wizard's hat, broomstick, scrying bowl)
Situations (battle, debate, lesson, argument, festival)
Random (dinosaurs, aliens, the kraken, lollipops, hairdressers)

A frustrated thief has a heated debate with an angry peasant in the middle of a festival at a castle after he accidentally steals a lollipop instead of a broomstick.  8)
Yeah Raptori, let's keep it simple  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 05, 2015, 01:31:29 PM
Really cool idea. What could we have as the categories? I think it'd be awesome to have like 5 or 6 categories, and then you have to use one item (or more) from at least 3 or 4 of the categories or something like that. Off the top of my head:

Character types (wizard, royalty, peasant, priest, pirate, thief, assassin)
Locations (castle, lake, tavern, dungeon, church, spaceship)
Emotions (angry, sad, happy, afraid, frustrated)
Magical Objects (wand, magic sword, wizard's hat, broomstick, scrying bowl)
Situations (battle, debate, lesson, argument, festival)
Random (dinosaurs, aliens, the kraken, lollipops, hairdressers)

A frustrated thief has a heated debate with an angry peasant in the middle of a festival at a castle after he accidentally steals a lollipop instead of a broomstick.  8)
Yeah Raptori, let's keep it simple  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Simple? Simple?

(http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/cellaneous/Kolobok/JC-thinking.gif)

I'm not familiar with this word.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nighteyes on October 19, 2015, 09:59:38 PM
Someone just suggested Nazis on a Spaceship.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on October 19, 2015, 11:25:14 PM
Someone just suggested Nazis on a Spaceship.
Iron Sky?

Are you in Germany already? And did you get my messages?
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Mr.J on October 20, 2015, 10:15:00 AM
I mean, since Halloween is upon us and winter drawing in, it's ghost story season!

Surely a spooky month is due? ;)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 20, 2015, 10:41:33 AM
I mean, since Halloween is upon us and winter drawing in, it's ghost story season!

Surely a spooky month is due? ;)
This month is open enough that you can do a spooky story if you like, but it'd definitely be cool to have a scary month sometime.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Mr.J on October 20, 2015, 10:56:11 AM
I mean, since Halloween is upon us and winter drawing in, it's ghost story season!

Surely a spooky month is due? ;)
This month is open enough that you can do a spooky story if you like, but it'd definitely be cool to have a scary month sometime.
Definitely, though I've already done my story this month. :D There is a creepy guy with an airship in it though so...kind of counts?
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: D_Bates on May 26, 2016, 05:46:16 PM
I'm surprised we haven't seen the ghost story theme before now. I'd have thought it'd make a regularly yearly appearance since ghosts and short stories go hand in hand with almost every author to have ever written a short story. Even I've written a couple for nothing but pleasure, and I absolutely hate writing short stories.

Other than that, I could go for a religion round or a twist on biblical tales--religious texts are, after all, the greatest works of fantasy ever conceived! Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that I'm currently working on a poem about the four horseman which I'm pretty proud of right now :P. Nuh-uh. Not at all.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on May 27, 2016, 02:10:59 AM
Argh. I would much dislike anything biblical myself – a bunch of over trodden tropes, when it comes to fiction, and besides why not the Quran or the Torah? – but I wouldn't mind ghosts, or even "religion" as a greater theme that can allow people to delve into real ones or make up their own.

No reusing of pre-made story David! Come on! Where is your sub for this month? You can always make it biblical, if you dare calling the Bible a fairytale to the face of all the christians on the forum! It certainly is well known.  :P
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Blackthorn on May 27, 2016, 05:40:18 AM
Treasure! We need treasure!
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on May 27, 2016, 11:24:42 AM
Argh. I would much dislike anything biblical myself – a bunch of over trodden tropes, when it comes to fiction, and besides why not the Quran or the Torah? – but I wouldn't mind ghosts, or even "religion" as a greater theme that can allow people to delve into real ones or make up their own.

No reusing of pre-made story David! Come on! Where is your sub for this month? You can always make it biblical, if you dare calling the Bible a fairytale to the face of all the christians on the forum! It certainly is well known.  :P

We could make it "myth" and disqualify anything Greco-Roman or Norse. That would get us to a great deal of the Bible, the Quran and my high school American History text.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: D_Bates on May 27, 2016, 12:29:44 PM
There was a religion topic back in 2014 I think, and I was using biblical in the general term as something similar to the Bible. To clarify, I have nothing against other tomes :p. (Book of Mormon ftw!)

Most religious texts are pretty much the same stories wrapped in different locations and with different characters anyway. But I don't see why it can't extend as far to archaic religions now classified as mythology too.

And I wasn't planning to reuse stories, Ele! I can only do that if I've previously published them elsewhere anyway :p.

No, I genuinely enjoy ghost stories. And it's a broad enough topic that I'm surprised it hasn't appeared in the 3 years of archived contests. Just seemed surprising is all.

As for my participation, I'm aware I've been slack--in part because of the writing group and in part because I've been working hard on a lot of my own stuff. I'm not sure when that will change at this time. I don't really like half-arsing stories just for an entry--see the Nightmares month for how well that turns out--and because I'm not really a short story writer the topic or challenge has to really grab me for something to jump into my head.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on June 27, 2016, 10:31:36 PM
Stories inspired by the art of Vladimir Kush should totally be a theme.

(http://www.paragonfineart.com/images/kush/what-the-fish-was-silent-about.jpg)
(http://www.paragonfineart.com/images/kush/haven.jpg)(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/45/a5/93/45a593e908864a7fa807f4392c1d5379.jpg)
(http://www.korea.net/upload/content/editImage/Diary-of-Discoveries-L.jpg)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lanko on June 27, 2016, 10:47:24 PM
Stories inspired by the art of Vladimir Kush should totally be a theme.

Random Google images?  ::)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on June 27, 2016, 11:15:43 PM
Stories inspired by the art of Vladimir Kush should totally be a theme.

Random Google images?  ::)

No!!!!  :o :P
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on June 28, 2016, 10:11:12 AM
Stories inspired by the art of Vladimir Kush should totally be a theme.

Random Google images?  ::)

No!!!!  :o :P
YES !!! ;D ;D ;D 8)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Henry Dale on June 28, 2016, 10:33:07 AM
Stories inspired by the art of Vladimir Kush should totally be a theme.

Random Google images?  ::)

No!!!!  :o :P
YES !!! ;D ;D ;D 8)

No!  >:(  :o
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on June 28, 2016, 10:34:06 AM
Don't worry guys, I'm very much a NO on this one (we have a thread for that anyway ::)) and xia is a good guy and listens to me ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on June 28, 2016, 10:52:31 AM
Did someone suggest "Cheesy Erotica"? No? What a pity.  ;D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nighteyes on June 29, 2016, 07:02:51 PM
Did someone suggest "Cheesy Erotica"? No? What a pity.  ;D

Cheese erotica? Kinky
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Mr.J on June 29, 2016, 08:24:38 PM
Did someone suggest "Cheesy Erotica"? No? What a pity.  ;D

Cheese erotica? Kinky
Roquefort on the Floor
Foot Feta-ish
Ricottaging
Gorgeousonzola
Brieding in the Woods
Giving Cheader
Red Hot Leicester
Bashing the Stinking Bishop

My work here is done.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on June 29, 2016, 09:05:40 PM
oh.my.gawd.
 ;D
king of the puns... not?
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Doctor_Chill on June 30, 2016, 04:12:25 AM
I wonder how many of these he already had prepared on his laptop.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nighteyes on June 30, 2016, 07:59:22 AM
I wonder how many of these he already had prepared on his laptop.

As AVI files? All of them.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Mr.J on June 30, 2016, 06:50:48 PM
I wonder how many of these he already had prepared on his laptop.

As AVI files? All of them.
Hey now, give me some credit that I thought all of them as I saw the post - hardest part was trying to think of cheeses :P there are so many types.

But I did nick the feta one from Bob's Burgers - Bob's pun on his burger of the day was 'Never Been Feta', and Louise writes 'Foot Feta-ish' instead.

Love that show.

Oh um, context of the thread. Burger theme?  ::)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Mr.J on August 02, 2016, 11:11:34 AM
Btw Evil Magical Weapons should totally be a writing contest theme at some point.
Quoting myself from another thread like the massive ego maniac I am.

Still think it would be a good idea though. :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on August 02, 2016, 03:46:16 PM
I reckon it's a good albeit simplistic idea. All magical weapons are dangerous - they're weapons. What makes them evil is the hand that wields them, unless they are the perverting type, like the Ring.
Who is evil depends on point of view. I'd be happy with a magical weapon theme and our own interpretation of the side using them!
 :P
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Mr.J on August 02, 2016, 06:22:16 PM
I reckon it's a good albeit simplistic idea. All magical weapons are dangerous - they're weapons. What makes them evil is the hand that wields them, unless they are the perverting type, like the Ring.
Who is evil depends on point of view. I'd be happy with a magical weapon theme and our own interpretation of the side using them!
 :P
Oh I meant literal evil weapons, like the One Ring. The thing itself is evil. But yea you're right probably a bit too generic. Although we are doing 'Potions' atm so maybe?
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on August 04, 2016, 04:37:07 PM
But well... If you want to get into philosophical details, do you remember Galadriel's rant about her using the Ring, saving them though becoming a beautiful, terrible queen? It might be evil, but it does things differently depending on who uses/carries it, so just like a gun, it depends still on the hand that wields it.
Of course though in the end you must be right about the Ring, since it was made with Sauron "poring his malice" inside of it.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 04, 2016, 05:39:49 PM
You might consider some technically focused contests. For example, provide a short video of someone doing something complex with their fingers, a cat being spooked and jumping in a distinct way, and then setting the task at describing those motions in a very short space. These kinds of talents are, imho, just as worthy of study and arguably even more foundational to writing than the use of the broader brushes and landscapes of theme, plot, setting, etc.

With a little discussion I am sure you could gather a handful of similarly technical challenges that would stretch peoples' specific skills.

Food for thought.

-Gem Cutter
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on August 04, 2016, 05:44:07 PM
I don't think that is something for the writing contest. The contest is for stories or poems, not technical paragraphs.
However, working on description and all that is always good and nothing really stops you from starting a thread in the writer's corner with such a plan. I'd definitely give it a shot.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 04, 2016, 05:57:56 PM
One minor point of order: the line between technical paragraphs and storytelling is imaginary - understanding whose hands hold what is central, not peripheral.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Deads on August 04, 2016, 06:49:18 PM
I'd love to see some outside the box ideas.  Gem Cutter's idea is cool, and doesn't have to be totally technical.  Having to include a description of a certain action or motion in a story might be a fun way to see how others perceive  things in writing... 
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on August 04, 2016, 06:56:42 PM
Beg to disagree. A topic where everyone writes about the exact same thing in different manners is a style exercise contest, not a creative writing contest. Describing something short and similar would soon make the reading boring and fastidious, with no plot and world to separate one from the other. Entertaining and good in its own category, but it remains different.
In writing a short story you are of course meant to work on your descriptions. Yes they are central. And yes they'd make a good exercise on its own. But just because one contains the other, and that other is vital, does not mean that a "technical paragraph" contest is the same as a free theme short story contest.
In so far that a contest is concerned I do believe the line is very real.

I'd love to see some outside the box ideas.  Gem Cutter's idea is cool, and doesn't have to be totally technical.  Having to include a description of a certain action or motion in a story might be a fun way to see how others perceive  things in writing... 

Well, when the themes are actions or types of things, the stories all contain descriptions of such actions and things, don't they? Battles, magic systems, rogues, abandoned places... There was even a month where "X meets Y", so everyone wrote about the same characters meeting.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Deads on August 04, 2016, 07:17:06 PM
I think I understand your point. However, couldn't this particular idea be a secondary goal, perhaps? It wouldn't have to be a trope, either.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on August 04, 2016, 07:34:57 PM
Evil Weapons sounds good to me - just as good as any of the other "normal" themes like Potions or Nightmares. It's just a theme. You can do what you want with it.


TGC does have a valid point in that such skills are very important, but it doesn't really fit with it being a story contest. It's the kind of thing that most of the time you should be trying to work in to your stories anyway - for example, in this (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(mar-2015)-rogues/(mar-2015)-rogues-submission-thread/msg94907/#msg94907) story from last year we decided to to focus on dialogue since we had felt uncomfortable writing dialogue in previous stories. It's easy to do if you have a number of things to potentially work on, so that at least one of them would fit the theme.

That said, themes designed to encourage different types of writing could still work. For example, something like Physical Crafts to encourage description of intricate physical actions, or Arguments to encourage depiction of conflict through dialogue. That kind of thing would be broad enough to allow flexibility and variety while still encouraging people to focus on things they might not otherwise make central to their story.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 04, 2016, 07:47:32 PM
The assumption that it would be dull sells people (and the challenge itself) short, in my opinion.
I see no cause for such an exercise to be any less interesting than stories written to include randomly selected and deliberately dissonant elements. But certainly it is much more difficult to envision an unconventional departure from the standard approach.

I think seeing the variety of approaches, and how they succeed or fail, and how they can be harnessed to move the story forward would be very interesting indeed. True, it would compel people to dig deeper into their tool boxes - and of course, organizers would have to dig deeper into theirs as well. Critiquing for clarity is more difficult and demanding than choosing works for how fun they were to read - even though, ironically, the clarity of writing is directly related to how enjoyable it is!

We all know that creative plot-design, distinct characters, and the conventional appreciations of creative writing are worthwhile. It takes a harder look and deeper thought to embrace the beauty and value of concepts such as clarity, specificity, and other "technical" appreciations. Again, it is ironic that all successful creative writing is built on these things first.

I anticipated that this idea would fail. Our technical brothers avoid creativity like the plague, wrongfully believing that because their projects are technical, they should not be entertaining. At all. Ever. lol Just as technical writers tend to be formulaic and preoccupied with brevity and simplicity and run from creativity (and god forbid, novelty!), it seems creative writers are no more prepared to embrace technical issues that are just as worthy of development, study, and yes, appreciation.

I sought to expand the definition of a creative writing contest, but I'll drop the suggestion and move on. But I think we underestimate how interesting it might be to see various writers approach a technical assignment, the kind of thought and discussion it might stimulate, and most importantly - the value of creative solutions to technical knots that are inseparable from narratives that deliver across the four Big Cs: clear, concise, compelling, and compliant.

-Gem Cutter
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on August 04, 2016, 08:24:36 PM
I didn't think it'd be dull at all, just that it didn't quite fit the current definition of the story contest. Since the contest in its current form is a huge success, it's probably not a good idea to change it...though I guess trying it out for a month might not be an issue.

However, it could be better, if there was enough interest, to have it as a concurrent contest. Keep the story contest running as is, and have a writing contest at the same time. Or something along those lines. Doesn't even necessarily have to be a contest with a winner or anything like that!
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on August 05, 2016, 02:04:18 AM
Again, as I said, nothing prevents you from making a new thread in the writers corner to start such an exercise.

Just because I said that your initial description of your technical paragraphs doesn't fit our current contest doesn't mean it shouldn't be done (elsewhere) but it also doesn't mean that I haven't painstakingly tried to be concise, clear and compelling in my own stories.
If you think that fitting a good story and entirely new world in 1500 words is easy and doesn't require us to be concise, then I don't know what to say.

Have you read much of our monthly stories, to hint at the fact that we seem to abandon "vital technicality" in favor of only plot and character? Or else we mustn't be having the same definition of your 4 Cs.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 06, 2016, 07:35:31 AM
It was just a suggestion Nora, and I abandoned it.

I don't know what you were reacting to so angrily/snarkily in your last post, so I'll clarify, in the hopes you'll realize you missed my points entirely, and seemingly inserted your own? I'm not sure.

- First, my indirect and non-specific terms did not signify you or anyone in particular, on these boards, or elsewhere, hence their indirectness and non-specificity.  I never suggested that you or anyone else wasn't concise, or didn't try to be concise, clear, compelling, or compliant.

- Neither did I suggest or imply that the challenges of short forms is easy.

In fact, it is a challenging form that can be laborious, and it is one I know very well. I earned half a million in the past 6 years writing under very (ludicrously) tight space constraints, on the clock. "Explain how you will deliver complex services that take 3 pages to describe, what your metrics are for success, and how you plan to interface with customers - in 1.5 pages." That's not even hyperbole. I say this so you have some idea that I know what I am talking about, and how off-base your assumption was.

- I did not mean to imply that anyone [neither you nor anyone else] abandons anything in their writing. If that was the perception, I apologize for failing to be clear.

We were discussing a contest, the purpose of which I assumed was intended to develop skills and foster discussion of the craft. And although I agree that short-form writing is very good at developing skills, it's neither the only way, nor is it superior to a varied approach.

- I did say that "creative writers [in general, not yourself nor anyone else in particular] are no more prepared to embrace technical issues that are just as worthy of development, study, and yes, appreciation."

In places I used the pronoun "we" to foster a collaborative tone. Apparently, there are landmines laying about, and I stepped on one. Not the first time, metaphorically or literally.

What I meant was that, in general, many creative writers love discussing/studying creating cool weapons or novel approaches to crafting in-world languages, etc., but tend (i.e., with many exceptions) to avoid topics covering such things as brevity, or eliminating unintended ambiguity, or advanced techniques like deliberate ambiguity. Or maybe, it's simply that creative writing communities do not discuss them much? I am not sure.

In short, I meant only that we tend to embrace the STUDY of certain elements of writing over others. I would never presume to discuss anyone's writing critically in an open forum - and I do not "hint." If I was going to be so rude, I would be direct and plain in my language and references.

My idea was to introduce technical elements and techniques into the paradigm as an experiment, and not necessarily in an all-exclusive way. You dismissed the idea as rubbish, which it is not. I dropped the idea, but had the temerity to point out the short-sightedness of your dismissal of it.

I'm not going to start a new thread for the idea because it would require coordination and experience that I don't have in organizing such things. I'm new and don't know enough people with the right skills and interest. The challenges for such an exercise are just as real as its potential value.

I was really just looking for a way to participate that might be fun, novel, and interesting. You assumed I was suggesting some kind of technical drill that would exclude all other considerations. You poo-pooed my idea and dismissed it without any thought, essentially proving the point of my last post.

-Gem Cutter
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on August 06, 2016, 12:34:27 PM
It was just a suggestion Nora, and I abandoned it.

I don't know what you were reacting to so angrily/snarkily in your last post, so I'll clarify, in the hopes you'll realize you missed my points entirely, and seemingly inserted your own? I'm not sure.

Sorry, I stopped reading there. Your own tone is so "snarky", and you seem so entirely self assured that you can't possibly have been interpreted wrong because you expressed yourself poorly, that there simply is no talking to you.

Maybe someday reread yourself, the post before last of yours, I answered to, and maybe one day you'll see all your implications and hints. Maybe you don't mean what you say, or don't realise how it can be read.
If you read my own answer, you'll see me being annoyed, mildly pissed off and defensive, but most certainly not "sarcastic"and witty.
I was just plain offended by your cloudy implications.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Arry on August 06, 2016, 01:18:58 PM
Alright, I  am going to kindly ask for everyone to step back from this before things get too heated.

The whole concept of themes is to stretch your comfort zone a bit, so something very different and unexpected is not necessarily a wrong fit.

I think at this point, the Writing Group Powers That Be (@xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148) and @ScarletBea (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32020)) can make a call if they want to use the idea or not, but I do think it was an interesting suggestion that was not meant to be an insult to anyone.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 06, 2016, 03:46:32 PM
Well, I apologize to the thread and the board.

I was really just looking for a way to participate that might be fun and different. Nora dismissed my idea in a way I felt out of hand, and I apologize for holding her accountable for that and for not backing down. I don't deal with hierarchies well anymore.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on August 06, 2016, 05:24:14 PM
I apologize for daring to voice another personal opinion. Whenever I do that these days, people seem to jump at me like I shot the discussed concept in the head in cold blood. I must be doing it wrong, maybe I need to take a long, real break.

I have nothing against stretching limits, it's why I participate in a contest with fixed themes and word limits to begin with.

For the record, I am nowhere in a "hierarchy" here, so my opinion on anyone's suggestions are just that, just opinions. If Xiagan likes your idea and makes a theme of it, so be it, I've got nothing to do in that choice. 

And lastly, I'm sorry but if this :

Quote
I don't think that is something for the writing contest. The contest is for stories or poems, not technical paragraphs.
However, working on description and all that is always good and nothing really stops you from starting a thread in the writer's corner with such a plan. I'd definitely give it a shot.

corresponds to this :

Nora dismissed my idea in a way I felt out of hand

then I can't apologize for my words to Gem Cutter. To my eyes my comment might be taken as haughty, though I meant well, but nowhere near "out of hand".

I'm sorry @Arry (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=8809), I certainly didn't intend to cause any stirs. I'll just back off from the topic and manage my friend lists.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on August 07, 2016, 04:19:27 AM
OK @xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148) and @ScarletBea (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32020) you've given us potions for all the dedicated drinkers on the Forum, a blatantly obvious invitation to include all sorts of weird spirits and liqueurs into the proceedings. Nothing wrong with that. Not at all. Brilliant

However, nevertheless, on the other hand, etc, in the pursuit of equity may I humbly submit that Feasts or Banquets or Fantastic Dining Experiences become a theme one day in the future?

Perhaps including lavish illustrations or even step-by-step how to cook videos?

(http://img24.xooimage.com/files/5/d/e/banquet-1947--14efe51.jpg)

If it ever appears there may be a chocolate reward  - Bribe for  we-all-know-who
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on August 07, 2016, 07:10:15 AM
I apologize for having been absent from this thread. I worked late shifts this week AND my parents are visiting, so there was next to no time.

As mentioned before, I have enough themes on hold for at least the next one and a half years, so new ideas may not be used for a while. (It does happen that I'm not in the mood for one of those and choose a new one, though.)

I think Gem Cutter's idea would be great as a special challenge (something I was thinking about including for a while now but haven't done yet). That could work like this:
Contest theme: Potions and Elixirs.
Special challenge (voluntary; for those who want to make it a bit more difficult): Your potion needs frog parts! Describe in detail how you dissect the animal and which parts you use.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lanko on August 17, 2016, 08:08:36 PM
How about a Sports theme?  ::)

How would football be played with magic, or what sport you would create? Or the struggles faced before the win, and so on.

Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: AFrasier on September 09, 2016, 09:41:59 PM
I know you said you have enough ideas to last quite some time, but i was reading through old contests and a few idea came to mind:

- Revolution

- Secret Societies

- Posession (As in by a spirit or other conciousness, wether good or evil)

- Rituals (Relgious or otherwise)

- Clockwork and Gears (for all you steampunk fans!)

- Sacrifice (in any context of the word)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 06, 2016, 03:11:43 AM
If there's another fanfic month, Mixed Media could be cool. You'd have to include at least two characters from who originated in different types of media, so for example Harry Potter (books) vs Superman (comics), or Indiana Jones (films) vs Solid Snake (videogames). Nice and open in terms of what you can actually do with it too.

Another cool one would be a New Joker month. One or two slight changes from the previous Joker Month (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(nov-2014)/(nov-2014)-joker-month-discussion-thread/): you can't choose a theme you've already written a story for, and possibly allow people to choose themes from longer than 12 months ago. For that second change, allowing any theme from all time could be really cool since some of the very early ones have a lot of potential. Alternatively, it could be something like the previous 12 months in which you didn't enter are allowed, so for example the twelve months @Lanko (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40739) would be able to choose from would then be Aug 2016 (since he missed that month) and Jan-Nov 2015 (since he first entered in Dec 2014 and has only missed August since).
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lanko on October 06, 2016, 03:19:59 AM
That's a pretty cool idea @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840). One month where we could have a recycled theme or a free one where we would choose a theme X years ago or from year Y.

Also, just had the idea of some kind of bingo/lottery when you are given a random contestant name and "Choose someone else's theme". Oh, that would be chaotic if the logistics weren't so complicated  ::)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 06, 2016, 03:37:45 AM
Those would be great too.

One way for a lottery one to work pretty easily: before the contest starts, make a thread where anyone who is thinking about entering the contest has to post a theme idea. When the contest begins, xia/someone would then randomly assign each of those theme ideas to one of the people who had posted a theme idea (probably making sure they don't get assigned the theme they themselves submitted). Voila!  :P

Would require people to be nice with the themes though, nothing too difficult, and someone might end up with a theme they have no interest in...  :-\
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: m3mnoch on October 06, 2016, 03:12:34 PM
Those would be great too.

One way for a lottery one to work pretty easily: before the contest starts, make a thread where anyone who is thinking about entering the contest has to post a theme idea. When the contest begins, xia/someone would then randomly assign each of those theme ideas to one of the people who had posted a theme idea (probably making sure they don't get assigned the theme they themselves submitted). Voila!  :P

Would require people to be nice with the themes though, nothing too difficult, and someone might end up with a theme they have no interest in...  :-\

mine would SO be "excavating mucus".
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on October 06, 2016, 07:39:44 PM
I know this suggestion is a departure from focusing on random ingredients/settings so brace yourselves!
UNCONVENTIONAL THOUGHTS THAT ARE NOT LINKED TO THE PAST AHEAD!

Instead of requiring that random ingredients tossed in, we could look at specific effects to be tossed out. Examples:
- Depth of Impact: achieve a moment of emotion = make us mad, make us giggle, make us gasp, make us cry, or at least, make my throat tighten up. The priority is the depth of the emotion - can you move people with words?

- Deliver muted tones: craft scene that conveys a modest emotion - not a giddy extreme: irony, melancholy, affection, or irritation, etc., without lapsing into melodrama or accidental comedy.

-Simulate a realistic scenario: show a character realistically convincing another character to change their mind. The change of mind must seem natural.

For me, this contest is just practice and a fun exercise. It helped my poetry structure. Those who write to get their stuff published on the website might not look at these kinds of projects the same way I am. I can't imagine being that big of an attention how're we to balance that? I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 07, 2016, 12:25:03 AM
@The_Gem_Cutter (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=41379) I don't understand why you feel the need, for a second time, to introduce a formal requirement into the Writing Contest. If this is done it would change the nature of it from what it has been into a simulation of a Writing Class, changing the focus of what we are judging and considering when we vote.

If you wish to explore those possibilities why not do it on separate threads? Your interesting and varied suggestions may appeal to many here and be valuable and the results of your discussions may help writers improve their entry stories, but I personally feel the Contest itself is not the place for this particular practice.

Following the Contest over the last few years has been a joy.  It is one of the most affable, non-judgmental and inclusive parts of the Forum; a place where  genuine dedication and effort reigns combined within an informal atmosphere of joyful nonsense.   I genuinely believe that this has been achieved,  by our friendly writers themselves, but also because there are no prescriptive or formal demands placed on the writing apart from the Theme and the practicalities of length and spoilers.

Any writer can practice style and develop their imagination freely on the given Theme of the month. It is clear that styles and imaginations are wide, varied and wonderfully astonishing, but above all enjoyable. All reading the other stories can learn what works well and in particular learn from those who often gain a win or high vote.

The innate atmosphere of encouragement and sheer good natured fun gives newcomers of all ages  the confidence to enter and to keep on entering, especially if they join in with the same spirit and are not overly focused on being an instant winner.

Over the last couple of years I have seen quite a few writers improve enormously and clearly benefit from their dedication to entering faithfully, time after time. Even felt comfortable and relaxed enough to try my hand at fiction now and then, after a lifetime of formal writing, but purely for fun and hopefully to raise a few smiles, but with no intention of garnering votes.

In these stories there have already been many examples of impact, emotion and realism that have occurred naturally as the writers saw appropriate. I would be sorry to see any restrictions or requirements imposed on this extremely successful part of the forum.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 07, 2016, 12:39:11 AM
To add to Lady_Ty's point, while those kind of things mentioned by TGC are great targets to aim for in a short story, they're the kind of thing that feels better placed in control of the writer.

Every time we've entered the contest, we've written the story with at least one specific goal. Sometimes it's as simple as "practice making the dialogue feel natural" (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(mar-2015)-rogues/(mar-2015)-rogues-submission-thread/msg94907/#msg94907), but sometimes it's more subjective like "evoke a feeling of melancholy in the reader" (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(aug-2015)-space-opera/(aug-2015)-space-opera-submission-thread/msg112042/#msg112042). I'm not convinced it would be as useful an exercise if the targets were determined externally; it's important to tailor the goals to what you feel you need to work on as a writer. The themes as they are right now give sufficient flexibility for that to be possible.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 07, 2016, 02:01:08 AM
Double-post but... thinking more about this:

One way for a lottery one to work pretty easily: before the contest starts, make a thread where anyone who is thinking about entering the contest has to post a theme idea. When the contest begins, xia/someone would then randomly assign each of those theme ideas to one of the people who had posted a theme idea (probably making sure they don't get assigned the theme they themselves submitted). Voila!  :P

Maybe each person could also be able to blacklist one or two suggested themes which they do not want to be assigned, to hopefully make sure nobody gets stuck with a theme they truly can't stand.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 07, 2016, 02:07:02 AM
Double-post but... thinking more about this:

One way for a lottery one to work pretty easily: before the contest starts, make a thread where anyone who is thinking about entering the contest has to post a theme idea. When the contest begins, xia/someone would then randomly assign each of those theme ideas to one of the people who had posted a theme idea (probably making sure they don't get assigned the theme they themselves submitted). Voila!  :P

Maybe each person could also be able to blacklist one or two suggested themes which they do not want to be assigned, to hopefully make sure nobody gets stuck with a theme they truly can't stand.

Or get a choice of two but have to definitely choose one to stretch themselves even if they are not keen?  Going to be hard to vote on brcause of not have common comparisons, but still good idea. We are rather piling work on the mods to organise - what do they think?

Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on October 07, 2016, 02:20:38 AM
@The_Gem_Cutter (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=41379) I don't understand why you feel the need, for a second time, to introduce a formal requirement into the Writing Contest.
Point of order Lady Ty - I was not proposing a formal requirement that did not already exist - I was proposing shifting the current and long-standing topical formal requirement to something else. Still has the same number of restrictions: 2 (counting length).

I am always stumped by the requirement to dwell on potions, pirates, etc., and I thought it would be liberating not to have a theme jammed down the throat once. That's all.

So instead of writing a story that must feature X to one that delivers X. Fact: writing a story that must include pirates is just as restrictive as writing one that could be about anything but is supposed to be funny.

It's really not that big of a deal. The drama's a little misplaced - the thread is a discussion on theme ideas, or it seemed like it at the time. Pardon my idea. Most ideas crumble under their own weight in a group setting - so why did you feel the need to upset over a pretty basic one on a thread ASKING FOR IDEAS?

Here's an idea you can handle: let's write about the scariest monster ever: change.
These kind of stories often feature lighthearted, open-minded characters juxtaposed with their darker, fear-driven counterparts. Enter the heroine on her charger, saving the realm from change!

Fantasy is filled with stories of change, whether metamorphosis like Gollum under the Ring's influence, or people's fear of it like Denethor refusing to acknowledge the arrival of King. But let's not make the change too frightening - that could impact the affable, inclusive atmosphere.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 07, 2016, 02:36:30 AM
Clearly I have mis-read your intention again, as I understood you to mean that our usual moderator chosen theme should also include one of your suggestions.
As you were . No drama intended.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: night_wrtr on October 07, 2016, 02:45:44 AM
I know this suggestion is a departure from focusing on random ingredients/settings so brace yourselves!
UNCONVENTIONAL THOUGHTS THAT ARE NOT LINKED TO THE PAST AHEAD!

Instead of requiring that random ingredients tossed in, we could look at specific effects to be tossed out. Examples:
- Depth of Impact: achieve a moment of emotion = make us mad, make us giggle, make us gasp, make us cry, or at least, make my throat tighten up. The priority is the depth of the emotion - can you move people with words?

- Deliver muted tones: craft scene that conveys a modest emotion - not a giddy extreme: irony, melancholy, affection, or irritation, etc., without lapsing into melodrama or accidental comedy.

-Simulate a realistic scenario: show a character realistically convincing another character to change their mind. The change of mind must seem natural.

For me, this contest is just practice and a fun exercise. It helped my poetry structure. Those who write to get their stuff published on the website might not look at these kinds of projects the same way I am. I can't imagine being that big of an attention how're we to balance that? I'm not sure.

I feel like I need to quote the below as it, from my perspective, is the way to go about doing those kinds of specific things a you mentioned.

To add to Lady_Ty's point, while those kind of things mentioned by TGC are great targets to aim for in a short story, they're the kind of thing that feels better placed in control of the writer.

Every time we've entered the contest, we've written the story with at least one specific goal. Sometimes it's as simple as "practice making the dialogue feel natural" (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(mar-2015)-rogues/(mar-2015)-rogues-submission-thread/msg94907/#msg94907), but sometimes it's more subjective like "evoke a feeling of melancholy in the reader" (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(aug-2015)-space-opera/(aug-2015)-space-opera-submission-thread/msg112042/#msg112042). I'm not convinced it would be as useful an exercise if the targets were determined externally; it's important to tailor the goals to what you feel you need to work on as a writer. The themes as they are right now give sufficient flexibility for that to be possible.

@The_Gem_Cutter (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=41379) I don't understand why you feel the need, for a second time, to introduce a formal requirement into the Writing Contest.
I am always stumped by the requirement to dwell on potions, pirates, etc., and I thought it would be liberating not to have a theme jammed down the throat once. That's all.

So instead of writing a story that must feature X to one that delivers X. Fact: writing a story that must include pirates is just as restrictive as writing one that could be about anything but is supposed to be funny.

Honeslty, I'm not sure where this is coming from? These topics are not restrictive IMO. Yeah, write a story about pirates. There are innumerable possibilties.

Go back at the archives and look at previous topics. There are so many ways to write a submission for each one. Just to bring attention back to your ideas, they are great to work on for the individual level. Like Raptori mentioned, why not work on them within the bounds of the monthly topic?

Give it a go and see how it works for you, maybe it will take you along a different path than expected. You can always drop in the critique thread after and see if anyone picks up on what you were trying to do or get feedback on that specifically.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on October 07, 2016, 03:52:06 AM
I never noticed until just now, but looking at January's topic, there have been months where the topic was one of delivery before. This is exactly what I was proposing in my previous suggestion, the one that was ... poorly received by the community. Clearly, a suggestion from me will elicit a negative response - even if it's exactly what's been not just discussed but actually done before, and the loudest nay-sayers happily submitted stories for it. I'm going to stop notifications for this thread because it just upsets me.

The themes are not that restrictive or terrible, I just don't like having to include a theme. I can do it, and it's not drudgery, it's even fun in its way, but I don't like them as much as a free hand. Just a preference, not an allergy. So this second suggestion was not desperation. It was just an idea that came to me listening to M3mnoch and others discuss critiques on another thread.

Apparently, some derive a great deal of learning from critiques of their own and other's work. So I thought a batch of stories where everyone is trying to achieve a similar emotional moment (or whatever) would showcase a variety of approaches that might be interesting and thought-provoking.

I thought the challenge would be offset by having the choice to write about anything desired. And, in the reading/voting phase, I thought there might be interesting surprises along the way, the first of which would come from NOT knowing what content each story would feature.

One can easily write essentially the same story about anything - pirates, parrots, potions, and words beginning with other letters, too. One can easily remain in the same style and avoid what is uncomfortable or difficult. Staying in one's comfort zone is easy and comfortable (hence the name), but we developed the term to describe the need to get out of it, not the need to stay in it.

I am at least walking the walk - I don't look forward to critique of my essay this month because it's the first short anything I've written for decades. But staying in my comfort zone is not good for me. That, and poetry doesn't stand a chance around here.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 07, 2016, 04:16:58 AM
@The_Gem_Cutter (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=41379), I think it's more statements like this -

it seems creative writers are [not] prepared to embrace technical issues that are just as worthy of development, study, and yes, appreciation

- or this -

Those who write to get their stuff published on the website might not look at these kinds of projects the same way I am.

- or this -

a theme jammed down the throat

- which make people less receptive to your suggestions. It makes your comments come across as "this contest sucks, I want it to be different". The majority of people here thoroughly enjoy the contest as it has been for the last couple of years, so suggestions phrased like that are not likely to be received as the positive and interesting idea they might have been thought of as otherwise.

Incidentally, the second quote above in particular came across as extremely condescending, especially because (as far as I'm aware) nobody cares about getting their stuff published on the website! Sure, it's nice to see the winners posted there, but that's probably the least important part of the contest for anyone who joins in regularly. Putting yourself above others is not going to win you any support.

I presume you didn't mean to come across that way - elsewhere in the forum you haven't come across like that - so please don't get frustrated, and remember that we're not intentionally being dismissive of anyone's ideas. Even if people disagree on some things (such as when I disagreed with your suggestion at the top of page 8 ) it's not them saying the ideas aren't valid, just that in their opinion they're not the right fit for the contest as the general community here has come to enjoy it.   :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on October 07, 2016, 07:21:09 AM
Thanks Raptori, for bringing all that back up, and quoting me in an argument, then acting as if that was how I introduced the idea. And like an idiot I let you summon me back into this crap.
... just that in their opinion they're not the right fit for the contest as the general community here has come to enjoy it.   :)
Is that the general community that didn't bat an eye when Xiagan went with a 4th Wall exercise in January? Pretty much exactly what I was talking about - a writing contest that featured a technical challenge.
Bye.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lady Ty on October 07, 2016, 07:44:23 AM
Seriously @The_Gem_Cutter (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=41379) there is monstrous lack of understanding here. I cannot correlate Breaking The Fourth Wall as a story writing style with the suggestions you have made below. Perhaps you can explain more clearly what you want without being either defensive or snarky.


You might consider some technically focused contests. For example, provide a short video of someone doing something complex with their fingers, a cat being spooked and jumping in a distinct way, and then setting the task at describing those motions in a very short space. These kinds of talents are, imho, just as worthy of study and arguably even more foundational to writing than the use of the broader brushes and landscapes of theme, plot, setting, etc.

I know this suggestion is a departure from focusing on random ingredients/settings so brace yourselves!
UNCONVENTIONAL THOUGHTS THAT ARE NOT LINKED TO THE PAST AHEAD!

Instead of requiring that random ingredients tossed in, we could look at specific effects to be tossed out. Examples:
- Depth of Impact: achieve a moment of emotion = make us mad, make us giggle, make us gasp, make us cry, or at least, make my throat tighten up. The priority is the depth of the emotion - can you move people with words?

- Deliver muted tones: craft scene that conveys a modest emotion - not a giddy extreme: irony, melancholy, affection, or irritation, etc., without lapsing into melodrama or accidental comedy.

-Simulate a realistic scenario: show a character realistically convincing another character to change their mind. The change of mind must seem natural.

For me, this contest is just practice and a fun exercise. It helped my poetry structure. Those who write to get their stuff published on the website might not look at these kinds of projects the same way I am. I can't imagine being that big of an attention how're we to balance that? I'm not sure.
-Gem Cutter
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Raptori on October 07, 2016, 08:00:29 AM
Thanks Raptori, for bringing all that back up, and quoting me in an argument, then acting as if that was how I introduced the idea. And like an idiot I let you summon me back into this crap.
The second quote was not from an argument, it was from a post in which you introduced an idea. The other two were from replies to other posts, granted, but such a confrontational tone is not going to persuade others to come around to your way of thinking. It's often hard to filter out a percieved confrontational tone, especially in a forum where that kind of tone is extremely rare, and as such the content of the argument gets lost.

The fact that you saw it as an argument rather than a discussion is precisely the problem. That may have been influenced by the tone of the person you were replying to at first, but I think if you read back you'd realise that the rest of us were honestly trying to discuss your suggestions, but were then put off by how the tone was quickly going downhill. Your second suggestion post carried over some of that tone, and people naturally respond to that.

... just that in their opinion they're not the right fit for the contest as the general community here has come to enjoy it.   :)
Is that the general community that didn't bat an eye when Xiagan went with a 4th Wall exercise in January? Pretty much exactly what I was talking about - a writing contest that featured a technical challenge.
Yep.

You could have said: "The January theme was 'Breaking the Fourth Wall', which is exactly the kind of theme I was talking about. Did nobody enjoy that theme, or do you not think my suggestions are similar to that?"

That would've made your point effectively, and give people something to think about and discuss. I'm with Lady_Ty in that the suggestions you made in the first post she quoted are much more restrictive that the BTFW contest, though I think the ones in the second post she quoted actually parallel the BTFW contest pretty well, presuming the theme is the bit before the colon in each of the examples.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on October 07, 2016, 08:20:48 AM
Please calm down, everybody.
I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding which is now blown out of size.

I'm a fan of themes like the breaking of the fourth wall, writing the most clichéd fantasy story ever or writing one with a surprising ending.

I didn't consider the kind of technical challenges TGC proposed but it's only one or two steps farther and not totally absurd.

I agree that it may be a bit too far from our contest as it now is towards an exercise/assignment people may perceive as a chore so I would be hesitant to do something like that. Hesitant but not opposed.

Thanks for your different views and new ideas, I'll consider them (like all ideas posted here) for 2020+. ;)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Lanko on October 07, 2016, 08:29:15 AM
Now that Xia settled things down, I can post an idea I had.

How about an annual contest with an increased word count, say 5k or 6k, with a free theme?
It would be open Jan, 1st to July, 1st and then the other semester to read and vote.

Considering some great stories we have each month, wondering if it would be interesting to see what people could do with a larger count.
On the other hand, maybe it could be difficult writing it along the monthlies as well, even with a 6 month deadline...
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on October 07, 2016, 11:11:03 AM
I agree with my boss (=xia ;D), but I'd also like to write down an idea I had last night (yes, that's broken down sleep for you hehe, you close your eyes and think of the forum)

What about we continue with the themes as we've been doing, but then, Gem, you set up an extra challenge just for you, on a technical point?
A bit like what Raptori & Saurus said they did a couple of times.
Then you can also write that extra in the intro to your story, and ask to be voted based on how well you managed it - or just mention it later in the critique, asking for that feedback.

For example this month: I'm going to write a story featuring corpses and I'll try to not have any description.

It just seems to me this would balance your technical needs with the current contest that everybody's comfortable with.
(unless you also wanted to compare yourself with others in that technical challenge - then this doesn't work...)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on October 07, 2016, 02:41:59 PM
For competition on such an idea, Bea, The Gen Cutter could simply start a thread of its own. A parallel exercise for people interested by the more technical writing. As far as I'm concerned it's what I aimed to do when I set up "who lives here" and had people describe the characters and stories taking place in a landscape picture. It was hot for a couple of weeks before falling to oblivion, but I assume it's a matter of managing the thread well.

@Lanko (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40739) : I think it's a great and terrible idea at the same time. Because I'd be all hot to do it, but knowing my lame productivity, I'd be scared of doing that+monthly and not having any room for my personal projects. This being said, I'd still like it to happen. 5k isn't that hard to pull out in a month or two. It could be the occasion to expand on the universe of a beloved monthly short story.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: The Gem Cutter on October 08, 2016, 09:02:46 PM
I honestly have no desire to change anything. My emotion arises from wanting to be a part of the dialogue and failing. I am a technique-geek, and like all geeks, want others to geek out, too. I debate things out of habit. I see people trying to improve their writing, and I see that they could do that better/faster by getting out of their comfort zones and learning techniques. It's just my unique point of view. The contest is not the place for that. Got it.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: NightWrite on October 30, 2016, 10:26:27 PM
I don't remember seeing it in the thread, and I'm not sure people would enjoy it, but what if one month we get a open ended/vague ending sentence we all have to use. One for poetry and one short stories. It would technically spoil the ending, but it could be interesting to see all the different journeys for the same destination.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on December 28, 2016, 08:08:40 PM
Still waiting for the "Dragon" month with trepidation.

Aye, only waited 15 months for it to happen, but it did!  :D
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Eclipse on July 08, 2019, 07:02:43 PM
Sticky this  :)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Bender on September 02, 2019, 06:54:06 PM
Why do participants have to vote for someone else when not voting may enhance their own chances. Perhaps one vote for themselves and one for another would be more balanced.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on September 02, 2019, 07:40:09 PM
Why do participants have to vote for someone else when not voting may enhance their own chances.
Would it feel good if you won because your vote was the one vote more you needed to beat the competition? Or if your vote was the only one your story got?

In a political context voting for yourself makes sense because you vote for your beliefs. In this context though, it doesn't. You can't judge a story you yourself wrote the same way you can other stories. Maybe if you wrote the story a year ago and haven't read it since then. But a new story? No way.

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Perhaps one vote for themselves and one for another would be more balanced.
If everybody does this, the result would be the same if nobody voted for themselves, so in our opinion it's best to not vote for yourself. If nobody does it, it's fair.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: JMack on September 02, 2019, 11:44:39 PM
I’m in full alignment with Xiagan’s view here. I see it as a form of investment in community rather than in one’s own achievement and preferences.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Bender on September 03, 2019, 12:29:19 AM
Am not sure. I'm on with participants not voting at all. Voting for a competitor in a contest doesn't make sense at all in any kind of competition far less this one.

I'm not a good writer and a win would go a long way boosting my confidence, but then it's not be all and end all. I'd like a fair competition when neutrals vote.

- Neutrals can vote for 2.
- Participants can vote for 2 too. Their and another one. If they fine 2 better stories, they can not vote form themselves.

Let me be clear, it not a chance to win that drives this argument, but that it overturns all normal competition rules that lead to this.

Irrespective, I would use the opportunity to develop my own pitiful skills.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Bender on September 03, 2019, 01:15:56 AM
Its fine either way. Just saying...
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on September 03, 2019, 11:03:11 AM
Am not sure. I'm on with participants not voting at all.
We won't get enough votes this way and if you can't vote, you may not read the other stories at all, which would be sad and bereave you of the opportunity to have your story read (and possibly critiqued) by other writers, which is invaluable.

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Voting for a competitor in a contest doesn't make sense at all in any kind of competition far less this one.
Ah, but the way I see it, the competition is between the stories. That's nearly but not exactly the same as competition between the writers.

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I'm not a good writer and a win would go a long way boosting my confidence, but then it's not be all and end all.
While the short-term goal is to win, the long-term goal is not to win but to get better at writing stories.
And to achieve this, it's much better to have your fellow writers as judges too, because the feedback they give is usually more specific and helpful on a technical basis than that of readers. The feedback from readers is valuable of course too, because they decide if the story works or not. A fellow writer may be able to tell you why it works/doesn't work, though.

I hosted over 60 writing contests here on FF and I saw a lot of writers develop their skills from story to story, surpassing what they themselves thought possible.

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Let me be clear, it not a chance to win that drives this argument, but that it overturns all normal competition rules that lead to this.
Ultimately we can't check if you voted for yourself or if you asked ten friends to make accounts and vote for you. That's one reason why I'm saying that while it's nice winning, the long-term goal is much more rewarding and it doesn't hang on who won or who was allowed to vote for whom.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: NedMarcus on September 03, 2019, 11:20:04 AM
in our opinion it's best to not vote for yourself. If nobody does it, it's fair.

Wouldn't it be a good idea to state this in the rules? I don't think everybody would think of this.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on September 03, 2019, 07:36:57 PM
in our opinion it's best to not vote for yourself. If nobody does it, it's fair.

Wouldn't it be a good idea to state this in the rules? I don't think everybody would think of this.
I thought it was in there but we only said "please vote", so yeah, I'll add it, thanks. ;)
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: ScarletBea on September 03, 2019, 08:20:23 PM
in our opinion it's best to not vote for yourself. If nobody does it, it's fair.

Wouldn't it be a good idea to state this in the rules? I don't think everybody would think of this.
I thought it was in there but we only said "please vote", so yeah, I'll add it, thanks. ;)

In the voting thread there's always this:
We do ask that if you entered, to vote for someone else.
I guess that kinda covers it...
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on September 03, 2019, 08:38:44 PM
Ah right, yes. That's what I was looking for but apparently I wasn't looking in the right place. Of course it makes more sense in the voting thread than the submission-thread. I'm tired...
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: NedMarcus on September 04, 2019, 06:56:05 AM
Ah right, yes. That's what I was looking for but apparently I wasn't looking in the right place. Of course it makes more sense in the voting thread than the submission-thread.
I was looking in the submissions thread and discussions thread, so I didn't see it either.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Bender on February 06, 2020, 08:19:40 PM
May I suggest "twist at the end" as a topic for next writing contest. It'll be judged by story ofc plus how surprisingly unexpected the twist at end was.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: Nora on February 07, 2020, 11:30:57 AM
May I suggest "twist at the end" as a topic for next writing contest. It'll be judged by story ofc plus how surprisingly unexpected the twist at end was.

Was going to point out we already did plot twists... and checked. Sure enough it was my second entry ever... in 2015 though.

Whatever happens however, I think you best temper your expectations Bender, the contest seems to be on hold until things are decided, and usually there is a pre-arranged list. Looks like it might change, but please don't expect the next topic to be Twist at the end.
Title: Re: Contest Theme Ideas
Post by: xiagan on February 07, 2020, 04:34:13 PM
While I really like the topic (and when I wrote short stories myself, most had some kind of unexpected revelation/perspective change in the end), I'm not so keen on repeating themes as long as we have other cool ideas we haven't done before.

But yes, it has been five years, so we probably could do it again - when we have figured out how to proceed with the contest (no fan fiction, Nora, promise! ;)).