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January/February 2012 Writing Challenge


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Hello!

Welcome to the January/February round of the Writing Challenge! Please read this post carefully for new guidelines on entering your submissions! Following in challenge traditions, the January/February round uses a free choice of theme as inspiration for entries.

Joining us on the judging panel for this round is the January/February winner, Lieutenant (jg) Cameron Bunag, who has decided on the following topic for this round:

"Masks"

Will you interpret the theme in a literal sense? Or maybe use the existing mask-based Star Trek episodes as a source of inspiration? Is there a way for you to approach the topic in a different way? Either way, the way you interpret the theme is your own choice!

Guidelines: To participate, create a new thread. The subject of the thread must be the title of your story. Use the drop-down "topic prefix" box to add "JAN/FEB" in order for your entry to be considered for judging. If it is a Work In Progress, denote that at the top of the post itself (in the body text, not in the thread title). As with last round it will be the final draft posted in your topic that will be read and taken into consideration. Any unfinished entries marked as Work In Progress will not be considered for judging and will be moved to the "Character Cafe" forum at the end of the contest. Your work must be entirely your own. No co-authoring. You are welcome to create any character you so desire, but they must be from the Star Trek universe. No "canon" characters allowed. (i.e.- No one who has been on a show.)

Also, please remember to sign your final draft as you would a post on your own ship.

Length: No more than 3000 words and no less than 300 words accepted.

Beginning Date: Thursday, January 12th

Ending Date: Saturday, February 25th

See Also: the Writing Challenge Website

Challenge: “Masks”

The best of luck! Let battle commence!

Edited by Tallis Rhul
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  • 1 month later...

Reminder: last day is next Saturday, the 25th. Submit your story soon! Good luck!

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That's it ladies and gents - the deadline has passed and the judges are eagerly donning their spectacles and clicking their pens! Watch this space for the results!

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The results are in, and it's time for the reviews and announcement of the winner! All of the entries showed a good deal of creative flair in interpreting the theme this round and made for enjoyable reading! Each review posted below indicates the judge who reviewed your submission. Votes were also presented by Lieutenant Commander Marcus Dickens and Fleet Captain Toni Turner, who are both resident judges on the panel.

So, without further ado, let's see what the judges thought...

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Affectations by Lt (jg) Velana

Reviewed by LtCmdr Arden Cain

If there is one species with the Trek universe that could be said to hide behind masks on a permanent basis, it is the Vulcans. The idea that while cold, emotionless and logical on the outside the Vulcans are still very emotional for lack of a better word. While this story uses many masks, be it a physical item or the main characters reaction to her own species, it is apparent that each instance was thought out in detail.

Even in the beginning of this story it is immediately noticeable that Velana is different to other Vulcans mentioned. The comparison deepens but the one thing that isn't fully said is Velana's background, how she become more emotional then that of her instructor. To a reader who is unfamiliar with the character this aspect is a missing piece of the puzzle. It is also interesting how the writer chose to have Commander Talen speak. There are a couple instances where the Commander appears to be speaking with a touch more emotion then I would typically expect to see from a Vulcan character, even one that has spent a great deal of time around other races.

On the whole though this is a beautiful piece. I liked the interaction between Velana and Talen. Once again this particular teacher-student relationship is contrasted against what Velana has experienced from Vulcan's. While Talen may be critical of her student it is done in a manner that a Vulcan would consider caring.

Edited by Tallis Rhul
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"Behind the Mask" by Lt Saveron

Reviewed by Cmdr Eden Redstone

I especially like the clipped tones used in the first paragraph, the explanation that precedes the meeting between Saveron and Serok. The short sentences, concise and lacking all the dramatic adjectives we expect from fiction, gives a sense of Vulcan logic and lack of emotion. Nicely done. I think the story suffers from technical problems -- Summarizing past history, for example, removes us from the immediacy of the moment. One of the first lessons I learned in writing was: show don't tell. A little more of that would have added substantially to the power of the story. And then again, in another sense, the stepping back, inserting explanations, is another way of diluting the emotions of the scene. Making it more Vulcan in a sense. However, having said that, its a good story nevertheless. I can relate to the internal conflicts he feels as he faces the man who embodies so much of that struggle. A good story and nicely done -- you've actually got me thinking about writing a Vulcan.

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"Klingon Mask" by Lt Ba'Eli

Reviewed by Lt Cameron Bunag

I enjoyed the simplicity of this story as it speaks to the truth of life. We all put on masks at times for certain people, be it our boss, or parents, or our lovers. This story, in it’s base form, is a story of a daughter talking to her father and putting on her klingon mask for the conversation. Reading this story I felt like it could have been expanded in so many different ways that would really bring it to life. I never really felt a connection to Ba’Eli--got in her head enough--to where I felt like she really was putting a mask on for her father. The mention of the earth drink, Chai latte, was really the only thing before the talk that hinted she was putting on a mask when talking with her father. If the author could have expanded on her more non-klingon side, maybe mention her human boyfriend before the talk--things that would have highlighted her non-klingon side, it would have helped the reader feel like Ba’Eli was really putting on a mask to talk to her father. Stories are about the characters, and Ba’Eli comes off a bit flat. This being your PC, you have to remember that as a stand-alone piece in the writing challenge, the reader knows nothing of what you have written previously with Ba’Eli. She is a new character to the reader, and to get a better understanding of her--what she feels, what she likes, and what annoys her, it would help to reintroduce her in the piece. Remember that writing isn’t so much about telling the reader what happened, but showing it. The dialogue in Klingon was a nice touch which really rooted the story in the Star Trek universe. I also enjoyed the clever use of the tea, how it was used to show the passing of time.

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"The Masks of Duty" by Cmdr Kalianna Nicholotti

Reviewed by Cpt Tallis Rhul

Right from the start, this piece captures the imagination with detailed, descriptive writing. I found myself eagerly anticipating the interviews in exactly the same way as the reporter, asking myself who we might meet, and what each of the senior staff might be like. I'd had a clue as to how the "masks" theme for this round might tie into the story thanks to the title, and sure enough we saw a doctor who was focused on bedside manner, an engineer who had more jobs than time to do them in, and a captain whose reputation filled his ready room like an aura. With a 3,000 word limit on the piece, you didn't have a lot of time to flesh these interviews out, and you did a good job of not getting mired down in conversation and communicating the most important information.

I really wanted some more information about the captain! I felt the suspense mounting as the reporter was let into the ready room, and the fact that you skipped the series of interviews for the bridge crew helped to ratchet that up a notch. The brief description was good, and explained enough to create an impression of what they might be like, but I think in this particular paragraph you could have afforded to flesh things out a little more. Was the captain how the reporter expected them to be? Did they ask about how the crew interviews had gone? Were there any answers to the reporter's questions that turned up something she didn't expect? I'd love to have found out!

The final part of the story cemented the tie in to the theme, and I think it was a nice touch. Every series of Star Trek contains multiple episodes where you get to see that the men and women who lead their ships have a human side to them, and they're not just machines who've been programmed to do a job. That's one of the things that makes Star Trek special, and it makes a very welcome addition to your story.

Edited by Tallis Rhul
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And so comes the moment of truth! The announcement of the victors for January/February! Before we do that, however, it's time for an announcement:-

This year we will be keeping a track of all of the winners of the writing challenge, and at the end of the year, the ship with the most winners will receive a banner for their wiki page to show that they triumphed over all of the competition! Remember: you have to be in it to win it! We're looking for as many entries from your ship as possible so that you have a fighting chance of climbing the pile and reaching the summit: winners will score three points for their ship, runners up will score one, and in the case of ties we'll be looking at the judge's scores for all of the ship's entries over the course of the year, so every little helps!

A huge congratulations to Lieutenant Saveron for "Behind the Mask", which is this round's runner up!

And now for this round's winner - put your virtual hands together for Lieutenant (jg) Velana for her entry, "Affectations"! I'll be in touch with our winner to set a subject for the next round of the challenge, and we'll be launching the March/April round in the next couple of days! We'll see you then!

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Congratulations, Velana! You're also the first recipient of the new winner banner, from The (Image) Collective :)

post-22-0-62117000-1330962262_thumb.png

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