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[2005: FEB-MAR] Writing Challenge


Idril Mar
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Because she added the banner that was supposed to go on the ship site, not the one for her signature. ;)

Grats to Alana and Isawara. I'm fairly sure that ya'lls posts were better than mine, so I'm not sure how this came to me. :sweating:

Jenn

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Heehee... couldn't help it!!! It had my name on it!!! :D

And don't be modest, Idril-girl, you know you're good. ;)

I read everything that was submitted and I think every single story was great. I look forward to participating once again.

Edited by Alana Devar
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Congrats to all the winners!

I know they are probably busy, but if the judges could give me some input...I'd really appreciate it. For that matter, if anyone has the time (and willingness) I'd like opinions/suggestions.

Didn't figure I stood much of a chance for a first time story...but since I hate losing..*smirk*

Thanks for any help,

And congrats again to those who obviously don't need help...;)

Walker

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I know they are probably busy,  but if the judges could give me some input...I'd really appreciate it.  For that matter,  if anyone has the time (and willingness) I'd like opinions/suggestions.

Didn't figure I stood much of a chance for a first time story...but since I hate losing..*smirk*

That's coming :) Wanted to get the results out ASAP, but further info will be posted in a few days.

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Some feedback from the judges. A merging of different opinions, please excuse any moments that we may repeat ourselves!

These comments are in no way in order of merit (1st place, 2nd place etc.) Instead, they lead on to each participant in accordance to similarities in theme and approach.

Lt.Cmdr. Alana Devar's style of writing was exemplary and I particularly liked the division of the short story into clear sections (*** ). This worked well as it allowed the use of a non-linear narrative. Instead, we jump back and forth between key events that, when combined at the end, created the story overall. This is not an easy writing technique and one that, in this instance, Alana pulled off well. In terms of meeting the requirements of this month’s taskI believe this piece does this well on numerous occasions, although these are perhaps not as obvious as in the other entries. Whilst many chose to focus on one character’s turmoil and impeding choice between love and duty, Alana’s work is noteworthy as it shows small moments of this turmoil amongst numerous characters: firstly, with the father -giving in to brief emotion for his daughter and basing a decision on these feelings rather than logic. As we find in the epilogue, this is an alternative reality to Devar’s characters past in which one presumes the father did not give in to emotion and thus followed logic…allowing for the creation of a Starfleet officer, albeit with emotional issues and a sense of divide in her “Métis background” rather than a institutionalised patient. Likewise, in this opening we are led to consider the mother’s position between love of her daughter and duty to her husband (and his ways,) and indeed with such thoughts as: “How could he be so cruel, so uncaring?” the parallel conflict between love for her husband and duty to what is best for her daughter.

As the story explores the repercussions, we see a nurse torn between a carer’s love for their patients and the need to place them in restraints for their own protection. Through the description of self-harm, we catch a glimpse of a situation where an individual is again in conflict –perhaps a duty to one’s emotions (which in the case of this character are strong,) and love for oneself. The choices made by the parents at the start of the story come back as we see Cadet Devar kill with a single thought. In describing herself as “the best in the class”, we see that the self-harming patient once regarded herself as the best and had an appreciation for herself, perhaps suggesting that she was now testing her own body and feelings. Again, we see the Devar character torn between duty in her academy mission and emotion –the wrong choice having drastic consequences. Yet the act is not her own and eerily links back to that original parental choice not to give the suffering child Vulcan treatment. Indeed, the story explores the criteria of this month’s writing task as it successfully explores the continuing detrimental results of that choice between duty and love made at the very start of the writing. The detrimental results of the parent’s choice, which are summed up perfectly in the actual text as : “… All because of choices and sacrifices, tailored to be made and unmade, though inevitably not repairable.” Lt.Cmdr Devar’s piece (what if?) was therefore a very strong contender for winner, especially as it also allowed a deep look into her character’s past and a reality that could have been? Overall, LCDR Devar's piece was extremely well-written and also gives a very moving tale of a scenario involving her character's past. The characters are real and well-developed, and offer us a glimpse into what made Alana into the person she is today; but could have centered more on the sacrifice scenario set in the theme.

Ltjg. Sidney Riley’s submission was equally well-written and also made a good effort at exploring a parental choice between love and duty but this time with the main character as the parent. It touched on the ultimate sacrifice that any parent would be willing to make for their child. The reader is led through the work, knowing what the result will be relatively early on, but still riveted to the work to see how and when this tragedy occurs. In the end, the inevitable happens, but only after a very touching goodbye and it leaves the reader feeling both chilled by the scene and warmed by the expression of love. We are left wondering what happened to the young daughter of his story after she was beamed away? Who beamed her away and did the protagonist himself eventually find a way out and if so his daughter? What was the cloud around the shuttle? I look forward to reading more of Riley’s writing which grips the reader from the very start and certainly, stirs intrigue as the reader reads on looking for clues and hoping to find out more. Certainly a great mystery writer!

Lt Iswarya Ghaurav also linked the writing task back to parentage. Firstly between Delia and the expectations of her own father and then at the end with the birth of Delia’s own daughter. The conflict between duty and love was clearly brought out through the character if Delia and her love for another woman and with such items as a crib being used by each generation we got a clear feeling that duty was a question of lineage and tradition. This was a good concept for a story, however the depths of the conflict could perhaps have been explored a little further. For example, Delia eventually chooses duty over love… but was there no love for her father and her lineage? Perhaps more exploration of feelings here could have added to the turmoil ? (eg. did she feel resentment to the father etc?) What was particularly fascinating was that at the end of the story, the feelings of love for the other woman were still clearly very strong (Delia looking at a picture of her and naming her own daughter after the woman she loved,) but more exploration of why these feeling of love were so long-lasting would have been a welcome addition. In terms of the setting and context (Brekkia,) it would have been nice to see a little more of the canon Star Trek facts on this world (i.e. their link to narcotics and Thelisium etc) This was certainly an exemplary effort and a definite contender for first place. The writer stays on-topic and told a tragic tale of two lovers forced apart by the political requirements of her station. It's a poignant appeal to true love and the sacrifices that the character makes in order to preserve her planet and her people. There can be no more tragic of a tale than not only giving up the person you love for the sake of your people, but allowing oneself to be used to continue the bloodline. It was felt that the ending was especially wrenching, when the reader finds out the youngster's name and ends with her gazing at the picture of the person she surrendered, all for her people. It is a touching tale and (despite no clear narrative point,) was one of the best constructed of them all.

Idril Mar's piece was another heart-wrenching tale of the travels of her symbiont through different bodies, and the sacrifice made to ensure its survival. Just as Lt.Cmdr Devar gave an interesting insight into the background/history of her character, so did Lt. Commander Idril Mar.

Again, the characters are real and the topic is dead on. What was particularly noteworthy of Mar’s writing is her strong familiarity with the Trill race and the way she brought out their different attitudes and explores key parts of this races structure of society and planet’s history. In terms of the actual writing task, their were numerous moments when people acted either out of duty or out of love and made the work a strong contender for first place. However, what was particularly nice was towards the end when we see that Durath would never give up the symbiont out of duty, but is willing to hand it over out of love for Rutia: “Phrase it so that he knows that to save her, he must sacrifice himself.” This piece offered a beautiful insight into the Mar character (or at least its symbiont!) the trill people and gave a clear reminder of the significant consequences that result from people’s choices in the conflict between love and duty.

LtJgBen Walker also chose to dive into his own character’s history, which in his own words explains that the events contained within the story are “at least PART of why Ben's...well Ben.” With this in mind, the reader takes on an enjoyable read, which raises many questions as it goes. We start of by wondering if the protagonist is a spy for an enemy power or indeed a Starfleet intelligence officer? Is motive is not clear and yet our mouth falls aghast as we watch some of his interaction between him and the Captain. Wondering just why he is behaving like this, one thing is made clear –he is under orders from someone other than the Captain and it seems clear that he will put this duty first before love or commitment to thousands of lives. As the lives are lost we see a consequence of this choice to put duty first, and are also surprised to see that the protagonist also sees the consequences of his actions. As he feels remorse, we sympathise with him yet still consider the Starfleet officers kills. This is a clever writing technique and well executed, because when it is revealed to the character that he was only in a simulation we must feel some of the surprise that the protagonist would at the revelation.

Walker's piece had a good bit of writing, but a combination of grammatical errors, spelling errors hurts the overall strength of this piece slightly. The character is somewhat of a super-hero and this leads us to an ending which is very interesting, although perhaps it meshes less with the sacrifice theme, being more closely related to living with ones' past.

However, this writing was a good demonstration of how choosing duty over love (in this case for life,) can also have dramatic consequences and allow an epiphany in a character after which they may change.

LtJg Deran Beq embraced the task extremely well and was a strong contender. She explored the emotions of a young officer torn between: her friends, having fun and being free ; and, her job as a Starfleet officer due to start performing daily duties and meeting the expectations, not just of her superiors but also of her family. What was particularly nice was to see this turmoil in an Ensign starting her career. Given that it is often easier to escape when you’re young (than when you’ve been in a daily routine for several years,) for a large part of the short story we almost expect her to choose a fun lifestyle with her friends rather than follow through with her duty. What was particularly interesting about this piece is that it excites a great feeling of sympathy for the protagonist –after all how many us readers are familiar with having to get up and perform the same daily task each day (duty,) when we could be somewhere far away relaxing and having fun with people we love? This piece certainly seemed to reflect real life, not just in this conflict but also in its reflection of family life –parental expectations and particularly the protagonist’s feelings to her twin sister on whom we affix a lot of dislike and blame when she has actually not done anything very wrong. With this keen eye for reflecting RL issues in a piece of Star Trek fiction, Beq’s submission was a very exciting read which we read keenly, hoping to find out what the character with whom we sympathise will choose to do and I certainly look forward to reading more of this style of writing from her.

In this piece, Lt.Cmdr Taboo certainly wrote what he writes best: romance ; relationships ; and, those people in a relationship. All these aspects were instantly established, the writer having a great talent for this style of writing. (Yes Oz… I’m trying to avoid the words Mils n Boon ) His descriptions of lovers work really well, using flowing adjectives that help us get a clear picture the characters: “Louise was a beautiful woman, her green eyes and dark almost chestnut red hair was only over shadowed by her amazing smile.” Amongst these beautiful descriptions we start with an interesting hint at a ménage a trios… three friends from the Academy, two of whom are now a couple and the typical best friend still tagging along with them. We are built up throughout the start of the story with a clear idea of Mickey’s love for his wife, yet she remains more of a mystery and the reader is led to believe that she may actually be having an affair with Mickey’s best friend. Completely expecting Mickey to walk in and catch the couple together it is with a surprising twist that we find out his friend was only in his wife’s quarters, waiting for Mickey’s return so he might be treated. Slightly reconciled, the reader is then surprised with yet another change in course when Billy attacks his best friend’s wife and we get a well-described image of a rape about to happen. Still shocked the reader is then plummeted into the realisation that Security have been alerted and that the protagonist’s wife broadcast the entire event to him to catch out her assailant. This was certainly a roller coaster piece of writing, which instantly hooks the reader and continues to surprise them after each cliffhanger. Meanwhile I was left with a little smile on my face at the (not so) subtle hints that the main characters were “Mickey Blue Eyes” and “Billy the Kidd.” The concept for this story was a good one and in terms of style works well, although I am sure Lt.Cmdr Taboo would be the first to agree that this was not quite his best piece of writing. That said, the piece was not marked complete and I believe if he had not run out of time her would have tidied it up considerably into a brilliant demonstration of his work (perhaps building on the reasons Louise had such a great dislike for Mickey, so that we better understand the motive for her actions). Without an understanding of Captain Kidd’s motivation the Star Trek reader accepts this bad guy image on the captain but feels it perhaps lacks a little in terms of Star Trek realism. A better exploration of the Kidd’s motivation would help here. Ultimately Lt.Cmdr Taboo's entry was interesting, and written with excellent grammar and description. All the while, the reader is left wondering more about the characters and how they got into this entanglement.

Commander Tyr Waltas & Captain Rocar

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Wow, it looks like you guys placed a lot of thought into the stories. That's really awesome feedback and I appreciate it. It's refreshing to see that someone really gets the deeper meaning of my wayward writing. :)

I think all the stories were great and I look forward to doing this again and reading whatever is submitted. We have a variety of original, wonderful writers/simmers here in the UFOP.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well done Idril, I loved the piece too, so why did I put in a piece to challenge it I ask myself, to be honest I saw Alana's piece and took great pride in thinking, hey lets just put something in, I've always wanted too.. Yep, I know my piece was a little rushed, it was a slow boring night shift so hey, my night passed quicker and considering the feedback I'm happy I did...

I must admit I think you are all very brave writing about your characters but every piece was a gift, I really enjoyed reading them all..

"Mills and Boon." Jezz. ;) If I weren't already smiling I'd be annoyed. (joke) The compliments and comments are gratefully received, thank you..

Watch out you lot, I'll be back... <_<

Everyone, well done, I loved them all.. Guess it's lucky I was not a judge.. :P

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