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[2006: SEP-OCT] Writing Challenge Discussion


FltAdml. Wolf
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Would you believe I only saw that episode for the first time on Friday?

By the way, I just ran Cara's entry for the last challenge through a spell check and although it suggested some grammatical corrections (nearly always punctuation), there were no spelling errors. Did Julia take into account that Cara, like myself, uses UK English? I only ask as "minor spelling errors" were mentioned in the first paragraph of her feedback

Edited by Salak
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Out of the four judges you had the following:

LtCmdr Harden = USA = "American Engilish"

Captain Rocar = UK = "British English"

Captain Rhys = Australia = "Australian English"

Captain Phoenix = The Netherlands = "Standard English" / "English as a Foreign Language"

As such, I think we can assure you that overall nobody will have been penalised for using a non-American version of English. Okay...so maybe any Canadians out there would have raised a few eyebrows but we're usually quite good at taking that into account too ;)

Try and remember the judges feed back is really just helpful tips that you MIGHT like to CONSIDER trying in future writing. When we first started offering feedback these tips were greatly appreciated, nowadays it seems to be more a case of trying to find fault with what the judges have said. Its almost enough to give the poor judges a nervous breakdown! Try and remember there really isn't any need to rip the judges apart because of their comments... if someone says something you hadn't thought of that you think is a good idea then try it out and see if readers think your work has improved. If, on the other hand, you disagree with something in the feedback then simply ignore the suggestion and continue having fun.

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Oops, yes there WAS a bit of Cara's past that I keep writing into my challenge entries but then cutting out... maybe the next one should be on the life there and stay as the life there... purely because everything of mine cross references...

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Hi all,

As always...thanks to the judges for reading/reviewing. I may not always agree...but an impartial review is always worthwhile.

By the way...does anyone know why that episode was called "City on the edge of forever?" I dunno...especially after some reviews on stories written here...the title seems fairly unrelated to the story.

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I'm not sure where or when I read this...but back when I was a complete Star Trek nerd I'm sure I read somewhere that "The city on the edge of forever" was originally written by Harlan Ellison but DC Fontana rewrote a lot of his original work for the final script. Ellison's original does exist in book form (rather than chase McCoy they chase some Lieutenant who was caught selling drugs and is trying to run away... his altered timeline also involves the Enterprise becoming a pirate ship!)

Anyway... if you think to the start of the episode, there's the guradian of forerver surrounded by ruins. I'm not sure how true this is, but I do remember reading that in Ellison's original script there was a city covered in "runes" but someone misread his script and made a set of ruins rather than a rune covered city. I think the episode title might have made a little more sense if they'd got the set right at the start ;)

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That does make a lot more sense.

However....as an example, if someone was to write the storyline for the 'City story and submit it...wouldn't the judges say that while its a great, powerful, moving story...the "City on the Edge of Forever" concept is just kinda attached on loosely?

I guess that part is what I'm having difficulty with. I'm trying to come up with something that would work with the concept...but the base story doesn't appear to... Soooo...should our stories relate to the storyline? Are the judges going to be more forgiving of the connection to the title as the original was weakly connected? 3000 words seems very short to have a storyline that really incorporates the City concept as central...

Of course this may all be too much information to request...but...;)

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Ah... yes I see what you're getting at now.

Well... it would depend on the judge, but put it this way... the actual "City on the Edge of Forever" episode (as it was shot) might not have won had it been an entry to the writing challenge! Then again, the more you think about the episode script the more different meanings and interpretations you can find ~these don't have to be literal but also surreal.

For example, New York is the city in the past which is on the eve of forever changing the future; the runied city at the start has a portal (the guardian of forever) which is on the edge of infinite time... and if you go back you can change things forever...so standing in the ruined city is being in the city on the edge of forever.

One tip for you all if you're stuck on something like this (and for any students out there... this really really works well with academic assignments where they give you cryptic questions/essay titles) is to completly deconstruct the title. "City on the Edge of Forever" immediately says large urban area on the edge of forever... but what else can you take from it? What is Forever? What if I spell it For ever? or for Ever? How many different meanings can "on the Edge" have? not just geographical location...in the original episode for example, in what ways is Kirk on the edge? McCoy on the edge? What exactly is a city? what do we understand by city and what is the significance of a city? Who lives in a city and what does that space mean to them? If the city is on the edge of forever...does the city then have to be incorporated as the central theme... or doies on the edge means there's more forever than there is city? What does city sound like... sit he?

Deconstruct the title/theme a little. Then see what it inspires you to write. If you write something then try to pin it to the title then that may show but if you write something that the title or theme inspired you to write you'll likely meet the criteria of the challenge.

...but no, just because the Original series episode was "weakly connected to its title" doesn't mean everyone has an excuse to do the same. Like I said...the original series episode is a good episode but it might not have run a competition to do with the theme "City on the Edge of Forever"

Edited by Rocar Drawoh
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Well, er... mine are NEVER written like that... but I am considering a similar theme in two different situations.

A city on the edge of eternal nothing, or the city life of cara that I keep ending up avoiding.

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I suppose this is a little confusing, but remember that "The City on the Edge of Forever" is this challenge's theme, while it was a TOS episode title.

So, if the theme were "Love," how would you incorporate it? There are many different kinds of love, and you could very broadly use the theme. The love a child has for their parent, the love of two spouses, the physical act of love, the emotion of love, the love of your country, the love you have for a pet, and so on.

Also keep in mind that a story using the "love" theme wouldn't necessarily be title "Love," so the same applies here.

I think Rocar's suggestion is very insightful, and will lead help many of you find the heart of this theme. Remember that this is about challenging yourself to write. Don't stay in your comfort zone, because you'll never get better that way.

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Ellison's original is far more fascinating (almost wish they had stuck with his original story).

If it were related to the story, I could extract: Love alters time; Madness drives us into history.; the sacrifice of a loved one restores the present... the list goes on. :)

I think Rocar probably said it better with the deconstruction of the title.

Generally I tend to target the theme and do a little wordplay to see what shakes loose. Is a city just a place? Or can it apply to a thing, or a person? What is forever? What is the edge of forever? Is time forever? Am I forever? Does forever have a beginning and an end? Or is it endless?

Then figure out how it applies in the context of the story that's being written. ;-)

Edited by DCody
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... By the way, I just ran Cara's entry for the last challenge through a spell check and although it suggested some grammatical corrections (nearly always punctuation), there were no spelling errors. Did Julia take into account that Cara, like myself, uses UK English? I only ask as "minor spelling errors" were mentioned in the first paragraph of her feedback

In answer, No I did not. It didn't occur to me that any of you live anywhere other than Colorado, USA at the time I was writing the reviews. *how dumb is that?* Anyway, sorry for that spelling comment. :whistling:

This was my first shot at reviewing stories and although I did read through past reviews, there are gobs and gobs of things I would change now... after the fact.

Congrats to everyone and let me say that I enjoy reading every single story that's entered in all the challenges. And good luck on the next one...

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Just to clear up, I wasn't trying to rip judges comments apart. I find them useful myself, and would even like more detail perhaps, although I know it may not be possible given time restirictions, etc... It was just a comment that raised an eyebrow for me...

Thanks

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The point about grammar definitely was a point though, I use grammer oddly, it usually works better to my mind, however it doesn't read so well.

And inspiration struck, I didn't actually mean to write my entry until I had more time. I guess that tactic didn't work :sweating:

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If it were related to the story, I could extract

I agree with Cody on this one.

And while I also understand where Rocar is going with this...his suggestions seemed to me a "cheat". Not actively going after the point. Which is why I brought this up.

Single/simple concepts such as deception/love/etc...are very easy to interpret...just wasn't sure where this theme was going.

But...I can go with this..;) (No idea WHERE I'm going..but that's usually how I start out..*chuckle*)

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It's nice to see that a judge cares enough to apologize.

*long yawn* Are we going to keep beating this dead horse forever?

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It's nice to see that a judge cares enough to apologize.

*long yawn* Are we going to keep beating this dead horse forever?

Why do I get the feeling I'm missing something here...?

(Probably doesn't help that I'm asleep but never mind.)

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Nothing to miss... Rocar trashed my story, and got away with it.

It wasn't a matter of "getting away with it." It's a matter of you continuing to be a poor sport while others have simply moved on.

My question is, how long are you going to continue acting like a child and make cutting remarks in his direction every time judges comments, judges, or Rocar himself is mentioned? I thought we had made it amply clear that anyone who is not happy with the judges remarks need only to disregard them?

After winning a challenge, and placing in at least one other, I would think you would have a certain sense of accomplishment and pride in your own work -- yet you continue to allow others to affect how you feel about what you do. And to boot, you continue to use this forum as a megaphone for your affected feelings -- a behavior which most of us grew out of in the lower grades of school.

If you wish to continue participating in the challenge, then by all means do so; we always welcome writers of high quality. But if you intend to honor your statement from last week about how you will no longer participate, then please, leave this forum to its own devices and allow the people who do wish to participate some peace and quiet where they can grow and challenge themselves.

I'm simply quite tired of having this same discussion over again. Judges comments are a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Enough said.

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Nothing to miss... Rocar trashed my story, and got away with it.

Um...where are you getting this from the feedback he gave?

Here's what I saw...

I enjoyed this piece a lot and it certainly succeeds in being both an exciting read combined with some entertaining moments. It was interesting to see the story divided into sections

Um...Seems to be a positive first paragraph....

Paragraph construction aside, the notion of using more of your 3000 word limit is a point I’ve made in past feedback. Although I’m writing this here in Lt Turner’s feedback, what follows are tips that really are not specific to her work but do apply to a lot of entrants to the competition and I’d like you all to give some thought to.

And this is a comment made to all..not just you.

Despite this, the story was nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable read. The twist at the end was certainly unexpected and well executed. I think it captures this month’s theme of “the pretender” very well indeed and was certainly a stronger contender for winner.

And I'd like to add this point... you came in as a runner up!

So why the "So much for writing challenges" tagline? And the attitude?

*laugh* I've won ONCE...and then the Judges comments were that my story was the most fitting the requirements...NOT the best story.

We aren't getting paid for this...and neither are the judges. Our ONLY pay is the feedback they give so we can improve our writing...or bask in adulation..*laugh*. THEIR pay? um...currently it's a lot of flak for providing honest feedback.

I may well be frustrated when I hear from one judge I crammed too much in a story..and from another I didn't get enough in... But how much worse am I going to be if they only tell me positives?

I'm sorry for dragging this another step all...but really...this is ridiculous.

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That I agree with, I don't actually mind the negative bits or the fact I haven't won a challenge because it means I actually get feedback (rare for me) and knowing that more than just one person had read and appreciated my stories, that's enough for me.

So how's everyone's entries coming on?

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