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[2010: NOV-DEC] Writing Challenge: November - December 2010


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With a big thankyou once again to all who entered the last round, it's time for my usual plea - let's cast the net wide this time, and see how much interest we can generate!

For the Nov/Dec Challenge, we're upholding the tradition of using a "What If?" theme for entries. As such, last round's winner, Cmdr Quinn Reynolds, has come up with the following topic for this round:

"What if Praxis had never exploded?"

In 2293, the explosion of Praxis, one of the main energy-production facilities for the Klingon Empire exploded, with disastrous consequences for the Klingon homeworld. The moon's destruction precipitated the chain of events that led to peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. For more information, here's a handy link! - Aren't I nice?

Guidelines: To participate, create a new thread. The subject of the thread must be the title of your story. 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.)

Length: No more than 3000 words accepted.

Beginning Date: Saturday, November 6th

Ending Date: Friday, December 31st (Please note, there may be a slight delay in judging due to the holiday period. We will of course do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible!)

See Also: the Writing Challenge Website

Challenge: “What if Praxis never exploded?”

Good luck all!

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  • 1 month later...

Happy New Year everyone! With the coming of 2011, the deadline for the end of this round's entries is here, and as such the competition is now closed for judging! Within the next few days I'll be posting the judges' feedback for this round, as well as the runner up and winner! Please bear with us as things are fairly hectic for us all during the New Year period - we'll get those entries looked at as soon as possible.

A huge thankyou to everyone who entered - we had a very impressive turn out this month!

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The results and reviews are in! In the time-honoured reality TV style, I'll post up the reviews first, followed by the results! Without further ado, here they are...

"Praxis" by Ensign Roland Weston

Reviewed by Lieutenant Commander Tallis Rhul

One of the things I particularly liked about this submission was that there was enough time taken to allow the reader to identify with the main characters. In flash fiction writing, it can often be difficult to have time to make your characters matter, but the first section of the story provided us with the opportunity to empathise with the situation the group of humans found themselves in. It also raised some interesting questions as to what exactly was going on.

As the story progressed, those questions were answered through discovering the motivation of 'the Section'. It turns out that in a timeline where Praxis didn't explode, the Klingons ran rampant, and the consequences were dire. This serves to draw the reader in even further as the action sequence begins. Johnny's reaction after killing his Klingon reminds us that these people are not soldiers, further amplifying the heroic feel.

Many authors are reluctant to kill off their main characters, even in short works, but the ending to this piece is bold, and I felt a genuine impact as I read the final sections. The fact that the plan succeeded, but at a terrible cost, rings true with the fact that the operation was not conducted by the military.

This was an engaging and well-written piece, and I enjoyed reading it!

Lieutenant Commander Tallis Rhul

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My Last Words by LtCmdr Thomas Gregory

Review by Cpt Quinn Reynolds

There's an interesting idea at the centre of this piece: 'What if the klingons lied about Praxis?' I do feel, however, that the execution could have been improved.

There seemed to be a lot of of 'because it is so' in the story, where the reader was told something with no explanation or description (or even hints) as to why it was the case. A prime example was when Ryan mentioned that if the peace convoy was destroyed, the klingons would then strike into the heart of the Federation. The importance of the convoy's survival, the circumstances surrounding its formation, why it was so lightly armed when paying a visit to one of the most aggressive and militaristic species known to the Federation... none of these things were explained. Rather than enjoying the tale that was being woven, my immersion was broken as I found myself thinking 'but why?'

I also felt that Ryan's condition took centre stage for much of the story, yet added very little to it. There was no explanation as to why a captain who seems seriously ill – to the point where he can be rendered comatose for days with little to no warning – was allowed to remain in command. This sub-plot needed either further development so that its importance and relevance to the main story could be fully realised, or removed entirely, as it was distracting in its current state.

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Best Left Unsaid

By Lt. Kevin Breeman

Reviewed by Commander Toni Turner

Lieutenant Breeman contrived an interesting piece chronicling a reporter's stay on the derogated remains of the Klingon moon, Praxis. From the descriptions of the surface, and the depths where the reporter was quartered under the guise of writing a book or interviewing a book writer (unsure of which), to the reporter's short choppy, sometimes, incoherent dialog with her host, I found the story well-written, and in places, a spellbinding tale.

Very nice job, Kevin.

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"The Iron Sky of the Federation" by Chief Petty Officer Radi Rais

Reviewed by Lieutenant Commander Tallis Rhul

By the time I got halfway down this story I felt thoroughly uneasy. The opening speech jarred with the Star Trek ideal of an altruistic and conscientious human race, and the idea that Starfleet was marauding through the galaxy, eradicating race after race was disturbing...

In other words, the story did exactly what it was supposed to do, and I liked it for that reason; from the construction of the initial speech through to the cathartic twist as a new adversary was revealed, and into Starfleet's response at the end, everything had been planned to shock the reader, and had maximum impact.

Your choice of characters was interesting. It was nice to see that your First Officer, Lau, showed some redeeming qualities. His disdain for the Captain's 'reproduction order' was one of the things that helped to draw me into the story, and helped to add a touch of realism, which in the midst of a "What If?" scenario isn't always easily done.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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"The Death of a Dream" by Commander Tal Tel-ar

Review by Cpt Quinn Reynolds

My major problem with this entry is that it isn't so much a story, as it is a scene from one. There is no real progression of plot; we have a beginning, but no middle or end. The story could have been fleshed out in several ways; as an example, we could have still ended in the same place, but preceded it with more insight into how Nagato had managed to assemble her multi-racial fleet, instead of simply being told that she did. Or the scene as it stands could have led into the rest of the plot, showing us if her daring gambit paid off.

I think the author would benefit from finding a beta reader; there were several grammatical errors very early on which rapidly distracted from the story being told. The prose itself was quite difficult to read, because I found the rhythm choppy and abrupt, resulting in sentences that lacked a good flow.

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What We Should Do...

By Lt. Commander Marcus Dickens

Reviewed by Commander Toni Turner

Taking the viewpoint of a species caught between the superpowers, Lt. Commander Dickens' submission was quite interesting. The quandary of whether to remain standing with the faction they had already chosen or taking sides with one that could be stronger is not uncommon, but little has been said or done to delve into the reasoning behind it.

While Dickens touches on fear, he leaves the question unanswered, letting the reader decide whether it was just plain survival that made them entertain a choice. And which did they choose?... well, that answer remained the option of the reader - an old ploy, but one still extremely effective.

Well done, Marcus!

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Before announcing the results, I'd like to take a second to say how much I enjoyed reading all of the entries - it was great to see so many people entering the competition this time, and the final decisions on the winner and second place were very close run indeed!

In second place for November/December 2010 is...

Best Left Unsaid by Lieutenant Kevin Breeman!!

Congratulations to our runner up for an excellent entry! Which leaves just one more announcement...

This round's winner is...

The Iron Sky of the Federation by Chief Petty Officer Radi Rais!!!

Many congratulations to our winner - I'll be in touch within the next few days to grill you about what you'd like the topic for the next Challenge to be!

Thanks again to everyone who entered - I hope you've had fun, and I hope to see you enter next round :D Keep your eyes on this forum for the new challenge, which will be launched very soon!

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