Jump to content
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

JAN/FEB January/February 2011 Writing Challenge


Recommended Posts

I'm extremely pleased to say that we had a great turnout for the last round of the Writing Challenge, so let's see if we can beat our total this time! Those of you that entered, it would be fantastic to see you enter again, and pass the word around the your crew to see if you can persuade them as well!

Joining us on the judging panel for this round is Chief Petty Officer Radi Rais, who has decided on the following topic for this round:

"Song and Silence"

The topic is nice and broad, and leaves plenty of room for you to be creative! How will you represent the song? Could it be a symbol within your story, an integral part of the plot, or will it somehow influence the structure of your piece?

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: Wednesday, January 5th

Ending Date: Friday, February 25th

See Also: the Writing Challenge Website

Challenge: “Song and Silence”

Good luck all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Well, the time has rolled around again for us to gather up your challenge entries, spirit them away to a conceptual room somewhere in the internet, and sit down and discuss them over much coffee and hopefully some chocolate biscuits!

A huge thankyou to everyone involved - it's good to see another sizeable set of entries, and it's fantastic to see that we have some new participants!

As the deadline has now passed, no more entries will be considered for the time being, but the announcement of this round's winner, along with the launch of the next round, will take place within the next few days!

See you then!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ladies and Gentlemen (and gender nonspecific androids, androgynous and dual gender species, or members of third and fourth genders from races that use terms that don't translate easily into Federation Standard...), the judges have cogitated, deliberated and digested, and so without further ado I'd like to present the reviews for this round's writing challenge entries in no particular order, followed by the announcement of our winner and runner up for Jan/Feb 2011!

“Song and Silence” by Ensign Traven Stark

Reviewed by Lieutenant Commander Tallis Rhul

The opening passage of this submission did a fantastic job of making me feel sentimental for my school days. In particular, the moments where Travis’s eyes caught the sun brought back actual real life memories, and that in turn had me identifying with your main character from the beginning of the story. It can be difficult sometimes to win a reader over and warm them to your protagonist, but as the story continued you used other tricks such as informal speech and allusions to your character’s memories that kept me on board with him until the end of the piece.

There were times where I felt the story moved too quickly. It can be difficult when writing flash fiction (or snapshots of a longer story) to resist the urge to try to cram everything into a short space. For me, the pirate attack, which was clearly designed to come out of nowhere, seemed to come a little too much out of nowhere. I found myself asking why a transport ship would travel through some kind of phenomenon where pirate attacks were known to occur, especially as the trip was Starfleet funded. Nevertheless, the attack did occur, and led to the death of the professor, which seemed to be the entry’s only link to the title, a parallel between song and life, and silence and death.

There were moments of Travis’s reaction to the incident that were quite human, and caught my attention as I watched events unfold. You referred to the triumph of him being able to move one of his arms, which caused the gravity of the situation to hit home. The death itself was like a scene from a movie – the victim is being watched like a hawk, and it’s during the one moment where someone looks away or lets their mind wander that they lose the person they were trying to hold onto. I found that exceptionally poignant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“The Music in Silence” by Commander Tal Tel-ar

Reviewed by Lieutenant Commander Tallis Rhul

A lot of effort went into creating the environment and background in which the story took place in this unusual entry. The scene where Tony fell asleep in particular created a vivid picture in my mind as I read.

At times, however, as good as the descriptive writing tended to be, I felt it got in the way of the actual story itself. There were seeds sown early on about the mystery of the phantom melody, and that was certainly interesting, as was the story’s resolution, which I certainly didn’t see coming. The main bulk of the story, however, seemed to take place in the final paragraph, and it ended quite abruptly. While that seemed to be the intention, I felt as a reader that I would have liked to know more about the effect that this melody had on its listener, and how Tony felt once he had made his discovery.

Notably, Tegik’s character came over particularly strongly, mainly through the attitudes of the other members of the team of colonists. As a supporting character, he fulfilled a background role, and I felt that the use of the other characters to fill in what we didn’t have a chance to see for ourselves was particularly well done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The Silver Swan" by Captain Quinn Reynolds

Reviewed by Captain Toni Turner

Once again Captain Reynolds has guided her readers through a delightful trip through a maze of pleasingly discriptive words to tell a bleak tale of what could be a dying species, although some would argue Neitee was the last of her kind to be assimulated by the Borg. Thinking about it, the latter could probably be right with her references to "emerald and silver cubes,"and the "cold song" of those chasing her. But I like to think it was a story more timeless than that... perhaps a story woven from life itself, and prefer to think of it as spending a lifetime searching for a song that Neitee had with her all along, and her victory in the face of death, she found a way to sing it.

Whatever her intent, it was a mighty fine read. Excellent story, Quinn. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The Price We Pay" by Ensign Saveron

Reviewed by Chief Petty Officer Radi Rais

The moment I saw the opening sentence I knew this would be a cracking story.

The Price We Pay had a very strong opening and it immediately conjured grim, visceral imagery in the mind of the reader. For me, that immediately drew me in. I wanted to read more...

As the last competition's winner I had the honour of picking the topic... I selected "Song and Silence". The topic I picked was one of contrast, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Saveron had embraced the concept of contrast as the overall message of her piece and used it liberally throughout her writing, while still keeping auditory contrast the overall focus of the piece. The implicit comparison of music as life and silence as death was brilliant.

Saveron's grammar structure and vocabulary (the tools of any good writer) are superb, and her ability to conjure mental images both beautiful and sad was amazing... her writing wasn't just telling a story, it was painting a picture in the mind. It was art.

However, it was her ability to employ contrast as an artistic tool that really sold me with this piece. A fertile field as the site of a battle, delicate slippers stepping over bloodshed, the fountain in a desert, the warrior that was both fierce and gentle...

A good writer plucks at the heartstrings like a harpist at play, and the revelations that Lohraedhys wouldn't seek vengeance and that she was pregnant were master strokes. Further, I loved the fact that Saveron described non-visual elements in her story. The smell of the blood, the sound of the music, the feel of the foliage underfoot...

I felt that this story is one that never forgot where it was going, where it had been, or where it was set. Rather than just reading about a bunch of humans with pointy ears, I got the very clear feeling that this story was distinctly alien. Distinctly Vulcan.

However, the role of a critic is to be critical. This is difficult for me because I just loved this piece to bits, but here goes...

The only thing I could think of that would have improved this piece was to reduce the focus on the "present day" segment of the piece, to shorten or reformat it somehow. I felt it was a little distracting and although it served as an interesting framing device, unlike the imagery-loaded "pre-battle" and "post-battle" scenes it didn't contribute a huge amount to the meaning of the story. Jumping back and forth between three timelines is difficult to follow.

I also felt that the story needed to use more white space in the "present day" segment, just to space it out some of the lines a little bit.

However, those are tiny issues. I loved reading The Price We Pay and I encourage Saveron to enter more writing challenges, for no other reason that I want to read more of her writing. Can't really give it more praise than that.

In fact, this piece presents me with a very interesting problem. I am a huge, huge, "Sign my chest!" squealing fanboy when it comes to Quinn Reynolds's Writing Challenge entries- the only writing challenge I've ever won was where she didn't enter, and when she does enter I spend my nights crying into a bowl of icecream shakily trying to convince myself that "next time I'll beat her!".

Now if you both enter I'm going to bring it up another notch... and I'm going to need a whole lot more icecream.

Masterfully done, Saveron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Controversial Titles" by Lieutenant Commander Thomas Gregory

Reviewed by Chief Petty Officer Radi Rais

I'm actually familiar with 4'33, although I didn't expect its use here at all. Gregory's use of this very unique piece surprised me and I enjoy being surprised. That put me in a good mood to read the rest of his piece.

Breaking the piece into acts and scenes was an interesting, if slightly distracting, choice of style but I got used to it almost immediately. I liked the idea that a piece that was both Song AND Silence was the focus of the piece, and in that regard I felt it held to the premise of the topic faithfully.

I felt that this story had an interesting plot, was clearly about the topic and held itself together cleanly. However, I felt that it needed an editor. There were a few silly mistakes that could have been fixed by a careful proof-read, and I felt that some sections were either all descriptive text or all dialogue. Adding more descriptive text along with the dialogue and paragraphing out the descriptive text would have helped this story reach its full potential.

Controversial Titles also hit a couple of my personal formatting and grammar berserk buttons, but I know that each person's writing style is different; a writer cannot be the Borg, seeking to make everything like themselves, so I won't dwell on them. The issues were not so serious that they substantially coloured my reading of the piece.

But in some ways, a writer must be the Borg... must dismantle any piece, any s[...], of another's writing that impresses them and see what they can learn from it, to see what can be used to add to their own perfection writing style. I've said before that my favourite part of Writing Challenges is when I lose, because it's in seeing how others do it that I improve my own writing.

Anyway, Controversial Titles was a solid story told in three acts, and it's clear that Gregory knows how to draw together the elements needed to make a great story... all the piece really needed was to be sharpened, clarified and bought into focus. As I wrote earlier, it needed the hand of a skilled editor, but take heart- a writer and an editor are two different skills, that's why they are called two different things. It is, however, a good skill for a writer to have.

All said, a good work. I enjoyed reading it. Well done!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With all of the reviews posted, there remains only one thing to do, which is announce the winner and runner up for this round's challenge. I can tell you (and the other judges will back me up) that this round the decision over first and second place was exceptionally difficult, and that this has been the closest-run competition we've seen for a very long time.

First the runner up...

A huge congratulations to Captain Quinn Reynolds for her entry, "The Silver Swan"!!! (For an insight into the meaning behind the title, follow this link)

And now the moment we've all been waiting for...

The winner of the Writing Challenge for January/February 2011 is...

"The Price We Pay" by Ensign Saveron!!! Congratulations!!!

Thankyou also to everyone who entered - we hope to see you again in the next round, and please get twisting the arms of your crewmates and friends in the fleet - see if you can persuade them to enter too! I'll be in touch with Ensign Saveron directly to set up the topic for the next round, and as soon as that's done we'll get kicked off for March/April!

See you soon!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.