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MAY/JUN May/June 2011 Writing Challenge


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Hi all!

Welcome to the May/June round of the Writing Challenge! Please read this post carefully for new guidelines on entering your submissions! Following in challenge traditions, the May/June round uses a single word as inspiration for entries.

Joining us on the judging panel for this round is the March/April winner, Lieutenant Alleran Tan, who has decided on the following topic for this round:

"Fire"

You're free to interpret that however you like for your entries - does the title refer to a raging inferno, or a command to shoot? Maybe it will have a more lateral connotation to your story and manifest itself through a burning hatred? Or maybe someone's about to lose their job! The choice is yours, so let your imaginations run wild!

Guidelines: To participate, create a new thread. The subject of the thread must be the title of your story, preceded by the tag [2011: MAY/JUN], which is a new requirement for entries that will be used when we archive the entries at the end of the round. 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: Tuesday, May 3rd

Ending Date: Saturday, June 25th

See Also: the Writing Challenge Website

Challenge: “Fire”

Good luck everyone!

Edited by FltAdml. Wolf
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  • 2 months later...

Yes, the moment you've all been waiting for is finally here - the judges have deliberated, cogitated and digested (as I believe the saying goes) and we're ready to announce the results of the May/June writing challenge competition!

First of all, I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. We've had a stunning turnout this round, and not only have I been impressed by the quantity of entries, I'm very pleased to say that the quality has been fantastic as well! Looking at the votes that have been placed by the judges, there's been something in this round's entries to please everyone, so I'm looking forward to seeing future entries from all of the participants in future competitions!

So, without further ado, I present the reviews, and the results!

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Mazu's Flame by Captain Della Vetri

Reviwed by Lieutenant Alleran Tan

Della's piece, Mazu's Flame, starts strong and keeps it going. Speaking personally, I think starting a short story with an interesting snippit of dialog is a great way to get people to just jump right in- and Della's was an excellent example of doing it right. The scene where the mere act of *eating* becomes an almost sardonic, defiant spit at the universe made me smile.

The piece's pacing was solid and the story was very interesting. I did find the ending a little predictable, but as TV Tropes will tell you, Tropes are Good. I'd rather read a slightly predictable, well crafted piece like this that really flexes Della's creative writing skills. The characters were believable and real, the situation was very plausible and interesting, and I want to read more- this was a finely crafted, snappy piece that I found engaging. I tend to be very easily distracted and take stories like this in quick bursts of alt-tabbing frenzy, but it was a testament to her skill that I stayed for the whole duration. In short, I thought it was brilliant.

Incidently, regarding the title, my first thought was that Mazu's Flame was a reference to the ancient chinese god of the sea, who protected sailors, the pink fire being some kind of her metaphorical manifestation. If I'm right, woo. If not, well, I missed it. ;)

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Fire on High by Ensign Deven Zell

Reviewed by Captain Toni Turner

I thoroughly enjoyed the analogy of Mr. Baker's piece. I found it a perfect example of facing the challenges of life, and having the drive and spirit to face them head on, and finish, no matter the outcome.

It was a story of one man's unquenchable thirst to excel, striving for excellence for a second time. And it was a tale that could be told in any venue, making it timeless, and a narration that gave every reader their own feeling of identity as they struggle to reach for goals.

As writers sometimes we tend to look a sentence and think about a way that it could have been said better. I didn't find a word that I would have changed. It was a clear and concise work, that flowed smoothly from the time Baker drew me on to that desert plain until he collapsed. But he didn't stop with that, In giving a glimpse of the character’s mind set, he let the reader know the Trill would try again, making the total package encouraging, well planned, and absolutely flawless in execution.

To sum my impression of "Fire on High" I'll quote Mr. Baker, ". . . it was just a good run," but excellent in the telling. Very nice job, Nathan.

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Prometheus by Lieutenant Sinda Essen

Reviewed by Captain Toni Turner

"Prometheus" was an well-written submission that gave its readers some insight on why the Federation put so much emphases on the Prime Directive.

Unfortunately, I've never been a fan of stories that switched back and forth from one scene to another, because undoubtably I find one more interesting than the other. In this piece, what was known lost out to the unknown, and I found myself wanting to know more about Ashom's struggle than I did Joro's smuggling, making it like a good movie interrupted by commercials.

Otherwise, the individual segments flowed well, and the descriptions were expertly done.

Nice job, Sinda.

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The Yellow Envelope by Lieutenant Commander Kevin Breeman

Reviewed by Commander Tallis Rhul

The use of simile, metaphor and imagery in this piece is executed at an expert level, and makes for a very engaging read. So too is the form. While it

initially seems as though we're following two unrelated stories, these ravel quickly together to explain how the two main characters, Alvin and atri, relate to one another. The result is a piece that is both absorbing and atmospheric.

While there was a clear reference to flames and fire in two different places in the piece, the first to the Hobus supernova, and the second to the fire around which they were sitting, I couldn't help but feel like the relation to the theme of this round of the contest was a little tenuous. Granted, it was used to destroy the envelope with the three insects, but in my mind, I felt that the way the piece ended raised one too many questions. It is, of course, always good to leave a reader wanting more, but the significance of the envelope was diminished by the fact that it appeared only in the final paragraph.

Having mentioned form already in brief, I would like to give special mention to the choices of title for the different sections of the piece. The references to mythology and to the evolution of the relationship of the two characters using those specific terms threaded very nicely through the entry to reinforce the flow of the narrative. The underworld theme lent itself to the darker side of Patri's character, and the reference to Orpheus and Eurydice was inspired.

Great work, and a thoroughly enjoyable entry.

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Internal Flames by Lieutenant Tressa

Reviewed by Commander Tallis Rhul

The revenge motif that ran through this entry fit perfectly with the theme, and the inner fire idea was a nice piece of lateral thinking. The overriding obsession of Dartris with avenging the assimilation of his fiancée came through very well, and the detail of the ever-running projector added a lot to setting the scene.

In writing flash fiction, it can sometimes be difficult to strike the right balance between getting your story across and adding enough detail to

characters. In reading the opening section in particular, I felt that the level of description of Dartris was spot on; we didn't need to know any more about him other than that he was old and obsessed with revenge, and you coloured that nicely by mentioning that those who knew of him considered him to be mad. Equally, you didn't dwell too long in describing his love, which leaves the reader's imaginations to run wild. However, I would really have liked to have seen more development in the flashback section. Your writing is descriptive and entertaining, and the action, which was in essence the main body of the story despite having taken place in the past, was curtailed very suddenly.

The layout of the entry was well thought-out; I appreciated the return to the opening sentences at the end as it created a haunting effect. This was

imaginatively written, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

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To Float In Space? by Commander Tal Tel-ar

Reviewed by Commander Karynn Brice

I'd like to start by saying, I really enjoyed your creative approach to the topic. Rather than taking it on in a concrete manner, you thought about the implications of fire, and wrote something drawing on those. It was a bold approach and one that I think really paid off. I also appreciated your use of humor, particularly with the rations. It made William a bit more real to me, and made him someone I could sympathize with, particularly since I also dislike Salisbury Steak. I think most people can relate to being stuck eating something that they hate.

My only real complaint with your story is that it could have used an additional spelling/grammar check. I noticed several mistakes, and for me, those can be distracting. I would also suggest, although feel free to disregard it, that you consider using paragraphs of varying lengths, particularly longer ones. I found that, for me, having all and only short paragraphs tended to break the story up and make it more difficult to get into and follow.

Aside from those two comments, though, I did really enjoy your story. I loved the twist at the end - and his response to it. I wasn't expecting either and it amused me. I think you did a really great job.

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So, with the reviews under our belts it's time to announce the winner and runner up for this round! (Drum roll please...)

The runner up for the May/June Writing Challenge 2011 was...

Lieutenant Sinda Essen's "Prometheus"!

And the winner for this round was...

Captain Della Vetri's "Mazu's Flame"!

A huge congratulations to our winner - I'll be in touch shortly to discuss the topic for the next round!

Thanks again to everyone who entered. The July/August round of the competition should be going live within the next few days! See you then!

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Well done everyone! Really brilliant to see so many strong entries - a clear indication of the level of creative writers we have in the fleet at the moment.

I hope next round has even more people involved!

And, of course, special applause for the winner - congratulations Alex!

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Some great entries from everyone, which just makes the results all the more surprising for me :)

Congrats to Sinda for his 2nd place, and to all of you for some excellent reads, and I hope you'll take a swing at the next one (once I've gotten my head together enough for it to be sorted out :P) - and tempt some others to join in too!

(Also, a bonus cyber-cookie for Tallis - that was the connection, and well spotted:) )

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