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NOV/DEC November/December 2011 Writing Challenge


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Welcome to the November/December round of the Writing Challenge! Please read this post carefully for new guidelines on entering your submissions! Following in challenge traditions, the November/December round uses a "What if?" theme as inspiration for entries.

Joining us on the judging panel for this round is the November/December winner, Lieutenant Jaxon Mc Ghee, who has decided on the following topic for this round:

"What if Earth had been destroyed in 2387 instead of Romulus?"

There should be plenty there to get your creative juices flowing - what would happen to the Federation? Would they relocate HQ? And how would other galactic powers react? Maybe your entry could focus on something on a much smaller scale, such as the response of someone far away?

Guidelines: To participate, create a new thread. The subject of the thread must be the title of your story, preceded by the tag [2011: NOV/DEC], which is a 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.)

Also, and this is a new requirement, please sign your final draft as you would a post on your own ship.

Length: No more than 3000 words accepted.

Beginning Date: Wednesday, November 9th

Ending Date: Saturday, December 31st

See Also: the Writing Challenge Website

Challenge: “What if Earth had been destroyed in 2387 instead of Romulus?”

Good luck everyone!

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  • 4 weeks later...

You no longer need to add [2011: MO/MO] to your topic title. Instead, use the "Prefix" drop-down box to add the appropriate round.

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  • 4 weeks later...

That's it! The entries for this round are closed, and the judging will begin! Thankyou to everyone who took part - I'm looking forward to reading your entries.

Watch this space for the reviews and announcement of the winner!

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's that marvellous time of the month again when the laurels for the Writing Challenge are handed out and a winner is crowned! Who will be top of the pile this time? Keep reading to find out, but first, here are the reviews from the judges. Due to a few departures as a few of our members have moved on to bigger and better things IRL, we've swelled the ranks of our judging panel to include Lieutenant Arden Cain from the USS Mercury and Lieutenant Commander Marcus Dickens from the USS Avandar. Last round's winner, Lieutenant Jaxon Mc Ghee, has also joined us for this round!

As usual, the name of each reviewer is included along with the review, so without further ado, let the judges' voices be heard!

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"Lost and Found" by Lieutenant (j.g.) Velana

Reviewed by Captain Tallis Rhul

It's easy when writing disaster-themed fiction to concentrate on billowing gouts of flame, hurtling chunks of debris, screams, death and everything that goes hand in hand with Hollywood special effects. This story, however, concentrates on something that's more difficult to handle realistically: the emotional fallout. Handling loss is something we all do differently, but what do we do when we lose something so fundamental as our home, or even worse, our homeworld? This entry handled that issue well, plausibly exploring the reactions of two estranged lovers.

I would have liked to see those emotions explained in even more depth. We saw through Velana and Cade's actions that they needed to be close to fill the void that had sprung up in their lives, but the emotions that they were feeling were no doubt intense, yet kept behind the scenes. What really drove Cade to lie about his parents' survival? Did his habit of ordering a drink in for Velana before she arrived at the bar irritate her even more in the wake of Earth's destruction, or did her feelings at his old habit seem hollow in comparison to what she had just lost?

I enjoyed the structure of the piece. The opening section set the scene nicely and provided contrast with what followed. Additionally, I felt that the characters' journey from the beginning to the end of the story was well thought out. Cade's wake-up call caused a change in him that helped bring him, Velana and the reader all together. I always like to feel like I can identify with the characters I'm reading about, and in this case I certainly could.

A great submission from a very competent writer - very well done!

Edited by Tallis Rhul
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"Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall" by Ensign Logan Kane

Reviewed by Captain Toni Turner

Mr. Kane's story was interesting, well written, and certainly, held the readers' attention. It was a very good first try at our challenge, and I would hope to read more of his writing. :)

Nevertheless, the manuscript fell short of the 300-word minimum by only nine words, which could have been added to answer some of the questions that were left unanswered in the story, like why had the lovers been dating secretly for almost two years? Anything that would help with the descriptions (e.g. more emotion from Sullivan, rather than just shedding "a tear" for his lost son. Perhaps it was "an agonizing tear.") A word here and there would have put him in the safe zone.

I have no doubt that had the story met the word count requirements, and a little attention to spelling and punctuation that Mr. Kane's submission would have been a top contender for this challenge. I also liked the fact that even though he was in the Academy, that he took the bull by the horns and entered the Writing Challenge. I like that kind of confidence in a writer.

Well done, Mr. Kane!

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"The Day I Died" by Lieutenant (j.g.) Cameron Bunag

Reviewed by Lieutenant Arden Cain

Stories of revenge have been in existence as long as humanity could be called a sentient species. So when faced with loss whether it is that of a singular individual or a planet in this case the most common and sometimes understandable response is the desire for revenge. Instead of focusing on the act itself, this story concentrates on the process and unfolding mystery. It would be easy to write a story where the main character holds all the cards to carry out the need then and there. Thankfully "The Day I died" was not one of those stories. There is a sense of purpose and reason to it that really drives the story forward, engaging the reader.

Having said that my largest problem with this story is the authors choice of resolution. To me, using the Cardassian missile is a cheap way to finish a great story. I'm reminded too much of the Voyager episode to be honest. I am sure that a man who established the contacts to acquire said missile could have found himself a ship potentially with a cloaking device to do the same task.

I found only a couple of spelling errors and the writing perspectives remained constant. In fact besides my previous complaint I can find little wrong with this story. I found this story to be highly entertaining. In particular the creative descriptions and story structure. The choice of language was prefect to convey a person who wasn't as polite or caring as is commonly seen in Star Fleet officers. And what human born on Earth would be after the tragedy. Nevertheless the language was kept well within a PG-13 range. Above that the story was compelling but also contained a humorous edge that I feel adds to the main character.

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"Lazarus" by Lt (jg) Alucard Vess

Reviewed by LtCmdr Marcus Dickens

The story starts with the view of a little group of people looking for their own salvation given the disaster that threatened Earth. It describes how people can get irrational when they face destruction near and how eveyone has to look for themselves when a chaos is originated. Vess presented us with the vision of a former commander from starfleet that sees himself forced to act to save his people, even against his own having to raid a starfleet installation. He showed us how the retired commander Savage has to act as a leader to save as many people as he could and after they saw the destruction of Earth he had to make the choice to scavenge from the graveyard of Wolf 359 in order to survive, leaving all kind of moral restraints aside. I personally liked that part where he put feelings aside for more practical use.

From here the ship was refitted and managed to save other ships from a Klingon attack and they joined the Lazarus fleet, that Savage gave the name when they're just one ship. From there the story simply goes to the future telling us that the grandson of former Commander Savage returned to Earth to leave a memorial torpedoe on the remainings on Earth but made no mention of what happened to the rest of the universe. Klingons, Starfleet, Federation, no mention of how their survival was seen by others. Also it doesn't tell us what kind of future choosed the components of the Lazarus fleet, if they stand by the old Federation standards, if they've met the remainings of Starfleet or if they changed for a mor practical civilization, so this Lazarus effect left them being what they were or if they've changed to a more hostile one, so the effect of Lazarus isn't as clear as it could seem from a first look. The jumps in time weren't bad, but I'd have preferred less jumps and more in depth of two or three of them to inmerse myself more in the story.

Regarding grammar I just found some words like viewscreen, turbolift, wavefront, lightyear that could be checked if they're to be wrote that way or separate as my word corrector says (turbo lift, wave front, light-year or view screen), but I've seen them together so it's not much of an issue.

Aside from that, Vess showed us that despite the disaster that affected the Federation there's always hope for survival as it depends on the individuals

more than the organization itself and the story give us a good hope for whatever crisis that's thrown over humanity in particular and the Federation

globally and the detail that after a century they've preserved the central chair is a nice detail too in favour of a sense of continuity.

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"History Repeating" by Lt. Sinda Essen

Reviewed by Lieutenant Jaxon Mc Ghee

The introduction of this entry quickly sets the scene; colonist facing a winter without any support. While the settlers discuss their own problems, memory flashbacks of the main character introduce the reader how a post Earth Federation tried to solve the problems after Earth's destruction. Parallels quickly become apparent between these two settings and reveal the theme of this story. How to react in difficult times; continue as always, wait for improvement or to act and hope to induce change. Regardless of how the story ends the narrative caused me as the reader to stop and think.

I found the story was well structured. The introduction of the main character, an old woman, trying to work on a frozen field already forecasting bad times, while the arguing settlers and diplomats continued to underline the dilemma's of both time-lines. What I liked the most was that the writer only really used and needed a single flashback to show the similarities between the two settings and to tell the story. The postponed supply ship, while the core of the settlers problem, simultaneously allowed the reader to suspect the outcome of the arguing diplomats encountered earlier, thus reflecting the story's title.

In all Essen pushed the reader in the desired direction without force, letting the the tale carry them. While she bound the piece to its title, the background relevance to everyday life is true and forces the reader to contemplate. Whenever we make major decisions there is no fool prove guarantee that it was the best choice; there is a residual risk of having made a mistake. The entry was an excellent contribution to this challenge round and an interesting way of interpreting the topic.

Edited by Tallis Rhul
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And with the reviews now complete it's time to announce this round's runner up and winner! Congratulations to everyone who entered - there were some absolutely fantastic submissions this time, and I can confidently speak for the judges' panel when I say how much we've all enjoyed reading them.

The winner for this round is:

Lieutenant Sinda Essen's "History Repeating"

And the winner of the November/December Writing Challenge, 2011 is:

Lieutenant (jg) Cameron Bunag's "The Day I Died"

A huge congratulations to you both, and I'll be in touch with our winner shortly to fix up our category for the next round! Watch this space!

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