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HalcyonSpirit

WCT - [COMPETITION OVERHAUL - NEED IDEAS] The Writing Competition Thread

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I'm gonna use this as an excuse to start my new novel. The plot outline is semi-complete in my head, and the competition seems like just the kick in the pants I need.

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Well I started mine, it's about 2/3 done. I'm insanely busy this week and then there's Otakon x_x But if it's not done, I'll at least submit the roughly 1.5k words that I have. Yay!

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<3

by the id

fuck me

shit on me

dance and skip upon me

i'm dead to you but

your necrophilia shows

enthusiasm grows

stop.

stop what

you've started

but when do you listen

you've already departed

and the demon's teeth

glisten

until drenched

in my blood

again

not again

fiend

all you do to me

is all

you are to me

all you don't to me

are too who

you are to me

and all you want of me

you cannot have of me

so take off your feces

and mine off your penis

take off your dancing shoes

before my fuse is lit

and all the rape

much like some shit

seem as meaningless

as you

<3

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Here is the aforementioned chapter. I may revise this slightly before the deadline hits.

“Happy birthday, Banjo!”

The group threw confetti in the air just before the honey bear blew out his candles. Banjo was filled with mirth at the sight of all the people attending the party. The friends he made on his various adventures were there, and this delighted him greatly. Although Banjo’s house was only partially rebuilt after it had been destroyed years ago, to him it felt like the perfect place to hold a social gathering. He could see dozens of faces, all familiar, all smiling, and all acknowledging in one way or another the impact the bear and bird had on them.

His longtime pal, the red-crested breegull Kazooie, naturally hummed the appropriate tune on her kazoo for the occasion. Banjo thought back to the many perilous quests they had been through together, how they had managed to succeed despite the seemingly insurmountable circumstances. The duo had run into the most fur and feather-raising adversaries, and yet lived to tell the tale. The bear glanced at Kazooie, and for a brief moment he could sense an intangible bond that could never be undone. He was a land-goer. She was an air-goer. They would become so much more as a duo, and as friends.

“If I may say a few words,” Kazooie began, stuffing her musical instrument under one of her wings. “Of course we’re here to congratulate Banjo on becoming an old sack of fur.” A quick laugh came from the back of the crowd. Kazooie’s beak formed a smarmy curl, and she resumed. “Every year he becomes slower, duller and just a bit greyer.” Banjo received a hearty pat on the back from someone nearby, and the bear chuckled lightly at the bird’s less-than-gentle roast. “I don’t know where Banjo would be without me, especially considering that he actually lost some of his moves at the start of Banjo-Tooie. Seriously though, how does someone forget how to punch?” Kazooie jabbed her wings forward mockingly as brief laughter and scattered applause ensued.

Bottles the mole waved an arm, turning the attention to him. “Y’know, none of your missions would have worked out without my moves.” He adjusted his thick glasses before continuing. “Everything from the punching you just mentioned, to flying, and more.” Before Kazooie could interject, Bottles added, “…and whatever abilities I didn’t teach you were taught by my brother Jamjars. We are a proud family of skilled moles.”

The bird let out a “Hah!” at Bottles’ boastful statement. “All those moves, and you’re not nearly in the shape needed to perform them yourself.” She looked over to a slightly disconcerted Banjo and grinned. “Could you image this nearsighted mole doing a roll attack? Or a simple back flip?” She giggled at the mere thought of it.

“Well excuse me,” Bottles asserted. “I actually helped out in defeating Grunty last time, remember? It was me disguising myself as a contestant for that racing challenge, and going on the offensive in the final battle. It’s not like I was burrowed in the ground the whole time.”

“Whoa, hang on a sec,” said the breegull. “The disguise was totally Mumbo’s idea. That mangy witch doctor transformed you into a Bumper lookalike so you could take Bumper’s place. Mumbo would totally call you out on that if he was here, instead of on some silly quest to find a new zapping stick.” Kazooie suddenly felt as if she had to stress the point. “Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t you on the offensive in that fight above the fortress; it was Canary Mary carrying you. All you did was provide ammo and complain, like you always do.”

Though it was difficult to discern, Bottles’ eyes narrowed behind his glasses. “Without my ammunition, you would have failed in every battle you and Banjo ever faced together. There were even obstacles and puzzles that needed certain types of ammo to complete, so you wouldn’t have gotten very far to begin with.” The breegull barely opened her beak before Bottles spoke again. “Normally I’m not one to brag, but I’d say I pull my weight around here. I’m not the useless mole you make me out to be in these adventures.” At that point the exasperated Kazooie turned away to mingle with the others. Taking the moment to divert the party away from the roast, Bottles gestured toward the large pile of presents beside him. “Banjo, shouldn’t you be opening these things now?”

“Oh boy!” the bear squealed with delight. He grabbed the gift box closest to him, adorned with tiny honeycomb patterns. It was apparently wrapped in somewhat of a rush, but the sheer weight of the present told Banjo that it was going to be something special. With a smile, he unfolded the letter taped to the top of the box and read it.

Dear brother:

I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to celebrate your birthday. With my new business starting up and all, I can hardly keep up with the responsibilities here. This present wasn’t cheap, and I hope you like it!

Love,

Tooty.

Banjo ran a claw along the sides of the packaging to open it, careful not to damage whatever expensive item was inside. His slight trepidation gave way to glee once he saw what the gift was. “Ooh, it’s a K-Box 380! Tooty knows I love video games!” It included a headset, which he put on whilst fumbling a bit with a controller. “If this is half as good as my GameLad handheld, I’ll be happy.”

Kazooie chagrined. “I’ve never seen anyone so happy to switch over to another game company.” The bird gazed at the box absentmindedly. “GameLad Inc. has been around for over a century; you’d think their fan base would stick with them for at least half that time. Nope, it’s off to the company with the most dough to throw around.”

Banjo reached into the package and pulled out a second controller. “We could play co-op, Kazooie. How about it?”

The bird was instantly and genuinely intrigued. “Oh, cool. Let’s do that.”

That short moment of contentment between the two of them ended when Banjo attempted to set up the game console. “Whuh-oh. Did I forget to pay the electric bill?” The bear toggled the power button and adjusted the cords, to no effect. As a last ditch effort, he unplugged the toaster at the other end of the room and tried to connect the system into that slot. No such luck. “Gosh darn, I really wanted to play this.”

Kazooie looked at the increasingly befuddled Banjo, and shook her head slightly in contempt. “It’s probably a short circuit somewhere, or maybe something wrong with the wiring. This house is still under construction, if you remember.” With a chortle, she added, “You definitely chose the right place to hold a get-together.”

Banjo placed the console on the floor. “I’m gonna check the fuse box outside.” The bear made his way through the throng and toward the exit.

Spiral Mountain looked as beautiful as ever. There was no sign of the damage it took when Gruntilda and her goons had ravaged the place all those years ago. The bear marveled at the crisp, clear waterfall that flowed into a river cutting across the land. The serene fields stretched out far into the horizon, and the central spiral hill was intact. A bridge at its peak led to what was once Grunty’s lair; in place of the witch’s unappealing stone figure was a monument honoring the Stop ‘N’ Swop items. The six eggs and key were marvelous to behold from Banjo’s viewpoint. A warm breeze met his face, and he could not help but sigh at the peaceful surroundings.

“Why do I get the feeling someone’s having too much fun?” Kazooie stepped out of the house and onto the fresh grass. “Yep, I’m the one who has to get things going, per usual.” The two walked over to the fuse box at the side of the house and proceeded to poke and prod at it. After working at the tin case for a few minutes, Banjo felt the urge to express his feelings. “Kazooie, I know I’ve said this before, but thanks.”

The breegull held an incredulous expression. “Thanks… for what?”

The bear grinned. “Thanks for bringing me back to life. Thank you for risking your neck to rescue me, and for being a friend.” He looked up at the perfect blue sky. “Do you remember when we all met up at the end last time, on top of the fortress? We shared a group hug; I liked that.”

“Well…” Kazooie characteristically looked for way to escape a cheesy moment. “There wouldn’t be any Banjo-Kazooie games without you in them, and I’d be out of a job.” That was the best excuse she could come up with. “It’s all a contractual deal. Yeah.” Quickly changing the subject, she commented, “I don’t think the lack of electricity has anything to do with the fuse box. There must be some sort of widespread outage.”

A low rumble could be heard in the distance. Banjo scratched his head in confusion at the sound. “Thunder? On such a wonderful morning? What’s going on here?” That observation proved to be the turning point in their day. A sharp crack sounded out overheard; the Stop ‘N’ Swop monument vibrated as the noise grew increasingly loud. The bear and bird stood silently, staring in awe at what was occurring. The large stone eggs and key above almost appeared to be sweating; fluid trickled from the figures through tiny fractures in the structure. Before the duo could ponder the cause, the monument violently split apart and the huge items tumbled down the hill.

“I guess it’s time we did our thing,” said Kazooie. She swiftly hopped inside Banjo’s backpack, and the two went to work. With no further words spoken between them, they decided to take flight to gain a better vantage point. In the air, the bear and bird focused their sights on the rolling eggs heading toward the house. A quick shot of a grenade from Kazooie’s beak diverted the first stone figure toward the spiral’s base, where it stopped. A second plummeting item crumbled under the force of a Bill Drill attack. Within minutes, the other four eggs were neutralized before they could go near Banjo’s house or pose any further threat to the land. Satisfied, the duo finally landed and viewed their handiwork. “Hehe, that was fun,” spoke the bear. “I haven’t had that much of a workout in a good while.”

“Nice work,” said Bottles, suddenly making his appearance known at the front of their dwelling. “Personally I would have used Wonderwing to take care of the problem more quickly.” He straightened his flannel shirt and walked over to the bear and bird. “I probably would have used the Taxi Pack if wanted to avoid destroying the sculptures. Those happen to be a tribute to our fallen comrades; they should have been preserved, not pulverized.”

An annoyed Kazooie suddenly face-winged in response, briefly covering her eyes. “Okay then. Why don’t I just loosen that one egg we didn’t destroy and let it roll down, so we can see your technique?” She aimed for the bottom of the spiral where the lone item stood. “Here goes: three… two…”

“Wait!” The mole nearly fell over in surprise. “I was just speaking theoretically. Just an alternative strategy, nothing to get in a huff about, heh.” At that moment, Bottles peered at the lair with a sense of worry. “Say… What exactly caused those things to fall down like that, anyway?” The answer came with a deafening roar and an epic sight the three of them would not soon forget.

An unimaginably massive wave of water issued from the entrance of the lair, spilling onto Spiral Mountain. The unrelenting rush was unlike anything they had ever seen. By sheer force, the spiral was knocked down as the raging liquid washed over the surrounding grounds. The stunning ease with which the iconic hill collapsed was a testament to the power of the crashing water. Without a second’s hesitation, Bottles fled back into the house to warn the others. Banjo and Kazooie kept their gaze on the movement of the fluid, noting that the mass would eventually run to their home and submerge it. The duo situated themselves at the front door and waited for the appropriate moment to act. Since the bear and bird had only a few golden feathers for their plan, it needed to be timed perfectly.

The next few moments seemed to run in slow motion. A looming shadow of the foreboding wave fell over the duo and the house. The subtle spray of water running ahead of the wave hit their faces, and it was then that they activated the Wonderwing move. An impenetrable golden field encased them and split the rushing wave in two, casting the water off to the sides of the home. It did not stop the gradually rising flood, but it prevented the full weight of the wave from crushing the house and its residents. “Come on,” urged Kazooie, and the two of them carefully stepped into the entrance before the last golden feather was spent.

Inside, the bear and bird saw that Bottles had already begun an escape plan. “Hold on there, one at a time, please!” The mole had dug a tunnel and the party attendees clamored around it, eager to avoid the impending floodwater. One by one, they shimmied into the crudely-made emergency exit. “Is that everyone?” Bottles turned his head to see a slightly moist Banjo and Kazooie. “Oh, there you guys are. Well come on, let’s go.”

“Where does this tunnel lead to?” asked the bird. Behind her the water pressed against the windows and drizzled through the cracks in the walls. “Er, not that I object to going in or anything…”

“What does it matter?” Bottles suddenly became distracted by the stream flowing in from the fireplace. “It’s… away from here, and that’s what counts.” The floor lurched abruptly, shifting the three off balance. Keeping their arguments to themselves, the bird, bear and mole crawled into the dirt hole and left the humble abode.

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This is the storyboarding of a comic story I've had in my head for a while. It's the outline I will use for laying out the panels. Besides the dialogue, there are some descriptions about what the panels will look like. It is mostly for me and may not make a lot of sense, as the finished product is meant to be like a graphic novel, not just written words. However, I probably would not have even started writing this if it weren't for the writing competition, so I'm glad this is around, even if nobody understands my entry. :-)

* means next panel

Narrative = Words in a rectangular bubble, told from Jared's point of view but not spoken.

Title of the story is: So This Is High School

Zoomed out view of Jared's street. Large panel, like half page.

Narrative: I spent most of September 2009 hanging out with my best friend, Edmund Takahashi.

Taka: No you haven't.

Jared: Yes I have!

*

More zoomed in. Outside view of Jared's house, just outside Jared's window. Quarter page panel.

Narrative: He'd come over to my place, and we'd play video games and talk.

Taka: No you haven't.

Jared: Yes I have!

*

Totally zoomed in. Taka and Jared are hanging out in Jared's room.

Narrative: Or maybe more like quarrel.

Taka: No way you've ever been on a real date, Jared.

Jared: Yes I have, Taka. I totally have.

*

Close-up of Taka.

Taka: OK, so who was this "real date" with?

***page break***

Jared (smiling, victorious/pleased/proud): Emily Harlan.

*

Taka is cracking up.

Taka: Yeah right!

*

Jared (indignant): Come on. You know we went out.

Taka: That was not a date.

*

Jared (getting really annoyed): Yeah it was. We hung out in my room for a few hours.

*

Taka: Yeah, and then she paid you $50 for helping her with her math homework.

Jared looks very annoyed. Rolling his eyes.

*

Taka: So what's the big deal anyway? It's not like I've ever dated anyone, either.

Jared (sighing, looking dejected): I don't know. It's just...

*

Jared: We're seniors, Taka. We've only got one more year left of high school. And when it's all over, what will I have accomplished?

*

Jared: I'm terrible at sports. I never joined marching band or orchestra. I wasn't in the yearbook club or the school newspaper.

*

Jared: I just feel like... after graduation, I'll be gone, and it'll be like I never went to this school.

*

Taka pats Jared on the back.

Taka: Don't say that. You're on the math team.

Jared (head hung low, looking even more embarrassed): God I'm such a loser.

***page break***

Jared: Does this kind of stuff ever bother you?

Taka (shrugging): Nah. Personally, I try to spend as little time as I possibly can in the halls of Lakeside High School. I'm looking forward to getting out of here as fast as I can.

*

Taka: Anyway, going on a date with some girl doesn't guarantee you'll be remembered for anything special.

*

Taka: If anything, it'll just bring you misery.

Jared: Why do you say that?

*

Taka: Look at Richie. He dated Angela Lockwood for three months and then she dumped him for Eric Chaplin.

Jared (contemplative): Yeah, he hasn't been that much fun to hang out with lately.

*

Taka: Or what about Schwartz?

Jared: How's he doing? I haven't seen him in weeks, since he started seeing that girl, what's her name...

Taka: Exactly.

Jared: Oh.

*

They sit there in silence, playing a video game.

*

Jared: Well it's not like I want to get hitched or anything. I just wonder what it would be like. One date.

Taka: Mm-hmm.

*

Jared (dreamily): One evening with a pretty girl, talking and laughing, watching a movie, maybe I'd put my arm around her...

*

Taka: Well if it's so important to you, then you should do it.

Jared: Do what?

*

Taka: Well you said you wanted to go on a date before the end of high school, right? So you have to start asking girls out. I mean you may have to face some rejection at first, but you'll never get a date without asking out a few girls.... (words become smaller and trail off at the end, blocked by Jared's head)

Jared has a facial expression of shock and fear.

*

Jared is lying in bed, eyes wide open, looking worried. The room is dark, there is only a little bit of moonlight from the window.

Narrative: This may sound dumb, but it never occurred to me that in order to get a date, I would have to ask out a girl.

*

Totally black except for the narrative bubble.

Narrative: And not just one girl, but possibly several girls, before one of them even says yes.

***page break***

The scene is a classroom. Back view of students with teacher at the front of the classroom. Jared is looking around at the other students.

Narrative: But Taka was totally right. Now I just had to decide who my first victim would be.

Picture of Terri Gresham. Small panel.

Narrative: Would it be Terri Gresham?

*

Picture of Erin Decastro. Small panel.

Narrative: Erin Decastro?

*

Picture of Kelly Haynes. Small panel.

Narrative: Kelly Haynes?

*

Close-up of Kelly. She is smiling at Jared (probably because she caught him looking at her). Small panel.

*

Close-up of Jared. He looks nervous. Small panel.

*

Jared smiles back. Small panel.

*

School cafeteria. Taka is seated and already eating. He has a lot of food on his tray. Jared is sitting down to join him.

Jared: Taka, what do you think of Kelly Haynes?

*

Taka (appears to be thinking): Hmm. You've had your eye on her since sophomore year.

*

Jared: Do you think she's cute?

Taka (shrugging): I guess so. You gonna ask her out?

*

Jared looking around, embarrassed, worried that somebody might overhear.

Jared: Shh! No. I don't know. Maybe.

*

Richie joins them at the table. A little zoomed out view to show the three guys eating together. Richie looks dejected, his head slumped.

Richie: Hey guys.

Taka: Hey Richie! What do you have for lunch today?

Richie: Ham and cheese. Do you want it?

*

Taka is taking Richie's sandwich.

Jared: Richie, you should really eat something for once.

Richie (head in his hands): Yeah I know, I'll eat later. So what's up guys?

*

Jared: Not much.

Taka (excited): Jared's gonna ask out Kelly Haynes!

*

Jared (alarmed): No I'm not! ...Probably.

Richie (raises an eyebrow): Oh?

*

Richie (eyes closed, speaking with authority): Let me give you some expert advice. Don't do it.

Jared: I knew you were going to say that.

*

Richie: At first, it seems like it's a good idea. Everything's going great. She says yes, you go out on a few dates, you think it's going somewhere. And then out of the middle of nowhere, she tears your heart out and rips it into a million little pieces, which she then throws out the window and lights on fire.

Jared (timidly, in a small font): Don't you think you're being a little melodramatic?

*

Richie can see Angela and Eric getting cozy at another table across the cafeteria out of the corner of his eye.

Richie (eyes narrow, looking suspicious and angry): And then everywhere you see her, she's got her arm around that idiot Eric Chaplin.

*

Close-up of Richie.

Richie (looking straight at Jared): Girls are never worth the trouble.

*

Close-up of Jared. Jared looks apprehensive.

***page break***

A school hallway. Medium panel.

Narrative: Just as I was starting to agree with Taka and Richie...

*

Close-up view of the previous panel. Kelly is at her locker.

Narrative: I started to notice Kelly more and more.

*

A classroom. A teacher is at the blackboard, Kelly has her hand raised.

Narrative: She seemed smart.

Teacher: What is the derivative of x squared?

Kelly: 2x.

Teacher: Very good, Kelly!

*

A different classroom. Similar scene, teacher at blackboard, Kelly raising her hand.

Narrative: She always seemed to know the right answer in class.

Teacher: What is Newton's second law?

Kelly: f=ma.

*

Another classroom.

Narrative: Well, most of the time.

Teacher: What French general surrendered at Waterloo?

Kelly: Jacques Cousteau?

Teacher: ...No. Anybody else?

*

Close-up of Kelly, smiling and exaggeratedly fantasy-like (possibly with hearts and/or flowers around the frame)

Narrative: She's obviously very pretty.

*

Even more close-up (tiny panel), showing an Owl City wristband on Kelly's wrist.

*

Jared and Taka sitting on the couch at Jared's place again.

Jared: ...And she's an Owl City fan, Taka! We have so much in common.

Taka (rolling his eyes): Jared, like hundreds of kids at our school are Owl City fans.

*

Jared lying on his bed, grinning ear to ear. An ipod is on in its docking station, the lyrics to "Fireflies" are floating around in the background.

Narrative: It felt like fate was giving me all the signs, telling me to make my move.

*

A crowded school hallway.

Narrative: But how was I going to ask her out?

*

The cafeteria again.

Taka (mouth is full): Why don't you just send her a Facebook message?

Jared: No, she'd think I'm so lame. She'd never say yes to that.

*

Taka: Well maybe her Facebook page has her phone number and you could call her...

Jared: No, then she'd think I'm a creeper!

*

Taka (shrugging): If it says it right there in her profile, it's public information, right?

Jared (shaking head): It's not OK unless she gives me her number.

*

Taka: Well then I think that rules out everything besides asking her out in person.

Jared (head in his hands): When would I ever see her when we're not surrounded by everyone else at school?

*

Taka (thinking, but still eating): Hmm. We have to create a situation.

Jared (despairing): Never mind, this is a stupid idea. She's going to say no and I'll just embarrass myself.

*

Taka: Hey man, don't give up so easily. What are you going to think at graduation when high school's all over and you never asked out any girls?

Jared (small font): I'm a loser.

Taka: At least if you ask, you can say you tried.

Jared: Hmm...

*

Classroom setting. Kelly is at the front of the class.

Narrative: I didn't plan out a speech or anything.

Kelly: I have a guidance counselor appointment.

Teacher: Go ahead...

*

Kelly leaves the classroom.

*

Taka is giving Jared an insistent look.

Narrative: I never got a chance to.

*

Narrative: But just like the Owl City wristband, it felt like a sign.

Jared (hand raised): May I have the hall pass?

Teacher: Sure.

*

Jared goes out into the mostly empty hallway. He is very nervous.

*

He approaches Kelly.

Jared: Uh, hi Kelly.

*

Kelly turns around to face him. She smiles sweetly.

Kelly: Oh hi Jared. What's up?

*

Jared (really nervous now): Uh, I was wondering...

*

Jared: Would you want to see a movie with me this Friday?

*

Close-up of Jared's face. He is sweating, nervous.

*

Kelly (beaming): Sure!

*

Another close-up of Jared, his face lights up, he is ecstatic.

*

Kelly: ...My boyfriend has an away game that night, so I'll be free.

*

Jared (jaw dropped): Your... boyfriend?

Kelly: Oh yeah, you know Nate Ferguson right? He's on the varsity football team.

*

Jared (still shocked): Uh, right. Of course. I knew that.

*

Jared's head is slumped. He is very embarrassed.

Kelly: Here, let me give you my number.

*

Narrative: This was so not what I was expecting. But... she said yes, and I got her number.

*** page break ***

Taka and Jared are hanging out at Jared's place.

Taka (laughing hysterically): It is SO a date.

Jared: No, it's not.

*

Taka (still laughing): It totally is.

Jared (seriously annoyed): No, it's NOT, Taka. We're just going to see a movie together.

*

Taka: Oh man, you are so dead meat when her boyfriend finds out.

Jared (head in hands): How could I have not known?

*

Taka: You looked at her Facebook, didn't you?

Jared: Of course I did. No relationship status.

*

Taka (shrugging): Well if she doesn't put it on Facebook, it's not like you really could have known.

Jared (staring into space, not listening to Taka): He's on the varsity football team.

*

Taka: But she must like you, since she said yes.

Jared: Or maybe she's crazy.

*

Taka: But do you really want to date the kind of girl who says yes to a date with a guy when she already has a boyfriend?

Jared: Taka, she probably doesn't think this is a date at all.

Taka: Yeah...

*

Taka: Maybe you don't think it's a date, and maybe she doesn't. But what will Nate Ferguson think?

This story is not done!!! I just have to submit it now because tomorrow is Otakon and I won't have time to work on this. There's just a bit left to this, maybe I'll write it and post it after Otakon weekend is over, in case anybody actually is curious as to what happens at the end.

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Voting has begun!

Well, actually, it technically began yesterday, but irrelevant-information-that-is-actually-relevant aside...

We have five submissions this round!

Crossing Paths by Jam Stunna

Prologue by Random Hajile

<3 by SoulinEther

Happy birthday, Banjo! by just64helpin

So This Is High School by diotrans

I wish I could have submitted a piece myself this round, but I just couldn't get around to it.

Good luck to the participants! Everyone, you have just under two weeks to vote!

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Can anyone say "voting period extension"?

*grumble grumble*

One more week. That's it. Then the results go up no matter how few votes I have.

EDIT: And I just realize that I forgot to change the thread title to reflect the voting status. Go me.

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Hush. I've been busy trying to get myself into the oh-so-dreaded grad school. :razz: A certain someone voting after the official period was over sure is lucky I was preoccupied. :wink:

THE RESULTS ARE IN!

The winners of the July 2010 Freeform Competition are:

1st Place: Happy birthday, Banjo! by JH Sounds (formerly just64helpin)

Runners-Up: So This Is High School by diotrans AND Prologue by Random Hajile

Here's the point distribution:

Happy birthday, Banjo! by JH Sounds (formerly just64helpin) - 9

So This Is High School by diotrans - 6

Prologue by Random Hajile - 6

Crossing Paths by Jam Stunna - 5

<3 by SoulinEther - 1

Good job to everyone that participated. Congrats to JH Sounds, the winner, and to both diotrans and Random Hajile for coming in second! 'Twas a good round. I'm looking forward to seeing the entries next month for SHORT STORY! Be prepared!

I WILL be back with my own takes on the submissions. But right now... Additional supply depots required!

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OK, first things first:

The September 2010 Short Story Competition has begun (a day ago)!

Secondly:

Commentary!

Happy birthday, Banjo! by JH Sounds

This wasn't my favorite entry, though I readily admit that my negative bias toward fanfiction could partly be to blame. Even so, the story didn't do anything for me. The premise seems to be decent; however, I do not feel the writing properly conveys the story. The dialogue, for instance, feels a bit stiff, as if it's there merely to move the story along. It also seemed to jump a bit; the transitions from, say, the roast to the argument and then to the presents just feels too forced. Individually they are alright, but moving between them needs work. Same can be said of other parts of the dialogue. As far as the narrative goes, I feel this is a classic example of telling the reader the story and about the world instead of showing the reader the story and world. For instance, show emotions through action instead of just saying that such-and-such character is experiencing such-and-such feeling. There were some examples of this in places, but in others it was just telling the reader. Finally, things were glossed over a little too much, such as the rolling eggs incident. From start to finish, it was 6 sentences long. Flesh out the scenes some more!

So This Is High School by diotrans

It's been a long while since I've read anything in storyboard style, so this was refreshing in that way. It was easy to understand, so no problems there. I could more-or-less visualize the scenes just from what was provided, which is good. I couldn't visualize the characters themselves since there weren't really any descriptions given of them, but since it's a storyboard, I can't really complain about that.

The story itself was very believable. Not much was given in the way of descriptions, but what was there was done in a way that helped to facilitate understanding the people involved, particularly Jared. Anyone who's been a similar position in high school (and let's face it: that's a good majority of people) would be able to relate to Jared in some manner. I was cringing at points because I knew exactly what was passing through his head at points toward the end. I felt bad for him. That's a good thing for a story.

The way it was ended for this competition would actually be a decent cliffhanger point, given the very last piece of dialogue. You should finish this. It caught my interest.

Prologue by Random Hajile

I want to say this right now: The beginning couple of sentences feel almost cheesy in the way they're written. It's supposed to drum up dramatic tension, I suppose, but it loses its impact a bit because it's just like so many "it's another day like any other day BUT NOW IT'S ABOUT TO BE VERY DIFFERENT!" openings. You can keep it as it is, but consider altering it to lose that feeling.

Getting beyond that, this was quite well-crafted. The small details included in the various activities give lots of insight into the character's persona in a short period of time without having to explicitly spell it out for the reader. There's a few stumbles, but nothing particularly serious.

Perhaps the most drawing of the story elements is, obviously, meeting Aria Winter. Again, her character is given depth very quickly, but there's much more that the reader can't know yet. Her actions, from the reader's standpoint, are both straightforward and complex. We know there's something under the surface, since we're outside the situation, but it doesn't hurt the appeal of the straightforward attitude she at least appears to have. I would suggest giving a little more physical detail of her during this introduction, since right now she's little more than a scarce few features in the reader's mental video. If you don't put it in here, I feel it should be done at the beginning of the very next scene with her.

All-in-all, it's a big draw, and I would definitely read further into the story if it is ever provided.

Crossing Paths by Jam Stunna

There's not much I can really comment on at length here. It's a one-shot story that doesn't have much happen in it. It's just two people randomly "crossing paths," if you will. Not much else. The narrative is well-done in that it flows well from one sentence to the next. It's not quite seamless, but it's not broken in the least. The dialogue is pretty good. It stutters a little, but I guess that works because it's a conversation between strangers; neither is probably very comfortable.

My issue with this piece is largely that, partly because not much happens, I can't connect with either of the characters. In short stories, connecting with the characters tends to be quite important. There are of course cases where it isn't needed, but when the whole thing revolves around the two characters present, something needs to fill the gap if the character connection isn't made. I'm not entirely sure how I would tweak the story to accomplish this. (Given the name of one character is Jamil, I'm assuming that it's probably at least partly non-fiction. I'm ignoring this in order to look at it purely from a story-writing standpoint.)

<3 by SoulinEther

There's various ways I could go about writing a commentary on this piece - some shorter, some longer - but I think I can sum up my feelings very succinctly in this case:

"... What."

Thirdly:

You'd better be terran.

I'm Terran up the night!

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<3 by SoulinEther

There's various ways I could go about writing a commentary on this piece - some shorter, some longer - but I think I can sum up my feelings very succinctly in this case:

"... What."

thus i have succeeded. excellent.

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Thanks for the critique, that's really helpful. I do intend to finish the storyboard and then draw the comic, and I'll post the finished storyboard when I do. Drawing the comic, that could be a while before that happens ^_^;

Out of curiosity, when is the deadline for the short story submission? I checked the first post and if I'm not mistaken, it still has the old dates from Freeform. I have this story in my head that I'm picturing as a comic, that I might try to turn into a short story for fun, to submit it. But it's been a long time since I've written or read any prose, and I'm having a hard time picturing how I would describe things in words rather than images + words x_x

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Thanks for the critique, that's really helpful. I do intend to finish the storyboard and then draw the comic, and I'll post the finished storyboard when I do. Drawing the comic, that could be a while before that happens ^_^;

Looking forward to it.

Out of curiosity, when is the deadline for the short story submission? I checked the first post and if I'm not mistaken, it still has the old dates from Freeform. I have this story in my head that I'm picturing as a comic, that I might try to turn into a short story for fun, to submit it. But it's been a long time since I've written or read any prose, and I'm having a hard time picturing how I would describe things in words rather than images + words x_x

Ah. I'll fix that right now. Just fyi, unless otherwise stated, submission always lasts from the first day of the month to the last day of the month, and then voting is the first two weeks of the next month.

Hehe, yeah, once you get into a certain way of expressing ideas, it can be difficult to switch it up to another style. Just takes time and patience to sit down and get going on it. Good luck!

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I'm still working on it but how firm is that 2500 word limit? And what kind of words are we talking about here?

Semi-firm. Use your discretion. If you need more room, take it, but make sure it's justified. And don't go crazy; going significantly over the limit (we're talking maybe 150-200 or more here) will just get it disqualified.

Wow, it's been almost two years since the last writing compo for me...maybe it's time. Don't hold me to it, but the month's young yet!

Woot!

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