Jump to content

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


Recommended Posts

Alright, votes were very, very sparse, so I'm voiding that round. Your submissions can be resubmitted for this month's Freeform round if you so desire.


Happy New Year, everyone! The January 2011 Freeform competition is underway! I'm already working on my submission, so you should, too! Participation in both the submission and especially the voting periods lately have been lacking, so make it one of your 2011 resolutions to increase your participation in the competition as a whole. Everyone here will thank you for it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 540
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I've been slacking on that Banjo-Kazooie story I was writing, so I'll use the freeform competition as an excuse to write at least one new chapter. I think I've spent way too much time conceptualizing the mythology and backstories of these video game characters, and not nearly enough time actually writing the story. :razz:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My problem is that I do the same, and by the time I get to the point where I'm itching to write the story, I get bored doing so because I've already experienced everything in my head. I think it's a much better approach to figure out who your characters are and dive in with them, letting them tell you the story along the way. Not only does it come out more believable, but you'll find the journey more interesting.

P.S.: Secretly glad the last round fell through, because I am slightly embarrassed by my entry!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I have a short story for entry.

Caregiver, Caretaker

Normally I'd wait for the short story round, but I'm considering submitting this for publication in my university's magazine (they just issued a call for creative writing.)

On that note, ANY critiques would be greatly appreciated. The deadline for the magazine submissions is Feb. 7.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Arc of Heaven -

We met under a moonlit field,

Somewhere under the arc of heaven

We embraced, our restful reunion

And our pace slowed with the other.

And we lay in the field of flowers

And we lay together, now we are

Under the aurora of tenuous fate

Against a sight of unbarred sky.

But they will shift, and they will shift

All these subtle sights of november skies

And we will choose, and will chase

Each other, you and I.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just woke up an had an idea for a story. Hopefully I can get at least a rough synopsis down today.

EDIT: Okay, I managed to get a good chunk of the first act done.

Kid Zap

The cool thing about the later years of high school is that the students are mostly grown up, and bullying is therefore nonexistent. This is usually attributed to maturity as students begin to fully realize the moral implications of their actions. It is however more likely to do with the fact that they are too busy worrying about their studies, with what to do with their lives, and in certain cases their significant others. The real world that lies beyond the school doors pushes against the pupils with increasing urgency. Unplanned parenthood can also happen during this period, so some would have to juggle homework with a night shift job as well as caring for a baby. In others scenarios the prospect of college would seem like being thrown into a whirlwind of unknown social and intellectual challenges.

This is not a story about high school, however. The tale goes slightly further back. This is about junior high.

More specifically, it is about the Thomas Edison School for Employment Engineering. It was named such because it had classrooms specifically designed to promote and facilitate learning skills for the adult world. In one section a kitchen served as a catering class. A sprawling garage in the sublevel, filled with cars - usually those of the school staff - placed children for study in automotive repair and detailing. One look at the sawdust-lined floor of one particular room would tell you it had something to do with carpentry, and so on. The various spaces ran the gamut of industries and career opportunities that the students could choose from, once they reached a certain age and had gotten the proper consent forms filled out.

For the youngest students, however, such hands-on experiences were still several months away. The kids could only watch as the older ones applied layers of cake with frosting, tightened bolts on tires or glued the roofs on birdhouses. Being in the presence of such intriguing and wonderful things sparked their interest, and fueled the passions that would eventually become their callings in life.

Still, some students couldn't be bothered. Despite the large amount of early career paths available, certain kids just weren't interested. For a few, none of it seemed like jobs they could have a burning desire for, or even be good at. Some kids were just too busy thinking about sex or worrying about their rapidly changing bodies.

For one boy in particular, the disinterest in developing work skills was due to a different reason altogether. He was seen as special, but not in that way that would require an entirely different type of school altogether. This student had what could be called a bleak view of the educational system. The boy was assessed as being troublesome and full of worry, a pessimist. He expressed that the goal of Thomas Edison School was to transform its pupils into mindless drones to fulfill a predetermined purpose. "We are all sheep," he once said, "and this place is where we get ready to be sheared."

It was quite a profound statement, especially coming out of the mouth of a fourteen year old.

Kendrick Stevens, the special boy, chose to study his own books during classes. While the others were reading up on American history and math, Kendrick dove face-deep into stories of adventurous journeys. Some students learned about photography while he explored treks printed on hardback. Kendrick admired the idea of finding oneself in the midst of the unyielding forces of nature. He wanted to be free; to be off the grid as it were, to take on the greater world without preconceived planning.

This was no secret to the students and staff of Tom Ed, as the kids nicknamed the school. Kendrick made this very plain and well known throughout the facility. In fact it was surmised that this impulse to leave was just a result of him being bullied due to his perceived nerdiness. The actuality of his secret was something far stranger than anyone could imagine.

Like most secrets, vague interpretations and guesses of it spread quickly amongst the children. This led to Kendrick's nickname Zap, something more succinct than his real name, and more to the point of his specialness. Unsurprisingly, he disliked this new name. It brought people closer to knowing the thing that made him unique, and possibly could put him in danger. For the moment though, it was merely a title hollered by the muscular pupils as they teased and hit him.

"Hey Zap, tell your momma to take care of that lump for ya," yelled the jock tauntingly from the bathroom. Kendrick walked out of it gently cradling the newly-created welt on the back of his head. It hurt badly, but more importantly for the bully the bruise would be highly visible to other students. Kendrick bore a mark that did not go away quickly, and the jock was aware of this fact.

He sauntered glumly down the hall and heaved a sigh. With his other arm he took a moment to adjust his backpack. The heavy books rustled loosely within. Kendrick liked his novels and other literature, and thus he considered the possible irony of having been thrashed by those books a moment ago. "I want them in my head," he muttered, "not thrown against the back of it."

"What was that?" asked a quiet, inquiring voice. It came from another student who had rounded the corner unexpectedly. "Er... Were you saying something to me?" She noticed his injured head immediately.

"No, no. Just talking to myself." Kendrick's blue eyes widened as he caught his reflection in a nearby window. His blonde crew cut did nothing to hide the bruise. He had no hope of covering it up with a hat either, as the school did not allow them in the premises. Like always, his scars were free to the world to see.

The girl felt the need to say something more. "I... You should really tell somebody about the bullies, Ken." She stepped forward to view the damage closely. "Definitely see the nurse, and report this to someone."

He brought his attention back to her. Maria's brown eyes peered unwavering at the ghastly welt. Kendrick gazed inquisitively at her long dark hair and randomly wondered if she had a lump or two hidden under there too. "Okay, listen," he spoke with a slow gruffness beyond his years. "I've talked about this before, and there's just no way out of this. I've been beaten up, and I'll continue to be beaten up. Tattle telling just leads to more hurt and pain."

Maria looked as though she felt some of that pain herself. "I really don't like seeing you like this. If you're not telling anyone, I will." With that, she stormed off to her next class. The faint echo of "I'll see you after poetry studies" could be heard floating behind the sound of her departing footsteps.

Kendrick found her to be a very unusual girl. As far as he was aware, only Maria appeared to care at all about his well being. Now that he thought about it further, he noted that she was the only student with whom he had an extended conversation with in Tom Ed. Everyone else either taunted him, hurt him or avoided him entirely. He racked his brain wondering why this was so. Was she genuinely trying to be friends with him? Among other things, he wondered if Maria knew his secret. The mental exercise in working out the possibilities eventually irked him. Kendrick didn't care much for puzzles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, good, I was hoping you would submit something before I closed things out. Good thing I waited.

Now then, to close the submission period, here's my entry. In a break from tradition, I chose to write "fanfiction" of sorts, in that the setting is from the game Minecraft. The backstory is my own, however, as Minecraft doesn't have a story. :-P Got the inspiration while playing one day and I ran with it. I haven't written anything even remotely based on another work since high school, so this was interesting for me to write.



by HalcyonSpirit


As I ascended the rocky slope from deep within the ground, the sun's morning rays poured in through the gaps in my makeshift barricade. A bitter cold breeze blew through the holes, carrying with it white flakes of snow. They danced briefly in the sunlight, floating in a serene waltz cut short by the rocky surface. Countless droplets of water lined the ground near the barricade, each a lone snowflake that was unfortunate enough to be blown into the cavern.

Stepping through the thin curtain of snowflakes, my body transforming the waltz into a frantic dance of loops and swirls, I grasped the wooden planks I'd hastily set in place and pulled back the barricade to reveal what the night had wrought upon the landscape.

It was as if the valley was set upon by a brush with an endless supply of pure white paint. This was not the scene I had left behind the evening before, when I shut myself into the caverns to wait out the darkness. Even from within the mouth of the cave, the sunlight reflecting off the frozen surface cast such a contrast from the dim torches that kept the darkness away deep within the earth. Sunrise was my favorite time of the day, and I relished in its beauty.

I looked back into the cavern. My eyes could no longer see into the dim depths my torches revealed, but I knew it was still there. Another piece of land marked by my presence, however small that mark may be. The pack of ores I carried on my back shifted slightly, and I looked back to the vast white expanse in front of me. It was time to leave again. The torches would not last forever, and as they burned out, one by one, the darkness would return.

Slowly, hesitantly, I took my first step out into the fields of white. The snow packed tightly under my foot, crunching, almost inaudibly to my ears. Long ago, I may have winced at even such a slight noise. At the beginning of my time here, I might have run in terror. I took another step, and then another, and another. I came out from beneath the lip of the overhang and brought my gaze up to the hill above me. The sword on my hip bounced lightly against my leg. I waited.

Nothing. I turned my back on the cavern and bundled myself up inside my jacket. My feet began moving in a direction of no real significance. I had no destination in mind. My only desire was to have a familiar presence return to my side.

Darkness brought danger wherever it went, but some dangers did not leave when the light returned. It was a cruel lesson to learn in my early years. I put some distance between me and the hills, walking through the forest with caution harshly learned. I cast a glance behind me every so often, just in case. All around me were human-shaped footprints in the snow, and some distinctly not human-shaped, though I knew that no human other than myself had ever walked there. They were eerie reminders of what lurked in the night as I explored the cavern.

The cows, chickens and pigs that often would dot the forests were nowhere to be seen, no doubt hiding in the trees in their attempts to keep warm in this cold snap. Every so often, I would see something moving somewhere in the distance, peeking out before moving out of sight. A hint of brown there, a brief moment of pink there, the few wildlife that weren't hiding.

Sometimes, the movement would be green. On this blanket of white, it was more disturbing than anything else I could imagine.

Not long before the sun crossed directly overhead, I came to the other side of the valley. The trees thinned the further up the gentle slope I looked. It would be safer in the open. I did not fear death; that was a fear I had shed I long time ago. However, I preferred not being faced with it, and so I climbed. My ascent was steady. My pack's weight did nothing to slow me down; no amount of weight would, I had long ago discovered. It was a peculiarity of my life I had no desire to really question in all my time here.

It was deathly silent once I passed into the open space above the trees. No leaves to rustle, no icicles to drop to the ground, no animals to scurry away unseen as I passed too close to their hiding places. And yet in the broadest daylight, the one danger was something that could never be heard in such silence.

As I crested the top of the hill, I found myself staring down into the plains below. Or, rather, what lay within the plains. I recognized the landscape in a heartbeat. It didn't keep my heart from leaping and being subsequently crushed under the weight of reality. Before me and stretching to the horizon was an artificial sore sticking out from the natural world. That was the most apt way I could describe it. Its hard angles contrasted with the smooth lines of the world around it.

It was a barren city long forgotten. The skyline was torn with the jagged edges of partially collapsed buildings. Entire sections of steel and concrete walls were missing. Bricks lay shattered at the base of decrepit structures. Wherever the snow hadn't piled up from the night, glass shards reflected light in every direction, creating a glimmer of color on the cracked and crumbling roads. The defensive walls on its perimeter had long ago fallen to the relentless pounding of nature. Railways leading out of the city were no longer passable. And all were slowly being consumed - reclaimed, really - by the greens of nature.

A hundred... no. Two hundred? Three? Five? I couldn't remember, exactly. Centuries had passed since the time I had last gazed upon this city. My city. From my hands, it was born. I had laid every brick, forged every beam, carved every stone that formed my city, empty as it was. That was thousands of years in the past. It had taken countless millennia just to create the technology to build it all, but in this foreign world where I was the only person, I had nothing if not time.

It had been my hope, all those millennia ago, that if I built a city that replicated the ones I knew from the world I lived in previously, it would somehow end my lonely existence here. I built homes for people who never lived, shops for customers that never came, subways for passengers that never boarded. It had been a city that could support hundreds of thousands, meticulously planned and built, even though I hadn't seen another human since I first appeared in this world. It was a city built so I could return to my past life. But it hadn't been enough. It was never enough to appease whatever forces were in charge of my life, never enough to give me my one reason for living. After what felt like an eternity of rebuilding a portion of my previous life to bring said life back to me, and have it completely fail, I gave up. My hopes were crushed. All crushed, except for one. I clung to that last hope, to the one that remained strong within me. A single person, that was all I asked for. I pictured that person in my mind, and I found the will to continue forward. My purpose no longer revolved around a society long lost to me, so I abandoned the city, along with all the technology it represented, to the elements, never to return. And yet here I was, gazing upon its decaying remains being taken back by nature, its glory setting like the sun at day's end.

I had grown to despise the sunset in this world. Sunset meant the beginning of the night, when death roamed the world. Long ago, I had enjoyed the sun setting even more than I came to celebrate the sun rising in the morning, but this world's sunset brought such negativity that I could no longer watch the beauty of the event. I lost one of my greatest joys just by being brought to this world, in more ways than one.

Inside some of the closer buildings, inside their darkened rooms, I saw movement. A lot of it. It was indeed a city of death. This world was different, so different, from the one that I was once a part of. By nightfall, I knew there would be thousands of the undead streaming from the buildings into the open. Zombies and skeletons were plentiful, but they died in the sunlight. The green demons, they had no such weakness. Monstrosities in this terrible place, they looked nothing like anything I had seen prior. They lurked everywhere and were utterly silent. You would never hear them coming before you were killed in an instant. They were the greatest danger of this hostile world. All of them seemed to have a thirst for my blood, living only to quench it.

That thirst had been satisfied countless times in the past. I could still remember my first encounter with those mockeries of the living. It wasn't a pleasant one. I hadn't known the dangers of the night, and when I was attacked, it was merciless. Within minutes, I was dead.

But I still live. I have died a thousand deaths hundreds of thousands of times, lived countless lengths of a normal human lifespan at a time, and yet I'm still here, ageless in my appearance. I never grow old, and if I die, I always return to the exact spot I found myself at when I first became a part of this world. If I travelled back to where I had died, hoping to find some clue as to why I never aged and kept coming back, I would never find my body, only the things I was carrying. Nothing changed no matter how many times I died.

I glanced down at myself. It had taken a while before I realized why that was the case. The zombies and skeletons in the early years were taller, more broad. But as time went by, first the zombies, then the skeletons began appearing with similar features as my own. And then I saw some wearing the tattered remains of clothing I had once worn.

I was alone with myself. In horrible, horrible ways.

I was a part of this world, and at the same time I was separate. I built, I destroyed, I tamed, but nothing lasted forever. Except me, it seemed. It was not natural, not right, but it was reality. I had to end the cycle.

I turned away from the city and looked into the distance. The sun was setting. Whatever it was I needed to do, it was out there, somewhere. I had done everything I could think of doing, but still, nothing had changed. And despite this, I continued forward, trying everything again and again. I have held out hope every time I died that I would see a familiar face waiting for me when I awakened. But you were never there. I never gave up, though.

I knew that, one day, we'd watch the sunset together again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Submission period is over! We have 5 entries this time! Woohoo!

Caregiver, Caretaker by Soul Splint

Experience Points by Nintendude794

Kid Zap by JH Sounds

Sunset by HalcyonSpirit

The Arc of Heaven by Random Hajile

You have until the end of the 21st to vote! I did decide to tweak the voting rules a little:

VOTING RULES CHANGE: If you have submitted in this round or any other in the past, you have 6 points to distribute for voting. If you have not submitted this round or in the past, you have 3.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Dear oh dear. This one was a tough round for me to judge. All of the entries were quite good in their own ways. I almost wish I could just declare it a 5-way tie. Alas, I cannot, and I had to finally choose which ones I liked best. Honestly, this round has been one of the hardest, if not the hardest, for me to personally vote on since I started participating. So congrats to everyone for making me have to dig deep to decide on a good point distribution for my vote.

So, here it is, the results of the January 2011 Freeform Competition!

1st Place: Sunset by HalcyonSpirit

Runners-Up: The Arc of Heaven by Random Hajile AND Kid Zap by JH Sounds

The vote tally:

Sunset by HalcyonSpirit - 9

The Arc of Heaven by Random Hajile - 6

Kid Zap by JH Sounds - 6

Caregiver, Caretaker by Soul Splint - 5

Experience Points by Nintendude794 - 4

You guys... I really don't understand why you liked my entry. Seriously. I almost didn't even give myself a point in my vote, but I did so just because I couldn't figure out who I should give that extra point in my vote without upsetting the balance I had come to! Seriously, guys... please explain this to me. My mind is just... argh. I can't wrap my head around it. I appreciate it, but dammit, you're making my head hurt!

My comments on the entries will come over the weekend, probably.

P.S.: All but one participant voted this time, which is good! And the missing one was made up for by a previous participant's vote (thanks, dio!), so all is well. I want to at least maintain this level of participation; at least as many votes as there are submissions. So please, make your votes each round even if you haven't submitted anything in that round, as every little bit helps us!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.


×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...