Thursday, August 21, 2008

A New Writing Challenge

Some of you I know, used to participate in a writing challenge known as "Picture Fiction Challenge", presented by R.E.H. of Ramblings of a Madman. Whether you did, or were just a reader of his site, then you know he has been MIA for a couple of months now. His last post said, "I'm OK, see you in a day, a week or a month..." Now, two+ months later, still no word. Hopefully he is fine and has just decided to take an extended break from posting. That's one of the unfortunate parts of blogging. When someone decides to suddenly stop writing, we're left wondering what happened. It's not like we can just pick-up a phone and call or drop by the house for a visit.

Well, aside from missing the guy and his writing, I also miss the monthly writing challenge he hosted. So, I've decided to sort of resurrect it here. It'll follow roughly the same format as before, but with a few modifications so that I (and hopefully you) don't think it's a complete rip off from what he created.

The first thing to do is come up with a name for it. This is the part of the post known as audience participation. I jotted down five possible titles and would like your opinion. With a little luck, I'll have a poll up on my sidebar that you can cast your vote on. Along with the names I came up with I'll have "other" as an a option too. Feel free click on that button if none of the ones listed sound appealing and to offer up any suggestions in the comment section. After the votes have been cast and tallied, I'll go with the majority. If you're from the States, just consider this practice for November.

In case the poll thingy doesn't happen, or you're too damn lazy to look for it, here are the names I came up with:

The Writers Block
Composed Image
Snapshot Stories
Word Collage
Portrait of Words

I'll also come up with a flashy little icon that we can use on our story posts. If you're feeling creative and want to submit an idea, by all means go for it. Just don't cry in your beer if it doesn't get selected.

Now, onto the particulars of the challenge.

I will select a photograph (most likely from Flickr) in each of five different categories for you to use. Your challenge is to look at the pictures and interpret them as you see fit. Use them as inspiration to create your own story.

Here are the categories:

Main Character(s): Your story can be told through or about this person(s), either way, their involvement in the story should be a focal point. Have as many or as few characters as you wish, but the one(s) in this picture should be central to the overall story.

Backdrop: This will create the setting for your story. It can take place at the location depicted, be a destination to it, or be a journey from it.

Purpose: This is the objective of the main character and is what motivates this person(s) to action.

Object: This item(s) should add significant value to the story

Wild Card: Writers choice here. Choose one of the three pictures listed to use in your story.

By creating the wild card category, I'm hoping it will create an interesting twist to the stories. We will each be working from the same pics in the first four, but this one will be subjective to each author.

General Guidelines:

Use each of the picture representations in your story. (one from the wild card)

Your story can be of any length, long or short, it's up to you.

Works of fiction or ones based on fact are equally welcomed.

Most importantly, have fun with this. It should be viewed simply as a writing exercise designed to stimulate creativity, not as a means of creating stress in you. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just beginning, everyone is invited to join in.


The stories should be posted between Monday and Wednesday the closest to the 15th of each month. (I'll specify each month) This three day "posting window" will give everyone a chance to submit their story without feeling like they missed the one day it is due.

I will post the pictures for the following month's challenge on the Friday after we submit our stories. This will give us approximately four weeks to create our next story.

Read the other participants stories only after you've posted your own, and leave them comments.

Sign in on Mr Linky so others can read your story. (That means I have to figure out how to use this feature)


There you have it. At least that's how I see it coming together. I'd really appreciate any feedback your willing to give on making this a fun and interesting challenge to participate in.

I'll give this until Sunday morning to let you all have an opportunity to offer up suggestions, and then on Monday the 25th, I'll post the final version along with the first set of pictures. Ya I know, already breaking the rule of posting on Friday for the following month. Just didn't want another month to go by before we kick this off.


Dana said...

Jeff! You are WONDERFUL!!

I miss REH terribly and often wonder what happened, but have missed the PFC concept. Fiction is a challenge for me and I was just getting into learning to be comfortable with it when the challenge disappeared!

Raven said...

Oh, I'm so glad you're doing this! Those picture fiction challenges were hard but great.

I was worried about REH when he left. I didn't believe his last post when he said he was fine. I hope he's working through things. And he may be like me a creature of inertia. One reason I post every day is because I know if I stop, it's very difficult for me to start again.

I clicked the "other" box and hope I haven't forgotten my idea between doing that and ramblng on above. Drat. It was something like Image-ine This.... or Image-inations.... Sorry. I'm old. My brain has holes in it.

Akelamalu said...

That sounds interesting! Not sure I'm up to the job but I may have a go.

I like 'Snapshot Stories'.

Desert Songbird said...

Hmmmmm....I may have to give this a go!

Bond said...

Interesting concept...if I can get the creative genes away from "His Quest" I will join in

nitebyrd said...

Bloggers dropping off the earth bother me, too. Sad, really.

This sounds very interesting. I can't guarantee my participation but I'll try!

Jeff B said...

Dana- Yah, he just sort of went poof and was gone. Hopefully we'll hear from him again someday.

Hope to see you joining in with it.

Raven- I sometimes get "Swiss cheese" brain too, and I'm only 42. Yikes!

Akelamalu- You my dear, will do great with these. That i am sure of.

Songbird- I hope you will. It's fun to see where imagination takes everyone.

Bond- You'll have to divide and conquer.

Nitebyrd- That's why I tend to feel bad when a few days have gone by and I haven't said I was going to take a break. Don't want people to worry for no good reason.

Nice to see you, I was wondering if Fay had caused you any problems.

Jay said...

Yeah, that was a pretty cool writing challenge. I found it to be pretty time consuming, so I can't commit to playing every time, but I will when I can.

Kimmie said...

I voted! This sounds pretty interesting. I am going to think about it, I like the Wordzzles and have fun with that meme. I might be able to do this, not to sure, but it couldn't hurt to try. If I stink at it, I will dismiss myself. ;-)

Jeff B said...

Jay- No pressure. If you have the time it'd be great to have one of your stories included. The time factor is one of my deciding factors in keeping it at a once a month deal.

Kimmie- Hope you'll give it a try. And remember it can be short and sweet or long and involved, it's all up to each author.

Giggle! said...

Clever thing! I love these things but I'm rubbish at them!

I must give it a go one day, but I love reading others!!!

Thanks for your comments while I've been away! Sorry I couldn't reply as I had no Internet!

But I finally got it back today! Wooooooooo!

I'm going to be working on a 'Giggle finds Love' Rat Girl special soon! I am soooo excited about it! It's the story of how me and Hubby met!

But first I've got alot of blog reading to catch up on!!! *Eeeeek*


katherine. said...

I like Portrait of Words...POW....not to be confused with mateo's

Do you have to be a Flicker-er to play?

Mel said...

WOW aren't you just the adventuresome soul!

How wonderful to pick it up and get it going again.
And it'll be fun reading, no doubt.
I've never indulged in anything of the sort. I'm kinda one of those 'anything you need to say, put it up' kinda typing people.
(mighta noted that, huh?)

It's all about MEMEME......LOL

But good luck, sir!
And I'll look forward to reading along.

Ummmmm.....I can still vote, right?

<--likes pushing buttons! ;-)

Sandi McBride said...

I like Word Collage! This one I think I would do...hurry up, get it started!

Jeff B said...

Giggle- Good to see you back in action. I'll be looking forward to reading your next series.

Katherine- Nope, not required. I'll be selecting the photos from that site and posting them here for everyone to view.

Mel- You pushing someone's buttons? I find that hard to believe. OK, not really...and by all means feel free to cast your vote, just don't leave any hanging chads please.

Jeff B said...

Sandi- This Monday will be the kick off. See you then.

jennifer said...

LOVE the idea. Story writing is not a specialty for me, but I am willing to give it a try.

Would you like to use reader's pictures from flickr? We could give you links to some of our pics as well. I know that edges over into Roger's creative photography is just a suggestion.

Also the only thing that came to my mind with names was Picture Pages ( I used to love that on... was it Captain Kangaroo?).

Ron said...

This is AWESOME, Jeff!

I've never heard of this guys blog before, but it sounds so COOL!

And I think it's a great idea you're continuing it, because you're IDEAL!

This is exciting!

Looking over your title choices, I'd have to say, Portrait of Words. I REALLY like that!

Anyway, because I'm starting this new blog, I'll have to wait a bit to see how much time I have. But it definately sounds like something I would love to try!

Good going, buddy!

Vodka Mom said...

okay,so I'd like to read your whole post, but my add is kicking in (or it might be the martini's I am having celebrating my oldest going to college tomorrow). But, I WILL read it tomorrow. In the meantime, loved your comments over in the comedy plus blog. Had to stop over- and now will be a regular.

back to the martini

Jeff B said...

Jennifer- When I started this blog (less than a year ago) I hadn't written anything more than the mandatory book reports in school. I still have miles to go, but I've found great joy in writing so far. You might just surprise yourself.

Thanks for the name suggestion and I think using photos from fellow bloggers who are up for it would be a great addition.

Ron- When the smoke clears from you new site give this a go. I'm a visual person and having the photos really helps to paint a picture. (pun intended)

Vodka mom- I know this can sound kind of cumbersome with all the verbiage, but it really isn't all that complicated. Just a lot of set up dialog. Hope to see you again.

Dianne said...

what a great idea!

I miss REH and hope he's OK.

I love your 'wild card' photo idea, plus your definitions of the components seem more relaxed than the original. I found objective to always get in my way LOL
just like real life

I like Snapshot Stories

this is so cool Jeff, thanks for starting it up!

Matt-Man said...

I'll have to come back and read this...I am so hungover. Cheers Jeff!!

Travis said...

It's really cool of you to pull this together. I kind of like the idea of a month to interpret the pictures into a story. I may try this a couple of times, maybe as practice for my pledge to participate in NaNoWriMo in November.

As for title, I can't make up my mind between Snapshot Stories or Portrait of Words. I think both of those titles capture the photo prompt really well.

the teach said...

Jeff, why don't you call it what your friend called it and say you're hosting til he returns?

Jeff B said...

Dianne- I really was hoping for a more relaxed approach to this challenge. Even so, i think it may need to be more streamlined so it doesn't come off sounding like rules, rules, rules.

I'm glad you agree about the wild card too. I think it might create some interesting angles on the stories.

Matt- You're hung over? I'm shocked!

Travis- It's a great way to shake the cobwebs loose. Hope you'll give it a go.

Teach- I did consider that, but he has over 200 comments on his last post without a single reply from him. I'm not sure he's planning on returning at this point, but if he does, I will let him take the reigns again.

Mimi Lenox said...

I have something for you at Bloggingham Palace.

Dancing Feet Are Happy Feet

buffalodickdy said...

Well, good luck! I know alot of folks love this stuff, but I have all I can do to write a post every 3-4 days!

Jeff B said...

Mimi- Thank you my dear.

Buffalo- I completely understand. We need readers too, so it's all good.