Monday, August 25, 2008

Portrait of Words - The Kick Off

Thank you all for casting your votes in the recent poll determining the name of this new writing challenge. As I'm sure you can ascertain from the title of this post, "Portrait of Words" gathered the majority of the votes, eking out "The Writers Block" by a single vote. Your input, both on the name, and the structure of this challenge have been greatly appreciated. At this point I think I have a pretty solid set of guidelines to kick this thing off with and now I'm looking forward to seeing what you all come with for stories. There may be some minor tweaks to it along the way, so if you come up with any suggestions to improve on it, by all means, let me know.

I used the phrase "new writing challenge" above and that of course is a relative term, because if any of you participated in R.E.H.'s "Picture Fiction Challenge", then you know this is more of an adaptation of that one rather than something completely new. Well... I made the executive decision that since over two months have gone by without a new post from him or even a comment, that he has decided to forgo carrying on this "responsibility" or even his blog in general for that matter. I do sincerely miss the guy and truly hope he's alright, but at the same time, I also miss this writing challenge. Obviously I can't bring him back to blogging, but I can start, or at least re-start, this exercise again.

I've made some modifications to the original format, i.e. new name, graphics and slightly different categories, but the general premise of it is the same. In a nut shell here's how it works. Each Month I'll give you set of photographs with five different categories to use them in. The challenge is for you to create a story using the pictures as inspiration. It's really that simple.

The most important thing to remember is this; it's supposed to be a fun experience for everyone, and viewed simply as a writing exercise designed to stimulate creativity and camaraderie between fellow bloggers.

Listed below are more specific details of how it all works, complete with the first series of pictures to get us started. Even if you decide not to participate in the story writing, I hope you'll enjoy reading them and leave the authors constructive comments. These comments are a tremendous source of encouragement to the writers and are also a way for you to express feedback in a positive way.


The Categories:

Main Character(s): Your story can be told through or about this person(s), i.e. first or third person. Either way you go, their involvement in the story should be a focal point. Have as many or as few additional characters as you wish, but at least one of the ones pictured 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 what drives or motivates the main character(s) to action. It can also be viewed as the objective of the story.

Item(s): The object(s) should have a significant value to the main character, backdrop or purpose of the story.

Wild Card: Writers choice here. Choose one of the three options to use in your story anyway you see fit.


General Guidelines:

Your story can be of any length or style. Long or short, comedy or tragedy, fact or fiction, etc,etc... it's up to you.

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

Whether you're a seasoned writer or just beginning, everyone is invited to join in!



This month's stories should be posted between Sept 15-17. (FYI - It will be the first Mon-Wed nearest the 15th of each month) Knowing we all have busy schedules, this three day "posting window" should give everyone a chance to submit their story without feeling like they've missed the only day it's 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 three to four weeks to create our next story.

Read the other participants stories only after you've posted your own, and please remember to leave them comments about their writing.

Sign in on Mr Linkey so others can find and read your story. (I will have this at the bottom of my story post each month)


This month's challenge:


Akelamalu said...

Mmmm I'll have to get my thinking cap on now!

Kimmie said...

This looks like it is going to be alot of fun! Thanks Jeff! I will give it my best shot. :-)

Sandi McBride said...

I feel a story coming on...hope it gels!

Jeff B said...

Akelamalu- Looking forward to what you have to write. Will it be one of your signature "twist" endings, or will you go a different route?....

Kimmie- Fun is the name of the game with this one. Glad to hear you'll be joining in.

Sandi- I think these pics will lend themselves to some interesting stories. It's great that an idea already came to you.

Jay said...

Hmmm .. very interesting pics here. I'll kick it around a bit and see if I can come up with something.

buffalodickdy said...

My friend, I will read all this with great interest, but my writing- if I ever do any, will come as the lightning strikes.. randomly! Good luck- I can see you put a great deal of thought into this...

Jeff B said...

Jay- Looking forward to it. Your stories never disappoint.

Buffalo- Just glad to have you along for the ride. Without readers, all of this writing would be for naught.

It was a bit of work, but I'm sure it'll be worth it.

david mcmahon said...

Okay, I'm really intrigued now!

Vodka Mom said...

I LOVE THIS SHIT. I'm in, man, I'm in.

Travis said...

You've done a great job with this. I'm going to seriously give this one a try.

Ron said...


You did an awesome job putting this all together, bud!

YAY!!! I'm so glad Portrait of Words got the most votes! I really like that title.

Hey...and I really like all the cool-looking graphics you designed too!

I will most definately check out everyone's stories each month too!

I may just give this a go later in the FAll.

Have FUN everyone!

Rhea said...

Oh, Jeff, this looks exciting! Of course, I have a hard time keeping up with my own writing class online but I want to be in yours too! I love pictures...leading to stories. fun fun!!

And, thanks for your sweet compliments today. I have no idea how to go about blogging as a career.

Jeff B said...

David- This is right up your alley. Photographs and writing...hard to go wrong there.

Vodka Mom- I love your enthusiasm. Thanks for jumping on board.

Travis- Thanks for the compliment. I wanted it to have a professional look, but still be low key in its approach.

Ron- Even though I voted for a different one, I think the winning name ties it all in quite well.

The graphics are just proof that an old dog can learn new tricks.

Thanks for being a reading participant too. That's just as important as the writing aspect of it. Without one, the other doesn't have much use.

Rhea- Hopefully time will allow you to do both. As for making a career out of blogging, I don't know how to do that either, but how cool it would be if you could.

Giggle! said...

I have an award for you! xx

nitebyrd said...

I've got to get some of my creative brain cells to rub up against my thinking ones. This may be tough!

CrystalChick said...

You've really put together what looks like a very fun writing club. The title is really great!
I'm sure you're going to have alot of participants.
Unfortunately, I am not good at telling a story as you can see from the droning ramble at my page.
But I'll certainly read your creations and visit others too!

Jeff B said...

Giggle- Thank you, I'll be by later to check it out.

Nitebyrd- Gotta get those cells to co-mingle sometimes.

Crystalchick- Showing support by reading along is very much appreciated.

Bond said...

I can not promise I will be involved every time, but I will give it some thought.

I am trying to concentrate on my writing and don't want to mix things up

Dianne said...

Great job Jeff!

I love the graphics, the way the photos are presented and as I said in the initial post - I love the wild card photos. Just off the top of my head I thought of two different paths the story could take based on 2 different wild cards!

It's worth repeating - Great job Jeff - thanks!!

Jeff B said...

Bond- Totally understand. no pressure at all, if you can jump in sometime it's be great to have you, but if not, you're just as welcome to take in the others contributions.

Dianne- I had a really good head start with what R.E.H. had put together. Just wanted to tweak it a bit to keep it fresh. Thanks.

Vodka Mom said...

okay, so I am working my ass off right now getting ready for school. Still plan on doing this. Don't give up on me Jeff, I'm still going for it.

Jeff B said...

Vodka Mom- You've got plenty of time. The plan is for everyone to post their stories between Sept 15-17. This gives plenty of time to come up with it before it needs to be written.

jennifer said...

Great pics. Great idea.

I will think on it... haven't ever written like that before so....

no promises about the outcome!

But hey! You did give plenty of time!


Amazing Gracie said...

I've been following your zany comments all over the blogs but haven't been over here to say "howdy" in a while. Looks as if you've got lots of stuff going on. I'll have to keep an eye on this because it looks like a load of fun!
Keep me laughing with your zingers...

Knight said...

I'm glad to see you are picking this up since R.E.H. disappeared. I hope I remember to participate.

Raven said...

Yikes... three weeks! This is exciting. I hope I can get my brain cells (and the rest of me) back into functioning shape. These are always a great but difficult challenge. Thanks for starting it up again.

Desert Songbird said...

Okay, I THOUGHT this sounded like a great idea to get me back into writing on a disciplined level. I had EVERY intention of joining in the fun. BUT now I'm chickening out, given the guidelines. I'm not sure I could keep up with this! It's too much work!!!!

Farmer*swife said...

Hi! So glad you took the reigns. i, too, have missed this project r.e.h. had began. I thought at one point of just doing my own and posting now and then.

Anyhow, I'll give ya' a shout out at my place for those who read me who also enjoyed playing along with the PFC. Guess, now we can call it POW!

I hope to participate this time but I need to go back and check your due date again!

Happy Wednesday!

singlendacity89 said...

ahhhhhh!!! I am going to try my best to make this deadline!! Wonderful that you are doing this..

I had a lot of fun with this!!


Jeff B said...

Jennifer- Sometimes things like this can be just the thing to spark the creative writer within.

Amg Gracie- Zingers O'Plenty. Nice to hear from you again!

Knight- Thanks for droping in. I do hope you'll remember to join us too.

Raven- This time around it's a little shorter just because of when I finally got all my ducks in a row to start it up. Starting next month, I'll have it on a regular shcedule that'll give us about four weeks to write.

Songbird- They are really just guidelines, not rules carved in stone. It's a lot of verbage I know, but it really comes down to this: Look at the pictures. Interpret them, and write what you feel like. Come on...give it a shot!

Farmer's Wife- I appreciate the shout out, and am glad you'll be writing too. What r.e.h. started was just too good to let slip away.

NE- How very cool that you and some of the others have come by and shown your support. I'll look forward to see what you come up with.

Denise said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmm! Now I do like something to get my teeth into! Am just about to go out for my morning bike ride with Wilma, so will strat thinking!

Nathalie said...

Count me in!
I am not familiar with the previous challenge you mentioned, it's my first visit here. I understand we each post our texts on our own blogs?

Nathalie in Avignon, France

Jeff B said...

Denise- I'll come by later to visit your site, but in the mean time, glad to meet you and will look forward to see what you come up with.

Nathalie- You've got it. The idea is for everyone to post between Sept 15-17 and sign in on the Mr Linky box that will be at the bottom of my story. That way all the others will be able to find your site and read what you've come up with. Welcome to the site.

Mimi Lenox said...

Ooohhh.....this sounds intriguing.....

CrazyCath said...

If I can find my creative mojo again, I'm in.

If I can't find it, I'm readin'!

Jeff B said...

Mimi- You are so talented with your writing, I hope you'll consider joining this.

Crazy Cath- Either way you go it'll be a pleasure to have you as part of the group.

San said...

What a cool challenge, Jeff. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with.

ciara said...

well, i'm not sure if i'm gonna try it. i'm thinking about it. it took me a LONG time just to join the flash fiction..if not for queenie (the first person who said i should try it and often told me i should) and akelamalu, i'm not sure i would have. now i'm gonna have to go think...whether i'm gonna do it or how i'm gonna incorporate those photos in a story LOL

Cherie said...

Great pictures! Very inspiring. I'd love to give it a go. Hopefully, I'll have good follow through on this. And thanks to Dianne for directing me this way.

Jeff B said...

San- It should be interesting. There are quite a few joining in.

Ciara- I do hope you'll give it a shot. And remember it doesn't have to be a full blown novel to count. Some will write lengthy stories, while others will probably leave it at a couple of paragraphs. All are welcome.

Cherie- Glad you came by. Dianne has become a great friend and I enjoy reading what she comes up with too. Hope you'll join us.

katherine. said...

I'm only a few weeks behind in my reading...but would love to participate has time is a great idea....I am sure many appreciate all of your effort!