While more official contests/wars/battles/ritual sacrifices are planned by the LitReactor deities, us mortals can duke it out for bragging rights and the sake of some good-natured carnage - a point unto itself. Because, really, life isn't worth living without causing at least a little bit of damage, ya know?
!. Determine your opponent. Send them a PM or call them out by name on this thread. If you aren't picky about your enemy, then just let your desire for combat be known.
2. Once you have the desired combatant(s), scream, "PROMPT!!!!" Well, don't actually scream it. Type it. I mean, you can scream it if you like, but make sure you type it as well. And make sure it's typed here... and posted. No one will hear you scream.
Except the perv looking in your window right now.
3. Anyone can provide a prompt here. It can be a photo, a quote, a SHORT video, a recipe for goulash, whatever, so long as it's postable and relatively brief. PLEASE check this thread to make sure no one has already posted a prompt for a battle calling for one. Otherwise, you'll have wasted an awesome prompt - trust me, I've done this and it feels like having your nuts stomped on by Rosie O'Donnell. If you have no nuts, it's still kinda bummery.
4. Once the prompt is posted, all combatants have at least one week to finish a short story between 2,000-3,000 words. If you want more time or a different word count range, work it out with your opponent and update the masses ASAP.
5. When time is up, both stories will be posted on a separate thread that is formatted as a poll. Not a separate poll for each, but a separate thread, containing both stories, and a poll. Got that? Good. Now, for obvious reasons, these stories need to be uploaded with NO IDENTIFYING INFO. No names, no nicknames, no allusions to whose story it is or isn't. If you're the only Peruvian transvestite here, don't submit a story about Peruvian transvestites, unless no one here knows you're a Peruvian transvestite. That has to be the world record for mentions of Peruvian transvestites in one paragraph. Gotta be.
5b. PLEASE use the standard manuscript format one would use if one wishes to actually be taken seriously by publishers. If you don't double space, no one will freak, but it will be annoying. If you don't use Times New Roman, no one will freak, but it may be annoying. If you use pink comic sans in 18pt, everyone will freak, and I will hunt you for sport.
5c. Now, making the polls/story links can be challenging, so if you don't know how to do it, ask someone. Chances are, one of you will know how, and if not, one of us will know how, and if you're like me, you'll just ask someone else to do it. That's right... I don't know how.
6. For one week, everyone can read and vote for which story is most successful. Best is subjective. Most successful is also subjective, but slightly less judgy. So vote for the most successful story: the one that is mechanically sound, engaging, original, and yes, incorporates the prompt. If a fantastic story faces a shitwad story, but doesn't incorporate the prompt... sure, it might win, but we'll all suspect you've been sitting on this awhile and didn't even try to be original WITHIN THE GENERATIVE CONSTRAINT OF THE PROMPT. And we will shame you for it. Or I will.
At the end of the week, the polls will close, and we will all stand in awe of the winner, and of the second place writer's efforts. Having won and lost at these, I can say, both sides still have their advantages and disadvantages. Neither will win or lose anything tangible, and both have a new story to justify why they called in sick for a week and ate all three bags of Doritos while their significant other was at the office like a chump.
To start things off, my home-skillet, Sound and I will face each other. To the death. Or til the closing of the polls, whichever comes first. Once we've been prompted, others are free to create their own carnage at will (at my will, anyway, as in, adhering to the rules/procedures above). This isn't Fight Club, if it's your first night, you don't have to fight - you can just watch. But, like an orgy, where's the fun in only watching?
Now, if my fellow combatant, Sound, feels this is all copacetic, he can scream prompt... and type it... and post what he typed. Then, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... it's writing time.
Thanks, Photon. You're a doll. Truly.
I think most here would call me a Chucky doll, but I appreciate the chance to re-awaken an awesome activity on this site. I look forward to the more official stuff you guys come up with!
Or... was that your prompt?
Think I can work that into a story. :)
I may be the weaker writer of the two of us, so I will happily admit that I hope to god there's a real prompt on the way. :D
Here's a prompt for you:
It's the bee's knees.
Alright, that'll do. Sound, what say we make the deadline a week from this coming Monday, that way the readers won't be presented with the stories during a weekend when they may not be around as much? That'd be May 18th. If you'd prefer something else, we can always adjust as needed.
(Thanks, Thuggish, for the prompt!)
Sounds good to me! Is there a minimum wordcount?
I actually liked the first "prompt" better but I can try to work this into a story :p
I'd say 2-3K, no more, no less?
Looking forward to reading your stories guys :)
I'm excited about this. Good luck fellows.
I've been doing poetry for the past six months, so this is just as exciting for me to be switching back to prose!
And, everyone, don't forget... this is a challenge that anyone can do. You don't have to be in the workshop portion of the site. Even though Sound and I have a battle started, you all can start your own - just call someone out in here, or via PM, then come here for a prompt once they agree to face you.
It really is a wonderful way to get motivated, and to generate material. I published a story just last month that I'd originally written for a Thunderdome battle last year - so you never know til you get out there and fuck someone up!
Literarily speaking, of course.
I'm interested, yet don't seem to understand the rules and workings quite well at this moment. So I'll wait until the first battle has been faught. But anyone can prompt me.
Re the rules: Just to add, you don't have to call a particular person out for a fight you can just say you want a fight and whoever chooses to responds first is your opponent. Also fights can be adapted into three way battles (always fun) and flash battles of 1000-1200 words.
And I think maybe you shouldn't tell people how to vote. Really voting should be a gut instinct, right? Voters should understand that a prompt is the springboard to the story and therefore needs to be evident in however subtle or not subtle way the writer decides, but as for what makes a story great to its reader...well like you've been saying, it's subjective. The most technically sound in terms of grammar, etc might not be the best story. Or it could come down to personal preference of first versus third, speech tags versus creative rule breaking.
What I mean is people should vote for the story that resonates with them, like an instinctual thing. Read and vote as soon as you know, or read and go away and think about it, let the stories settle in your head a while before you vote. It's never which story you should vote for, always which story you choose to vote for.
Anyway, I'll shut up now :)
Well, yes, of course the vote is up to the voter, but all I was saying in the rules was that one should actually vote for literally the better story. If a story has a monkey, but is a shitty story, but you like monkeys, you still ought not vote for it just to be in solidarity with monkeys. Unless the opposing story is even shittier. Yes, "best" IS indeed subjective, but there are still yard sticks for effective writihng that should be encouraged among the voters, more than just, "I liked it... um... 'cause the old man character cussed a lot. That's funny... derp."
I wasn't that specific on criteria for voting because I expect most of us are smart enough and honorable enough to do this with integrity. The few things I did list were just suggestions to consider when deciding which story is most successful. It was by no means an exhaustive list of what to look at.
But Voodoo is VERY right in that anyone can challenge anyone, or everyone. Just say you wanna battle in here, and someone will take up your challenge. I think I'd included that in an earlier draft of the OP, and must have cut it when I edited. It's still kind of there in Rule 1, but maybe not as clear as it ought to be.
the litterally better story can still be entirely up to the voter, yeah? I mean sometimes the story that is most technically sound and written with beautiful language that I can really appreciate, might not resonate with me as a reader as much as a story say that has it's composition errors but still brings a very well developed set of characters and a unique plot to the table. In many of these battles I've found myself torn between two awesome stories, neither better than the next, and then it does come down to a matter of personal prefrence. Right?
When I write for these it's rare that I get an idea the day I see the prompt. Usually I scrap several attempts and the story I turn in is something I wrote in the day or two before the deadline, sometimes literally still typing an hour before. So I usually turn in a rough draft, though I'm still able to iron out many kinks in a story with a low word count, it still won't be up to par with others technically. I take this into account when I vote. I mean 1 week is not enough time to master a story. So I look for more than just tangaible gramaticall errors, and can overlook a minor plothole or a pacing problem, if everything else about why I like to read is good. Characters, worldbuilding, dialouge, etc... So I don't think there is always one story that is litterally better than the other. Sometimes it's obvious. But not always.
All that said. I need to knock off some of the rust.
Tucson, I challenge thee to a thunderdome battle. I’d say 2000-3000 word count sounds good. One week to write one draft. You can email me your story by the deadline and I can post them both up in an anonymous poll. If you accept, then the first person to issue a prompt in this thread afterwards will be the prompt we use to inspire our stories.
I wish that was our prompt. Haven't thought of or written a thing. SP how you doing?
I've had a few idea kernels, but nothing has sprouted yet. I usually have an easier time with photo prompts, but have had some good stuff from words too, so we'll see. Photos come with a pre-determined direction, which can help or hurt, so at least with ours, the possibilities are as open as our minds. For better or worse. :D
What an awesome prompt!
And yes JR, I agree, sometimes both stories are awesome and losing doesn't make one worse than the other.
That is a really cool prompt. Thanks Photon.
Yeah, what you said Em. I've been on both the winning and losing end of these battles and never came out feeling bad about the outcome. Winning feels awesome of course but even in defeat I usually have the bones for a shoppable story. That's a win too!
Yeah, that's so true about the end result for the writer being valuable either way. The story I wrote for the first round of war last year got me bumped off right away, but ended up being picked up this spring by an actual print mag, while a story I won a Thunderdome battle with a while back keeps getting rejected (the final draft is quite a bit longer, so that may have something to do with it). So one has no idea what will come of these competitions... but they DO generate material.
I'm excited to see what you folks come up with from that pic!
I'm afraid that I'll go too obvious on this one.
Don't worry about that sort of thing. If the story is good, you've got it made, regardless of a direct interpretation of the prompt or not. The only time I'd say worry is if the story has nothing at all to do with the prompt. I could be the only one who feels that way, but hey...
Sorry, double post.
Can we retitle the thread to include the words knife fight?
I could be wrong but I think that literary stories do better than genre fiction in battles. Just my two cents, and I know my taste is almost 180 from most people here.
Love that this has been resurrected! I'm all for a dagger/knife/sword/ battle of words and style!
YAY!!! You've come to the right place then. I was wondering if this was something people missed, so it's nice to see it isn't just me and a few others. :)
Yeah, I'm anxious to see how many will turn up to vote. Also, I'm anxious to see if I'll come up with a story idea soon. Tick Tock.
First thunderdome battle should go up today, right? :)
Tomorrow, I think. Stories are due today :)
Ah yeah, my bad.
Yeah, that was my understanding. It will be late in the day/night that I get mine finalized, but it actually came together better than I originally expected. Sound, if I send you the doc at some point tonight, can you format everything?
So cool you guys are starting this. Can't wait to read the stories. Best of luck to the writers.
Yeah, that's fine by me. You still have my email or you need me to PM it to you?
I'm sure I have it somewhere.
As cool as the prompt is I've only got one crappy idea and every word I've written is horrid. I think my idea tank is broken. Anyone know a good repair man.
Turn on your favorite music, sit in a dark room with only the prompt and the music as your sensory input. I usually do this when I'm stuck and it takes less than half an hour for something to take root. Hope it works as well for you. :)
Alrighty, the first battle has hit the polls, so go read, go vote, and then go start your own battles, people!!!
Next up, Riley v. Tucson... not sure when you guys plan to post, but I know we're all eager for more carnage, so don't leave us in indefinite suspense!
And don't forget, everyone, this is open to ALL. Even if you're not in the workshop, you can battle.
Our stories are due by midnight tonight and were going to be posted tomorrow but we might postpone that a bit. I've finally got the ball rolling and might have mine in on time but we decided to extend the deadline a day or two just in case. We also thought it might be best to have the first battle going for a bit before we throw ours out in the poll. Hopefully I'll have the stories up by Thursday night before I go out of town (where I may not have interente access) If not then I'll throw them up Monday when I get back.
Also, I've read the first battle and have yet to vote. I'm leaning one way but I might have to have another read later. But for now, back to the grind. Got a story to write.
The fun never stops!
JR is our spokesperson. He does a great job.
Update: I am out of town. Long weekend trip to the lake. I can get internet on phone but no WiFi for computer to upload stories so it will probably have to wait until Monday night, unless I go into town and find a WiFi spot, which is a possibility.
I think starting these (the poll portion) toward the beginning of a week is the best for voting anyway, so even if you could post today, it'd probably benefit your match to wait til the start of the week. Sound and I will be wrapping up the voting about when you guys begin, so the fun won't have to stop or overlap or anything. It'll be like one neverending partay...
Woohoo, looking forward to the Riley v. Tucson throwdown!!! (the prompt was wicked cool, so can't wait to see what you two got from it)
Also, my sparring session with Sound is coming to its inevitable result soon. If anyone else would like to go up against the David Pelletier of literary battles, I'd be game. First person to accept my open challenge, let me know here, I'm not picky. I just like having this as my "deadline" generator, since I don't seem to self-motivate as successfully without some looming end-date in sight. Once there's a second, anyone is free to prompt us.
I'll play. Mr. Photon and I have a re-match to be had. Bring on the prompt.