1. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Challenge Thread

    Discussion in 'Writing Prompts' started by BayView, Jul 26, 2016.

    No idea if this will be helpful or not, but... maybe!

    I have no special expertise, no experience with writing prompts, no aspirations to greatness. But I'm bossy, so... I've got that going for me!

    In this thread, if you want, post about something that's getting in the way of your writing, and I will set challenges (totally non-binding and in no way enforceable) that I, in my dubious wisdom, think may help you get past your current issue.

    (And if any of these challenges lead you to run back to your WIP with new enthusiasm, feel free to abandon the challenge. They're just meant to kick your creativity into gear, not to create a final product. Unless you're inspired to do so...)

    (And if anyone has their own challenge for themselves and wants to post here as a way of making it more publicly accountable, that's cool, too.)



    From other threads, I know that @Mckk is struggling to get inspired, to keep going on her years-old WIP, to find something that excites her. My challenge for @Mckk is... songfic! @Mckk, if you chose to accept this challenge - find one line or stanza from a song (or, if you're better with instrumental music, I guess you could try for one passage from an instrumental piece) and write the story behind it. It doesn't need to be a full story; it could just be an outline, or a quick summary, but it should be something you want to think about for a while.

    If you're stuck on finding a lyric, I will go to my guy, Mr. Springsteen, and suggest:

    You can hide 'neath your covers
    And study your pain
    Make crosses from your lovers
    Throw roses in the rain
    Waste your summer praying in vain
    For a saviour to rise from these streets
    Well now I'm no hero
    That's understood
    All the redemption I can offer girl
    Is beneath this dirty hood
    With a chance to make it good somehow
    Hey what else can we do now ?

    - (listen to all of Thunder Road if you want more context) - tell me the backstory on these two. What's been hurting Mary, and how was the narrator part of that?
    If Bruce isn't your jam, how about:

    See my old man's got a problem
    He live with the bottle that's the way it is
    He says his body's too old for working
    His body's too young to look like his
    My mama went off and left him
    She wanted more from life than he could give
    I said somebody's got to take care of him
    So I quit school and that's what I did

    - (Tracy Chapman's Fast Car for full context) - tell me the story of the daughter finding the mom. Does she blame her or forgive her, or both? What does the mom say? Does she feel guilty, or not?​
     
  2. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Problems figuring out my world, concerned about the theologies, and the back story of one of my character species. Not to mention one of my other characters is determined to act out and I am close to writing out a death match author vs. character. -_- Suffice to say I am stuck in a rut.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm... I'm going to challenge you to...

    (damn, this is a lot of pressure!)

    How about going meta? Do you have a Big Idea of what you want the main theme of this story to be? If you don't... I challenge you to declare one, and then see if all the other issues can be solved by studying their relationship to the main theme. Like, if we say that the main theme for Star Wars was the power of light vs. the power of darkness and the importance of maintaining a balance (we can say that, at least as a possibility, right?) then a lot of the other choices fall into place. That might work for your story, too, and if it doesn't, at least the struggle to come up with one will get you thinking in a different direction.

    (If you already have a theme clearly in mind, I'll have to think of something else...)
     
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  4. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    My innate laziness and fear that starting to write will diminish my enthusiasm.
     
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  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @BayView - you've got a knack for choosing the right things, it seems - you went from my comments on my work to recommending lyrics that right away piqued my interest! Just listened to Thunder Road now and I have this feeling for a story - it's not wrapped in "big exciting things" like I wanted to write - but I sense a tragedy in the song. Like two people hoping and hoping and hoping and then they fall as Icarus did, and perhaps they fall laughing. It's romance and redemption and irony all rolled in one - all my favourite things :coffee:

    Damn you there's no working on my WIP now is there!?! :wtf: Definitely gonna give this vague songfic a think. Shall I share my thoughts/story developments here since it's a response to the challenge? :) I'm actually a little excited about it.
     
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  6. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Hmmm, this is interesting.

    I seem to be lacking the motivation to write some short stories. Recently, I finished a novel and I'm letting it simmer for a few weeks. In the meantime, I don't want to sit idle, but it's proving very difficult to want to do it. My ideas seem weak or not developed enough to get a story down.
     
  7. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    This is painfully real for me, haha.
     
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  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a tricky one.

    I think I'm going to challenge you to find an alpha reader or some other form of crit partner. (Might I suggest @Spencer1990?) It's a hard slog to write a whole novel before anyone gets a chance to see it, and it can be really helpful to have someone to share your enthusiasm and bounce ideas around with. If not someone here, I suggest a writers' group where you live, posting chapter-by-chapter to a locked, unsearchable blog and then actively soliciting people to come by and take a look (you can put the password on the landing page of the blog to lessen issues of accessibility) or finding some other way to make your work public before it's complete.

    Writing an entire first novel before sharing your work is too damn hard. Find an outlet!
     
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  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I challenge you to come up with five (or four, or six...) ideas for short stories and post them here. Just a sentence or two, enough to give us a rough idea of the possibilities. And then we'll figure out some way for us to pick our favourite and challenge you to write that one up. If we pick A and you find yourself wishing we'd picked D, then write D. We're not the bosses of you!

    Or if you find that you have five ideas but don't think any of them are "deep" enough, post them and we'll give suggestions/feedback/ideas/enthusiasm. Then you can pick one and write it for us!
     
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  10. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    This is actually a fantastic idea, and I will accept the challenge.

    I'll post the five (or so) ideas a bit later today. I think a solid brainstorming session will do me a world of good.
     
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  11. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll be interested to read them, Spencer, as your HST avo makes me curious about what you like to write.
     
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  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Make sure they're good! If you need a little more time to make 'em good, I give you permission to extend the deadline. (Maybe one of your stories could be about a writer who allows power to go to her head...)
     
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  13. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I have a short story in the works that's been sitting unfinished on my computer for quite some time kind of similar to this idea.

    ETA: I will make sure the ideas are tip top.

    It's funny you say that because the avatar is a pretty good inclination as to the types of stuff I do write/have written. Drugs and vulgarity seem to be pretty solid go-to themes for me. Maybe that's not a good thing, but I definitely enjoy to write more about the fringe of society. The MC of my novel is a hopeless heroin addict.
     
  14. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ooh, I'd probably enjoy reading 'you'.

    You got anything submitted to the workshop?
     
  15. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I actually have the opening of my novel in the workshop. I will put a disclaimer that the piece that is in there will probably be slashed. I tagged it onto the beginning when I was finished with the novel because I thought I needed it. Turns out, it's extraneous.
     
  16. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Link?
     
  17. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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  18. Mckk
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    Just listened to Tracy Chapman - I know this song! But I never paid attention to the lyrics. It's beautiful and gives me a similar feeling as Thunder Road. Maybe the two can be merged... although the emotion from each is quite different. Chapman's much more my thing, both in the tone of the music and the style of music.
     
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  19. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    I don't know how to describe my theme. I guess because for me it writing is like a puzzle. I put the pieces together as I flip them over. While I have a minute outline drawn up for the parts I am working on it is difficult. I know ridiculous right? Gah,

    It is about balance at it's most basic core, but instead of black vs. light its more about the light and dark needing to be/being balanced by the grey/shadow.
     
  20. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    My four biggest problems in terms of writing are:



    * Writing in the correct [past] tense.

    * Trouble writing quick, but descriptive action scenes.

    * Having a lack of energy/motivation to keep writing.

    * Often writing myself into writer's block by running out of ideas on how to continue my stories.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you write mostly short stories or novels?
     
  22. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, so if you look at your world building in terms of the three-way balance, do you have enough of each element represented in your world? Is the balance properly represented in your theologies and the back story of your species?

    Oooh, this might work... I challenge you to write some holy words for each of your theologies that reflect the theme of balancing light, dark, and neutral. Would that work?
     
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  23. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    Of all my writing about 60% are short stories and 40% are novels-in-progress.
     
  24. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm...

    I'm guessing you're usually a discovery writer and that's why you're running into trouble when you don't know how to continue? That's how I usually work, too, but if you're having trouble getting things done, maybe it's time to try outlining.

    How about...

    I challenge you to pick one of your unfinished novels and write an outline of what you've already got written. Then, looking at the outline only, try to match what you've got to one of the story structure gimmicks (9 part structure, save the cat, or whatever) and see if it fits at all. Assuming it more-or-less does, try fit in the missing bits at the end. If it doesn't fit any of the structures... hmmm. Spend some time deciding whether that's a problem for you.
     
  25. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    I already do this, but thanks.
     

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