Writing Challenge #1

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We’re starting from the beginning again, folks! So, instead of challenge #90 (what it would have been on the old site) it’s challenge #1… By the way, we hope you all love the look and functionality of the new WC! It’s been a lot of work, but we believe it will help everything run a lot better in the long run. We all just have to get used to the new layout, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.  We’re here to help where possible 🙂

WEEKLY CHALLENGE #1

  1. WRITE: In this challenge, write the first sentence to a story. Make it a powerful one because you want it to grab people and pull them in!
  2. POST: Post your entry the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.
  3. COMMENT: You MUST comment on FOUR other entries to qualify. If you do not, your entry will be disqualified from the challenge. Give and take… Keep the cycle going.
  4. ***IMPORTANT*** In order to qualify, you MUST vote for your TOP TWO choices. If you don’t vote, you cannot win this challenge (even if you receive the most votes!). To vote, you need to reply to the email that goes out for the Weekly Challenges. In that email, if you scroll to the bottom, you will see all the information you need to vote for this challenge.You must join our mailing list in order to receive the weekly voting email. 
  5. DEADLINE: Tuesday, March 29th at 11:59 p.m. PST. Voting booth will open for this challenge on Wednesday, March 30th, and the winners will be announced the following Wednesday, April 6th.

THIS CHALLENGE IS OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS!

Have fun!


Author Notes

332 Comments for “Writing Challenge #1”

says:

Hello, everybody! I am a new non-paying member and I don’t know how to become a paying member so I can post my writing. Can anyone help! I tried everything I could. I even sent an email to the site manager and nobody responded. It’s weird.

Thanks!

MariVal

Thomas Paine

says:

I lost my best friend during that long-ago summer of 1958 and the place where it happened is long gone as well, torn down brick and board by the state police in their frantic but futile search.

says:

choke … Now post the rest for review so I can read! Well done Thomas.

can I nit a bit? 1958 would be better as just “fifty eight” being as those in the know tell me numbers have little or no place.

Thomas Paine

says:

Hi, Ellen. Thanks for the kind comment.

As for the rest of the story, it will be posted on my blog “Night Reads” at thpaine.blogspot.com on a Friday in the next few weeks. I try to post something new every Friday. In the meantime, feel free to read the flash fiction I have already put there.

Thanks also for the “nit.” It seems that even the experts don’t agree on how to express numbers, so there aren’t that many standard rules. I try to follow the advice in this article at WritersCafe.org:

http://www.writerscafe.org/courses/How-To-Be-A-Better-Writer/6335/10-Rules-For-Writing-Numbers/6336/

Best wishes,

Tom

says:

Wow. That is a fully packed sentence, Thomas! I do want to read on.

Thomas Paine

says:

Hi, Becky.

Read on you can once I post the story to my blog, “Night Reads” at http://thpaine.blogspot.com. I put new stuff up on Fridays and I’m thinking of posting this story on the 8th as I have another story already scheduled for April Fools’ Day.

Thanks for the comment.

Tom

Anisa Claire

says:

CONGRATULATIONS! 

The member votes are in and you placed third in Weekly Challenge #1.  Way to go! A new challenge has been posted and we hope to see you participate.

~Writer’s Carnival

says:

The night was young, and their heart’s overflowed with passion as they watched the city burn.

says:

Have you ever read Cassandra Clare? This reads like her work, and I LOVE her work. Great entry, Rebecca.

says:

I haven’t read her work, but maybe I should! Thanks for the compliment. 🙂

Dave Allen

says:

Rachelle never could understand why she had to die, but when her turn came she was a good girl and didn’t raise a fuss, just like Momma asked.

says:

I like your matter-of-fact macabre writing, Dave! You always get me going on the dark side…lol

Anisa Claire

says:

CONGRATULATIONS! 

The member votes are in and you placed first in Weekly Challenge #1.  Way to go! A new challenge has been posted and we hope to see you participate.

~Writer’s Carnival

Tim Hillebrant

says:

It wasn’t a new collectible card game like I thought, but something crafted from the depths of hell, and made to unleash chaos upon the world through the poor bastard who opened it.

Emily

says:

Hi Tim,
Wow! With the words ‘hell’, ‘chaos’, and ‘bastard’ in the first sentence, you know you are in for a wild ride! Couple that with something so seemingly benign as a collectible card game and you have a great beginning 🙂

Thomas Paine

says:

Well, any reader is bound to want to read more after this. After all, just what sort of game could unleash such mischief upon merely opening the box? And who could craft such a thing? And why? Great job.

Jay Heltzer

says:

It was the gooey mixture of steamed vegetables and tepid lobster bisque dripping from my brow that finally convinced me I was incapable of good judgement.

Emily

says:

Hi Jay,
You give an absurd image with such matter-of-fact language that I really want to know what series of bad decisions led you to this moment – nicely done!

Thomas Paine

says:

A good opener for sure. How many ways could a person end up with food dripping from his or her brow? What circumstances led to this state of affairs? And what happens next? The reader will read more to find out. Good job.

Emily

says:

Nolan Veredis stared thoughtfully at the three girls slumbering in their crisply starched hospital beds and reminded himself, as he always did in this moment, that their futures had been placed in his hands.

Thomas Paine

says:

Downright creepy opening line this is. One might suspect that Nolan is up to no good, and how this whole situation came about is the stuff readers will want to know. Not to mention what happens to the girls. Great job.

says:

Challenge #1:
By the time I got home, I knew he would have to go.

says:

Thought provoking for sure. You has to go? The guy, the dog, the cat? The ??? good hook

says:

Image I had was a mom driving her kid home from a birthday party where the party favors were free puppies. The pup’s chewed halfway through a seatbelt, peed on the seat, and gotten carsick. That sets up the conflict. Kid has to go to school the next day. By the time school’s out, what will the situation be? Did the pup “run away” while the kid was gone? Did it get returned to the brazen giver? Or has the mom decided she can deal with another “infant” to care for?

Jay Heltzer

says:

Your initial sentence is ok, but the follow-up is better. I think you could have added more to the first sentence with the puppy content, without giving it all away, but to invite us in more. Puppies cause great chaos while killing us with cuteness. You don’t need to bury the lead so deeply.

Emily

says:

Hi Deanne,
This was a great one, and could go so many ways! I admit my mind was going much darker than a destructive pup! Once you said that, I felt sheepishly amused 🙂

says:

Thanks! But, hey, it could still go dark. Maybe the mom’s decision to get rid of the pup pushes the kid into psychosis and he turns into a serial killer, or they keep the pup and it turns into a zombie-wolf hybrid. Then again, maybe they just dress it up for a Halloween parade and win a prize and the kid becomes a fashion designer for canines …

Thomas Paine

says:

This one is so open-ended that most anyone is going to want to read more if only to find out who or what has to go, not to mention the reasons behind this decision. Good job.

Linda Barnett-Johnson

says:

It’s been a while my friends, but here it goes:

The crowd was getting out of hand, pushing and shoving each other. I knew a fight would ensue if something didn’t happen quickly. I finally screamed, “Remember, we all breathe the same air!”

Jay Heltzer

says:

I don’t know about you, but the protagonists opening line wouldn’t stop an angry crowd for nothing. Perhaps the futility of that comment can be included in the first sentence to show not only how chaotic the scene is, but how overwhelmed the MC is. Three good sentences that can be reworked into one great one. Good start.

Emily

says:

Hi Linda,
An exciting beginning, even if it is a bit more than one sentence. This was a hard challenge, to paint a scene with only one. I find cutting words to be the hardest part!

Thomas Paine

says:

Sounds like a desperate situation getting out of hand. The reader will be inspired to find out more: why is this happening and how does it turn out? Good job.

charles stone

says:

Andrew turned from the window and faced his sister. “I killed a child, Mag.”

Thomas Paine

says:

Short and punchy, which is good. How did he come to kill a child? On purpose? By accident? What happens to him now? The reader will continue with the story to find these things out.

Doug Langille

says:

This is my favourite opening line ever. I only wish I wrote it.

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

says:

The lid of the coffin snapped shut, and she opened her eyes to grim darkness.

says:

I thought I had commented on this, but don’t see it. I remember my thoughts on this. In the olden days before embalming, they would bury people that were still alive – of course, not knowing that. Coffins had been dug up to find nail prints inside the coffin lid. Gives me the chills. Anyway, good opening hook.

Anisa Claire

says:

CONGRATULATIONS! 

The member votes are in and you placed second in Weekly Challenge #1.  Way to go! A new challenge has been posted and we hope to see you participate.

~Writer’s Carnival

says:

I shut my eyes but could not shut out the images of the last 24 hours.

says:

Hi Craig, thanks for your reply on my post. With yours, I am interested in what has been going on in the last 24 hours, but I would suggest a bit more, maybe a few adjectives before the word imagine. “I CLOSED my eyes but could not shut out the VULGAR, BLOODY images of the last 24 hours.” Just a few descriptive words can be enough to snag a reader and keep them reading.

Emily

says:

Hi Craig,
Simple and immediate; this is a great hook. I like the two linked concepts of shutting your eyes and shutting out the images. I would possibly change one of the ‘shuts’ to a similar word like ‘close’ but it works either way.

Thomas Paine

says:

A good opening sentence as it induces the reader to find out just what images the narrator could not shut out. Plus how this situation came about and how it will resolve. Good job.

Anisa Irwin

says:

Morning… it’s not unlike a tornado, crashing down, unfiltered and reckless.

Linda Barnett-Johnson

says:

HI Anise. It’s good to be back. I hope I’m never in a tornado situation. Such destruction. Since I am very visual, I can see this happening and hope it hasn’t happened to you. Good job of catching my interest.

says:

BTW, thank you for activating my one-year “author” subscription. Haven’t been able to find my dashboard yet. All I’ve been able to access is my profile page. Is there something on the homepage I’m missing? Or is it just too early for that feature to be live?

says:

It wasn’t the smell of fresh Thai food that pulled me through the doors of the fancy restaurant, but the smell of need, raw, earthy, and willing.

Anisa Irwin

says:

Excellent, Leah! I wonder if a semicolon might be better after need? Though, I’m not a fan of semicolons… I think it would help it read less like a list and more like a description? Anyway, I enjoyed it!

Anisa

Linda Barnett-Johnson

says:

Strong sentence. I think I would have put in a colon instead. But that’s me. For instance:

It wasn’t the smell of fresh Thai food that pulled me through the doors of the fancy restaurant, but the smell of need: raw, earthy, and willing.

Just my thought. Good job.

says:

The eagle’s scream pierced her ears and the lethal talons tore her blouse as they released her and Arla tumbled head over heels through the sunlit sky.

Linda Barnett-Johnson

says:

Hi Nancy. Was this two people? At first I thought it was two but then (I think) realized that Arla was the person the eagle released. I would post it like this:

The eagle’s scream pierced her ears and the lethal talons tore her blouse as they released Arla, as she tumbled head over heels through the sunlit sky.

Nice job.

Thomas Paine

says:

Not only is the image vertigo-inspiring, but the story has the potential to go a number of different directions: Who is small enough to be carried by an eagle? Or is this a super-giant mutant eagle? Why would an eagle carry a person and then drop them? Moreover, what happens next? Well done.

Carol Moore

says:

“The bloodstain would not come out no matter how hard she scrubbed it, he was gone all that was left was his blood splattered all over the kitchen.”

Emily

says:

Hi Carol,
This one definitely has shock value! I agree with the others who say it should end with ‘no matter how hard she scrubbed it’ however, I also agree that there is some revelation in the fact that ‘he is gone’. Perhaps if you put that in the beginning, and trimmed the sentence by removing the environmental details of the kitchen that a reader can fill in, you could keep the information while also preserving the immediacy…something like…He was gone, leaving nothing but a bloodstain that remained no matter how hard she scrubbed it. (Even his blood seemed determined to irritate her, lol)

says:

Dora ran through the door slammed her back against it and turned the key, she pushed her hand against her lips to stifle the ragged sound as her blood tipped plait stained her torn blouse..

Emily

says:

Hi Ellen,
I really liked this beginning. This was a hard challenge to keep to one sentence because, as yours exhibits, a key to an exciting, drop-you-into-the-action, intro are short, choppy sentences that connect to give you the feeling of a desperate chase. Therefore, even though, technically yours could be two sentences, I am more intrigued by Dora’s stifled breathing and the blood in her hair – is it hers? Is she running from something monstrous, or something monstrous that she has done? Very exciting possibilities!!

says:

Emily you could see it, that fractious rushed action, It was supposed to be obvious. Garbled descriptions because of fear. Hey maybe writing calmly while the character is scared is the better way.

Tim Hillebrant

says:

Nits were caught, which leaves me to the fun stuff.
This was GREAT! I’d definitely read more, like what happened to cause the blood, and why she’s so panicked. Good stuff here.

says:

The sentence was supposed to be recalled with terror, fast and partially punctuated. But I didn’t pull it off; only Emily could see what I tried. I was going to try a serial Wednesday weekly using the same character. Thanks for your enthusiasm Tim.

Dave Allen

says:

Well done, Ellen! Nothing worse than an unsightly blood stain. Do you know how hard those are to get out?

says:

The human saliva when enough is added to the stain, will remove blood! If the producer of said stain , spits directly on to it (the saliva carrying the same molecules ) it begins to break it down; hold the spit/gob sodden fabric under a running tap while rubbing. Whalla! Gone. I hope this is useful Dave * smiling *

says:

The human saliva when enough is added to the stain, will remove blood! If the producer of said stain , spits directly on to it (the saliva carrying the same molecules ) it begins to break it down; hold the spit/gob sodden fabric under a running tap while rubbing. Whalla! Gone. I hope this is useful Dave * smiling * .

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