Writing Challenge #24

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WEEKLY CHALLENGE #24

  1. WRITE:  Write the first paragraph of a story. Don’t think about it, or edit it, just write it. Sit on that intro for at least one hour, more if you can.  Go back and make edits. Post both versions in the comments below.

P.S. – We miss hearing from you on the STATUS UPDATES page! Update your status and let us know how you’re doing 🙂

2. 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.

3. 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. 

4. DEADLINE: Tuesday, September 13th at 11:59 p.m. PST. Voting booth will open for this challenge on Wednesday, September 14th, and the winners will be announced the following Wednesday, September 21st.

CONGRATULATIONS: To the winners of Challenge #22… Craig Lincoln, Charles Stone and Doug Langille!

THIS CHALLENGE IS OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS!

Have fun!


Author Notes

78 Comments for “Writing Challenge #24”

Tim Hillebrant

says:

Nothing gets a person going like being chased by a pack of wild dogs. It didn’t help that in the middle of the desert, there weren’t many places to run that the dogs couldn’t follow. Except for maybe an outcrop of rock, a hundred yards distant. Jerry Kyle poured every ounce of energy into his pumping legs, straining desperately to outrun the dogs chasing him. It would be a miracle if he could make it there alive.

**Edited**
Afternoon on the desert. The sun casts down its rays to the scrubland below. Here, there’s not many that can survive. Which makes the man running through the desert, sweat running from his pores like little hoses attached to each one, breath harsh in lungs starved for air from his desperate scramble. The pack of dogs hot on his heels as he raced against them and time, for the rocks which he hoped would be his refuge. The last thing he wanted was to be these dogs’ next meal.

says:

Hey, Tim.
This certainly dangles enough questions to keep me reading. It also gives the second guessing reader something to chew on.
In all honesty, I really liked the way your scratch paragraph (the first) began. Action right off the bat made me lean into the story. For me, the rewrite slowed the pace a little, making me wait for the danger; the dogs.
All in all, however, It is an intriguing beginning, demanding that I run with him, just to find out what’s going on. Wonderful concept, my friend.

SR

Mary Cooney-Glazer

says:

Hi Tim, Add my vote for the first write. The words you used and the pace conveyed danger right out of the gate. The start of the edited version was beautifully descriptive, but not as engaging. A couple of sentences were long as well.
The urgency was muted.
As usual, nice writing and interesting start of a story. M.

says:

A kid book perhaps. First time without edit:

There once was a little white kitty. He was so lonely and missed his people. He got lost and was desparely trying to get hom again. He felt like he had been walking for day although it was p robably only a few hours. Wonder if he is going in the right direction? He lifted his nose to the air and tried to detect any familiar scents that might mean home. He thought he smelled something very faint and it gave him hope. He had to find his way home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

Edited Version.

There once was a little white kitty who got lost. He was so lonely and missed his girl named Lexie. He was desperately trying to get home again. He felt like he had been walking for days although it was probably only a few hours. He began to wonder if he was going in the wrong direction. He lifted his nose to the air and tried to detect any familiar scents that might mean he was getting closer. He thought he smelled something very faint and it gave him hope. He couldn’t wait to see Lexie! She would cuddle him and love him while he purred and purred. Home sweet home, that’s the place to be. So he clicked his little paws together and chanted, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Tim Hillebrant

says:

Nicely done, Marcia!

I loved that this was a children’s story, and the reference to “The Wizard of Oz.”
I know several little ones who would love this- and adults who’d appreciate the reference.

Tim

Mary Cooney-Glazer

says:

So sweet. The edited version has much better organization and detail. Kitty and Lexie obviously have a close and affectionate bond. I could see his little nose sniffing her scent. Very nice lead in for a children’s’ story. What’s kitty’s name? I would like to have seen that. Nice work. Mary
PS. Our house is controlled by a 10 yo Kitty who is a benevolent dictator!

says:

Hello, Miss Marcia.
A first draft is often wrenching as fingers race in the effort to keep up with our imagination. Write, write, write — edit later.
You did a nice job of advancing the story line with the first rewrite.
(Kitty was so lonely and missed his pet girl, Lexie.) Your narrative made me wonder what else might be extra special about the relationship.
Nice. Very nice. This story could certainly be anything you want.

SR

charles stone

says:

For those who don’t know, Ever is a community fix-it man. This new story is a kinda, sorta prequel and kinda, sorta explains how Ever came to be Ever.

Two cuss words involved.

“No, I didn’t say that.”
Belinda stares at me; our eye level is the same. The corner of her mouth twitches and she swipes her cheek as if she can stop it. “You didn’t ask Curtis why he was going through all the papers?”
I sigh, because for real I tired of this crap. “Yes, but I didn’t say ‘what are you doing?”
She crosses her arms and hugs her elbows.
“I said ‘What the FUCK are you doing going through the papers when it is none of your business?”
She shakes her head. “Ever, Ever, Ever -”
“Don’t Ever me,” I interrupt, “I’m tired of this shit and you Ms. Supervisor can do what you got to do. I don’t give a shit.”

That was two weeks ago. Today I walk to the Career Center, maybe I can get a new job.

says:

Hi Charles i take it this is second draft? As usual you writing always speaks volumes, like the imagery, her twitch had me wiping my own mouth. There are a couple of what seem to be missing words, but of course I am English so they maybe purposeful colloquial dialects.
‘For real I tired of this crap’ ( I am tired ) The use of the language feels right to me but you don’t need it capitalized it is strong enough on its own.
‘tired of this shit and you Ms. Supervisor’ ( works better without the ‘and’)
All are personal preferences Charles. Have a good weekend.

says:

Hey, Charles.
Well, as Marcia eluded, Ever appears to be the kinda’ fellow that doesn’t let his foot very far from his mouth. The first thing that came to my mind – here’s a man stumbling from one screw up to the next, through a long, embarrassing journey.
Entertaining, Charles. Nicely done.

SR

RissRyker518

says:

Hey Charles, good write. wondering where the first draft is, though. I think the point of putting both was so we can see the changes you’ve made. Anyway, I can truly relate to Ever because I’ve been known for a little subordinate behavior myself, lol. The only nit I see is a couple of commas should be added “I’m tired of this shit and you (,) Ms. Supervisor (,) can do what you got to do.

Carol Moore

says:

FIRST DRAFT :The man walks into the motel office and asks for Asap. The clerk said we don’t have a Asap here.
The man says the sign says Be Back Asap, he has to be here. Sir that means Be back As soon as possible. Well heck why doesn’t it just say that? You got me, owners put that up there. How do I find Asap then? There is no Asap. Yes Sir he is my brother. He isn’t here.

SECOND DRAFT
Jason walks into the motel office. “Is Asap anywhere around?”
The clerk said, “We don’t have an Asap here.”
Jason said, “That sign says “Be Back A.S.A.P., he has to be here.”
“Sir, that means be back as soon as possible.”
“Well heck why doesn’t it just say that?”
“You got me the owners have had that up there for years.”
“How do I find Asap then?”
“There is no Asap.”
“Yes Sir there is, he is my brother.”
“Well he isn’t staying here.”

charles stone

says:

Haha. Carol, carol, carol, I just love your humor. That’s a good one. You should see this to joke-a-day. I think they would buy it. haha. Write on, friend, write on.
Oh, I like the first draft better, if you tidy it up.

says:

First draft.
“It keeps me awake that tick tick sound, the whirr and the clickety-clack; It Comes In the middle of the night. I am still full of sleep sat on my bed where I toss and turn. Sliding my stiff feet over the edge I wriggle my toes into the fluff of inadequate slippers. Slippers that hug and reassure me that it’s okay to be standing. My bones creak at the thought of carrying the weight of a whole body at this time of night. I orientate myself and drag a wrap from the foot of the bed and tug it on; tying the belt to tight in temper.

says:

My edited second draft
“It keeps me awake, that tick tick sound, the whirr and the clickety-clack; It Comes In the middle of the night”. I am still full of sleep sat on my bed where I toss and turn. Sliding my stiff feet over the edge I wriggle my toes into the fluff of inadequate slippers. Slippers that hug and reassure me that it’s okay to be standing. My bones creak at the thought of carrying the weight of a whole body at this time of night. I orientate myself and drag a wrap from the foot of the bed and tug it on; tying the belt too tight in temper.

RissRyker518

says:

I love your choice of words such as, ‘full of sleep’, “wriggle my toes into the fluff’, but inadequate doesn’t seem a word I would use to describe fluffy slippers unless they were fluff-less, of course. Comma after ‘edge’, and perhaps the last sentence there is too many ‘and’s . I would put a comma after ‘bed’, drop the ‘and’, finishing the rest of the sentence. Also, I was wondering if you capitalized ‘Comes’ for a reason? It’s in both drafts.

There’s also one sentence, after going through again that needs a touch up. You wrote: I am still full of sleep sat on my bed where I toss and turn.
Maybe change it up to: I am still full of sleep as I sit up on the bed I just tossed and turned on. Just a suggestion. Loved this, though, actually made me a little sleepy, lol! Write on, sister!

says:

Hi Riss, inadequate slippers were flimsy fluffy inadequate for walking around in when half asleep. Thank you for nit spotting the silly missed capitalisation and the sentence should say where I toss (ed)and (turned). It goes to show one edit pass is not enough. Thanks again for spotting my slips.

RissRyker518

says:

Now I understand why you said that, thanks for clearing it up. You’re so right about one pass not being enough. On my book, I swear, it took MONTHS of redo’s and redo’s before I felt safe enough to send in..Every single time I’d go over it, I would find another mistake…

says:

A nicely framed, visual read, Ellen. My favorite line is actually the first. It shows us a problem and is wonderfully paced.
“It keeps me awake that tick tick sound, the whirr and the clickety-clack. . .”
The next line: “… It Comes In the middle of the night,” seemed awkward to me, like an orphan, or after thought. But that’s just me.
You have an enjoyable, clever and graphic writing style. Very nicely done.

SR

charles stone

says:

I like it, good imagery for a first draft. Love this image: “My bones creak at the thought of carrying the weight of a whole body”. write on.

RissRyker518

says:

The directions say…’Post both versions in the comments below.’ first write a paragraph without editing and than write it again and edit it..Post both. Thanks for reading!

Mary Cooney-Glazer

says:

Don’t hate the ending! The story is vaguely like the start of Scrooge’s adventures in A Christmas Carol.” I doubt many people can self edit to perfection.
This could go many ways. Nice start.

RissRyker518

says:

First Draft.

The creatures, were always here, scientists said. They’ve been here for thousands of years, waiting until the Earth was ripe for the picking. Waiting until we, humans that is, were at our lowest point. Racial conflicts, no morals and God? Oh, yeah, we just conveniently cut Him right out of the picture. After all, weren’t we like little gods now? Talk about visions of grandeur. They were called the Seth, after the demon of Chaos. They came up from the ground, huge hideous scaled beasts, long in tooth and claw with armor like scales that blended them with the shadows. I don’t mean just a few, we could have handled that, no problem. On a globular scale, there were millions upon millions of them. Crawling up from the bowels of the earth, ravenously hungry, they hunted us like we were small game, cutting us down as we went about our daily business. The culling was so swift, we barely had to think about it.

Edited draft

The creatures were always here, scientists said. They had been here for thousands of years, waiting until the Earth was ripe for the picking. Waiting until we, humans beings, were at our lowest point. Racial conflicts, low morality and God? Oh yeah, we just conveniently cut Him right out of the picture. After all, weren’t we like little gods now? Talk about visions of grandeur. They were called the Seth, after the demon of Chaos. They came up from the ground, huge hideously scaled beasts, with armor like scales that blended them with the shadows. I don’t mean just a few, we could have handled that, no problem. On a globular scale, there were millions of them. Crawling up from the bowels of the earth ravenously hungry, they hunted us like small game, cutting us down as we went about our daily business. The culling was so swift we barely had to think about it.

says:

I guess this challenge is to make us critique each others work, to look more carefully at edits.
Well Riss, it seems there is very little change between the two. A little wording change I would alter is… ‘that blended them with the shadows’ I would word it this way…(in to the shadows) but that is a personal preference.
Again a word I would alter is ‘On a globular scale’ to… ( on a global scale) it just seems to flow better. But to my eyes your writing of the first draft is pretty strong. As for your story, I hope it doesn’t come true it had me scared. Good work as usual

RissRyker518

says:

Ah yes, your edits are perfect and I thank you. Don’t ask me why I put ‘globular’, is that even a word? Lol! Thank you also for your praise, always good to see that as well…

charles stone

says:

I like it. But why is everyone doing a second draft? I thought it was first drafts only. Anyway, this reads like the start of a great creature feature. Nice.

Mary Cooney-Glazer

says:

Yes, both versions are very similar, and I agree with Ellen’s edit suggestions. That said, this is an eerily well-described punishment for some. Like the word ‘culling,’ because it implies some humans remained. Last sentence is powerful….is it ok as is, or did you mean barely had TIME to think about it? Nice work, Mary

says:

Hey, Riss.
You have always had a clean, inviting writing style. This is no exception. You’ve introduced a story that, I dare say, we would all like to read more of.
I stumbled a little over the use of ‘scales’ twice in the same sentence.
“They came up from the ground, huge hideously scaled beasts, with armor like scales that blended them with the shadows,” might read:
“They came from the ground, huge hideously scaled beasts, with armor that blended into the shadows.”
Very, very nicely done, sir.
And by the way, I thought your use of the word ‘globular’ was very clever. I liked it.

SR

RissRyker518

says:

Thank you, SR, i appreciate the comments! Thank you for pointing out the nits. One thing though, I’m not a sir, lol..I’m a her. The story is a paragraph of a longer version which can read part one of here: https://www.writerscarnival.ca/the-seth-part-one/

says:

Well okay. . . Now Thai feel like a nit, please forgive me. It has been some time since I skipped through the Carnival. But I am cerrain our paths have crossed.
Please tell me – when you post, what kind of feedback are you seeking? Me, I want folks to beat the snot out of it. I don’t get my feelings hurt. But some folks don’t care for the heavy pen. Where are you at on the matter?
S.R.

RissRyker518

says:

No worries about the the mistake. People on here know me as Lisa OR Riss, the latter being my pen name. What I’m looking for in a critique is brutal honesty to help ME to excel as a writer. While sugar coating is nice for the ego, I want to know my weaknesses. Thank you for asking that.

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