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Summer 2007 Contest
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:01 pm    Post subject: Summer 2007 Contest Reply with quote

Announcing...
Anthrofiction Network's Short Story Contest for Summer 2007



And we have a theme! "And isn't she a beaut!" in the same sense Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, used to use that phrase when describing a big salty. This theme will probably grab a few of the less wary by a limb, drag them into the swamp of their own prose, and put them into a death roll.

Ahh, what is it? Take a peek, if you dare.

And we have the rules.

As always, never any fees to enter. Someday this year I'll have the trophies completed. I still need to get the proper rocks for 2007. Good luck to everyone who attempts an entry! < giggles then is yanked back into the mire that is his sample story > "Ow! Dang, that's gonna leave a mark."

Scotty

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please tell me that you're not serious about that theme.
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Virmir
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whew! That's a tough one, especially with a 3,500 word limit. Not sure if I'll be able to pull this one off, but I'll think about it!
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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I expect the scores for theme will be all over the map for every story entered. As far as my pre-judgment to determine if the author used the theme in a non-trivial way--I will only ask myself if I think you tried. Try it and you're in.

I think that by reaching for a theme that is pure emotion, you'll grow as writers... or you'll end up at the bottom of the swamp with some hunks of flesh missing. Wink

Some will struggle. Some will do well instinctively. Some will rely on their experience. I don't expect it will be easy for anyone, but I suspect some beginners will do as well as some veteran writers.

Hmmm, an excerpt from a story by John Long for inspiration...
Quote:
The Only Blasphemy

Whoso endangereth his days, e'en he 'scape, deservth no praise -- Arabian Nights

... I hook up with John Bacher, presently the world's foremost free climber. John abides at those climbing areas featuring the most sun. He has been at Joshua for two months and his soloing feats astonish everyone. It is winter when school limits my climbing to weekends, so my motivation is there, but fitness is not. Straightaway, Bacher suggest a "Half Dome day." Half Dome is 2,000 feet high, or 20 rope lengths. Hence, we must climb 20 pitches to get our Half Dome day. In a wink Bacher is shod, and cinching the sling on his chalk bag. "Ready?" Only now do I realize he intends to climb all 2,000 feet solo, without the safety of a rope. To save face, I agree, thinking: "Well, if he suggests something too asinine, I'll just draw the line. I was the first to start soloing in Joshua, anyhow...."

... After three hours, we've disposed of a dozen pitches, feel invincible. We up the ante to 5.10, or extreme difficulty. We slow considerably, but by 2:30 we've climbed all 20 pitches: the Half Dome day is history. As a finale, Bacher suggests soloing a 5.11 -- an exacting thing for anyone, for this moves us into world-class space. Unless I am abnormally psyched, 5.11 is about my wintertime limit -- when I'm fresh and sharp. But now I am exhausted from the past 2,000 feet, having cruised the past four or five pitches on rhythm and momentum. Regardless, we trot over to Intersection Rock, the "hang" for local climbers and the locale for Bachar's final solo.

He wastes no time, and scores of milling climbers freeze when he starts. He moves precisely, plugging his fingertips into shallow pockets on the 105-degree wall. I scrutinize his moves, taking mental notes on the sequence. He pauses at 50 feet, directly beneath the crux bulge. Splaying his left foot onto a slanting rugosity, he pinches a tiny rock wafer and pulls through to a gigantic bucket hold. He walks up the last 100 feet, which is only dead vertical. From the summit, Bacher flashes down a smile, awaiting my reply.

... Fifty feet passes quickly. Then, as I splay my left foot up onto the slanting rugosity, the chilling realization comes that, in my haste, I have bungled the sequence, that my hands are too low on that puny wafer that I'm pinching with waning power. My foot is vibrating and I'm desperate, wondering if and when my body will seize and plummet. A montage of black images floods my brain.

I glance beneath my legs and my gut churns at the thought of a free fall onto the boulders. The little voice is bellowing: "Do something! Pronto!" My breathing is frenzied while my arms, gassed from the previous 2,000 feet, fell like iron. Pinching that little wafer, I suck my feet up so as to extend my arm and jam my hand into the bottoming crack above. The crack is too shallow, accepts but a third of my hand. I am stuck, terrified, and my whole existence is focused to a pinpoint.

Shamefully, I understand the only blasphemy -- to willfully jeopardize my life, which I have done, and it sickens me. I know that wasted seconds could... then the world stops, or is it the preservation instinct booting my brain into hypergear? In a heartbeat I've realized my implacable desire to live, not die! But my regrets cannot alter this situation: arms shot, legs wobbling, head ablaze. My fear overwhelms itself, leaving me hollow and mortified. To concede, to quit, would be easy. The little voice calmly intones: "At least die trying." I agree, and try to punch my hand deeper into the bottoming crack. If only I can execute this one crux move, I'll get an incut jug-hold, can rest off it before the final section. I'm afraid to eyeball my crimped hand, scarcely jammed in the shallow crack. It must hold my 210 pounds on an overhanging wall, and this seems ludicrous, impossible.

My body has jittered in this spot for minutes. My jammed hand says "no way," but the little voice adds "Might as well try it." I pull up slowly -- my left foot is still pasted to the sloping edge -- and that big bucket hold is right there. I almost have it! I do! Simultaneously my right hand rips from the crack and my left foot flies off the rugosity: all my weight hangs from an enfeebled left arm. Adrenalin powers me to the Thank God bucket where I press my chest to the wall, get that 210 pounds over my feet, and start shaking like no simile can depict.

Ten minutes pass before I consider pushing on. I would rather yank my wisdom teeth with vice grips. Dancing black orbs dot my vision as I finally claw onto the summit. "Looked a little shaky," laughs Bacher.

...


And there you have it. "At least die trying."

Scotty


PS: This is not an example of A Sense of Wonder, although it is an emotional piece.

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I'm out for this one too. I can't work with a theme like this.
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Virmir
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:

And there you have it. "At least die trying."


Hehe, or die writing.

Hmm, don't quite make the connection between hanging for your life and writing a story. Smile But I'll take a stab at it, at least!

*Draws sword and plunges into the fantasy realms*

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tygon wrote:
Sorry, I'm out for this one too. I can't work with a theme like this.

You're suggesting that after his transformation, your Jaguarii male will not find something in his new life that will not stop him in his tracks, will not cause his mouth to drop open, will not get him to utter "Wow!" and will not give him a sense of wonder at his new life?

Bummer.


Virmir wrote:
ScottyDM wrote:

And there you have it. "At least die trying."

Hehe, or die writing.

Hmm, don't quite make the connection between hanging for your life and writing a story. Smile But I'll take a stab at it, at least!

*Draws sword and plunges into the fantasy realms*

Ah, well... there is no connection. None at all. But it's a good motto none the less.

Cool beans! Give it a go.



Man, I'll tell ya, this one's beatin' me half to death. Adventure and discovery. I keep wanting to put backstory in. Well, right now I'm just trying to get through a first draft. For the next couple of days I'll be forced off line, but have access to electricity, a notebook computer, and minimal distractions.

I'll be at our cabin near Cripple Creek Tuesday evening through Thursday evening, maybe another day if necessary, helping a neighbor build a fence. digging holes in decomposed granite. Yaaay!



Anthrofiction published in a decidedly non-anthro/non-furry literary magazine?

You betcha!

Well, it's a nice piece with emotional content. Subtle, but it's there. The emotion is not a sense of wonder (and it's been published elsewhere already), but it is an interesting example of emotion in writing.

Moon, June, Raccoon

Scotty

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Teric
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that was a cool story. Thanks for posting that, Scotty.

I'd really love to participate in the contest this go-around... it's just a question of time. /sigh.

I'll see what I can do.

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
Tygon wrote:
Sorry, I'm out for this one too. I can't work with a theme like this.

You're suggesting that after his transformation, your Jaguarii male will not find something in his new life that will not stop him in his tracks, will not cause his mouth to drop open, will not get him to utter "Wow!" and will not give him a sense of wonder at his new life?

Bummer.


If you had given just that theme sentence I might have been able to do something with it. It was the Irwin reference that turned me off. I despise everything related to that guy and in my opinion it was about time that one of the animals he molested gave him what he deserved.

Plus, many people have openly condemned me for 'putting myself in my stories'.

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tygon wrote:
If you had given just that theme sentence I might have been able to do something with it. It was the Irwin reference that turned me off. I despise everything related to that guy and in my opinion it was about time that one of the animals he molested gave him what he deserved.
He had a strong personality and had become a parody of himself. Sorry if the reference turned you off.


Tygon wrote:
Plus, many people have openly condemned me for 'putting myself in my stories'.
The simplest solution is to create a pseudonym for your "self" character. If you do then the whole thing becomes a non-issue. If you write I sequel to that story, I wouldn't necessarily recommend you switch the name unless you only use the first story as inspiration (not a true sequel).

Tygon, you're a good storyteller and I've seen improvement with your writing skills with each entry. I know that English as a second language puts you behind the eight-ball, but you can become great.

I remember you said that once a piece was finished you don't like to go back and fiddle with it again. As writers, if we've gained no new skills since finishing a piece, re-editing it is a waste of time. But as a platform to practice new skills, re-writing a piece can be valuable. It's easier for a good storyteller to become a good writer than a good writer become a good storyteller. To practice your writing skills I suggest you join a critique group. Joining Critique Circle forced me to improve and critiquing other people's writing is just as valuable as getting feedback on your own. If you're not working on a new piece, perhaps try some of your old work there and develop your craft.

Writing is funny business. No matter how good we get, we can always be better.

I'd hate to see you drop out of the contest. I've enjoyed your entries.

Scotty

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Tygon
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
He had a strong personality and had become a parody of himself. Sorry if the reference turned you off.


I'm sure you didn't do it on purpose, so no need for excuses, but the fact remains that I can't join this time because everytime I think about the theme now I think that I don't want to have anything to do with it. Sorry.

ScottyDM wrote:
Tygon wrote:
Plus, many people have openly condemned me for 'putting myself in my stories'.
The simplest solution is to create a pseudonym for your "self" character. If you do then the whole thing becomes a non-issue. If you write I sequel to that story, I wouldn't necessarily recommend you switch the name unless you only use the first story as inspiration (not a true sequel).


Well, the whole point about this short story was it being about these two particular characters and show a glimpse at their future. They already have appeared in another story and I have another one planned featuring them.

Plus, I rather write about things i know than come up with something completely new, especially if what I know is what is needed and this story fit the theme like a glove.

ScottyDM wrote:
Tygon, you're a good storyteller and I've seen improvement with your writing skills with each entry. I know that English as a second language puts you behind the eight-ball, but you can become great.

I remember you said that once a piece was finished you don't like to go back and fiddle with it again. As writers, if we've gained no new skills since finishing a piece, re-editing it is a waste of time. But as a platform to practice new skills, re-writing a piece can be valuable. It's easier for a good storyteller to become a good writer than a good writer become a good storyteller. To practice your writing skills I suggest you join a critique group. Joining Critique Circle forced me to improve and critiquing other people's writing is just as valuable as getting feedback on your own. If you're not working on a new piece, perhaps try some of your old work there and develop your craft.


First, thanks for the nice words.

Unfortunately I do not really the like the idea of a citique group. It's maily the word 'critique' I have a problem with. I'm sure the people in these groups mean it well and their critique might be highly valuable, but as far as I have seen it most 'critique' these days consists of bitch-bitch-bitch-whine-whine-whine-complain-complain-complain-repead-as-necessary. Even worse, quite often if I look at critiques of novels I have read most of them I really liked usually fare badly in critiques and since I what is write is unavoidably similar to what I read I don't see myself faring well.

In addition to that, I don't really know if I want to improve, at least not actively. I write because I like it but if I have to work hard to improve then it's not fun to me anymore, it's work.

To make matters worse, these days I don't have the time or the energy to write much. Most of my energy is put into improving my miniature painting skills to increase my chance of getting a job. Add to that the terrible weather we have here around summer and in the evening when I get home I simply don't have it in me to start writing. I just want to relax.

I might try to group stuff, but I'm not promising anything.

ScottyDM wrote:
I'd hate to see you drop out of the contest. I've enjoyed your entries.


Maybe next time.

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Nadan
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:39 pm    Post subject: True-biz Tygon (and hi) Reply with quote

Tygon wrote:
In addition to that, I don't really know if I want to improve, at least not actively. I write because I like it but if I have to work hard to improve then it's not fun to me anymore, it's work.


Amen Tygon. I know what you mean. I was in that mode for years, and am back there again. I did go through a period when I actively did try to improve, and I am very glad I did because I enjoy my writing (and re-reading) even more now, but I find no fault with your point of view there.

(And, uh, hi again everyone. I shall return to lurking now.)

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The contest entries are piling up! http://www.anthrofiction.net/

Six so far, but one entered the other day wasn't anthrofiction, so... Crying or Very sad Interesting story though and hopefully the author can tweak the main character in time for the entry deadline.

The theme has been causing trouble, at least the way I see it. I have not been prejudging the entries for theme, as it is very subjective. What I was looking for with the theme is that someone--either a character in the story or the reader--will experience a jaw-dropping sense of "Wow!" A very, very tough thing for any author to accomplish.

And my own sample story has crashed upon the rocks of rocky thinking. Sad Gaah! I hope I can get it turned around in the next few days. I have a lot that wants deleting.

The deadline is Tuesday at "the end of the day." What this means is midnight Greenwich Mean Time. So the deadline depends on what timezone you're in. For example we here in the Americas have our deadline well before midnight. Confused

Good luck to the existing entrants and I hope to see more stories.

Scotty


PS: Tygon, I respect where you want to go with your writing. This answer is primarily to clear up a misconception.

There is a great deal of difference between a critic (noun) and a critiquer (noun, and sometimes called a critter). The critic criticizes (verb) and the critiquer critiques (verb). The purpose of the critic is to "protect" the public from shoddy art (in this case writing). The purpose of the critiquer is to help the writer improve his or her craft. Some critics "get off" on ripping works, and those who produce them, to shreds. Critiquers don't last long if they try to rip anything to shreds--although many writers will say, "Give me your best shot, I have a thick skin."

At least that's the way it's supposed to work.

Some critique groups are dominated by the personality of one of the members and that is rarely a good thing. Critique Circle is about 99% helpful and only 1% problem. The owners of the site are Icelanders, although the server is located in the USA (in Arizona).

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ScottyDM
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeee! Nine entries so far and 2 hours left to go in the entry period.

Scotty

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottyDM wrote:
PS: Tygon, I respect where you want to go with your writing. This answer is primarily to clear up a misconception.

There is a great deal of difference between a critic (noun) and a critiquer (noun, and sometimes called a critter). The critic criticizes (verb) and the critiquer critiques (verb). The purpose of the critic is to "protect" the public from shoddy art (in this case writing). The purpose of the critiquer is to help the writer improve his or her craft. Some critics "get off" on ripping works, and those who produce them, to shreds. Critiquers don't last long if they try to rip anything to shreds--although many writers will say, "Give me your best shot, I have a thick skin."

At least that's the way it's supposed to work.

Some critique groups are dominated by the personality of one of the members and that is rarely a good thing. Critique Circle is about 99% helpful and only 1% problem. The owners of the site are Icelanders, although the server is located in the USA (in Arizona).


That all might be, but in any case, right now I just don't have the capacity for it. I will be moving to another city soon for a job and not only will that leave me with little time, things will go very hectic for a while before and after and I simply cannot spare the time to spend on writing then, and no more before or after. Plus, I have to focus my energies on getting everything about the job right so I won't lose it.

Maybe by the end of the year things will have settled down enough so that I can start writing again.

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