This is topic Second Hook Challenge - In Medias Res in forum Writing Challenges at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
Second Hook Challenge – In Medias Res

1) 13 lines only. Make it a beginning of a story. This is a hook challenge, designed to make your readers want to read more!

2) This opening must start "In medias res", literally 'into the middle of things'. The main advantage of in medias res is to open the story with dramatic action rather than exposition which sets up the characters and situation." Definitions provided by Wikipedia.

3) You may submit up to three entries.

Time frames:

Contest Starts NOW
Contest Ends Sunday, April 7 at midnight, PST.

Voting will be open from 12noon PST, Monday April 8th to 6pm PST, Monday April 15th.

Scoring system:

5 pts for 1st place votes, 4 pts for 2nd, 3 pts for 3rd.

What's expected of you if you enter:

You are expected to vote for your top 3 favorite entries. If you don't vote, your entry will be disqualified. Voting will be limited to those Hatrackers with entries in the challenge. Critiques are welcome from any Hatracker but must be posted by me.

Please e-mail me your votes. (Anonymous, remember!?) Put 'In Medias Res' in the subject line please. Also, even if I know you, please include your Hatrack handle in your email. And if you're new and don't understand how to formulate the 13-line requirement, (not 13 lines on your word processor), email me and I will help you.

For fun, give a mention of your favorite title. (Optional)

Crits are optional, but highly valued. (Also anonymous) We are a writer's forum, after all. Feel free to mention in your crit if you're intrigued, i.e. would you read on?

Comments on this thread...entries will be posted BY ME on the other in clumps to avoid suspicion.

Special thanks to axeminister whom I lifted many of these rules from and for his consultation.

[ March 29, 2013, 02:35 AM: Message edited by: genevive42 ]
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
No confusion on this one, right? See, I told you this one would be easier. [Wink]
Posted by KellyTharp (Member # 9997) on :
Thanks Gen. This time I'll type in the little box!! AND, rememeber to title the work, NOT send some "favorite titles"...giggle. Village idiots are trainable . . . whoa hoo. KT
Posted by Brendan (Member # 6044) on :
Kelly, I wonder if you were just using the box to see what fitted, and accidently pressed post. (That is an easy mistake to do - I've done it.) You can edit this by pressing the little paper and pen logo at the top of your post.

I'd encourage you to send in a different opening to Trina (genevive42), as this is meant to be an anonymous challenge and many have now seen this one.

And welcome to our challenges, it's good to have (relatively) new forum members involved. A first timer even won the last challenge.
Posted by Brendan (Member # 6044) on :

After doing a couple (not yet sent in) I have some questions about this. Does dialog that results from a dilemma constitute "In medias res"? After starting with the action, can we also use a little exposition, or is there to be no exposition except for dialog (as wikipedia suggests is reasonable)?
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
This one has no real restrictions other than starting in the middle of things. You can handle the rest of it any way you want. I would expect a certain dose of exposition on the fly.

And remember (to everyone), it doesn't necessarily need to be 'action' as we normally think of it. Dropping in on a busy caterer during a wedding where the cake just tipped over would qualify.
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
Stories that open in medias res usually require a flashback or some explanation of previous events for the story to make sense to readers. For example, an in medias res opening to Lord of the Rings would be to start the story with Gandalf fighting the Balrog. You'd need to explain how that situation occurred at some point.

I've developed three opening 13's, but I'm only certain that one of them is definitely in medias res, one of the others is borderline (I could get away without a flashback but some explanation is necessary to understand events in the opening 13) and, as for the last, it isn't really in the middle of things, more like the end of the beginning.

Posted by KellyTharp (Member # 9997) on :
Okay, village idiot here. I deleted my post and thanks to Trina's pat on the head and nudge nudge, I'm working on another one from a short story I am almost done with. FYI - I did find that if anyone likes to edit their works in MS Word, the line length works if you put your right indent arrow at 4", font at 11. At least it did when I found out the hard way after accidentally posted my first entry. I'm slow, but trainable. KT
Posted by Owasm (Member # 8501) on :
I've always used Courier New 12pt and set the margins to 1", and then I count the lines until I get to 13. It generally works.
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
For those not in the USA, set paper size to letter as well. Us poor imbeciles in Oz use A4, like most of the rest of the world.

Also, I'm thinking of starting a campaign to make the only paper size available legal. Think of all the extra jobs created just to retro-fit photocopiers and printers.

Posted by pdblake (Member # 9218) on :
I believe, around here 13 lines is what will fit in the full reply box.
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
You're right pdblake. I'll post here what I've been sending to anyone who asks.

As for the 13-line rule:

At the bottom of any topic, there's a quick response form, but there's also a link to go to the full response form. Go to the full response form. Paste your text into it, single spaced, with no breaks between paragraphs. You should not get the bar on the right side of the box that gives you the option to scroll down. If your piece ekes over by one line, that's generally okay. Once you have the piece the right length, re-do the formatting with spaces between the paragraphs as desired. Those spaces don't count if it gets checked.

Also, here's a link to the topic on Hatrack.;f=6;t=000004;p=0&r=nfx
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
First entries are posted. If you sent me something and don't see it, email me. Also check to make sure I got the formatting right and such on yours.

Looking like it's going to be a good competition.
Posted by WriteRebekah (Member # 9657) on :
Sooo grateful for the 13-line help. Thank you!
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
Going to post more entries tonight. Wanna get yours in?
Posted by History (Member # 9213) on :
Really great openings!
I'd like to read an anthology of these tales.
Kudos to all entrants.

Dr. Bob
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
All entries are up. The challenge is now closed and it's time to vote.

Send all votes to me.

Also, critiques help with this learning experience and are greatly appreciated. Those come to me as well.

Even if you didn't enter, you can critique if you want. Send to me and I'll include your comments.

And because of the large number of entries, I'll say that it's okay if you don't critique every entry. I'll include any and all comments I receive.
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
Well now, this is going to take some time . . . and thought.

Posted by WriteRebekah (Member # 9657) on :
oh, this is going to be a blast!!! lots of good reading there. Kudos to all the writers.

Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
There's been a minor change to Entry # 26. If you read it on a first pass, make sure you give it a solid read on the second. A small 13 line issue and the fix came in early enough that I let it pass.
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
Don't forget to vote. Crits are highly encouraged.
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
Congrats to the winners!!

Comments are also posted.
Posted by Brendan (Member # 6044) on :
We should have known that Dragon Hunter was your story WriteRebekah - being dragon's and all. Well done and congratulations.

Nice work too wirelesslibrarian and genevive42.

I loved the fact that a number of entries attempted to rework previous themes/openings from the first half of the competition. It gave a chance to see which approach worked better.
Posted by pdblake (Member # 9218) on :
In my case the first approach seemed to have been better received:)

Well done all and thanks for putting this on Trina.
Posted by WriteRebekah (Member # 9657) on :
Thanks, everybody!!!! That was SUCH fun. Dragon Hunter is a WIP on its way to being a novel, and it's very encouraging to hear the opening wouldn't turn everybody off. Your comments were so helpful. Thank you very much.

And congratulations to the other winners--great stories!!!--and to Trina for a fun and challenging contest.
Posted by mfreivald (Member # 3413) on :
Congratulations to the winners, and big thanks to Trina. (Can we pressure her into doing another?)

Also, thanks to all the critiquers. Your input is gold.
Posted by wirelesslibrarian (Member # 9513) on :
Congrats indeed to the winners, and to everyone who participated for that matter. I enjoyed reading every entry, and the feedback I got on my entries is going to be very useful.

Thanks to Trina for managing it all. Would it be possible to see a listing of the next five top vote getters? There were several that I expected to place, and I bet they're not far off.
Posted by genevive42 (Member # 8714) on :
First place got 22 points.

Second place got 15 points.

Third place got 12 points.

Nothing else got more than 9 points and the votes were pretty spread out.

ETA: If you want to know your individual results, e-mail me.

[ April 16, 2013, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: genevive42 ]
Posted by babooher (Member # 8617) on :
Congrats all!
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
I'd like to congratulate the winners and to also thank those who took the time to critique the entries. Apparently, I please almost half of the people who posted critiques of my entries. I can walk away very happy indeed with such feedback.

Posted by WriteRebekah (Member # 9657) on :
ha, Phil! I love your perspective. That's great.

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