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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Challenges » 13-Line Challenge: Inspired by Music -- Entries

   
Author Topic: 13-Line Challenge: Inspired by Music -- Entries
Disgruntled Peony
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Please post contest entries here (and vote/crit when the time comes). All other discussion is best saved for the other thread.

The submission format is:

Title
Inspired by "Song" -- Band/Musician
Entry # [Number])
Your 13 lines go below your entry number. Be sure to check that it keeps to the the thirteen line rule without going over (by which I mean, there's no overflow of text that results in the appearance of a scroll bar).
The easiest way to ensure that you have exactly 13 lines without going over is to click 'Full Reply Form' in a fresh window and either write your lines there or paste in the lines you've written elsewhere. In the interest of ensuring a fair and accurate portrayal of the 13-line rule, I would recommend that you wait to add your title, band listing, and entry number until after you've checked that your line spacing is correct.
I look forward to reading everyone's entries, and hope you all have fun writing them!

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tesknota
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Title: Your Voice
Inspired by: "Sky" - Faye Wong [song here]

Entry #1

On my Earth, I am growing a garden. The nanomachines are already propagating on their own, but they don’t know how to sort seeds into aesthetic patterns. I place the seeds on the soil and watch as the machines pull them into the ground. With their help, this greenhouse will become a miniature forest in just over two weeks.

On the old Earth, there are no forests – no flowers, no trees, nothing except patches of yellowing grass growing defiantly on cracked, barren ground. The surface oceans disappeared over a decade ago, boiled away by the immense heat of the sun. I can’t feel it, but I can see everything through Lissa’s eyes.

For them, the world is ending. For us, a new beginning awaits.

Lissa speaks to me through the ansible, her words ringing as clear as if I had thought them on my own. “Mark, are you there?”

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extrinsic
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Title : They Said It Does

Inspired by : Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight" (Genius Lyrics site, lyrics and audio link; album Face Value, 1981)

Entry # 2

They say: A watched pot never boils; but it does,
Life sucks -- you pay taxes, you die -- and it does,
Time heals all wounds; yet it does,
Distance makes the heart fonder; but it does,
You can't go home again; but you do.

Marybeth bantered about feelings.
She could maybe smile or laugh; she would cry and scream;
She did not speak for beans.

Mary B loved far paradise beaches, hated breezes, salts, and sands,
She hated haters -- hated herself.
She love-hated me, you could say
A watched pot never boils; but it does.

[ May 12, 2017, 08:15 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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Title: The Ascent of a Man
Inspired by: Who Are You? Clip HERE
Artist: Black Sabbath
Special thanks to Milton’s Paradise Lost

Entry 3

Jonas Hob stopped dead in his tracks. The nausea he felt was just a rumour; the cramp in his left arm was a fact. He stood and waited; knowing what would come next. The ache at the hinge of his jaw wasn’t painful, just annoying, and he faked a yawn to try and ease it. At that moment all the colour leached out of the world and everything faded to black. Jonas Hob was falling, fall-ing, f-a-l-l-i-n-g.

The fall seemed eternal -- then it stopped.

He stood on a burnt plain in a large cavern. All around him the rocks blazed, giving off the heat of a blast furnace; yet from those flames no light came, only darkness made manifest. He took in a breath and fell to his knees choking and gagging, the air smelled and tasted like a billion matches had all been struck at once. The noisome reek

[ May 12, 2017, 06:59 AM: Message edited by: Grumpy old guy ]

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walexander
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Title: When the dark comes creeping.
Inspired by: Tango to Evora.(Live) here
Artist: Loreena Mckennitt

entry 4

Part of this is being used in a final draft for a submission so I am taking it down from here. I had good fun with the contest and look forward to the next. Cheers to all that submitted. Best to all as you move toward a final draft.

W.

[ May 23, 2017, 07:49 AM: Message edited by: walexander ]

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walexander
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Title: Resilience of the soul
Inspired by: In her eyes here
Artist: Josh Groban

Entry #5

Part of this is being used in a final draft for a submission so I am taking it down from here. I had good fun with the contest and look forward to the next. Cheers to all that submitted. Best to all as you move toward a final draft.

W.

[ May 23, 2017, 07:50 AM: Message edited by: walexander ]

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Disgruntled Peony
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The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervor
Inspired by "Eclipsed" -- Evan's Blue
Entry #6

Adelle crossed her arms and scowled down at her latest patient. She fought back the urge to yell and scold, forced her tone to remain calm and measured. “Nurse Farren says you tried to leave the healer’s tent this morning.”
Her patient, Erlan, was barely twelve years old. He wore the arrogance of youth like a cloak. “I’m feeling much better--”
Adelle’s eyes narrowed. “You were gouged by a boar, boy. A havoc-touched one, at that. You’re not leaving my tent until I know you won’t suffer any side effects.”
Erlan bristled. “I’m no boy. I’m the mayor’s son! You’ve no right to talk to me that way.” He started to sit up, but Adelle pressed him back against the bed.
“I don’t care whose son you are. I won’t let you get

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Disgruntled Peony
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The Metamorphosis of Fire
Inspired by "Forty Six & 2" -- Tool
Entry #7

Stein’s right arm ached--not the dull and steady throb of overused muscles, but the sharp, piercing pangs of an empty stomach. The dragon spirit locked within his tattoo wanted to feed. He hugged the limb close to his body and pressed his back firmly against the age-worn brick of the alley where he’d taken shelter for the evening.
Testosterone and adrenaline flooded Stein’s body, but the wall’s cold, damp roughness kept him grounded in reality. It had rained before sunset, and the alley was awash with the heady stench of stale vomit and alcohol, lit only by the half-dead flicker of the neon lights from the dive bar across the street. A woman with an unwashed face and heavy-layered clothing hunkered on the other side of the alley, an almost-empty fifth of vodka clutched in her palms.

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extrinsic
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This Is Catharsis

Inspiration: "Ironic" by Alanis Morisette, lyrics and audio link at azlyrics.com (Amazon!?).

Entry # 8

Heedless inventor turkeys scurried about the Andopolis Best Hotel conference hall. Failed to plan, Repnik thought, planned to fail. Cardboard curtain walls waist high separated inventor booths from company rep tables, held the thieves on their side of the border wall. Haspro's head minion Vanderbilz waited at the gate for the start bell, hand out for a jigger of scotch he'd rather have than a handshake, and mischief on his face.

Ahead of the frantic turkeys' late finish, printed food and beverage samples on his counters, Repnik set out the printer mockup, with beverage attachment. Not gonna risk the protoype's theft, he thought. Its chrome and pastel enamel chassis looked the part of an Itachi E-Z Bake microwave oven amid printed caviar and foie gras, saltines, scotch and Past Blue Banner ale,

[ May 12, 2017, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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extrinsic
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First place
# 1 "Your Voice" tesknota

Second place
# 6 "The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervor" Disgruntled Peony

Third place
# 5 "Resilience of the soul" walexander

Favorite title
# 3 "The Ascent of a Man" Grumpy Old Guy

[ May 18, 2017, 03:08 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Disgruntled Peony
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I've only got time to vote right now, but I'll post critiques on all of the entries later. (There are a lot of good entries this time--I had a really hard time casting my vote. Good job, everyone. [Smile] )

First place: Entry #1, "Your Voice".
Second place: Entry #5, "Resilience of the Soul".
Third place: Entry #3, "The Ascent of a Man".
Favorite title: Entry #4, "When the Dark Comes Creeping".

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H Reinhold
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First Place
#8 "This is Catharsis", extrinsic

To me, this opening promised an entertaining, unique narrator voice, intruiging sci-fi element, and a clear location and conflict. I would read on.

Second Place
#1 "Your Voice", tesknota

I found this nicely written, with an interesting and beautiful opening paragraph. The rest of it didn't really hold my attention, seemed too slow, become too much of an info-dump. There didn't seem too much in the way of immediate conflict to the protagonist. But with this kind of writing, I'm prepared to stick with the story a bit longer.

3rd Place
#7 "The Metamorphosis of Fire", Disgruntled Peony

The opening line hooked me, and was followed by a strong fantasy element which I felt could have been elaborated a little more. Good, solid (if slightly generic) scene-setting quickly orientated me, but didn't seem to have very much to do with the main conflict--for me, I would have preferred a few of those lines to be given over to helping me to know the protagonist better.

Best title
#8 "This is Catharsis", extrinsic

I found many of these entries' titles a bit generic or vague. Seeing a list of them in a magazine or somewhere, to be honest, I'm not sure I'd be in a hurry to start reading. 'This is Catharsis' seems to me to be one of the more interesting, unique titles, and has a kind of self-confidence to it that some of the others lack. So that's probably the story I would read first, based on title alone.


Brief critiques of the other entries:

#2 "They Said It Does", extrinsic

Some interesting bits, but ultimately this didn't work for me as a story. I had to reread it too many times to try to extract meaning. Little in the way of clues to help me work out where I am, with whom, and doing what. I'm afraid it seems too much work.

#3 "The Ascent of a Man", Grumpy old guy

I found the opening paragraph difficult; it seemed to take place in a vacuum. Much redeemed overall, however, by what I found good rhythm and a clear, unavoidable conflict, as well as by a much clearer setting in the final paragraph--at least now, something I can visualise. From this fragment alone, the protagonist didn't stand out much to me, didn't seem to have a relationship with the conflict, if that makes sense. It seemed all a bit too accidental, and that made it harder for me to connect with the protagonist.

#4 "When the dark comes creeping", walexander

I want to like this opening, but I find it very difficult to connect to. Perhaps some variation of sentence length might help; currently I feel a bit overwhelmed. Also, and perhaps most importantly, I felt the narration was a constant barrier between me and the character(s) in the story. Details told are not necessarily details felt.

#5 "Resilience of the soul", walexander

The first sentence put me off quite badly. I had to reread several times before I got that it basically amounts to, "The blood on the tip of Rook's sword began to congeal". Again, I felt overwhelmed by too many adjectives, adverbs, long sentences and parallel actions. And, as with the previous fragment, much of this detail across to me as second-hand relation. I am told about the story, but I still don't experience it myself. I can see that there's a conflict in there, but I also didn't manage to work out what it was. Sorry. For me this fragment requires too much effort to decode.

#6 "The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervor", Disgruntled Peony

This seemed promising (the only entry to use more than one line of dialogue and more than one real character), but in the end I found I didn't sympathise enough with either Adelle or Erlan to want to read on. Clear conflict and clear characters could make up for the lack of visual/sensory information about their setting, but not the way these characters are currently portrayed. Erlan just seems annoying, and Adelle impatient. I'd like to know more about his wound (seeing him suffer would make me feel sorry for him, even if he is annoying), and about Adelle's efforts to heal him (would balance/temper her irritation). If I saw a little more of the background, I might be tempted to stay with the story.

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Grumpy old guy
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Votes:

1st The Metamorphosis of Fire – Disgruntled Peony
2nd Your Voice – tesknota
3rd When the Dark Comes Creeping – walexander
Favourite title: The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervour

Some comments, not critiques:

1. Your Voice.

First person narrator ‘setting’ the scene. No movement, no conflict, little characterisation.

2. They Said It Does.

Interesting departure from the usual entry. My main issue with the piece is that I kept inserting my own ‘tag’ at the end of each line.

3. The Ascent of a Man.

Crappy first paragraph. The readers don’t need to know what the symptoms of a heart attack are, they just need to know Jonas has died and fallen to Hell. Already trashed and re-written.

4. When The Dark Comes Creeping.

Overwrought prose that remains sensual, bordering on the erotic. But there is no rhythm to the prose to reflect the beat of the drum in the story. A twist to the opening would be to make the dancer male.

5. Resilience of the Soul.

Totally overwrought prose. My main issue is that while Rook is exhibiting all the signs of hysterical paralysis he ‘just’ snaps out of it. It doesn’t work quite like that.

6. The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervour.

Two errors threw me out of the story completely: First, a boar would gore the boy instead of gouging him and, two, a full-grown bore would weight more that 250lbs. The kid would have been slaughtered.

7. The Metamorphosis of Fire.

Good characterisation of Stein’s dramatic problem – a hungry dragon tattoo that wants to feed.

8. This is Catharsis.

The narrator is certainly wearing his disdain for ‘Corporate Suits’ prominently on his sleeve.

Phil.

PS. Sorry, I assigned the wrong title to entry 1. Now fixed.

[ May 20, 2017, 09:12 AM: Message edited by: Grumpy old guy ]

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tesknota
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Here are my votes -

First: #6 - The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervor

Second: #2 - They Said It Does

Third: #3 - The Ascent of a Man

Title: The Metamorphosis of Fire

Edit: See comments below!

---

Entry #2: They Said it Does
I like poetry, and I like how this piece is contained within our 13 line limit. I especially like the rhythm of this piece. However, I can't quite extract a concrete meaning from this... which I feel is true of many poems I still manage to enjoy. Poetry, to me, has always been a reflection of the emotional state and experiences of the poet. Unless I wrote the poem, I can never truly understand all of its nuances.

Entry #3: The Ascent of a Man
I liked the creative use of the word "falling". I have to admit though that I didn't realize he had passed away (overlooked the pain in LEFT arm bit); I thought that he was dreaming, something reminiscent of Alice's experience while falling to Wonderland. I also enjoyed the imagery in this excerpt.

Entry #4/#5: Sorry, I was too late to catch these... good luck on the full-length stories, walexander!

Entry #6: The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervor
I liked how Erlan's bold personality came through right away, and I liked the metaphor about the arrogance of youth. Particularly, this opening reminded me of one of my favorite book series of my youth: The Song of the Lioness. I must have listened to the audiobook for the first book in that series about 10 times.

Entry #7: The Metamorphosis of Fire
A hungry dragon arm tattoo is quite an interesting premise, and as usual, the imagery here is very bold. It's not my favorite setting, which has nothing to do with the writing and everything do to with my personal tastes.

Entry #8: This is Catharsis
Headless inventory turkeys promise an interesting premise. Although it was very fun to read these paragraphs, it took a bit of effort to dissect all of the bits; between the long sentences and the names, I found this to be a lot of confront at once. However, it does promise to be a fun, chaotic story.

[ May 23, 2017, 06:36 PM: Message edited by: tesknota ]

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walexander
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1st
Your voice
2nd
They said it does (though leeway for non-prose)
3rd
The Metamorphosis of Fire

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Disgruntled Peony
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The results of this challenge are interesting--the first place winner made it by a long shot, but from there on out the points were spread widely enough that we ended up with a tie for both second and third place. Every story got at least one point, which really doesn't surprise me. (As I said before, we got a lot of solid entries for this challenge. When it was time for me to vote, I wanted to award points to five different entries. It was really hard to narrow my choices down.)

The results are as follows:
  • 1st Place: "Your Voice" by tesknota
  • 2nd Place: "The Metamorphosis of Fire" and "The Rebirth of Tragedy and Fervor" by Disgruntled Peony
  • 3rd Place: "Resilience of the Soul" by walexander and "This is Catharsis" by extrinsic

Great work, everyone! [Smile]

I do have a sort of follow-up challenge, if anyone is up for it. I think it would be cool if everyone writes the stories these opening lines belong to (or at least picks one to work on, if they wrote multiple entries and don't want to finish both). We could even do a group critique in a month or two, if people get their first draft or two finished and are interested in sharing.

Essentially, I think that every entry that was posted here holds the seed of promise and could easily be nurtured into a full-fledged story. While I've written entries for several challenges in the past, I've never successfully expanded any of them into full-fledged stories (although I have made a partial attempt in a couple of cases). I think it would be fun to follow through on that attempt for a change. If anyone else wants to make that journey with me, that would be awesome.

[ May 21, 2017, 07:26 AM: Message edited by: Disgruntled Peony ]

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Grumpy old guy
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Already on it.

Phil.

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walexander
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Go for a new one DP. It can't hurt us. I'm having fun. Let's go for it. Keeps us sharp.

W.

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Grumpy old guy
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I am a little saddened no one got the joke in the name Jonas Hob. Jonas means dove, or gift from God, depending where you come from. Hob, on the other hand is harder: Old English, mid-counties, slang for The Devil.

Jonas Hob was God's gift to the Devil.

Phil.

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extrinsic
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Insider allusions rarely draw notice, names especially, unless they call attention to themselves. How much is due or undue attention varies by reader experience. My experience is to amplify in an artful way an apt trope such that it is above the liminal threshold for average reader aptitudes yet not too clever cute a pun, unless the design is for farcical intents. Even then, such devices, I believe, are more artful when they are of several irony threads, so long as targeted readers feel smarter than the narratives in which they are contained.

David Smith's Clarion workshops "Being a Glossary of Terms Useful in Critiquing Science Fiction" contains three types of these tropes. "Cookies," "Reward the careful reader," and "Tuckerizing." "Jonas Hob" is a loose Tuckerize. Compare to metonymy, synecdoche, and metalepsis, similar name convention tropes.

"Tuckerizing. Named after Wilson Tucker [Wikipedia], the practice of introducing as peripheral characters, or offstage icons, names recognizable to the reader. (For example, naming the Moon’s capital Heinlein and its main street La Rue de la Professor Bernardo de la Paz.) A subclass of rewarding the careful reader." (Smith) Actually, this is situational allegory.

Is "Jonas Hob" up to the recognizable threshold? The allusion is somewhat outdated -- a Nathaniel Hawthorne era-type allusion. Perhaps a stronger cue is indicated for its conscious substance to be reader realized and, if unknown, indicate timely investigation.

For example, Stephenie Meyer, Twilight's Isabella "Bella" Swan is a Tuckerize at the threshold of superliminal awareness. The allusion is to "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Ugly Duckling," a metalepsis, and are cues for what the overall action is really about.

[ May 22, 2017, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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H Reinhold
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Is "Jonas Hob" up to the recognizable threshold? The allusion is somewhat outdated -- a Nathaniel Hawthorne era-type allusion. Perhaps a stronger cue is indicated for its conscious substance to be reader realized and, if unknown, indicate timely investigation.

I suspected there was some significance to the name, but didn't get around to investigating further. (At the time I read the entries, I was too busy, and then I forgot--sorry, Phil.) But the name's clever, and makes me want to see how (if?) you play with the idea in the rest of the story.
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Grumpy old guy
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The story explores arrogance in pride; as well as it can be done in a thousand words or so. God's gift to Satan is when Jonas says, "If you just say you're sorry, all will be forgiven." Which promps the rejoinder, "Better to rule in Hell. . . "

Phil.

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H Reinhold
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
The story explores arrogance in pride; as well as it can be done in a thousand words or so. God's gift to Satan is when Jonas says, "If you just say you're sorry, all will be forgiven." Which promps the rejoinder, "Better to rule in Hell. . . "

Phil.

I also love the implication of paralleling/subverting/twisting the story of the biblical Jonah. In traditional Christianity, Jonah's story--at least the part involving his three days in the belly of the fish--is used as a direct foreshadowing or type of Christ's three days in the tomb and descent into Hell. Your Jonas, now, a gift from God to Satan, is sent to Hell by a heart attack!? As a subverted image of salvation, offered in pride or rejected because of it? With the implication that your Jonas, too, will be spat out back onto dry land or life, metaphorically if not literally? Is that the meaning of the title? Already many interesting angles to play with.

On top of that, the biblical tale of Jonah is already a satire that plays with themes of pride. Jonah, like all prophets, has a message--the imminent destruction of Nineveh--and, like all prophets, he expects to be ignored. No, more than that--he actually wants to be ignored, wants to be better than them, to be able to say, 'I told you so.' And yet the twist in the story is that the people of Nineveh, for once, do the unexpected, and actually listen to the warning. What? This wasn't supposed to happen! Jonah's pride makes him revolt against the outcome, and he sulks, rants, is so angry with God that he wants to die--from shame and damaged pride. If Jonah is already a sulking anti-prophet, what might an anti-Jonah look like? Is the Jonas in your story also proud, does he rebel against his calling? Or rebel against rebelling? Is he proud that his message was heard, or that it wasn't? Or does every character in fact act with pride, only of different kinds? Or do you invert all this, and make Satan the only humble character of the lot?

In fact, for me, there's almost too much potential already, even before Paradise Lost/Darwin/Machin/whatever else is thrown into the mix. Perhaps that's why I had/have difficulty seeing where the story might be going from the brief fragment posted. And trying to work out a coherent and clever flash piece from all this potentiality? Definitely beyond me. So I'd love to see what you end up with, which themes you place central, how you develop your characters, how you keep any necessary allusions above this 'liminal threshold for the average reader'...

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Grumpy old guy
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H Reinhold, you're certainly offering up a cornucopia of possibilities, but for a flash piece I need to stick with Jonas' arrogance as an enlightened man, Satan's arrogance that stops him from admitting a fault, and the Church's arrogance that only they can give absolution as God's proxy. Jonas gets out of Hell by confessing to God and asking for forgiveness, even though he is dead.

"There's nothing in the rule book that says you can't." said Jonas.

Phil.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:

"There's nothing in the rule book that says you can't." said Jonas.

Phil.

As well about creative writing!?

Metaphysical narratives often disappoint me because the antagonal-causal mechanism for divine intervention is underdeveloped if developed at all. Western mythology's overall antagonal cause for divine intervention and damnation to the nether realm is an agonist's impertinent hubris before a god. Like Jonah's refusal of his divine calling to preach repentance for Nineveh's unrepentant and impertinent hubris before God.

Whoever received and recorded the word of God about the Jonah episode, purportedly Moses, missed part of the message. What impertinent hubris did Jonah first commit, and why, such that he drew extraordinary divine attention in the first place?

I think a substance of an antagonal cause lays within this: "Jonas' arrogance as an enlightened man". Though is his enlightenment from divine inspiration or of his own ulterior agenda design? Jonah's hubris is vices of arrogant pride, greed, and sloth, apt parallels to corrupted clerics and their institutions. The difference for Jonah is the distinction between a false and true prophet; that is, the former is sentience, of intelligence aptitude, the latter is sapience, of wise moral aptitude. Through Jonas's own design works for me and suits the message, and the targeted victim of the irony, that satirizes institutional religions' mortal corruptions.

[ May 23, 2017, 02:07 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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tesknota
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quote:
Originally posted by Disgruntled Peony:
I do have a sort of follow-up challenge, if anyone is up for it. I think it would be cool if everyone writes the stories these opening lines belong to (or at least picks one to work on, if they wrote multiple entries and don't want to finish both). We could even do a group critique in a month or two, if people get their first draft or two finished and are interested in sharing.

Essentially, I think that every entry that was posted here holds the seed of promise and could easily be nurtured into a full-fledged story. While I've written entries for several challenges in the past, I've never successfully expanded any of them into full-fledged stories (although I have made a partial attempt in a couple of cases). I think it would be fun to follow through on that attempt for a change. If anyone else wants to make that journey with me, that would be awesome.

I'd like to do this if there's interest! This reminds me of another challenge we had a while back where we submitted full-length stories and peer-critiqued them. That one was fun.

I haven't been able to grow my 13-line intros into full stories either, and I'd like to do that again. Sometimes, all it takes is a friend, a group, or some motivation. =)

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extrinsic
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Thank you, Disgruntled Peony, for a challenge well met by all. Great to see the many prospective starts well received, too.

I pass on working through my starts to full typescript focus group evaluations. The intents were met, from my perspective, the features thereof tested for appeal, really.

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DorothyMitchell
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I work as a freelance writer at EssayShark company and I am often asked about sources of inspiration. Before, I could not give an exact answer to this question. But now I realized that the inspiration for me is music. Here's an example of one great set https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoHVy6NqO_U I take too many emotions as I can for my creative writing from the music, this is almost impossible to convey in words. [Roll Eyes]
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