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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > Literary Merit > Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?
Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75918] Mon, 23 September 2019 08:17 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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The one just closed was one where I had to extend the closing date. The one open at the moment I post this has no entries so far.

Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75919 is a reply to message #75918] Mon, 23 September 2019 13:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ivor slipper is currently offline  ivor slipper   United Kingdom

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I, for one, would be sorry to see writing challenges disappear. They have several times in the past provided inspiration for stories that would never otherwise have occurred to me.

With regard to the last two, the previous one to me indicated an obvious story line which didn't hold great appeal - or at least one for which I couldn't see a potential twist and would thus be very predictable.

The current one is certainly an intriguing picture. Exactly what is going on? However, is it possible to link whatever is going on to a gay teen love story? I'm not sure, but I have given it a try and Tim has received my story today. 
One thought about that pic - it is evidently a European happening. Perhaps that has deterred anyone from the US in writing a story around it?
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75920 is a reply to message #75918] Mon, 23 September 2019 18:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
joecasey is currently offline  joecasey   United States

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I tried twice to write something for the "cuckold" competition and eventually gave up.  Do photo entries necessarily have to have a title, which implies a theme?  And, doesn't cuckoldry imply that one of the boys and the girl in the photograph are married?  They appear to be high school students, which would tie into the site's supposed age preferences ... but, marriage?

For the scouting challenge ... yeah, the uniforms threw me; I tried in vain to figure out which country these boys might be from.  I got ninety percent through a story and eventually just gave up on it, as well.  It got to be too involved to invent some reason why the boys - if they weren't scouts from, say, Luxembourg - would all be wearing the same general uniform; it got involved, too, to invent back stories for all the boys in the photograph to explain why they might find themselves in a group if they weren't scouts.  And the road I ended up going down was one that might prove a bit dodgy, anyway.

Might be a dangerous thing to do, but would it be possible for entrants to submit their own photographs as source material?  I know that one might get everything from soup to nuts (with actual nuts quite possibly being on display ...) but I have seen several "clean" photographs on this site that might serve as good source material.
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75921 is a reply to message #75920] Mon, 23 September 2019 19:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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"joecasey wrote on Mon, 23 September 2019 19:03"
I tried twice to write something for the "cuckold" competition and eventually gave up.  Do photo entries necessarily have to have a title, which implies a theme?  And, doesn't cuckoldry imply that one of the boys and the girl in the photograph are married?  They appear to be high school students, which would tie into the site's supposed age preferences ... but, marriage?


I need something to hang my hat on as a unique identifier for the challenge. What folk make of the picture is up to them. The picture, with or without a title, is intended as a spur

"joecasey wrote on Mon, 23 September 2019 19:03"
For the scouting challenge ... yeah, the uniforms threw me; I tried in vain to figure out which country these boys might be from.  I got ninety percent through a story and eventually just gave up on it, as well.  It got to be too involved to invent some reason why the boys - if they weren't scouts from, say, Luxembourg - would all be wearing the same general uniform; it got involved, too, to invent back stories for all the boys in the photograph to explain why they might find themselves in a group if they weren't scouts.  And the road I ended up going down was one that might prove a bit dodgy, anyway.


I'm not at all sure that the nation where the uniform is from is important. They could be Sea Scouts from Switzerland without detriment to a story created around them. Does everyone in a picture need a back story? That's up to the author

"joecasey wrote on Mon, 23 September 2019 19:03"
Might be a dangerous thing to do, but would it be possible for entrants to submit their own photographs as source material?  I know that one might get everything from soup to nuts (with actual nuts quite possibly being on display ...) but I have seen several "clean" photographs on this site that might serve as good source material.


If folk did that how would they be writing a tale in the same challenge? I must be missing your point, so please help me to understand.

[Updated on: Mon, 23 September 2019 22:18]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75923 is a reply to message #75918] Mon, 23 September 2019 20:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
luvtwinks is currently offline  luvtwinks   United States

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I'm not an author but I do have a couple of casual observations. The "Scouting For Boys" challenge is almost too cliche'. Boys in tents playing, scout masters spying, etc.

The "Cuckold" challenge apparently involved females. I get the sense this site appeals mostly to those who identify as male so I can understand the reluctance for some authors to write stories involving male/female encounters. I could be very wrong though.

Having said that, last year's "Empty Shoes" challenge would have dumbfounded me, but the various authors delivered in very different, but creative ways. Maybe you could offer something as obscure as that next time to get potential authors thinking on their feet and get their creative juices flowing?
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75924 is a reply to message #75923] Mon, 23 September 2019 22:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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"luvtwinks wrote on Mon, 23 September 2019 21:54"
I'm not an author but I do have a couple of casual observations. The "Scouting For Boys" challenge is almost too cliche'. Boys in tents playing, scout masters spying, etc.

The "Cuckold" challenge apparently involved females. I get the sense this site appeals mostly to those who identify as male so I can understand the reluctance for some authors to write stories involving male/female encounters. I could be very wrong though.

Having said that, last year's "Empty Shoes" challenge would have dumbfounded me, but the various authors delivered in very different, but creative ways. Maybe you could offer something as obscure as that next time to get potential authors thinking on their feet and get their creative juices flowing?

--
I can never tell what will and will not fly, that is the problem.

What intrigued me about Cuckold was that no-one wroite the obvious plot. Nor did anyone suggest that the girl might actually have been a very pretty boy with long glossy hair. She might also have been an M2F trans girl.  So many variables...

I have a large library. Time will tell



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75925 is a reply to message #75924] Mon, 23 September 2019 22:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Geron Kees is currently offline  Geron Kees   

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Tim, for me, it was a time issue. I have been working on the long fantasy, which you know about; and I had a holiday-themed story that I had to do, too (Halloween Charlie Boone). I just couldn't work in the extra time for a challenge story this round.

I've always enjoyed the challenges. I have to admit that I had a basic idea for the scouting challenge, but that the picture was, overall, not especially appealing. The flags would seem to suggest by their scouting emblem that these are Polish scouts; but the uniforms are much closer to what the Italian scouts wear, and don't look like Polish scout uniforms at all. I know you consider the pictures to be just a base from which writers can begin, and that adapting the pictures to suit the needs of a story is okay. I think many writers don't feel as free to play with the picture as you assume. I prefer my stories to have a scene that pretty much matches the picture perfectly.

Every picture is not going to appeal to every writer. But in looking at past challenges that have been successful for entries, it comes to mind that those that were most appealing to me revolved around photos that had no real nationality or origin to them. They could have been taken almost anywhere. Perhaps sticking to that criteria in selecting your next picture will encourage more entries. Most writers are most comfortable in their own backyards, even when they write out of this world stories. But past challenges have included stories from the same picture that took place in many parts of the world, and I think that freedom to feel the story can take place anywhere is important.

Just my thoughts on that. I do hope to have something for the next challenge.

Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75926 is a reply to message #75925] Tue, 24 September 2019 04:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
joecasey is currently offline  joecasey   United States

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This picture, to me, spoke volumes.  I believe I found it here on the site.  So much promise here.
  • Attachment: vintage_8.jpg
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[Updated on: Tue, 24 September 2019 04:04]

Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75927 is a reply to message #75926] Tue, 24 September 2019 05:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro   United Kingdom

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"joecasey wrote on Tue, 24 September 2019 04:04"
This picture, to me, spoke volumes.  I believe I found it here on the site.  So much promise here.

--
Interestingly, when I opened the picture, my immediate thought was 'nice picture but not one for me to write about'. I can see that it would inspire others and, if it were to be a challenge, something might actually come to mind for me.
 

That said, I find pictures a good source of inspiration. Most of my stories here are from pictures and I have other pictures that I have saved thinking they would be a good basis for a story and yet the page is still blank. The difficulty is spotting some detail or concept that becomes the seed of the plot and doing so in time to actually write the story before the deadline. Then real life can get in the way - job, sick relatives, gardening etc that prevent writing. When I do get an idea, the central conceit might seem simple, but getting there involves plot digressions and research I hadn't expected. And when it can take me half an hour to get a sentence honed so that it leads where I want the plot to go... Yes I do plead guilty to asking for deadline extensions. There again, no deadline would probably mean no story!









Pedro
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75928 is a reply to message #75927] Tue, 24 September 2019 07:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Joecasy, Geron and Pedro, you have all expressed the same thought one after the other, albeit in different ways. Not all pictures inspire stories in all authors



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75931 is a reply to message #75918] Wed, 25 September 2019 17:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cm is currently offline  cm   United Kingdom

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Some pictures speak to me, some don't. It so happens the last two haven't. In the case of the current challenge, I have never been part of the scouts and I haven't the faintest idea of what to put in a story about them.

It is quite possible that the next picture may inspire something.

I suspect the issue is an insufficient pool of authors from which to draw.

I agree with your analysis that not all pictures appeal to all authors - any more than one type of guy appeals to everyone (Thank heavens...)

-
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75938 is a reply to message #75931] Fri, 27 September 2019 00:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently online  Teddy   United States

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Again, addressing the original question without reading all responses first, I don't want to see the writing challenges go by the wayside. Please no. Perhaps a hiatus rather than going away entirely? Or reducing the frequency for a time if it appears that change needs to take place?




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75942 is a reply to message #75938] Fri, 27 September 2019 11:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

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Or by issuing more challenging challenges?
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75943 is a reply to message #75942] Fri, 27 September 2019 13:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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"The Composer wrote on Fri, 27 September 2019 12:45"
Or by issuing more challenging challenges?

--
How am I to even guess what might be challenging?  That is a serious question that sounds flippant.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75944 is a reply to message #75943] Fri, 27 September 2019 20:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
joecasey is currently offline  joecasey   United States

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With six weeks, usually, between the start of the challenge and its conclusion, might it be simply a matter of needing to remind authors that the deadline is approaching?  I don't know how many authors subscribe to e-mail messages from the site, but it might be a way to nudge authors to submit.
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #75945 is a reply to message #75944] Fri, 27 September 2019 20:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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"joecasey wrote on Fri, 27 September 2019 21:29"
With six weeks, usually, between the start of the challenge and its conclusion, might it be simply a matter of needing to remind authors that the deadline is approaching?  I don't know how many authors subscribe to e-mail messages from the site, but it might be a way to nudge authors to submit.

--
I do, but if I do it too often I piss folk off!

I also try for non iomfats authors on Twitter to the various writing communities



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76032 is a reply to message #75918] Thu, 17 October 2019 01:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Cynus is currently offline  Cynus   United States

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Timmy, I love picture challenges. They can inspire the hell out of me, and have many times in the past.

My issue is that I just haven't felt like writing for the past couple of years, which inconveniently corresponded to me switching to writing full-time. I have struggled to put fingers to keyboard for a long time now, otherwise I'd be participating in every picture challenge. It definitely isn't because the challeneges have lost value in my case, I just can't currently write like I used to. 



"Be or be not, there is no why." - Cynus
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76048 is a reply to message #76032] Fri, 18 October 2019 13:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I wonder whether part of the issue was the huge pressure writing full time put you under?

[Updated on: Fri, 18 October 2019 13:48]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76052 is a reply to message #75918] Fri, 18 October 2019 22:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Camy is currently offline  Camy   United Kingdom

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Nooo! Don't stop it.
I have a folder of iomfats photo prompts, but have never written - not because they don't appeal, but because I forget they're there. For me, the time frame seems too long.
I used to hang out at songfight.org. There, you get a couple of titles and a week: to write, record and submit a song. It's stressful, but big fun!
Perhaps shortening the time frame might be an answer? Run it once a month, but with a 7 (or 10) day deadline.
That's my tuppence.



"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats." - Albert Schweitzer

It's like Mad Max out here: guys doing guys, girls doing girls, girls turning into guys and doing girls that used to do girls and guys!
- from Alex Truelove
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76053 is a reply to message #76052] Fri, 18 October 2019 23:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro   United Kingdom

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"Camy wrote on Fri, 18 October 2019 22:08"

Perhaps shortening the time frame might be an answer? Run it once a month, but with a 7 (or 10) day deadline.
That's my tuppence.

--

7 day deadline? That would be me out. It usually takes me longer than that to think what the focus of the story is, never mind how I am going to get to that point and away again. Then I actually have to write the thing which takes me ages. I can just about cope with the current, near quarterly schedule. Once a month? I will refrain from saying what that expression brings to mind.





Pedro
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76054 is a reply to message #76053] Sat, 19 October 2019 08:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Challenges cause me huge work behind the scenes, so they will keep their same frequency. I get out of breath at challenge time because there are parts of the process I cannot automate. It's all hand crafted.

I have one in preview, now, and one waiting in the wings



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76055 is a reply to message #75918] Sat, 19 October 2019 10:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Talo Segura is currently offline  Talo Segura   France

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I'm probably not qualified (as a very new author) to comment, but I have tried my hand at short stories (1k - 2k) from prompts. Looking back at the challenges here, one shines out above the rest, from way back when you first started them, Summer Vacation. The only thing I would say about that was the minimum word count of 12k was a constraint, but you dropped word count later. I don't think I would write a story based on pictures of boys, I like readers to use their imagination, a picture of a person defines a character in the story, and I can't see how that works. If it were an obscure image, like the one you had in one challenge showing shoes in a puddle, that can inspire imagination. So my suggestion would be to drop the boy pictures and if you use images, try to make them pictures with a broad appeal (to inspiration), like an old house, a landscape, etc.

Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76056 is a reply to message #76055] Sat, 19 October 2019 10:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I'm willing to consider any sort of picture. I'll look at a non-personal picture for the challenge after the one I have waiting in the wings. What I try for is a picture that has some sort of a quirk. I think very general pictures of buildings, landscape, and so forth, those can be pleasant but uninspiring.

Here's a pleasant scene, as an example. I have thousands of them and own the copyright to them all:

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=5071&private=0

The question for you is how it might inspire a teenage gay romantic tale?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76058 is a reply to message #76056] Sat, 19 October 2019 13:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

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Gay seagulls!
Squwark!
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76059 is a reply to message #75918] Sat, 19 October 2019 15:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Talo Segura is currently offline  Talo Segura   France

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The question for you is how it might inspire a teenage gay romantic tale?

It's easy to answer that question. Cut out the car and seagulls and you have a picture of an English small port and seaside town. Fish and Chips, fishing, a boat being hauled out of the sea. The possibilities for a story would seem quite broad, from this being the setting where the story takes place to it being centred around that little boat. A mystery, a slice of life in a coastal town? There's the lorry with its doors open, the fishing vessels. The picture could inspire a sea story, a tale which takes place somewhere out at sea. I can't recall ever reading any story like that. 

The point is, there are a myriad inspirational opportunities from that picture, but you're right that the challenge is the link to some sort of teenage romance. I agree the picture alone might be viewed as uninspiring, but not in the context of a teen romance. Perhaps you only need to frame the challenge: write a story which is inspired and in one way or another incorporates something from this picture.

But do away with the seagulls or else it's a holiday snap, not very serious, and open to glib comments!

I hope this helps, I'm trying to be constructive here.



Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76060 is a reply to message #76059] Sat, 19 October 2019 17:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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It helps. The seagulls were gratuitous! And any picture can be edited. That was put up as a pure random selection

I'm happy to see the reaction to a pleasant scenic view.  One challenge is in ballot, one is in preview, one is waiting in the wings. WHy don;t I look for a decent, perhaps intriguing, scene for the one after that?

For fun, try this survey:

Picture challenges

Boys? Geneal views? Something special? What kind of trigger do our writing challenges need for you to enjoy writing a story? [Tick as many as you need]

I need there to be a boy or the hint of a boy in the picture
I much prefer boys, or any personnel to be absent
I like weird things. The Empty Shoes picture was a good example
A good view, a house, a beach, a townscape, a wood
I'll describe what I need in a reply to this thread


Current Results




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76064 is a reply to message #76060] Sat, 19 October 2019 23:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Camy is currently offline  Camy   United Kingdom

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Honestly, I liked the seagulls. Which just goes to show you can't please all the people all the time.



"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats." - Albert Schweitzer

It's like Mad Max out here: guys doing guys, girls doing girls, girls turning into guys and doing girls that used to do girls and guys!
- from Alex Truelove
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76068 is a reply to message #76060] Mon, 21 October 2019 12:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro   United Kingdom

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The problem as, as has been said before, is that not every picture inspires all authors. Even within a picture different things are picked up as the seed of inspiration by authors which of course is why we don't all write the same story. I find it quite difficult to analyse why a picture can lead to a story as it is partly something subconscious.

Apart from the motivation to actually attempt the challenge I think I actually need to find a minimum of two triggers that help me answer the questions: Who or what is involved as the centre of the story? What is or might be going on? So in the first of the challenge stories I attempted: 'Revenge' the boy holding his shorts open the boy was obviously the centre but I had no idea what was going on until I spotted the grin on the lad in the front seat on the left. It does not have to be a second person to be the second trigger. It could be the first person's body language. For I have a picture on my 'possibles' file where a mid-teen is sitting in his underpants in a carver chair, clutching the arms of the chair in a way that suggests he is at least uncomfortable with his situation if not worse. Or the second trigger could be something like the reflection in the 'Empty Shoes' challenge. It could also be something personal: the challenge 'What?' required me to draw on an incident a friend of mine who lived in Amsterdam had had with a visitor. Of course the title given to the challenge picture might colour my approach. 'Scouting for Boys' made me determined to try (not wholly successful) to avoid it being about the Scouts as something far too obvious, but 'Rainbow Boy' led me to the spectrum/physics lab idea in 'All the colours of the Rainbow'.

Once those points are settled it becomes a matter of trying find something that builds a story leading the first to the scenario in the second and then , if necessary for resolution, away again to a suitable end point. So in 'Live Long and Prosper' the boy in the locker the camo pants became a major element in the build-up.

Finally, the rough thread developed has to withstand the diversions that might be thrown at the plot as I am actually writing and the whole thing has to be at least half way believable. The boy in the chair story has stalled because I decided the resolution I had in mind is too far-fetched.

If I look at my 'possibles' folder, I have one of a post-teen that has nothing in it to act as second trigger (and would be deleted if it's eye-candy rating wasn't so high), four pictures that look promising as there are things other than the central character in the photos but where I haven't been able to spot what is going in their lives, and three where I have the answer to that question but cannot see a way to broaden the plot to make a story.

If I look at Timmy's picture above, what springs to mind?

The first thing that crossed my mind was that it could have been a setting for Timmy's story 'Chris & Nigel'

Second, I have to disagree with Talo. The seagulls sitting on the car roof are what make it more than a holiday snap. They make it a specific moment as opposed to everyone's photo of Brixham (or wherever).

If the photo is left as it is, then George and Mildred (for those are the names he has given the gulls) are going to be a part of a story told by the narrator. Why is the narrator there to tell the story? Does he live there? Is he on holiday with his boyfriend? What happens on the holiday? Do the gulls nick his lunch?
What to call the challenge? Something innocuous that doesn't fix the viewer/potential author on any particular thing: 'Harbourside' perhaps.

If the photo is cropped to put the pink house in the middle and titled 'The Pink House' that would lead authors to think about what happens in the house. A possible development could also be what an occupant of the flats behind shouldn't have seen but did.

So in summary, it doesn't have to be a picture of a person, but if it is, it has to be more than a boy blandly sitting on a beach in his speedos - probably the reason so few stories came from that old Inspiration thread.

[Updated on: Mon, 21 October 2019 12:51]




Pedro
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76069 is a reply to message #76068] Mon, 21 October 2019 13:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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This from Pedro, all the other replies, plus the survey, they all show me that either I have got it right so for, or, perhaps, I haven't. The ones that interest me are the non pictorial ones, but folk seem to prefer to write about a picture.

The hardest part is turning a theme into a story. Like Pedro I need two triggers. I need either a cute perosn or an idea, and I need to couple that with a scenario I can place the story in.

Unlike Pedro I can get no inspiration from George and Mildred nor Briham harbour. I need a glimmer of something, like a hardship, or an embarrassment, maybe



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76071 is a reply to message #76069] Mon, 21 October 2019 19:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Camy is currently offline  Camy   United States

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Location: UK
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George and Mildred... does one mean THE George and Mildred? As in [cough] an early British sitcom?



"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats." - Albert Schweitzer

It's like Mad Max out here: guys doing guys, girls doing girls, girls turning into guys and doing girls that used to do girls and guys!
- from Alex Truelove
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76073 is a reply to message #76071] Tue, 22 October 2019 02:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently online  Teddy   United States

Really getting into it
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 428



Let's take the seagull pic as an example. I happen to find that pic quite inspirational and before 2 minutes had passed I'd worked up a rough theme for a story.
  • There's two boys in the car.
  • The seagulls for some reason have taken a shine to that car, or it it the boys therein? Hmmm...
  • And what about the other boy in the upper windows of that pink house with his binoculars wishing and watching the boy in the driver's seat?
  • And the boy in the window? His father is working on the dock opposite the car and momentarily seething when he sees what the boys in the car just did across the center console
  • The same boy's mum works in the Chippy shop there at the edge of the photo and is worried about her son... He's been terribly quiet of late...

You get the picture... Seems to me that just about any photo with more than a passing degree of interest to it, like this one, can be an inspiration photo for a challenge.

[Updated on: Tue, 22 October 2019 02:17]




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76074 is a reply to message #76073] Tue, 22 October 2019 02:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
joecasey is currently offline  joecasey   United States

Getting started
Location: American Midwest
Registered: December 2017
Messages: 24



Another option - one apparently taken by one of the entries in the latest challenge - is to simply ignore the photograph altogether.  Not sure if that obviates the intent of the challenge, but at least the story was interesting in its own right.
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76075 is a reply to message #76069] Tue, 22 October 2019 13:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: March 2014
Messages: 71



I think you have probably got it about right!

I have seen 'title' prompts, 'keyword' prompts, 'first line' prompts and 'dialogue' prompts on other sites. I have only been moved to contribute once. Yours is the only one of the sites I visit that uses picture prompts for the challenges. This might be why they seem to be more popular.

On the other hand, it could just be that literal (as opposed to literary) minded people like me find pictures easier to work from. In fact if I look at all the stories, other than these challenges, that I have here  and elsewhere, a quarter are inspired by pictures and a further third by some direct observation (effectively what would have been a picture if I had had my camera with me). Okay, so perhaps I am intellectually lazy as well!



Pedro
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76076 is a reply to message #76071] Tue, 22 October 2019 13:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: March 2014
Messages: 71



The two names go together in my consciousness, probably for that reason although I have never watched the show. I gather they were always bickering. Seems they are  more appropriate names for gulls than I thought. Gulls always sound as though they are shouting at each other.



Pedro
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76077 is a reply to message #76074] Tue, 22 October 2019 14:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13518



"joecasey wrote on Tue, 22 October 2019 03:23"
Another option - one apparently taken by one of the entries in the latest challenge - is to simply ignore the photograph altogether.  Not sure if that obviates the intent of the challenge, but at least the story was interesting in its own right.

--
It amuses me when that happens. All I can conclude is that the picture inspired them... in a direction unexpected



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76078 is a reply to message #76075] Tue, 22 October 2019 17:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13518



"Pedro wrote on Tue, 22 October 2019 14:00"
On the other hand, it could just be that literal (as opposed to literary) minded people like me find pictures easier to work from. 

--
What is a literary mind?

Darles Chickens wrote potboler serials



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Have writing challenges ceased to have value for our authors?  [message #76088 is a reply to message #76078] Wed, 23 October 2019 23:30 Go to previous message
Camy is currently offline  Camy   United States

Likes it here
Location: UK
Registered: February 2008
Messages: 114



"timmy wrote on Tue, 22 October 2019 18:51"

"Pedro wrote on Tue, 22 October 2019 14:00"
On the other hand, it could just be that literal (as opposed to literary) minded people like me find pictures easier to work from. 

--
What is a literary mind?

Darles Chickens wrote potboler serials

--
And very good they are, too. I have a bowl every morning, with coffee.



"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats." - Albert Schweitzer

It's like Mad Max out here: guys doing guys, girls doing girls, girls turning into guys and doing girls that used to do girls and guys!
- from Alex Truelove
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