Spookymilk Play With The Prose — Challenge #1: Olympics

Well, I’ve done it again; I’ve committed to participating in another of Spookymilk’s writer’s challenges. This one is different, though: no teams, no voting off each week, …and medals! Each week medals will be awarded (several of each) and the accumulated points will determine who makes the finals rounds. I like it! I wasn’t fond of the “strategic” aspects of the earlier challenges anyway. And these will be given two per week, which means no dallying!

Appropriately, the first challenge was Olympic-inspired. Our goal was to write a 200-word or fewer story in which a sports competition takes place. Here we go:

“…in lane six, the speedster from Canada, Korey Fiemann; lane seven…”

As the tall, scholarly man glanced up at the TV, a teenage girl in the kitchen behind his ancient wing-backed chair was spreading mayonnaise on four slices of wheat bread.

“Great Britain first, Brazil second, Jamaica third,” muttered the man, penciling “RIPARIAN” into the crossword in his lap. The sound of the starter’s gun startled a black cat off the large ottoman, nearly overturning the stack of alchemy tomes piled atop it but for the man’s timely outstretched hand.

“…and Tolley JUST edges Solima at the tape, followed closely by Covey-Jones!”

The girl rolled her eyes, then continued placing cucumber slices upon the layer of leafy lettuce. “Really, Papa, why do you even watch when you already see the future? You know who is going to win!”

“When we come back, we’ll introduce a young mother of two who also happens to be the best hope for a US discus gold medal.”

The man set down his pencil and removed his narrow eyeglasses. “I don’t watch the television coverage for the competitions, moya printsessa, but for the wonderfully heart-warming vignettes regarding the participating athletes.”

RESULTS

The judges’ comments:
K: Wow, this is a hell of a little thing. It’s written beautifully, Papa is a wonderfully well-realized character given nearly no time at all to develop and the wildly surprising twist is followed by a believable and deadpanned payoff. I love it. GOLD

Pete – I really like the language here, as well as the cutting to and from the different scenes (the girl making the sandwich, the television coverage, the crossword puzzle). I just feel like there’s a common thread here that I’m not getting. It’s possible that the word count slimmed it down a bit, but I’d still like to see just a little bit more. I’m also curious how the author came up with the names for the athletes. GOLD

I love a fast start! (and I very well will need it) So, about the story…

  • Overwhelmingly at WGOM the opinion about the Olympic coverage is less stories about the athletes and more of the events themselves. I challenged myself to come up with an interesting scenario where the opposite opinion would be the case. The result: someone who knew the future and already knew how the events would end.
  • The pair in this story were patterned after Dr. Orpheus and Triana from The Venture Bros. cartoon.
  • The athlete’s names? The Jamaican on-line phone book and randomness. The countries? More randomness.
  • I forgot where “riparian” came from, but it’s a quality crossword answer.
  • I love that we had to force our stories into a 200-word limit. I found myself having to work with some stereotypical imagery in order to preserve words for the rest of the story.

Hopefully I can build on this great start.

Addendum: Who do I write like in this challenge? (looks like it picked up on “alchemy tomes”)

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

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3 responses to “Spookymilk Play With The Prose — Challenge #1: Olympics

  1. Jamaican phone book… nice! For some reason, the name ‘Solima’ really stood out for me.

  2. I was with you until you had an Englishman winning a sprint.

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