Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Second Challenge of the Platform-Building Campaign

The time has come for Round 2 of Rach Harrie's Fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign, which according to Rach is "challenging but not too challenging". Well, I'd hate to be around if she really decided to challenge us, because this was taxing in the extreme. However, I thoroughly enjoyed writing my entry. Clever woman, Rach, to say the least.

Here are the prompts and rules:

Prompt 1:
Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt 2:

Prompt 3

Prompt 4

Prompt 5


Second Campaigner Challenge

Do one or more of the following:

  1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
  2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
  4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts
  5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.
For added difficulty/challenge:

  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme (feel free to either state the theme in your post or leave us to guess what it might be)
  • Write in a genre that is not your own
  • Ask Challenge entrants to critique your writing.

I did Challenge Number 2. I was going to do more, but I just couldn't come up with more interpretations of the prompts that were different enough. However, it is under 200 words (199, edited down from 303 - slashing over a third of a story is HARD), and it is not in my genre (normally thrillers, and I guess you could call this magical realism, with possibly a bit of YA in there).

And it is open for critique. Why not, eh? ;) The theme of my story is "poverty". Here it is:

Terrible Magic

Three ragged-clothed children were scavenging amongst the rubbish when they heard splashing. They hauled the red-coated boy onto the bank, propping him against the rusted support of the old concrete bridge, so in contrast to the gleaming marble one.

“Thanks for saving me. My ball dropped off that bridge, I went in to get it, but I didn’t know it was so deep.”

“We’ll look for your ball. Come on, Manisha.”

He looked at the remaining girl. “Your leg is cut.”

“There are jagged rocks underwater here. It’s nothing.”

“OK. What were you doing here?”

“Looking for food.”

“I can get you some food. All I need is a wooden spoon.”

Without questions, she stumped off and returned with the required item. The boy filled the spoon with water, then mumbled a few Hindi words and the water bubbled up, materialising into the shape of a pear. Then it was a pear, which he handed to the girl, who bit into it ravenously.

“It’s a trick taught to my great-great-grandfather by his fakir,” he explained. Then his eyes widened. “Oh, no. I forgot. If the food is eaten by anyone not born within the palace, the world will explode-”


Trisha said...

hahaha, oh that was a classic ending. Nice work :)

Andy Brokaw said...

LOL. I LOVE the ending. :)

S.P. Bowers said...

Nice tying them all together. This was a much harder prompt than last time.

Morgan said...

Awwwwesome ;) Fabulous work bringing in ALL those prompts! And I agree with everyone else--the ending was great ;)

Unknown said...

hahaha. Oh man. Did not expect that! Great job! The whole story was brought together well!

Cynthia said...

Maybe we'll find out that the girl is indeed of royal blood, and the world will be saved! Thanks for sharing.

Skippy Bo Bippy said...

Ha! Nice ending. I love a twist that you don't see coming.. all lovey dovey and then BLAMO! Great job!
+1 like for the sheer audacity of blowing up the world. :)

Kevin (#19)

Sarah Tokeley said...

Oh my goodness! You blew up the world!

Cherie Reich said...

Neat trick and great twist!

Unknown said...

Loved it! You did an awesome job of tying them all together.

Michelle :)

Liza said...

Nice twist at the end! (#30)

Unknown said...

Fantastic! Great end. :D

Martin Willoughby said...

What a fantastic ending. That's gonna keep a smile on my face for a long time.

J E Fritz said...

"Oh, no. I forgot." This was great. It was fun to read and it made me laugh, so win-win. Awesome job with this.

Elise Fallson said...

NOOOOO! This is yet another entry where I have to know what happens next! Boom? Please don't blow up the world! (; Great job with your entry!

Gina Gao said...

I really like the ending. Nice post.


Martin Willoughby said...

Nick, I've tagged you for the lucky seven meme and a...tag contest. Come on over to see what ritual sacrifice you have to perform.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Ooh, I liked this a lot -- except for the ending. I felt the ending was just to end it and keep it under 200 words. But actually you have an intriguing story here that could be fleshed out into a really mysterious MG book. Let me know if you pursue that.

Nick Wilford said...

Trisha - Thanks!

Andy - Thanks. I hope it was clear that I took the "swirly smoke" picture as the world blowing up!

S.P. - Thanks. I agree for sure.

Morgan - Thank you very much!

Ashley - Thanks. I'm glad it was unexpected!

Cynthia - That would be an even better twist, actually. Didn't think of that. Thanks!

Kevin - Thanks for the vote. Well, I've found out I can do twists from the Campaign - something I didn't think was a particular strength.

Sarah, Cherie, Michelle, Liza, Julia - Thanks all!

Martin - Thanks, you put a smile on mine with your comment.

JE - I didn't actually intend it to be funny, but it's nice it had that effect. Thanks!

Elise - Thanks! Yeah, I would quite like it to continue. I liked Cynthia's idea.

Gina - Thanks!

Martin - Sounds intriguing. Thanks, I'll have a look.

Elizabeth - Thanks for your feedback. The ending was to incorporate the final prompt. I'm glad you think there's potential for more. MG isn't my genre at all, so would be a challenge! I like the idea that something which could cure world hunger could actually cause such devastation (due to being wielded by the wrong people).

Carrie Butler said...

I'm making a mental note to never accept suspicious fruit... *grins*

Great work, Nick! :)

Melissa said...

LOL - Loved the ending. Nice.
Melissa Maygrove #14

Unknown said...

Very creative! And I'm guessing it didn't end well for anyone?!

Jenn said...

LOL, awesome ending. Well done. :)

Christy Farmer said...

Oh no! Those poor kids! (Great job with the challenge, Nick!)

Jo Schaffer said...

(= This was super cool. (=

I like those prompts.

Meri Hindi kucch khaas nahi hai.

But a couple of the characters in my soon to be published novel are from India. (;

Tara Tyler said...

wait, noooooo!
silly kids, always forgetting important details.
great story!

Nick Wilford said...

Carrie - Yeah, there might be a Biblical slant to it, hadn't thought of that.

Melissa, Rachel, Jennifer, Christy - Yeah, it might have been a happier ending if the fruit didn't have a curse on it. But it seemed the best way to incorporate the last prompt.

Jo - Thanks for your kind words. I don't speak any Hindi myself, but if I was writing a novel with Indian characters I can see that would be necessary research.

Tara - Thanks. He was only trying to help!

RaeAnn said...

Whoa. What a cliff-hanger! Great job.

Valentina Hepburn said...

Very enjoyable. Loved the ending. And then?

Nick Wilford said...

RaeAnn - Thanks!

Valentina - Thanks. I guess that's up to you!

Unknown said...

A fun story with a hint of magic! Pitty they are gonna blow up the world!

Lauren W. said...

I loved your use of the water pear, materializing with a spell. I like to imagine that this is when they find out that she was born in the palace :)

Mina Burrows said...

Really cool. A unique take on the challenge. Nicely done!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Ha! I love your ending! So fun!

Nick Wilford said...

C.M. - Thanks. Yeah, it could be a much happier ending. Blame Rach's prompts!

Lauren - Thanks very much. Yeah, that is a nice idea!

Mina, Peggy - Thanks!

Deniz Bevan said...

Love that boy's magical ability. And oh! I was *not* expecting that ending!

C.B. Wentworth said...

I love how you pulled one little piece from each prompt to create a larger story. And that ending is positively wonderful. Great job!

ETowns said...

So he was saved from the water and then positively created the magic that ended the world! Good work pulling the prompts into the story line. Nice piece. #103

MISH said...

I found this challenge very difficult but you've done an awesome job!
I love the writing style and the manner in which you have contextualised the various prompts and tied them up to form a neat, tidy package! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic piece, Nick! I love how you incorporated the four pictures. This challenge wasn't easy.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Great job. This challenge wasn't an easy one. Love the twist at the end.

Traci Kenworth said...

Uh-oh. What a twist!!

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks very much for your kind comments, everyone. I really appreciate it. I had worried that my use of the prompts was all a bit literal and obvious! Glad you liked the ending, too.

Jessica Salyer said...

Okay it's not really funny, but your ending had me laughing. I totally did not expect that. Nicely done. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Jessica - I didn't intend it as funny, but I've come around to the idea. I see where people are coming from. Thanks for the comment!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Great use of the prompts, especially that the boy in red from one of the prompt pictures was one of the people leaning against the bridge from prompt 1 - clever. And count me a fan of the ending - both tragic and twistedly funny. :-)

Unknown said...

Thank god I don't like pears ... although I would have bitten just as ravenously into a strawberry :)
Great idea and ending!

(I'm #82.)

Anonymous said...

Your ending was great!

Nick Wilford said...

Jocelyn - Thanks very much for your kind words!

Treelight - No, I'm not very keen on pears either. Strawberries, yes!

The Capillary - Thank you!

Off to check out your entries :)