Thoughts on the CWG August 2016 Competition

Time to re-open this place. This month’s competition, August 2016 consists of 11 entries, including 2 submissions by Lostinwords (plus my lame effort). It amounts to just over 20,000 words. The theme ‘Islands’ was set by Seadams who was winner of the May / June 2016 competition.

 

Rediscovering sensations on Elba — written by Expatangie

1580 words

A transformation beckoned – into mermaid & merman (in my mind’s eye). Goodness knows how they’d have got on – a proper fishy tale? That brief fancy passed – there was a transformation but I felt the need more alleviation of the stale sameness their relationship had fallen into; perhaps by dwelling further on the wonder and newness of holidays?

 

Island — written by Lostinwords.

1435 words

Wanting this to have a clearer frame of reference, I toyed around with various ideas: years, geographic area, genetic marker of the inhabitants, a protagonist / narrator. How about a geologist who sets up home with a local girl – but still with a wife on the main land. Their consummation and progeny can be metaphor to the volcano and the island’s fecundity – when he abandons his native idyll to go back to ‘normal civilisation’ well I’m sure there are avenues to explore…

 

The Lost Key — written by Lostinwords.

1316 words

This provoked more idle fancy. Why not do as a weather report with little thought asides from the narrator (or whoever he’s with – in case he’s stranded).

 

Choices — written by Araminta.

1280 words

Poignant. A what if is a short step from the rue de la rue. What do you want in life? There’s no easy answer to that. You could sensibly explore the conflict between that and the pure Platonic relationship. It’s fiction set at the cusp of adulthood and maturity – maturity is understanding and taking responsibility for your actions… although some would have it that it’s about embracing promiscuity and exploring the opportunities for moral decay… it doesn’t need to dip deep into the well of depravity but there’s room for a little regret at unsated yearning (lust) even if not spelled out in laviscious detail.

 

The Homecoming — written by Atiller.

2985 words

The vicissitudes of fortune are almost entirely one sided which I assume is wrapping up the various sub-plots. Yet I sense the overarching story doesn’t want to be wrapped up (against the will of the author). Considered in the round (together with the earlier pieces) the introductory, catch-up bits drop out; my impulse would be: trim the backstory and see how it works stand-alone.

 

Columba’s Mist — written by Danthemann.

3099 words

Well described but anchored too much by functioning as a continuation piece. Would the backstory fit better when he retires for the night… then an interruption of sound to jerk him out of it. The testosterone powered dialog came in large lumps (coming from someone guilty of it but…) it would have been more digestible broken down into smaller bits: chit-chat peppered with brag.

 

The Siege — written by Peter Barnett.

2632 words

Pacey. Was slightly confused about the run for help which, however, was a good place to have terror / a moment of intense clarity or other intensifier

 

The Girl in the Lake — written by Colmore.

2745 words

It could be more direct. Current events give this resonance. In the context of forcible conversions to Islam, more comment was due on the location of the Christian buildings… would the villagers have come out given their earlier reluctance? Heroism after fear is a common trope but realistically what would have happened? (Yes I know I’m asking hard questions but you are in the points :-))

 

This Island Universe — written by Charles Stuart.

1310 words

The process of universe creation is great as a setting and lends itself well to ‘a distant perspective’ but something needs to happen. How about high spirited student pranks? More dialog + mischief / conflict? Would a narrower focus work better?

 

The Island — written by Seadams.

878 words

Pleasant and informative but the narrator lacks a goal – is he just an observer? The change of voice confused me initially but I plumped for Methuselah status. More could have been made of this – his relationship with the land / forces of nature / whatever powers his longevity… and of course others like him, tied to other places.


My top 3 were:

1 Choices – Araminta

2 The Siege – Peter Barnett

3 The Girl in the Lake – Colmore

 

Setting up

It isn’t necessary to be a member of this blog if communicating through comments is sufficient, but for those that want this I will send an author invite so you can be set up. The way this works is

1) You get a WordPress Account – go to the registration page at http://wordpress.com/ get a username – select ‘just a username’ – and that’s it. (I can’t send you an invite if you haven’t a Wordpress username.)

2) If you already blog elsewhere, keep blogging there. If you want to blog on WordPress select ‘Gimme a blog’ and go the whole hog.

3) This blog – can host stuff to share – competitions, articles, anything you want to run through with other members.

4) CWGonWordPress can also host all the stories that anyone ever wrote. That’s not what it’s for – if we do that it will get very messy and difficult to manage. It’s best if stories are set up on your own blog.

5) Some things to consider:

  • Where are all your old stories? A little link-fest wouldn’t go amiss.
  • Are you up for creating non-story content for this site?
  • I don’t plan on abandoning My Telegraph any time soon but some thoughts on what we do if… would be useful.