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Monday, April 28, 2008

Writing Contest in a Fun Meme, Critique Prize

I was tagged while I was on vacation. Not by one, but by two of my pals for fun memes. Barbara Johansen Newman tagged me for a book meme. PJ Hoover tagged me for a writing meme.

I have to admit, I'm a bit lazy right now. I pulled out a meme I did earlier this year (via Chris), in the hopes it would satisfy both memes. In the original post, I highlighted three books I've enjoyed reading: Gentle's Holler by Kerry Madden, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I thought these books had interesting 5th - 8th sentences on page 123--perfect to twist from a meme to a writing prompt.

I'm a little stressed because the book I chose to use as a writing prompt is a total classic--so be kind. I selected this author primarily because he's no longer living and can't be offended by my mishmash of his work. Also, I graduated from the same university he did, so I'm hoping some of his genius will one day rub off on me. It's nice to dream, isn't it?
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Here are the rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Page 123

Fifth sentence: "Templeton's eyes were blazing."

"Is this true?" he asked. "Is this appetizing yarn of yours true? I like high living, and what you say tempts me."
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Okay, here I go. Please note, I've changed Templeton from a rat, to a man. And I do like this enough that I intend on revising this for a manuscript at some point.
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Isabelle never dreamed it would be this easy to trap the elusive Templeton. She watched Templeton's face, greased with greed, swallowing the news he would receive a monthly allowance from her father's estate. She clenched her hands.

"This is no yarn," Isabelle said, "and it would do you well to decide quickly. My father was not a patient man when alive; nor is he in death. His will gives you until tonight to make your decision."
-HWM
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I thought it would be fun to try this writing prompt in a writing contest. Since I still have a few prize packages that need to go out in the mail, I thought I'd offer up a different sort of prize. How about a critique of the first chapter of your manuscript?

Here are the rules:
1. Contest starts today and ends Wednesday, April 30th at 11:00pm, EST.

2. The writing prompt used will be from the following sentences from Charlotte's Web

"Templeton's eyes were blazing."

"Is this true?" he asked. "Is this appetizing yarn of yours true? I like high living, and what you say tempts me."

3. What emotion are you feeling? What do you see or hear when you read these passages? Can you see an idea shaping up in your mind of characters, a time period, a scene, a plot, a story?

4. Write at least five sentences in the Comments section. If you'd like to write more, go for it, but the judging will be based only on the first five sentences.  NOTE: Your writing is your property. Edited to Add: Also, agonizing over perfect sentences is not allowed. The main thing is, from your five sentences, have you created enough interest for someone to want to read more? Just think, this may be a good start for your next manuscript.

5. If you'd like to offer up constructive critiques of other entries, even mine, please do so. Mean spirited comments will be deleted.

6. Again, the contest will end on Wednesday, April 30th at 11:00 pm, EST.

7. I will post entries in my blog on Thursday, May 1st and will let you all be a judge.

8. The Winning Prize is a critique (by me) on the first chapter of your manuscript.

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Let the entries begin. (Please, somebody join in!)


14 comments:

caryn thomas said...

Cool contest!

HipWriterMama said...

Glad you like the contest. Hope you join in!

Christine M said...

I'm in - just let me run some errands first. And, you know - think of something to write. :)

PJ Hoover said...

What a great idea!

m. thompson said...

I love your writing. I would definitely want to read on!

I just realized I'm the first entry. Yikes!



Templeton limped towards me. His cane thunked with every step. I kept close eye on the cane. Templeton was known to use it if provoked.

"Templeton," I said, "Have I ever led you astray? The announcement was made this morning. Lord Shackleton is holding a contest for his daughter's hand in marriage."

HipWriterMama said...

M. Thompson,
You're a brave soul to be the first one here. Just for that, if you'd like a critique of your first chapter, send it to my e-mail: hipwritermama at comcast dot net.

Christine M said...

Okay, I'm back - I finally finished my errands - and had a chance to think. I might have gone a little over five sentences. (sorry)

Here goes:

O’Shaughnessy tapped a cigarette on the table before lighting it. He looked around to make sure that no one else was near. “Believe me, it’s true. It’s better than the Midas touch. There are risks though.”

Templeton gave an exaggerated shrug. “What’s life without risks?”

caryn said...

Okay, here goes:

Templeton rubbed his hands together. His beady eyes flickered, watching my every move. I carried a ruby goblet, filled with a magic elixir.

"Come now," I said, "drink from this cup and you will soon see the riches before you." Templeton shook his head.

HipWriterMama said...

I love how you all created different "stories" from the writing prompt. Can you imagine if you kept writing what you could create?

Good job, Chris and Caryn!

BTW, Caryn, are you the Caryn Thomas that commented earlier?

Anonymous said...

I gasped. Marlowe clasped his hand around my mouth and pulled me further in the shadows.

"Shhh! If the Sinster Five realize we're here, we're sure to be sent to the gallows," Marlowe said, "We need to find out why they need Templeton on their side."

-Tom

Sara said...

What fun. I just like seeing the name Templeton used over and over. Stroke of genius, that name.

beth said...

--hello! I found your site from PJ Hoover's. I wrote more than 5 sentences, but.... :-)



He paused.

"But..." His eyes grazed over to the window, and the stormy sky outside. "On the other hand, eternal life may not be what I need. Perhaps..."

I grabbed his arm, jerked his attention back to me. "This, THIS is what you need!"

Templeton was already shaking his head. "Why do you want me to do this so much? Perhaps this is what YOU need."

SamRiddleburger said...

"Aw, Temp, it aint high living at all. I'm exhausted and bored and I'm sick of seeing my picture in the paper."

"Then don't go back, Brit, stay here."

"No, they'll never let me go."

And, I'll never let you go either, thought Templeton, although somewhere deeper down he knew she was already gone.

Little Willow said...

DRAT> I didn't see this post until past the deadline.