The writing conference this weekend just laid me out. I never realized how much I work alone until those days when I'm with people from 9 to 5, and I slog home (or to the hotel) and just crash and burn. A couple days of that and I'm sharksoup!
But! Back in grubby beloved NYC, and my very own coffee cart man (who doesn't even ask Large or Small? about my coffee order anymore!) and the subway crowds that don't require any interaction, and the thrum of a city that never really sleeps, and I am recovered!
On to the results.
Recognition for the Steve Forti Amazingly Deft Use of Prompt Words category
Steve Forti (of course)
“Write what you know.” That’s the advice my professor gave me. Cliché, I guess, but this guy knows of what he speaks. A real literature guru. Legend, even. At least, that’s what his syllabus said.
I tried to be unique. You know how many other students wrote Transformers erotica? None, that’s how many. But story after story, he wasn’t impressed. He’d say my work was foul, awful, rotten, etc. “Stop trying.” I thought that was just his way of motivating me. Turns out, I had missed the real delivery of his advice.
“Write? What, you? No.”
(entry listed below)
Not quite a story but I love the bracket trope here, and the play on "kill your darlings"
Recognition for breaking all the rules, albeit hilariously
John Davis (manuscript) Frain
Professor Jeff Ruhle mixed another metaphor for the bookstore. “Math Without Ruhles bombed like a cannon shot. Sold three copies. Discounted six more, so ten at total.”
Then, his discovery—writers drive the self-help bus. He could sell dozens. From Amazon to Wal-Mart.
“You’re not even trying to follow directions, are you?”
“Thought once you knew ‘em, you could break ‘em.” His true strength.
“Please put your pants on before the final member of our audience leaves. Although her fins kinda scare me.”
Word count whooshed by like a deadline.
(“Do parentheses count?” Jeff said.)
As do titles.
Not a story, and it took me awhile to figure this out. Did you?
A break the rules LETTER SCRAMBLE GAME
They lived without rules by writing their own.
Basic tenet: Nobody is as good as them, As righteous, as alloweD to exist.
The canon: identify the unwOrthy, regulate, gather.
The law: (only one) eLiminate the unfit.
They built camps and chambers and dug holes and Filled them with dreams written in dust.
Their savior? Their undoing.
An ocean away the new ones live without rules, not even their OwN.
The worthy chant the name of their beloveD savior.
The leAder smirks anD stumbLes on weak knees.
Rest in peace dreamers.
Special recognition for homage to the blog
Here are the entries of particular note:
The soup is nearly ready. At least, soup is the closest translation in the native language. I knock on the door.
“Hold on, Martin, I’m on the can.”
On the can. Disposing of bodily waste. Nettlesome, the way they regularly use language in such a way.
The human I wait for is called Harris Guster Williams, or Harry for short (their naming system is especially flawed). Unable to pronounce my proper name, Harry chose Martin due to its proximity to the name the humans give our species.
I allow this cartoonish transgression. By rule, one does not bother correcting soup.
It took me three passes to find most of these prompt words. Our Steve Forti is getting a run for his money this week.
And this entry is seriously imaginative and totally creepy.
That's a real feat in 97 words.
Gregory, old and gnarled, slumps on his porch. His lawn, overgrown with weeds and wild things, chokes the once neat path. At the gate, nettles cling, watch deserted streets. He calls out, can only hope for more survivors.
A man and woman appear, dirty, laden with packs.
"Please help! I fell."
They hesitate, the rules different now.
Gregory is desperate. "I have food, water. It's yours.
They nod, start toward him.
He watches the lawn shiver, the monsters within slither out to feed. He listens to the screams.
Gregory is spared. Again. He stands, stretches.
The rules are different now.
Honestly this creeped me out so much I could barely read it the second time.
Thank all deities foreign and domestic that I live in Brooklyn, a place with few lawns.
Of course, the more creeped out you are, the better the writing.
Susa was livid, though limited.
“Your hoor, this ma stole all my ehs. I ca’t eve say it anymore.” She punctuated her pathos with a plaintiff plea of “Please!”
Cases in the Alphabellate Court can be tricky, often turning on some obscure rule or twisted tenetcality. Susa stumbled into the latter.
“He should face a firig squad. Or a canon.”
A collective gasp sucked the air from the courtroom, and her argument. My smirk turned to face the judge.
“You see, your honor. Reg ipsa loquitur. I didn't steal them all. I borrowed a few. That's not against the lawn.”
Of course this is witty, it's Michael Seese.
It took me a minute to get the joke, which means it's terrific!
Even with all the joking around, it's still easy to understand.
True mastery is making something look easy. And Michael does.
By the tenets, rules, covenants, laws, and regulations of this confounded profession, we, his peers, do find and declare the perpetrator GUILTY as charged.
Henceforth, nowhere shall it ever again be written:
“Chuckles buttoned up his suit, painted a smile on his face, adjusted his pompoms, and, with trembling size 18 feet, climbed into the canon.”
It is our judgment, intention, and pronouncement that the sentence shall fit the crime:
Author to be shot at dawn.
Out of a cannon.
Honestly, I'd have voted for the punishment twice.
This entry just cracked me up.
As usual, I'm having a hard time picking only one of these entries to win the prize.
Let me know your choice, or if you think an entry of note got overlooked. I'll update the post with the winner tomorrow morning (along with some fresh content!)