This contest is CLOSED. Last date for entries was Wednesday, 29 October, 2014. The winner will be announced on Sunday, 02 November, 2014.
Welcome to Contest 7. The theme of this fortnight is Doppelgangers.
In fiction and folklore, doppelgangers have always held a prominent place. A doppelganger is a look-alike or a ‘double’ of a living person who generally brings bad luck. Seeing one’s own doppelganger is said to be an omen of death. The great poet Percy Bryce Shelley is supposed to have seen his doppelganger as an apparition in Italy, floating in the air and silently pointing out to the Mediterranean Sea. Not long after, Shelley drowned in a sailing accident, not yet thirty.
Here are a few more ‘true’ stories concerning Doppelgangers.
Doppelgangers are often used as a device to examine duality. Good and bad, day and night, black and white. One of the lookalikes takes one side, and the second one takes the other. This is also called the evil twin trope in fiction and television.
The main idea is that our writing this fortnight should revolve around this theme of doppelgangers. Whether you link it to duality or not is up to you, but your piece should have a ‘double trouble’ effect. Here are a few ideas:
1. How about writing a scene in which you meet a version of yourself out of the future? You can make this a year, five years, or take it all the way to the edge of your deathbed. If writing about yourself is uncomfortably close, make up a character who meets himself on his deathbed. What is the conversation going to be like? Here’s a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti called How they Met Themselves.
2. You could write an atmospheric piece akin to Shelley’s meeting with his doppelganger, which portends his death. Your character could encounter a similar angel of death waiting for him, and without speaking it gives him the message he doesn’t yet understand. This piece will be rich in symbolism and imagery.
3. How about a funny story in which the doppelganger turns out to be the original and the original is fake?
4. Can you retell some of our mythology’s famous stories using a doppelganger?
5. Or you could use the word doppelganger as a metaphor for – well, anything, really, as long as it makes sense.
So as they say, the world is your oyster, but as ever, the word limit is 300 words.
How do you enter the contest?
It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.
What’s the prize?
A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 500 Indian rupees. It looks like this.
No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).
In addition, every valid entry to the contest will go into a dip, and one totally random lucky winner will win a copy of Madhavi Mahadevan’s delightful collection of short stories. Coincidentally (or not), the book also is titled: Doppelganger. Click on the image below to open the larger version. And here is a link to the book’s Flipkart page.
How is the winner selected?
Each comment will be rated on three things:
1. Clarity: We should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.
2. Personal Touch: We’re interested in getting to know you better. So go for depth, specificity and honesty. In narrative pieces, the deeper you take us with you into the scene, the better it is.
3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.
The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.
A Quick Note
Even if you’re not confident about the ‘quality’ of your writing, please participate. One of the great joys of running a community-style writing group like this is to behold the variety of ideas that come out. So give voice to your thoughts. Tell us your stories. It doesn’t matter how well or badly you (think you) write.
1. The closing date for comments/entries is Wednesday, the 29th of October, 2014. The winner will be announced on Friday, the 31st of October, 2014.
2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.
3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.
4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.
Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. You can share it with just a click on the sharing buttons below.
See you in the comments!