Hi guys! Hope you’re doing well. After taking a couple of days off after the completion of the Mahabharat Giveaway, normal service resumes with our writing contests. The number, almost imperceptibly, has grown to fourteen. And the good thing is that it seems like we’re just starting to flex our muscles. I’ve not yet received claims from all the winners of the giveaway, so if you’re one of the winners and have not written to me yet, do so soon. If I don’t hear from you before the week is out, I will give your prize to one of the other participants. All right, let’s get down to business.
The topic today is something most of you will have heard at some time or the other: characters in conflict. That is only a stylish way of saying ‘people who fight’. In our lives, we spend more time in conflict than at peace. This could be inner conflict – where we think and analyze and ponder – our outer conflict – where we argue and fight and cajole and manipulate others into thinking our way (which is, of course, the right way). The conflict could be physical or mental; it could be a minor or major. Today we will write about people in stories that are being needled in some way or the other. To get your creative juices flowing, here are some prompts.
Ideas and Prompts
Here are a list of character ideas. A retiree, an amputee boxer, a ghost, your mother, butcher, prison inmate, lingerie model, painter, a real estate agent, a TV show host, a marginally famous actor, a male model, a vampire, an alien, a newly out gay adult, a soldier, a prostitute, a mutant, a social worker, alcoholic, a prison inmate, a flight attendant, a stand up comedian, a psychiatric ward patient, your best friend, a vampire, a homeless child, space station resident, a terminally ill patient. Now the idea is that you pick any two of the above list and write a scene involving them both. Ideally you will have some conflict between the two people, and it will be either physical or emotional, internal or external. Here are a few ideas of conflict: 1. A real estate agent trying to sell a house which people think is haunted by a ghost. 2. A terminally ill patient meets a stand up comic. 3. A wrongfully accused prison inmate has a conversation with a corrupt social worker. Another way of writing this is to use the ‘becomes’ word. So you’re essentially writing the story of a single person who has two or more of the above characteristics. Here are a few examples: 1. A real estate agent dies and becomes a ghost, haunting the house he wanted to sell. (Clearly I’m caught up with real estate agents.) 2. A stand up comic becomes a terminally ill patient. (Or: a terminally ill patient becomes a stand up comic.) 3. A prostitute becomes your best friend. (Or: your best friend becomes a prostitute.) As you can see, there are quite a few ways in which scenarios could be spun out of the above prompts. These specific prompts were given out by a host at one of our Write Club sessions a couple of weeks back, and we all had a lot of fun going to town with them. I’m sure you will enjoy them too.
As always, you can write in any form that you’re comfortable with, be it fiction, nonfiction, memoir or poem. The only ‘rule’ is that you use two of the prompts in the list to spin a story that the rest of us would enjoy reading. The word limit is 500 words.
How do you enter the contest?
1. Join the email list by clicking on the button below. All you need to do is enter your first name and email address. Being on the list will enable me to contact you to notify you if you win, and of future contests, not to mention some great giveaways and offers I keep running. Also, I send out an email every fortnight sharing content about reading and writing. It’s a lot of fun! 2. Leave a comment to this post with your entry. 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. If this is your first time here and you’re wondering how this whole thing works, please take a look at Contest 13 and Contest 12 for an idea.
What’s the prize?
The best two entries of the contest will be given Flipkart vouchers of 500 rupees each. It looks like this: No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).
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.
1. The closing date for comments/entries is Thursday, the 26th of March, 2015. The winner will be announced on Sunday, the 29th of March, 2015. (Allow a day or two as ‘grace period’ in case there are too many entries.) 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. Images Courtesy: 1, 2, 3