Your opinion on writing challeges

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Your opinion on writing challeges

Postby Dumbledork » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:38 am

I just started reading a story where over half of the first chapter lists all the ridiculous stipulations that had been fixed for that particular challenge. Honestly, what's the point of that? Why don't you just write what you want to and the way you want to? Why follow instructions?

In my opinion challenges are made by people who can't be bothered to write themselves what they want to read. I mean challenges with 2-3 stipulations are okay, but 20 or more speculations? Come on.

What's your opinion?
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Re: Your opinion on writing challeges

Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:41 am

I took up a writing challenge one time, to assemble my three-entity "dream team" from anime and manga. There were various levels of challenge they might have to meet, and I picked the easiest. The challenger told me I'd failed the challenge, an outcry arose, and another judge ruled I had successfully met it. Haven't tried a challenge since. I'm rather fond of the story/scenario. And I combined elements of all three challenges. What the hey - here it is!


The Easy Challenge:

A few weeks before your team shows up, news reports start coming out of a remote part of the world about a person who can work miracles (heal the lame and infirm, feed multidutes, make U.S. beer drinkable, etc.). This person has started to attract a small-but-fierce group of worshippers who would do anything to protect him.

The day after your team arrives, this miracle-worker turns up on your doorstep, asking you to hide him. He never claimed to be a god, and just wants to be left alone. However, the lead item on the evening news is an interview with the cult's leader, where he swears "vengeance and death upon the infidels who have stolen our messiah away from us", and announces that the cult has managed to get their hands on some Soviet-era weapons - he doesn't say whether that's a crate of AK-47s or a nuke.

The mission is to get all three members of your team to agree on a single course of action to deal with the situation, and quickly – you don't want the fanatics to start a shooting-war.
Good luck to you, brave soldiers.


I'd like to try Team Versatility for the easy challenge, please:

Saotome Ranma, from a period where he's relatively comfortable with his curse and quite capable of using kawaii when necessary.

Ryo-Oh-Ki from near the end of the first Tenchi OVA.

Ba-chan from I My Me! Strawberry Eggs, with her motorcycle mecha.


Team Versatility is staying at my place – we have a daybed for Ba-chan, Ranma is used to sleeping on the floor, Ryo-oh-ki can probably find a few good places to hang out. Ba-chan, having heard of Ranma’s problem with cats, has outfitted Ryo-oh-ki with a decorative voice-modulator collar so she sounds like a squirrel or whatever – anything but a cat. That, with the long ears and puffball tail, should keep Ranma safe from even the fringes of the Neko-ken. Since we once were SCA, we can handle strange visitors from another reality crashing about the house.

Miracle-workers are another matter, but after he convinces us he’s not a Jehovah’s Witness, we let him in. His name, for the sake of convenience, is Q.

Ba-chan takes charge after hearing Q’s story. While her past is a mystery, it seems likely she was some kind of secret agent, who still dabbles in such matters as entertainment in her retirement. This kind of situation is something she’s used to.

With a miracle-worker on tap, there’s no problem enlisting Ranma and Ryo-oh-ki. The cabbit is seduced by enough carrots to feed the multitudes, while Ranma is willing to go along after being told that in the future, he will miraculously be able to eat and enjoy Akane’s cooking. (We won’t touch the major plot element of the curse.)

Combining newspaper, television and internet data with ground-truth from the miracle worker, Ba-chan knows the likely locations of both cult and weapons. Ryo-oh-ki, in spaceship form, can use her sensors to pin things down precisely. (Ranma, Ba-chan and Q are aboard.)

Ryo-oh-ki beams Ranma-kun into the camp of the cult, and Q does a minor miracle to convince the cultists that not only has Ranma been there all along, he is one of the boldest and strongest of believers among them – a true Man among Men.

Ryo-oh-ki then sets Q and Ba-chan down unobtrusively outside of camp, and transforms back to a cabbit. Q gives Ba-chan a set of formal robes befitting an ancient and noble Elder. They go into the camp of the cult, with Ryo-oh-ki sitting on Ba-chan’s shoulder. Q proclaims he is back with important news, and calls the cult members together for a great feast.

The great feast is held. Multitudes are fed, and American beer flows freely to the delight of all. At the climax of the feast, Q stands up to speak; and miraculously, all are able to hear and see him well. Ba-chan is at his side, with a kawaii cabbit on her shoulder. Ranma-kun is in the midst of the crowd, piles of used dishes before him; his neighbors stare at him in awe of the heroic eating they have seen.

“I have been away from you,” he begins, “conferring with the Elder Lulu of the distant planet Joketsuzoku. They have a great famine there, and pestilence as well. Their stores of unobtanium are depleted, and terrible threads fall from the skies. Earth, with all its problems, is a Paradise next to their plight. I must go to save them.

“But I cannot forget the time I have spent in your glorious company, and so I would take one of you with me to be my companion in this mission. Saotome Ranma, come forth!”

Ranma arrives at the head table, and stands proudly with Q and Ba-chan.

“Carry out my mission as best you can,” Q continues. “Feed the poor, and comfort the sick; and try to convince American brewers to do a better job. And now,” (he holds a large glass of cold beer aloft; it transforms into the purest and clearest of sparkling waters) “I shall perform my last miracle among you. Saotome Ranma, you shall be my closest of companions.” (He pours water over Ranma.) “You shall be my most favored concubine.”

Ranma-chan moulds herself against Q’s side, and gives the cult a kawaii flutter of the eyelashes. Ba-chan throws Ryo-oh-ki into the air, where she changes to her spaceship form. She beams Q, Ranma, and Ba-chan aboard and leaves, heading straight up. The cultists stare at the place where Q and Ranma had been, then at one another. As one, the men place their hands in such a way as to protect their manhoods.

Once out of sight, Ryo-oh-ki heads in a leisurely manner towards my place. During the trip, Ba-chan advises Q to go to the Mayo Clinic (where some miracles are expected, and there’s a team used to dealing with them) and confine his endeavours to healing the sick.

As they land, Ba-chan notices her motorcycle is gone. In the distance we hear a scream of surprise as a motorcycle thief pushes the wrong button and it turns into a mecha, followd by metallic crashings as he proves he doesn’t know how to drive a mecha. Ba-chan departs in that direction in a great rush, waving her revolver, while Ranma-chan holds the back of her head with one hand and Ryo-oh-ki mews enticingly at Q, hoping for more carrots. (During all those transformations, the voice modulator has been lost.)

“C .. c … c … CAT!” Ranma-chan shrieks as she hears the “mew”, and runs wildly into the distance. Q creates carrots. Ryo-oh-ki eats carrots. I go inside, and catch up on my reading. The world saved, things return to normal.
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Re: Your opinion on writing challeges

Postby ckosacranoid » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:47 pm

that is funny and short and very evil on the poor cult..but amusing to have a dude transform into a girl and freak out everyone.
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Re: Your opinion on writing challeges

Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:19 pm

I wanted to do an effective scenario. The challenge, however, was to convince the team to work together. Ba-chan is an inveterate meddler. Ryo-oh-ki will do a lot for carrots. If you're going to bribe Ranma with anything (besides a cure for hir curse) food comes high on the list. Add in the chance to thwart fanatics before they even start, and Ranma's on board.
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Re: Your opinion on writing challeges

Postby Spica75 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:38 pm

In my opinion challenges are made by people who can't be bothered to write themselves what they want to read. I mean challenges with 2-3 stipulations are okay, but 20 or more speculations? Come on.

What's your opinion?

Use challenges as a base for whatever you want to write, don't try to stick to it slavishly unless you can do so without sacrificing quality(or writing at all).

And no, a lot of people make challenges when they start writing something they think is a good/cool/interesting idea, or when they think of said idea but are perfectly aware that THEY can't really write it, or at least not do justice to it.
I've done the first myself, but then only managed to write a short beginning, and so never posted it.

Yes, there's also a bundle of challenges that is little more than pretentious crap, but i've seen plenty of those end up with good replies, so even they have value. But, use the base stipulations as the foundation, then treat the rest with a "plausibility/good idea" filter, because a lot of stipulations tacked on after the basic premise tend to be anywhere from stupid to hilarious(both good and bad).

And i couldn't care less if whoever wrote the challenge thinks i was successful in meeting it or not. If it gets me inspired into writing a good story, GREAT! If not, well then i'd rather not write it anyway.
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Re: Your opinion on writing challeges

Postby Crescent Pulsar S » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:18 pm

Chances are I don't know the person issuing the challenge, and thus whether it's to take advantage of me or not, so I'm content with simply challenging myself. At least that way I can ensure that I write something I like enough to balance out whatever downsides there happen to be with the challenge aspect of it.
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Re: Your opinion on writing challeges

Postby AxelTheBunny » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:47 pm

I have a bit of a neutral opinion on challenges in general. I dont necessarily dislike them, but i agree stipulations get out of hand, especially when these stipulations are just rules made obviously just to suit the individual taste.

I do challenges from people i know on occasion but they are usually more vague suggestions. Hell one of my stories Ancient Oath was literally started by me being challenged to write a story with a Gos/Ranma pairing without outright brainwashing Ranma or having the character act completely out of character. Which i then combined with another concept id had in my mind...I really need to get back to that story...

I see alot of challenges especially with Ranma involved where there a stipulations like : "Ranma can't be locked as a girl/spend a large amount of time as a girl" and "Ranma needs to be paired with X" As well as ones where it outright states Ranma can't be paired with male characters." And it makes me wonder where the challenge is supposed to be? I understand if these points are to make the story more of a challenge but when they have nothing to do with the initial idea of the challenge it just makes me scratch my head.
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