The Alpha Omega Writing Challenge: Build a World, Break it

End of the world We’re going to keep the description of this challenge brief. We realized the last description was a little novel-esque, and you guys probably didn’t sign-up to read a novel during your writing challenge time. So here it is, short and sweet:


Create a world. Then destroy it. All in 300 words.


The recent rapture thing that was supposed to occur a few weeks ago, combined with the impending 2012 doom got us thinking about end-of-the-world stories. There are a lot of them. That got us thinking about creation myths. There are a lot of those, too.


So, we thought it’d be fun/useful to have everyone develop one of each. After all, every story has a beginning and an end, so this is, like, applicable to the greater craft of writing.


A few particulars:



  • The TOTAL word count limit is 300 words, but you don’t need to divide that count evenly between your creation and your destruction sections. Creation can be 200 words, destruction can be 100. Or, creation can be 5 words and destruction can be 295. It’s totally up to you.

  • You can create an Earth creation/destruction myth, but you don’t have to. You can do one for a puddle or an ant colony or Mars. Basically, you can define a “world” however you want, which is where a lot of the innovation in this challenge can be…innovated.


A suggestion:



  • If you’re considering an extremely violent/dark/morbid end of the world, ask yourself if doing so adds substance to your entry, or just shock value.


The deadline for the Alpha Omega challenge is 10 pm EST on June 30, 2011. As far as we know, there are no scheduled ends of the world between now and then, be we didn’t check all that carefully.


To enter the challenge, start a new chapter of The Alpha Omega Challenge. You can revise your entry anytime up until the deadline, so it never hurts to submit early and get some feedback from the WEbook writing community.


WEbook will pick six winners, award them free entry to PageToFame—our flagship writing contest—and give the ultimate winner a choice between end of world item #1 and end of world item #2


Good luck, 


—WEbook



The Steampunk Challenge Winners

Steampunk Thanks for your patience while we did the whole judgment thing. We have journeyed through lands of steamfull of airships, turbines, cogs, and robots. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for letting us tag along. No more dilly-dally, time to announce the winners.


Oh, quick dilly-dally. The Twitter Story Writing Challenge is still open and ready for your submission. Soon, another challenge will rise, but try the Twitter thing. You might like it.


WINNERS! IN BACKWARDS ORDER ENDING ON DOCTOR FANTASTIQUE'S CHOSEN ULTIMATE STEAM WINNER!


The Test by angelb35  


Why it Won: One word: movement. From the first sentence all way to the end, there’s a sense of things happening—whether it’s a noisy, bustling world of magic and steam, or the creation of a bot from the inside of Alice’s mind, this entry is on the move, and we liked where it's going. This may seem lofty, call us crazy, but you know the opening of Great Gatsby when what’s-her-face is laying on the sofa or whatever and her dress is billowing and everything in the room is alive, until someone-or-other closes the window and everything falls back to earth? This entry reminded us of that except the window never gets closed.  


The Frontier by krymsonkyng


Why it Won: Because writing good dialogue with a unique, believable voice is really hard. And krymsonkyng did it. Perfect timing, perfect rhythm. We felt like you get an actor, maybe the guy who played Mr. French in The Departed, and he could just tear this scene to pieces. Moreover, there’s a world here: a frontier, opposing forces, survival strategy, and brand-named steel horses. 


Secondary moreover (and this is a big S.M.) we don’t know if the narrator is telling the truth. Everything he’s saying might be a lie. He might be a total coward. He might have killed his friend in the frontier land. We just don’t know—but we dig that, the not knowing. 


Glittering Salvo by NyteZ


Why it Won: Mystery. There was a bigger plot going on here and we desperately wanted more details. A revolt in the city! Over what? People being partially eaten by construct monsters! Why? There seemed to be so much going on with these characters, and all of it affected them in a deep, serious way. We didn’t get all the information we wanted (500 word limit curse you!) but we got enough to fill in with our minds the rest of the story. And we liked it.


The End of Steam City by Narain


Why it Won: Because it boiled the essence of Steampunk down to the description of single man in an alley. Military discipline but no military experience, bulges that could be tools or weapons, darkness, grit, shadowy streets, and the smell of urine. But despite all this, we’re left with a sense of hope. The man is ominous but whatever he’s whispering, it seems like it might be the last bit of light in the dirty world that Narain created.


Jonah's Heart by Aftab


Why it Won: Because the writing is amazing, the story about this family was whimsical and yet touching at the same time, and because clockwork whales are awesome. It was like a Steampunk fairy tale with biblical undertones and—again—awesome clockwork whales. Great stuff. 


And, of course, the final winner, dubbed by the big DF himself


Aulus Fractus by eupolis


Congratualtions, eupolis, you are the honored winner of the Steampunk compass. Use it to navigate youself onward through life. Or as a paperweight.


Winners, you'll get your PageToFame coupons shortly. Everyone, don't forget about the Twitter Story Writing Challenge. It's out there waiting for you, just a click away.


See you next time....


WEbook



The Twitter Story Writing Challenge

Twitter-Logo For some, this challenge may seem like it's going to suck. But if you give it a shot, we're confident everyone can have a really good time, expand their literary minds, and help generate some awesome stories that we can share with the larger WEbook community. The world of possibilities is open and waiting for your submission. Some details: 


Nutshell: Write a story consisting of seven tweets.


Full Nut: Even if you hate, loath, or don't know what Twitter is, you can do this challenge. A single tweet is limited to 140 characters (including spaces). So all we're really asking you to do is write a story in seven segments of 140 characters each (or less). Why are we mixing the blue bird into the stew? Few reasons:



  • You can do cool things like add links to tweets. Links to photos or Wikipedia articles or anything else to complement the elements of your story. When you add links, it's helpful to use a shortening program like Bit.ly or tinyurl. Both of these are free to sign up for and easy to use. 

  • We can Tweet your stories and share them with all of the WEbook followers (if you didn't know, we have around 3,500 followers...kind of a big deal). This way everyone can get in on this story action, and we don't have to think of things to tweet for a while. 

  • As writers, Twitter can be a useful tool to connect with other writers, share your work, and in general open up a new section of the digital-world. So this could be a good way to dip your toe in the waters of Twitter River.


We realize this challenge might still be a little hard to understand. A little abstract. So the WEbook editorial team got together, decided to go out on a limb, and wrote our own Twitter story. This is that story. In memory of the Steampunk Challenge from last month we put a Giant Robot in it:


The Wizard and the Robot


#1


1878. The Mad Wizard of Greenwhich unleashed his Giant Robot upon London. Thousands died. More fled. We alone endure. http://bit.ly/jw9h4A


#2


The Wizard disappeared. Many searched for him. All lost. I must now leave the sheltered subway tunnels to find him. http://bit.ly/mJnR43


#3


Charred and broken buildings. Empty streets. The hollow metallic cry of the Giant Robot in the distance. I move north. http://bit.ly/kokt5E


#4


The Robot hunts me. But I am fast and smart and hard to catch. In the distance there is a tower. I am close. http://bit.ly/ig9b4s


#5


No guards, pits, or magic death-traps. Just stairs upwards. Then the Wizard. Sitting by the window and waiting. http://bit.ly/l5N11n


#6


"You're the tenth one to make it," he says. "But I can't help you kill the Robot. Go home. Forget me. Forget hope." http://bit.ly/jVrvyL


#7


This won't do. I won't give up. If the Wizard won't help then I'll find another way. A better way. The Robot must die. http://bit.ly/k05408


So there it is. That's your example. You can write about anything, though. It can be totally robot and wizard free. It can be about a girl picking out an ice-cream cone. Someone should do that one.


Word count wise, this one's a little tricky. Our word count editor will not avail you here. The best options are:


Create or use your own Twitter account, type your tweet in from there (they have a counter), and then paste it into your challenge/entry thing.Write the entry in Word, then highlight each individual "tweet," go to the Review tab, select Word Count, then align your word count so that Characters (with spaces) is equal to 140.


The deadline to enter this challenge is May 31, 2011 at 10 PM. We'll select winners and announce them on the blog as usual, but we'll also tweet a large portion (or even all) of the entries from our own Twitter account (3500+ followers) to share the literary love. Note: if you don't want us to tweet you, just write DNT (do not tweet) at the end of your entry.


To enter the challenge, head on over and start a new chapter of the Twitter Story Writing Challenge.


Feel free to tweet any questions you might have to us or write Bnaslund.


We hope you enjoy this one. Fly, you blue birds of written glory!


—WEbook



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