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edited July 2011 in Writing
Lily remarked on the drop in entries for ONE WORD CHALLENGE. I think we have all noticed this.
I think there have been about 41. I’ve entered about 35. [I mention this as a cv - credentials, if you like - for posting this]

When it first began - A brilliant idea from JAY - it was a new thing and there was a novelty value. Perhaps new members just see it as a permanently pinned thread and never get round to thinking about it.

It really is a good exercise which helps to cut out wordiness, it forces the writer to imparted pictures/stories by implying them with a few words, a phrase, and/or with dialogue.
It concentrates the mind on the mechanics of prose.
It forces you to cut cut cut. What one writes is sometimes a revelation and gives ideas for other, bigger stories.

I really recommend this exercise for those Newbies [and Oldies!] who haven’t tried it.



  • May I second Bill's commendation?

    Not a regular participant, due to demands of that 'other' world which provides means of paying for life's needs, does not diminish enjoyment of the challenge. That's the reading of everyone else's interpretation, opinion of judges plus mentally writing an entry even when opportunity fails to allow posting in that month.

    Fact that each month provides different judges, therefore inconsistent preferences, ensures equal chance of everyone gaining selection.
  • I've had a go a few times. It's fun and would be great for anyone who is feeling stuck for something to write about.
  • Another point of value is that you know your work is being read by fellow-writers. I'm a long way behind many of you, so I welcomed the honest feed-back to my first entry.
    Many of us are entering comps which involve sending our work out into the great blue yonder, never to be heard of again, so this sort of peer-group judging is great. When someone takes the time to make a comment on your work, even if you aren't going to win, it's worth its weight in gold.
    The Challenge is not just a little local competition, but a really useful exercise for all of us.
  • I do usually enter, although my writing hasn't been flowing as much as I'd have liked this year, what with personal reasons and my AS exams getting in the way. It doesn't help that I'm struggling to get back into writing, but I will endeavour to get back into it...in case anyone noticed...
  • I'm sorry to say I have only entered a few times. I know it's a sticky thread but whenever I log on I scroll down past it and read the threads that interest me. This month I am entering, just watch me!
  • I have only entered a few times, but do enjoy it. I like to read all the other stories and poems even if I do not put any thing in myself.
  • I haven't entered yet, but it is on my 'to do' list. Yes, having peer group judging is really useful, if a little daunting, but all good experience. I will enter one very soon.
  • It's been a while since I entered and every month I intend to but never get round to it. So I'll try to take part.
  • As someone else who has entered quite a lot of these, I endorse Bill's comments entirely - except just to say that many of the regular contributors to other categories (no names, no paracetamol :)) don't exactly fall over themselves to enter either.
    Jay's original idea has to be applauded and is unquestionably an excellent writerly (dreadful word) exercise. You don't have to win. Merely getting a comment, as I did this month, suggesting the judge practically fell off her chair laughing (in the right way of course :)), is a huge turn on in itself.
  • I do always at least make an attempt to participate, but sometimes the 'one word' just doesn't appeal to me. I know, I know...as a 'supposed' writer, that should prove no barrier to inspiration, but for me it does. Picking the perfect word isn't something that's always easy to do, but I think you'll find that when the 'one word' is something that has a wider variety of meanings and interpretations, it's usually a month where you'll find a glut of submissions. I'm not so sure that interest has waned in this monthly competiton because of familiarity and boredom, Bill, or that the one word is sometimes more of a difficult one to conjure an image around. In my case (or should I say, my excuse) it's definitely the latter.
  • Read this thread with interest - and agree with everything Bill says in his opening post.
    I don't know how many Challenges I've entered - but certainly a good few. As someone who has always struggled with fiction writing and had basically written it off (excuse the pun), I discovered that writing flash fiction is something I not only can do, but thoroughly enjoy attempting.
    I've taken on board what IG said about picking a good word (gulp!) and will bear this in mind when the time comes.
    Meantime - especially for those of you who haven't tried the Challenge yet - give it a go because, like me, you may be in for a very pleasant surprise! :)
  • Just a thought - might it help if it weren't sticky?
    Quite often, it seems, sticky threads tend to have the opposite effect to what is intended and are skipped over to get to the "real" content. Waddya reckon?
  • Nope. I like the idea that it's always a sticky. At least I know where to find it. It's handy to have it at the top of the page - please don't move it.
  • edited July 2011
    Trouble is, Webbo, these threads move pretty quickly, and if people have to wade too much the announcement could get overlooked altogether. I think the sticky is the best option really.
  • I'd prefer to leave it as a sticky. Jay invariably mentions the Challenge to new members, so even our newbies know about it. We maybe just need to remind everyone about it periodically, as hopefully this thread is doing.
  • I think it is best left as a sticky. It's easy to find and won't get lost among the other threads. I will try to make a real effort to enter this month.
  • It gets the juices flowing-even if there's no 'time' to write anything else :)
    I like the fact it's a 'sticky' too so I don't have to trawl around looking for it...
  • I have only been here a for a fortnight I had a try
    I enjoyed reading the entries and wished there had been more
    I would like to say thankyou to Bill for his comment :D
    What I put in was an odd entry but it made me laugh and I hope
    others did too.
    I will improve with time,but Im still going to enter again
    Sorry but I am.Looking forward to the next one
    Please dont change it from a sticky I will never find it.
  • [quote=francis]Sorry but I am.Looking forward to the next one[/quote]

    Good to hear it, francis. Flash fiction is one of the best ways to hone your writing to a finer art.
  • No problem, I just thought I'd suggest it!
  • I'm sorry, I'm guilty. I don't give it priority and then another month slips by. It is such a good initiative that it deserves my support.
  • [quote=Webbo]Just a thought - might it help if it weren't sticky?
    Quite often, it seems, sticky threads tend to have the opposite effect to what is intended and are skipped over to get to the "real" content. Waddya reckon? [/quote]

    Please leave it sticky, Webbo. I have enough trouble finding my way downstairs in the morning let alone threads I have mislaid.

    I'm guilty too. I would like to enter it every month but if the suggested word doesn't inspire me in the first few days, I give up very easily, and actually I inherited our Big Family Problem: we give up too easily.

    Must try harder.
  • I think it's a great thing and appreciate the peer comments. it means a lot. Didn't get a chance to do one this month as I was sickly; which was annoying as I'd worked out what I wanted to say. Hope we're going to carry on.
  • I'm very guilty. I look sometimes, but often, as IG says, the word doesn't spark anything, and it has to be appropriate, or workable into an animal poem as that's what I'm having to write at the minute! It depends on how I'm feeling really, sometimes I don't have the energy. Which was the case this month, I loved the word. I didn't have the energy to read the entries either, so didn't.

    I think that as with all things it will go in waves, sometimes lots of people will do it, sometimes just a few. I don't think we should feel guilty one way or the other - it's something we can take part in if we want to, and sometimes it's nice to have a reminder that it's there, but to be honest, I always know it's there, I choose not to go in.

    When I'm feeling good then I really enjoy doing it.
  • I think the dip's probably a consequence of all the other stuff (comps, challenges, blogs, ezines, etc.) going on on the internet. So many options are spreading us thinner. I'll have a nosey this month, 'n' see if the word inspires...
  • edited July 2011
    ... good intentions, peeps? :)
  • I find that it is a mixture of things, the word doesn't inspire me (as already said) or I can't get the idea to formulate. I have to admit I do feel inadequate when I see other TB's writing, plus what I tend to be inspired to write usually doesn't work well in something this short. (But that's my inadequacies nothing else.)
    And yes time runs away with me and suddenly there's only a few hours left and my writing brain doesn't work that quick.
  • I hope this thread wont end.
    It realy helps me to think about putting words together.
    Its a treat to read the wonderful entries, how it should be done.
  • I always have a look to see if any new entries added when I log in on here and read them with interest. I like the mixture we get .
  • Here are a few ideas:

  • Come on you lot!
    This thread seemed to inspire more contributions to the July challenge... don't let August slip away...
  • I have been working on mine, honest :) in fact AM still working on it
  • I'm guilty too. I haven't entered for a while. Bill is right. It's fun and a briliant writing exercise. I've entered this month and will try to do better in future.
  • Too busy this month- school clothes, holiday and a competition deadline.
  • Done mine for August-I've said it before but I just find the effort of 200 words based on a one word starter really sparks my juices-great idea :)
  • It's,a great competition, but when one is trying to concentrate on 'THE GREAT WORK' and has Swanwick in the middle of the month, plus grandchildren to stay, there's no chance. I come on here mainly for R & R with other writers. I have entered and got nice good feedback before but don't seem to have the time at the moment. When not writing i am trying to improve the house and find homes for the stuff I have got from my mum's flat
  • edited August 2011
    That's understandable Lolli.
    Hopefully other TB's understand that sometimes our non-writing lives can take priority, as does a work in progress if you have limited time.
  • What amazes me is the quality and variety. Part of me hopes I never win because I really don't know how on earth to pick a winner. They're so diverse and yet all good. Thiink if I ever had the honour of judging I'd be pulling a name out of a hat.
  • edited August 2011
    Great thread and a nice reminder to all. Of course everybody can't enter every month but it's nice that people are regular with contributions. I remember feeling too daunted to post on there when I first joined here. So I can understand newbies worrying. Maybe a new member category would be nice, maybe every three months for those who have joined and not entered yet or those who have never entered. People could vote through whisper to an elected rep, (Jay?) and the winner chosen.

    I understand about sticky. They become invisible so I see Webbo's point. However it is the best method for a recurring competition like this. Maybe without the STICKY label and possibly COMPETITION label instead.

    Right I'm off to see if I can put something together before the deadline.
  • I think Tony's suggestion for a new member category, or summat along those lines for us shy writers, is a good idea.
  • Shy? :D:
  • I remember the first one I entered Jay was the judge and whispered all the mistakes I made( it was a long list). But it didnt put me off. I still make mistakes, but enjoy having a go. I read them all as well every month. I find them amazing most of the time and have been moved to tears by some then had a good laugh at others. Please keep them coming and yes it is understandable that some cant always find the time to enter due to other things going on in their lives.
  • [quote=francis]Shy?[/quote]

    Oooh I loikes a good coconut bashing I does.
  • I had my mistakes pointed out too by bertibear in O.W.C, and some helpful advice. I am always greatful for any constructive comments. Jay was very kind to point out my spelling mistakes,in the threads and was very discreet. Whisper is a wonderful tool.
  • [quote=francis]Whisper is a wonderful tool. [/quote]

    yes, as is Carol's thread about vibrating devices.
  • When I signed into this web page the first thing I was drawn to was the O.W.C. the only entry at the time was Jays. I kept peeping in as the days went by and decided to have a go. If this had been marked up as a competition I would never had entered anything, the only poetry I have ever writen was at school and that was only the once. The first poem I enterd here was the snow man with his blue hat that was a bit of re-writing of that same poem. There are many talented people entering the O.W.C. and to think of it as a competition from a beginers point of view would have been far to intimidating. It was lovely to have a mention last month. Thats a big boost for me. Its along long time since I left school. I am now going to have a look at the above thread.
  • [quote=Carol]Hopefully other TB's understand that sometimes our non-writing lives can take priority, as does a work in progress if you have limited time. [/quote]
    Oh so true, majority of "us" suffer that continual struggle.
    Hence therapy of escaping to this haven being so refreshing.

    However Carol,
    I'm sure Talkbackers would not complain if you took a rest from scouring so many sources and posting links, just a couple of days each month, to share a piece of actual writing. That one item you posted from your past provided a most enlightening read.

    Beauty of the One Word Challenge is everyone having equal chance of recognition.
    Personally, I do not consider it a competition but more a chance to share ideas. Making mistakes is much 'safer' in company of fellow enthusiasts.
  • [quote=dora]I think Tony's suggestion for a new member category, or summat along those lines for us shy writers, is a good idea.[/quote]

    I can't really understand the point of having a separate competition for 'shy' or new members. Shy writers would still be posting their work for everyone to see and new members aren't necessarily new writers.

    Let's face it - as soon as we start submitting our writing - whether it's for a short story competition or pitching an article to a magazine editor - we all know we're going head to head with other writers who are probably more experienced and/or talented. But if we want to be published writers, we have to do it, don't we?

    With the OWC I’ve always enjoyed pitting myself against some formidable talkback talent. I’m very aware that my efforts often aren’t as good as other entries, but that has never deterred me. Winning is a huge buzz, but I’m more interested in the challenge of crafting a story in just 200 words. And – or course - to (hopefully) entertain my fellow tbers.

    [quote=Jan]Beauty of the One Word Challenge is everyone having equal chance of recognition.
    Personally, I do not consider it a competition but more a chance to share ideas. Making mistakes is much 'safer' in company of fellow enthusiasts.[/quote]

    Exactly! :)
  • We're already half-way through September, and there are only 4 stories and 2 poems. Come on, peeps!
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