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[Writing Contest] - THE ARENA

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    So is there room on the ring for another challenger ? Haven't written in a while and would love to have another go haha


  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    Daemos wrote: »
    Looks like alfa beta retains the title

    Well done, it's a good story and very true to how quickly children grow up :)

    phew - close call there - 5 v 4

    like your writing by the way - definitely could have gone either way


  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    FudgeBrace wrote: »
    So is there room on the ring for another challenger ? Haven't written in a while and would love to have another go haha

    away this weekend fudgebrace - not gonna get a moment to myself!

    how about you throw up a topic sometime Monday?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,645 ✭✭✭Daemos


    alfa beta wrote: »
    phew - close call there - 5 v 4

    like your writing by the way - definitely could have gone either way
    Thanks :)

    It was a very astute observation by echo beach that it read like an introduction, because it is actually an abbreviated version of a story I think I could turn into a full novel with more effort and better writing. A work in progress, for sure


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭echo beach


    Daemos wrote: »
    It was a very astute observation by echo beach that it read like an introduction, because it is actually an abbreviated version of a story I think I could turn into a full novel with more effort and better writing. A work in progress, for sure

    There is nothing wrong with the quality of the writing. I don't think that was what lost it for you so don't feel you have to make any major changes in style. I would certainly be keen to read more so be sure to let us know how it progresses.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    alfa beta wrote: »
    away this weekend fudgebrace - not gonna get a moment to myself!

    how about you throw up a topic sometime Monday?

    Perfect! I'll see u then so !


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass


    Late again - soz.

    I picked Alfa Beta, I loved the first person narrative and his little turns of phrase, made him a real person. I could picture him in my head working away in his little shed - totally agree with Echo Beach about Daemos's story not really going anywhere. It was a great observation though and very well written.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass


    Remote control? You've got to be kidding me. Great story, and nicely done colloquialisms; it got my vote.



    The Singularity? You've got to be kidding me. Nice story, but the speaker must have had Elastic Indian Rubber Eyes* to reach the back of the bus to see what the text maniac wrote.



    Mawkishness? You've got to be kidding me. I'm a pretty sensitive chap, so why did you say that? I wasn't even in the contest! Oh, and the name's Epstein . . . Brian Epstein


    PS: Happy Summer Solstice, everyone! Today, we go phishing in the rivers of light.

    *yes, I know "elastic" was not required, and possibly redundant, but it made a nice acronym.

    Loved your review!


  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    Okay so ill throw up a them now and whenever your ready we can begin?
    The theme is "escape"


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭Das Kitty


    Are yiz going to stick to the 600 word limit? It's part of the craic of the arena, IMO, the panicky paring out of paragraphs and sentences. :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    Ah sure why not


  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    alfa beta, are you up for it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass


    Das Kitty wrote: »
    Are yiz going to stick to the 600 word limit? It's part of the craic of the arena, IMO, the panicky paring out of paragraphs and sentences. :)

    I'm not a fan of the 600 word limit. I just want to read good stories - I think so long as you don't go mad (hitting 1000 words) you should just try and write the best short story you can in the 24hrs.

    When I was writing arena stories I sometimes felt I lost a little something in the editing down to try and fit the word limit.

    Of course the rules are set so if people want to enforce them then there's not much point in me complaining. :D


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭Das Kitty


    hcass wrote: »
    I'm not a fan of the 600 word limit. I just want to read good stories - I think so long as you don't go mad (hitting 1000 words) you should just try and write the best short story you can in the 24hrs.

    When I was writing arena stories I sometimes felt I lost a little something in the editing down to try and fit the word limit.

    Of course the rules are set so if people want to enforce them then there's not much point in me complaining. :D

    Most writing competitions have word limits. It's a good skill to master, IMO. The arena was always supposed to be quick fire short short stories so anyone could feel like they could have a go without needing to commit too much of the 24 hours to writing/editing.

    The VOATs are longer (normally).


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Politics Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 81,310 CMod ✭✭✭✭coffee_cake


    I think raising it to 600 words was already enough for what's supposed to be flash fiction.
    1000 words is too high and brings it into another genre. The VOAT are the short story runs.

    Being succinct when telling a story and paring things down is a skill and makes it more interesting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    tbh i find it hard to tell a story in under 5k

    i agree with hcass - sometimes editing down stuff for the arena is painful coz you feel you're cutting out those really nice lines with the really nice nuances etc... (actually hcass over the w/e I went back and read some of your earlier stories....like the young fella meeting the girlfriend's parents ....WOW.... absolutely brilliant....I loved it, love your writing, it's sooooo good. I hope you're published and stuff, coz you deserve to be...ok nuff compliments)

    but hey if 600 words is part of the game - then this time round I'm going for absolute max of 600 words...(jaysus, three good sentences and I'll be finished!!)

    sorry for the delay fudgy btw - crashed me motor into a wall today and ended up in all sortsa ****e with various authoritorial figures.....great fun.....wasn't even my fault - bloody dog ran out in front of me and I tried to avoid it....nearly ended up hitting a kid instead...and of course his mum is all up in arms and stuff and I'm in the **** and the bloke who's dog is running about without a lead or nothin is outta the picture in a shot....

    anyway, few glasses of wine now and i've calmed down a bit - still - v unnerving....

    right - 600 words - escape - here we go.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 448 ✭✭Agent Weebley


    Absolutely fantastic story, alfa beta - especially the "wine" bit towards the end. And only 231 words!

    I just love running from the cops stories.


  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    dearest weebly

    how can i put this?

    it wasn't a story.

    it was merely a post.

    You know what though, you're a curious sort of a chap. Annoyingly elusive yet intriguingly captivating at the same time.

    Very good taste in automobiles too I have to say.

    I noticed recently how you referred to a one 77 - a rather lovely piece of automotive engineering by none other than a previous employer of mine....in a purely literary way of course.

    Perhaps one day both nerfy and i will be lucky enough to own such a thing of beauty, power and soul (that's something the marketing department came up with - pretty **** if you ask me, but hey, that's what marketing is all about)

    Notice how i haven't used a single link. It's a habit you should try to adopt.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭Das Kitty


    Jeez, a_b, hope you're okay. Sounds absolutely terrifying.


  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    That's awful hope your okay take your time with the story then :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    i'm fine mate - i'll have something up here by tomorrow morning latest - just gotta pop over to the motors forum first and see if anyone can recommend a good panel beater!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    We could push the deadline to tomorrow morning say 11 or 12ish if you like? All the same to me do I don't mind


  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    11's fine with me - i'll be scribbling my attempt tonight in any case


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭echo beach


    alfa beta wrote: »
    dearest weebly

    how can i put this?

    it wasn't a story.

    it was merely a post.

    It WAS a story, and a good one, in a post. Sorry that it had to come from personal experience rather than fiction. Hope you are none the worse for it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭hcass


    alfa beta wrote: »
    tbh i find it hard to tell a story in under 5k

    i agree with hcass - sometimes editing down stuff for the arena is painful coz you feel you're cutting out those really nice lines with the really nice nuances etc... (actually hcass over the w/e I went back and read some of your earlier stories....like the young fella meeting the girlfriend's parents ....WOW.... absolutely brilliant....I loved it, love your writing, it's sooooo good. I hope you're published and stuff, coz you deserve to be...ok nuff compliments)

    but hey if 600 words is part of the game - then this time round I'm going for absolute max of 600 words...(jaysus, three good sentences and I'll be finished!!)

    sorry for the delay fudgy btw - crashed me motor into a wall today and ended up in all sortsa ****e with various authoritorial figures.....great fun.....wasn't even my fault - bloody dog ran out in front of me and I tried to avoid it....nearly ended up hitting a kid instead...and of course his mum is all up in arms and stuff and I'm in the **** and the bloke who's dog is running about without a lead or nothin is outta the picture in a shot....

    anyway, few glasses of wine now and i've calmed down a bit - still - v unnerving....

    right - 600 words - escape - here we go.....

    Made. My. Day. :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,645 ✭✭✭Daemos


    hcass wrote: »
    Made. My. Day. :D
    I think there are secret codes hidden in the messages that make sense to those who know it, but to us ignorant outsiders it looks like... well... what it looks like :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    hey fudgebrace

    sorry - just been called out on an urgent job - which means I won't be able to post my story til about 12 - I'll get it up as soon as I'm back but it might be a tad late

    folks - if that means disqualification then so be it - but hopefully an hour or so extra will be ok as I'm not gonna be near my computer at the agreed deadline - completely unexpected job too.

    hopefully you're ok with that - I'll post the old story in any case just so you can all read it!


  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    12 is fine an hour won't annoy anyone


  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭FudgeBrace


    Just thought Id put mine up now since Im finished :)


    Ok, let’s see. Toast; check. Tea; check. Jam, butter, orange juice? Check. All ready. The breakfast lies on a small table, waiting to be delivered to mum.

    So why am I still in the kitchen? I give the table a long hard stare and a lightbulb goes off.
    Scrambled eggs! I knew I was forgetting something. I take two eggs from the fridge, crack them open and stir it in the pot until it’s done. I tip it onto a plate and set it beside the tea.

    I still don’t want to go up.
    I just don’t know what to expect. Will she be angry, upset, completely indifferent?
    I try to think positive, that she will be mum again, that she will recognize me and not mistake me for her friend or even her own mum. Christ, it’s so unfair. Why her?

    Down the hall. Up the stairs. I push the door to her room with my hips, and set the table down over her. I brace myself for her to shout, to cry, to say nothing and ignore the whole world like it deserves it. But she doesn’t do any of those things. Instead, she speaks.
    “Thanks a million, pet. Did you sleep well?”
    For a moment I am too shocked to reply. I nod, trying to shake away the pointless hope rising up in me like a balloon. “Yes, I slept just fine, mum,” I say, propping up her pillows.

    She slams her tea on the table, some of it spilling over. I wince and reach for a tissue but she hits out with her hand. I am too afraid to look at her face. I know what it will be. A mask of hatred, of disgust. Of the pain of being constantly confused. I lift my head and see her features contort into a display of ... of hurt.

    “I’m not your mum, and your not my daughter! My daughter is in school right now, I don’t know who you are.”
    I feel it like a hammer to my heart. My own mother. I feel the stinging of tears threatening to flood the house, but I hold them back, along with the desire to lash out at her. I clench my fists, digging my nails hard into my palms to replace my hurt with pain, something easier to deal with.

    “I am your daughter, mum-”
    “I AM NOT YOUR MUM! And stop looking at me like that! Get out before I ring the guards! OUT!” The poison in her voice is enough to push me over the edge into not caring. I give up. Enough is enough. If she wants me out, then she’ll get what she ****ing wants, because I’m done. I walk out of the room, leaving her muttering, “Not my daughter not my daughter no way not my daughter,” to herself.

    I storm out of the room, down the stairs and out the door. I am done with her. I cant do it anymore. Even being in this house is too painful. My old home. So full of memories. But my mother lies in a tangle of them, not knowing which is true, which is old.

    I look up at the sky then. Bright blue with the sun burning there like a torch. I find it hard to believe that something can be so beautiful yet so terrifying. How it has its blue beauty and how endless it seems, like it could go on forever. Thats how I feel now. Like I was a locked up sky, in there with her. But my chains have been broken and now I am free to do what I want. I am escaping out into this endless stretch of possibilities, out into new hope. I am leaping into the mouth of the terrifying beauty of the sky. New beginnings.
    I am free.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 763 ✭✭✭alfa beta


    ‘Breaking and entering’. That’s what they call it. That’s the official term. But, me, I don’t really ‘break’ anything. Not my style. Too loud. Too brash. Too risky. No, I just ‘enter’. I’m good, y’see. The best actually. Been at it for years. And never once been caught. Sometimes I think I’ve never even been seen - but I’m not one to boast.

    Course I’m not gonna tell you how I do it. Got my little tricks y’know. My secrets. And I’m keepin’ em to myself. But, listen, you’d be amazed at how easy it is to get into most people’s homes without them even knowing. You really would. People are careless. A window left open. A door unlocked. Makes my line of work a doddle. Specially when I do it under cover of darkness. Which of course I always do.

    Quick scout around first. Get the lie of the land. Spot a way in, coz there’s always one - trust me there is! - and go for it. Simple. Once inside, the trick is to get the job done as quickly as possible and then get the hell out without anyone even suspecting you were prowling around in their house. Best if the owners are asleep of course. Gives you a bit of breathing space. But even if they’re not, it’s still possible.

    Can’t be careful enough though. Even I nearly got caught once. I was in this house, y’see. Big posh place now. Range Rover parked out the front and the like. I won’t tell you how I got in. As I said, I got my tricks, and I’m not in the habit of sharing ‘em. Don’t want any copycats out there. Anyway there I was in this hallway. Job already done ‘n’all. But just as I was making my way out - y’know back the way I’d come in - I heard this sound from behind me. Footsteps. On carpet. Unmistakable. Couldn’t believe it. Completely out of the blue. I didn’t hang around to see who it was of course. I dodged straight into what must have been a spare room, then stood as still as I could behind the door. Listening. Just listening to see if I could hear anything.

    All I could hear was my own heart beating. Nothing else. I breathed out. Close call. Too close for comfort. But at least I could make my escape now. There was a sash window on the far side of the room. Y’know, one of those ones that slide up and down. Perfect. I tip-toed to it, pushed it open and hoisted myself onto the ledge. So far so good. But when I was half-way out, didn’t the thing come crashing down on top of me and wedge me in the frame - my head and arms hanging out the window and my bum and legs still in the room. Couldn’t bloody move. Completely stuck. Nightmare. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I heard that sound I’d been dreading a few moments earlier - the door opening behind me.

    I had no choice. I had to break the window. I heaved against it and the thing suddenly shot up. I lost my balance and fell headlong onto the lawn, pain searing through my hip. But at least I was out. I was safe. I hadn’t been seen. And that was the important thing.

    Thankfully Rudolph was already there, waiting. He’d spotted me in the window. Instantly he whisked me into the slay and up into the sky, away to the safety of the night and on to the next delivery.


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