It occurs to me that when this game starts tomorrow and the challenges start rolling in, I’m not going to know who you are. Sooooo…this is a call for emails to foreverunchanged at gmail wherein you say who you are, so when your challenge entries come in, I’m not lost.

I already know who a few of you are, but if you have any doubt, send me an email. If you doubt your teammates are looking at this, bother them on email or the WGOM or something.

You know what? I have way more time to post a challenge today than I will tomorrow, so this is the first challenge post of the game!1!!1! Your first challenge will be Fiction 59, as we’ve talked about. The challenge is to write a complete story in exactly 59 words. It was suggested to use a word-counting site to make sure we’re all together on this, but each one I visited had word-counting problems (which would seem to undercut the whole idea of a word-counting site) so I’m just going to be counting them myself. Guidelines: a word with a dash, like “fudge-licking,” will count as one word. Be warned: MS Word counts two words with an ellipsis between them as one word, so take a good look before you send.

Enough about all that, because I don’t expect anyone in a group like this to screw up something so rudimentary (although if you do, be aware that I’ll laugh and point). More importantly still is your story. It can be funny, poignant, or whatever you want to make it; the only things that matter to me are that (a) it’s engaging and (b) it feels like a complete story. If your challenge submission is written beautifully but feels like a small part of a large story, I still might give it a big score, but I probably won’t give it a 5.

Challenge submissions are due in my inbox by Saturday, June 5th at 10pm Central. Again, if you think your teammates aren’t paying attention, try to get them moving. I may throw out a Saturday afternoon “Hurry your asses up” post, but don’t count on it, because I’ve never done such a thing before and therefore will probably forget.

Scoring is on the Netflix scale:
5 – Loved it
4 – Really Liked It
3 – Liked It
2 – Didn’t Like It
1 – Hated It (I’ve never given this score. No pressure)
0 – Submission has the wrong number of words
-1 – No submission
-5 – Plagiarism (I’ve nailed people on this before. There are always ways to cheat this and plagiarize anyway, so all I can say is: please don’t)

Beau and I will each hand out scores on this scale, and post the results on Sunday morning (or Saturday night, if scoring goes quickly) and the two teams that don’t have the lowest total score will be Immune, while the lowest-scoring team will have until Tuesday to eliminate one of their members. More on that when I make the results post, but be cautioned now that anyone on the losing team who didn’t submit a challenge will not be allowed to vote and will automatically cast a vote for himself, which obviously will probably get them eliminated.

I think I’ve covered most of what needs to be covered for the new players, which is everyone but Mak. If you have questions, throw them here, and I’ll answer them. One final note, because I love the sound of my own voice: the best-scoring stories, if SBG and the story’s writers have no problem with it, may be posted to the CoC for the non-playing Citizens to admire. That probably wouldn’t work every week, but the 59-word stories should be no problem.

Okay. I think that’s it. Enjoy the game, folks.