Welcome, Survivors! Survivor IX is officially underway. I mean, I suppose it was when I did the Fiction 59 thing, but now beginneth the game proper. Pretty sweet turn of phrase, huh?

OH! I added this later, ’cause I forgot initially: you now get to name your teams. Send a team name to my inbox (foreverunchanged at gmail) and I’ll update the sidebar. Get with your teams, or just be a dick and name it yourself. I’ll use the first name given to me.

The indomitable Tanya Laumann created this challenge last season as part of a challenge to create challenges, and I love it so much I could eat it. As this season is going to be about strategy at least as much as it is about writing, this challenge is the perfect opener, as it heavily features both.

I’ll be giving you two sentences, both of which are well-known punchlines from movies. Your task is to open a story with one of them and close it with the other (it doesn’t matter which is which) and make the story complete. Stories will be scored on a forced curve: two people will get 8 points, two will get 7, and so on down to 1. In the case that someone fails to begin or end the story with one of the quotes, they’ll automatically get 0 instead.

Here’s the thing, though: you’ll also get points for writing the shortest story. Again, that’ll be on a forced curve, running exactly the same way as the aforementioned (the two shortest stories get 8 points, the next shortest get 7, blah blah). Just to be clear, I’ll be going by word count according to Google Docs, with ties broken by Character Count. If this still produces a tie, I’ll split the difference on the scores that those stories would get.

The team with the highest average score per person will be Immune, and the other team will vote out one of their teammates.

Non-submitters will almost certainly screw everything up for everyone, so here’s how that works: anyone who doesn’t submit will score a -1 for both aspects of the story, and the forced curve will be shaved from the top (for instance, if there are four non-submitters, scores given will be two sixes, followed by two fives, and so on). Clear enough? I hope so, because I’m too exhausted to think of a way to make it clearer.

Furthermore, non-submitters will automatically cast a vote for themselves in the case that their team loses. Even furthermore, the losing team’s shortest story writer, as well as its highest-scoring story writer, will be Immune from the vote.

I think I’ve covered everything in this complex-sounding but fairly cut-and-dry challenge besides the quotes, so here you go:

“Nobody’s perfect!” (from Some Like it Hot)
“We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.” (from Ghost Busters)

Feel free to change punctuation…they don’t have to be said aloud by your characters if that’s not the way you want to use them. One has to start the story and one has to end it, though. Don’t screw that up, damn you. These are due in my inbox by Thursday at 2pm Central. I’m not sure where I’ll be at that point because I’m in the middle of a move, but hopefully it’ll work out for all of us, eh? Like last season, I’ll probably be bugging your inboxes with four-hour warnings as well, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t forget at some point.

Furthermore to this challenge, I’ll be posting a short(ish) questionnaire about various crap later today. While it isn’t part of the challenge, it will be used for a future challenge. Watch for it.

Cheers, Survivors. After two straight strong seasons, you have a lot to live up to.