Well Aloha, Survivors! Surely, there’s no better time to get this underway than after midnight where most of you live. Anyway, Big Brother will be over on or before Monday, it seems, so I’m going to go ahead and get an obvious challenge out of the way. To my new players: this one opens nearly every writing game.

It’s a little bit of a “free write” so maybe it doesn’t have the specificity that most of my challenges have, but the difficulty comes in as a result of the fact that an entire story must be told in 59 words or fewer. It used to be forced upon you to reach exactly 59 words, but a limit gets the same challenge across without forcing you to add a “very” in there or something stupid like that.

Each person will be scored on a scale of 1-5 (You’ll almost never see a 1 and 5s are somewhat rare). Normally, the team with the lowest average score would need to vote out a member; this first week, instead, there will only be an elimination if there’s at least one non-submitter. If this happens, all teams with at least one non-submitter will be forced to vote someone out (it will almost certainly be the person who failed to show up, so please, start showing up immediately). After this, there will always be at least one elimination, and the thing about non-submitters will continue, allowing for up to three eliminations a week if people don’t show up.

I’m still considering the medal system, but I may wait on that until I feel that non-submitters are all gone.

When your story is ready to be sent, send it to foreverunchanged@gmail.com with a subject that makes it clear that it’s a submission for the game. I then drop them all into a folder and later my wife randomizes them so the judges don’t know whose work they’re reading.

So, there it is. Use this week to find out what we like in a story (isolation, time travel, the writing of the Wreisners) and you’ll probably survive, because some asshole will screw your team over and not submit anything, as easy as this challenge is.

Any story that goes over 59 words will get 0 points. It will not be considered a non-submission. Beware of word counters: they often lie. Count them yourself if you’re worried, because I definitely will.

The next challenge will be much more complicated than this, and will force you to work with the rest of the jerks on your team. It’s a first-time challenge that should prove fun to read, though.

The due date for this one is Monday, at the earliest. Big Brother could push it back, up to a few days, and if it does I’ll let you know. In the meantime, pretend it’s definitely next Monday.

Also, you won’t always get this long to submit, but I know people were anxious to get started. So…start.

Cheers, Survivors. New people (and people with goldfish memories): any questions about the game can go here.