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Folks, as we judge these, I’m looking to find out who dropped out, and who just didn’t get this one done.

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Thanks for your patience, gang! If you haven’t been patient, thanks for not sending me hate mail. If you’ve sent me hate mail, you’re grounded, mister.

The first story will be due next Sunday at 8pm Central. First, though, let me run through some of the basics of the season.

SCORING

There are 21 of you, and 11 will score medals from each of the three judges each week: each of us will give three golds, four silvers and four bronzes. If there are people who fail to submit, as there always are, those numbers will not change. If anyone officially pulls out, I’ll reassess the number of medals given out. If you screw up and don’t submit, you get one free pass. If you do it a second time, you lose two points. For each non-submission thereafter, you lose points equal to the number of your submission failures.

Golds are worth five points, silvers are worth three and bronzes are worth one.

You will always send your stories to playwiththeprose@gmail.com. Don’t send them directly to me. Some of you will do this, as always, but we’ll break you eventually.

THE JUDGES

Me. I hate on-the-nose dialogue, especially when characters say things out loud that the other characters in the scene would already know. Get your exposition out in other ways, people!

Tanya Laumann. I’ve known Tanya since college. She is extremely creative in a number of ways. I don’t know what she loves and hates when it comes to writing. I guess we’ll find out.

Matthew Gilman. Because every season of PwtP needs a villain, and it’s nice that I don’t always have to be that person.

We will be reading the stories anonymously, as always. I don’t have a gatherer yet, so if you are typically free on Sunday, let me know. If you’ve gathered (and can do it fairly quickly) in the past, that’s even better.

THE THEME

Matt Novak suggested a Twilight Zone theme to me a while back, and I rather liked it. Let me be clear that you are not being asked to write twelve thrillers. I’m going to be giving a prompt based on one of the show’s more famous episodes, and you’ll run with it from there. These are meant to be inspirations, and not hamstrings.

THE PLAYOFFS

At the end of the season, the top six scorers will reach the playoffs. The top two will receive a bye into the semifinals while the 3rd-6th place finishers will do a challenge. The top two performers in that challenge join the top two overall in the next week. Those four will do another challenge, and the top two performers will reach the finals. The winner of the finals will win the title of PwtP champion along with the one million high-five prize.

———————————————————————–

So, let’s make with the first prompt.

The Hitch-Hiker.

In the episode, a woman is greeted by the same hitchhiker several times on a road trip, despite the fact that he is traveling on foot. I’m actually going to avoid spoilers here, as this is a pretty good reveal and the actors do a good job, so hey, maybe you’ll be inspired to see it.

For your purposes, the idea of hitchhiking is all you need to include. The rest is all you, you crazy cats.

The word maximum is 500.

See you next Sunday.

We will not be quick to post results. There are a ton of you, and on top of that, Sunday isn’t always ideal for me. However, my aim is to always have results (and a new prompt) up by Monday.

Cheers, Prosers.

As of now, we have seventeen writers:

Shawn Ashley
Annette Barron
Dean Carlson
Michelle Coulter
Tyler Coulter
Melissa David
Rian Kumlien
Joshua Longman
Jared Mitchell
Matt Novak
Christina Pepper
Jonathon Pope
Shelbi Sarver
Sama Smith
Beau
Ashton Stansel
erik sunshine
Colin Woolston
Sarah Wreisner

Look at all those damn former winners and get excited, gang. Or terrified, whatever.

I found during the last Survivor challenge that I was really into reading stuff right now, so I’ll run this one. I need at least one and preferably two other judges, and if anyone else is interested in writing, now is the time to let me know.

By popular demand:
1) Short word limits. We won’t eclipse 1000 (until maybe the playoffs) and will probably rotate 1000 with 500. If we go on and enough people feel stifled by this, we’ll reassess.
2) No Saturday deadlines. I rarely if ever do them, but it was a specific request this time, so if I forget, remind me.

I plan to do either one or two deadlines a week, and am open to suggestion. Either way, the regular season will be the usual twelve challenges, and number of playoff writers will be dictated by number of writers total. As it stands now, I’d probably go with four, but if we get up to 15-16 I’ll jump to six. Many of you don’t even really care about that aspect, but logistics must be covered.

I don’t know the theme yet, but I have like 3456234 messages from Novak in my inbox about possible themes, so I’m confident we can find one there.

If you know anyone who writes but has never done so here, I love reading new writers. I’d probably cap the season at 18-20 people, even with the short limits, because gathering for three judges (and preparing the final post) is a fairly long process.

Also, if you want things to move quickly during judging, strongly consider avoiding Microsoft Word, which doesn’t work well with what I use. I’d prefer Google Docs, or even typing directly in the body of the email. PDFs are even worse, as I can’t copy and paste them into a judging document.

That should be it for now. Depending on the response to this post, I could see us getting started in under a week. Cheers, Prosers.

Is it season nine? I don’t know. Something like that. There’s too little time to actually glance at the sidebar.

I don’t know what this season’s theme will be and I don’t know if I’ll write, judge or sit out. What I do know is that people have been annoying me into submission to get a season going, so here we are.

We’ll cap at sixteen writers, unless we have four willing judges, in which case we can cap at about 24, and have two judges do twelve submissions each week. Just tell me what you want to do, and I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

First-time Survivor players here, of which there are many, this is a separate event that is entirely creative writing. If that’s not your thing, you’re free to ignore this because it will have no bearing on the Potterverse game.

Play with the Prose will probably come soon. Normally, I get a ton of people begging for this until I give in; this time I’ve been asked casually but I myself and feeling like it’s time.

We haven’t done a game of Fall, Caesar in 2016, and I think last year’s was in September, sooooo…

Harry Potter Survivor is somewhat set to go. Given my real-life issues of late, I haven’t prepared as many challenges as I would like, but I could probably start relatively quickly with the 5-10 I already have banked.

Here’s a Sheeple update. There are still four of you. Tonight I have my fantasy football draught and almost certainly can’t go live; if it ends earlier than I expect, we’ll talk. A any rate, have a move in by 10pm tonight. If you have one by 6ish, I can do it after work and sneak in an extra move. The all-time record for this game is 30 moves. I’m starting to think we can beat it, gang!

Well, Prosers. It’s been a long season. A big season. And despite one of these writer’s wishes to the contrary, yours truly is still alive and well. Thank you for putting up with us cranky judges and giving a lot of fun stuff to read.

Oh? You want a winner. Let’s hope these assholes don’t tie.

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It comes down to this. Joshua Longman and Brendan Bonham will be writing their final entry in Japan, which may be a CdL first. Joshua finished the season in first place, while Brendan finished in fifth and has advanced through three rounds of the playoffs.

And for the final entry, we will be taking our prompt from the finals of Survivor X. It was quite a memorable week.

Harrison Bergeron

The problem with most stories is that one character always seems to have the upper hand. The story you write in this challenge will attempt to rectify that.

Inspired by the handicaps of Kurt Vonnegut’s classic short story, every 250 words (or fewer) the characters in your story must forget all the events that happened in that prior section. The ending of the story can be expanded beyond the 250-word section limit (let’s say the final section can have up to 600 words) and need not conclude with a forgetting (although it certainly may). Events that occurred prior to the beginning of the story can be recalled after each forgetting (e.g., characters will remember their names).

The cause of the forgettings is up to the author, but the memory loss must be total and complete. There is no word limit (with the exception of the limits outlined above), but of course the longer your story, the more forgettings that have to occur. We will, however, have a word minimum. 

Word Minimum: 1,000
Due Date: Saturday, June 11th, 8 pm central

 

I locked all four judges in a room until they read these stories and assigned medals.

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Your final four contestants:

Joshua Longman
Christina Pepper
Brendan Bonham
Margaret Martin

There. You’re now sitting boy/girl/boy/girl. Here’s your topic, pulled from the finals of the first competition I ran here.

Your entire story must take place in one room. Other places can be mentioned, but the camera, as it were, never leaves the one room. There are four to six characters that are stuck in this room, and they know they are stuck. They don’t have to know in the first paragraph, but at some point they realize they are stuck. 

Word Limit: 2,000

Due Date: June 1st, 8:00 pm

That’s 68 notches if my math is correct.

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Your competition, and also you

HALL OF CHAMPIONS

SPOOKYMILK SURVIVOR

I: Rachel “The Double-Dealer” Flynn

II: Ryan “The Snake” Fossum

III: Patrick “The Gentleman” Kozicky

IV: Brienne “The Submitter” Maner

V: Rusty “The Porn Star” Greene

VI: Brooks “The Unlikely Hero” Maki

VII: William “The Soulful” Schuth

VIII: Brooks “The Survivor” Maki

IX: Zack “The Ice Cream Man” Sauvageau

X: Pete “The Vacuum Cleaner” Bruzek

Turbo: Brooks “The 1956-1979 Montreal Canadiens” Maki

XI: Matt “The Cold-Hearted Motherf*&^er” Novak

All-Stars (XII): Andy “The Quiet Man” Rustleund

XIII: Sarah “Clarence’s Hope” Bizek

XIV: Dan “The Professional” Kautz

XV: Christina “Assault And” Pepper

XVI: Matt “The First-Time Player” Novak

XVII: Stacy “Saintly Patience” Snell

XVIII: Brian “Checkmate” David

XIX: Annette “Eammon for the Top” Barron

XX: Daniel “Neville “Smash “Hardware” Hardwood” Longbottom” Caouette

XXI: Pete “The Comeback Kid” Bruzek

XXII: Dan “The Even More Professional” Kautz

XXIII: Melissa “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” David

XXIV: Stacy “Fucking” Snell

GODS AND MORTALS
I: Dragging Rivet’s Name Through the Mud One Last Time: Matt Novak (Ultragrandpa) and Michael Rivet (Friph Flipher-Fiph)
II: Bahambo Number 5: Pete “Triple Crown” Bruzek and Michelle “Single Tiara…So Far” Pratt

BIG BROTHER
I: Brooks “Oh, for the Love of God” Maki
II: Michael “#DDB” Rivet
III: Pete “Fortune’s Fool” Bruzek
IV: Erin “All Seven and We’ll Watch Them Fall” Leslie
V: Jake “Littlefinger” Elliott

FALL, CAESAR
2014: Brooks “The Creator” Maki
2015: Matt “The Artist” Novak
2016: Matt “Waited Them Out” Novak
2017: Annette “I Would’ve Voted for You” Barron

THE ROYAL RUMBLE
2013: #21 Greg “The Gallant Glutton of Greatness” Johnson
2014: #29 Jonathon “Big Papa” Pope
2015: #8 Christina “Am I in This?” Pepper
2016: #22 Annette “No Backs Stabbed” Barron
2017: #30 Bernice “The Vulture” Nicaise
2018: #17 Carrie “Solid Gold” Bard
2019: #16 Jake “The Jabroni” Elliott

PLAY WITH THE PROSE
(Writing, non-elimination)
I: Sarah “Centipede Face” Johnson
II: Sarah “The Johnson Eliminator” Wreisner
III: Colin “Lonely Old Moon” Woolston
IV: Melissa “Not Sidebar Material” Diamond
V: Sama “No Family Reunions” Smith
VI: Sarah “Tumor Face” Wreisner
VII: John “Cult Following” Wreisner
VIII: Joshua “Peed the Bed” Longman
VIII: Annette “Oh, Right, That’s Who Won” Barron

WEREWOLF (most recent)

Werewolf Stats Spreadsheet

PUZZLE CHALLENGE
I (Pure): Matthew “The Obsessor” Gilman
I (Power): Kelly “The Novak-Destroyer” Wells

DIPLOMACY
I: Matt “Exploiter of Worlds” Novak (France)

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