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Topics - Baron

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Juvenile Delinquency

The world is your oyster when you're a kid.  Except if you don't like oysters and are determined not to put up with them anymore.  Then the world's a devil's kitchen of fun and mayhem!  From damaged children to pre-teen gangstas; from wayward youth to bad-ass babies: this is the topic where the young follow their own rules and shock their staid and settled elders into bouts of apocalyptic hysteria! :=

The rules are thus: your story must prominently feature some kind of antisocial minor who marches to the beat of his or her own drum.  The rest is up to you.

Possible Voting Categories:

-Best Delinquent Character
-Best Insubordination
-Best Writing Style
-Best Overall (Bonus Vote)

The contest will extend from now until Thursday December 7.  Then it will likely be extended at least once, but don't count on it 'cause you never know!  Then eventually I'll close the contest and we will vote. :)

Good luck to all entrants!  I look forward to reading your autobiographical accounts fictional creations! :-D


How do you write in words about a spectacle, a quintessentially visual thing?  A spectacle can be something good or bad.  It can be impressive or cringe-worthy.  It can be a thing or an action or a person.  It can be a performance or something impromptu.  It can be used for community building or propaganda, adoration or shaming.  Basically something or someone has to be on display, or at least feel as if they are on display.  Where you take it from there is up to you.

Deadline:  All submissions should be posted by the end of Thursday August 31, 2017, with voting to start the following day.

Possible Voting Categories:  Best Character, Best Spectacle, Best Writing, Most Thought Provoking.

Best of luck to all entrants! ;-D ;-D ;-D

This isn't a writing competition, it's a word fight!  Or maybe it is a competition.... it depends on your point of view, I guess.  Some people see things one way, one might say the "correct" way, while others see things differently, one might say the "bafflingly, inexplicably wrongheaded and moronic" way.  But both perspectives have merit in the era of...

Alternative Truth

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to create a story featuring a distinctly unconventional, far-fetched, or laughably idiotic perspective.  To make it work I would think you'd have to write about something with facts that everyone can agree on and then warp the meaning of those facts, but then that's just my own weirdo opinion.  One bonus vote will be awarded for every entry that does not mention The Donald by name. (roll)   Deadline will be when it's no longer Saturday June 17, 2017 anywhere on Earth.  Possible voting categories might include:

Best Alternative Truth
Best Alternative Truth Spouter
Best Alternative to a Plot
Best Alternative Writing
Best Alternative Thought Provokingness

Good luck to all participants!

This past year we've written a lot about politics (Revolution, Time to Vote), sociology (Scarcity, Last Will & Testament), the wilderness (Camping, Abandoned Place, and most recently Myst), and the occult (Mass Disappearance, Biblical Book, and for all intents and purposes Serial).  Now the pendulum swings and it's time for Sci-Fi once more.  Our topic this time is:


Any kind of story is permissible so long as it is your own original unpublished work, and contains futuristic technology as if it were devised in past times.  So to clarify, the technology in question need not necessarily be typical Victorian steam-powered machines, but could be elaborate medieval water-, wind-, or pendulum-powered; ancient steam-, animal-, or human-powered (à la Roman galley?); or indeed prehistoric inventions that mimic futuristic or contemporary technology (mammoth dung-powered?).  Heck, you could even come up with a fanciful power source that some crazy inventor stumbled upon that even we don't know about.  The important thing is that cool shit goes down in historical (or fantasy) times due to wicked creative inventions. :=

Deadline for the contest is Saturday November 19, 2016, with voting to start the following day.

Voting will be based on the following categories:

Best Character: the most believable/captivating/magnetic/unique character
Best Setting: the most vividly evoked background world, or most gripping atmosphere
Best Plot: the best organized, coherent and well-executed story with appropriate pacing, climax, etc.
Best Word Choice: the technical art of combining words in a memorable way
Best Technical Innovation: Which invention/technology is most impressive from a creative perspective?
Most Substantive: Which story best reveals a lesson about the relationship between humanity and technology?

Good luck to all contestants.  Let the writing commence!

     1 In the beginning there was light.  And then there followed a series of events of no remarkable importance.  And then the Fortnightly Writing Competition came into being, and it was good. Welcome therefore to the competition named:

Biblical Book

     2The commandment was written on the tablet in letters that flamed.  Thou shalt write a story in Biblical format.  Thou shalt name thy piece the Book of Something, and therein thou shalt tell a tale of moral ambiguity, perhaps with occasional lapses in continuity with lessons so arcane as to be of dubious value!

     3Ye olde archaic language is optional, quoth the tablet.  Furthermore, thou needst not necessarily have a biblically themed story: only the format need be in bible-esque verses.  So thou canst write about modern times, or some hedonistic atheist creation myth, or write a bubblegum commercial without judgement.

     4 But thou shalt not incur the wrath of the higher power in this competition by forsaking the deadline!  All entries must be submitted two days after the first Sabbath of autumn.  Hence thou shalt travel to the village of thy forefathers to vote and be counted in categories various and sundry.  These categories might include something related to character, setting, plot, style, and best-use-of-theme.  So it is written.

     5 Directeth thy questions to the nearest oracle, and thou willt learn that all is permissible if ye but submit to the awkward format prescribed!  Seek ye the guidance of the voices in thy head, and thou shalt revel in the wisdom of the prophets.  Ask, and thou shalt receive.  But render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, lest He vomit thou from His mouth.  Go in grace.     

The Rumpus Room / Common Sense
« on: 05 Aug 2016, 17:23 »
Fact: People have dirty mouths.  Not just talking smack, but bacteria wise.

Fact: Dogs have cleaner mouths than people, somewhat counter intuitively since they eat poop and garbage they find lying around.

Common Sense: People who kiss their dogs on the mouth have cleaner mouths than average.

Who else has had an aha moment like this?

It is now the middle of summer, the most clement of seasons.  Now is the time when the common folk marvel at the temporary hospitable-ness of the wilderness and think, hey, even I could hack it out there!  Campgrounds swell with the teeming hordes, parks are overrun, and even the deepest bush is penetrated by the irrepressible enthusiasm of man.  So this is my challenge to you, Fortnwriters:


Your story can be about anything, as long as the main characters are camping in some form (i.e. not residing in a permanent dwelling structure).  So you could write about gypsies on the road, or carnies floating from town to town.  You could vote about the Roman legions on the march, or medieval merchant adventurers, or prospectors in the bush, or hunters on the hunt, or primitive humanoids dragging their motley possessions across the steppe, or American Girl Scouts playing truth-or-dare, or a refugee camp, or surveyors exploring a new land, or suburbanites running amok in nature, or pioneers, or space aliens on vacation, or ghost stories around the camp fire, or ...well, you get the idea.

Deadline for submissions is Monday August 8.  I will start voting sometime later on the 9th EDT.

I only wish I had more categories so everyone could get their share of my votes :wink:

The dancing cow speaks reason.  We need lots of categories to make voting more fun! ;)

Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

Best Character: the most believable/captivating/magnetic/unique character
Best Setting: the most vivid background world, or most gripping atmosphere (i.e. nature in all it's harsh reality or haunting unknowability)
Best Plot: the best organized, coherent and well-executed story with appropriate pacing, climax, etc.
Best Word Choice: the technical art of combining words in a memorable way
Best Natural Obstacle: What was the best curve-ball that nature threw at our heroes?
Most Substantive: Which story best reveals a lesson about humanity or the world around us?

Good luck to all participants!   

General Discussion / Brexitmageddon
« on: 24 Jun 2016, 23:05 »
To start, I've got no horse in this race.  But I find it interesting that my normal source of the pulse of global political sentiment (i.e. the AGS forums) has nothing to say on the matter.  Is this a sign of a collective shrug?  What about the inherent democratic deficit of the European Union?  What about the racist tinge of the Leave campaign?  What does it mean to be European?  What do the Scots have to say on the matter?

For me, I honestly didn't see the point in all the paranoia about well-qualified or highly industrious immigrants coming to the country to subsidise the local slackers, but then my country is just a hodge-podge of anyone who bothered to show up, so I have a hard time appreciating nativist sentiment.  On the other hand, as a person I do my best to have as little as possible to do with governments and regulations (don't tell the building inspector), so I appreciate the sentiment of wanting to cast off the burden of an extra level of bureaucracy.  But I want to hear honestly from the Brits and the Euros: what's the real motivation for this Brexit thing, and how's it all gonna shake down?

A slight change in format this fortnight.  Welcome to the competition known as

Novels of yore were published as they were written, often a chapter at a time, sometimes in a journal or newspaper.  Audiences would wait with baited breath for the next instalment, like tv shows before Netflix.  Our mission this fortnight is to rekindle the magic of the serial format by writing an episodic entry according to the following criteria:

1)Valid entrants will write a minimum of two distinct entries at distinct times (ie not published within an hour of each other)

2)Entries must have a common title/branding with episode sequence indicated (e.g. TIME RIPPERS, episode 3: The Buxom Beta-Centaurians)

3)Any given entry is capped at 1000 words, but of course could be much shorter (paragraph?  log entry?  extremely well-crafted sentence?)
    There is no limit to how many entries you enter, as long as you don't violate rule #1.

4)Entries must develop the same story line (I don't mind throw away episodes or tangents, but no completely different stories)

5)Completion of the story arc is not required: it's the journey that counts. :)

Bells and whistles would include suspenseful cliff-hangars at the end of each entry, but are not necessary. The main idea is to bring the readers along on a thrilling ride with you the writer.  So have fun, engage your audience, and write up a dark and, episodic story!

Deadline for your second entry is Thursday May 26.  You can write more than two instalments but we won't be counting stand-alone entries, so don't get caught at the last moment.  Or if you do, make sure you ask for an extension so that your hard work doesn't go to waste. ;)

Submissions will be judged on the usual criteria of character, setting, plot, word-choice, and an overall "couldn't-wait-for-the-next-episode" score.  Good luck to all participants, and I look forward to reading you frequently!

Have you ever seen those YouTube videos by Grant Thompson, a.k.a.

The King of Random?

Well, this topic has nothing to do with him, but enjoy learning how to smelt metal by taking apart a microwave. ;-D  But seriously folks, this competition is about a single, random event that suddenly turns a character's world on its head.  Maybe it's a regular day and then suddenly aliens invade, or a car drives through the living room wall, or a taco in a restaurant becomes sentient, or a character suddenly develops the telekinetic ability to trigger aneurysms in anyone he meets, or an AGS game your character is coding starts taking over entire swathes of the digital global financial system, or the bottom rusts out of an airplane, or a protagonist wins the lottery, or frogs that were sucked up by a tornado suddenly start raining down à la Magnolia, or a pothole suddenly opens under a character's car and swallows the car and then the car and the character are transported to an ancient version of the same city but has been buried for millennia under debris and is now populated by blind albino ancients with grotesquely long ear hair and uncanny echo-location abilities.  So yeah, the topic is random.  Enjoy!

Deadline is Sunday April 10 at the close of business, which means I'll actually close the comp when I get back to my computer on the evening of the eleventh.

Successful entrants will be judged on the quality of their character, setting, plot, word-choice, and of course the creative aspect of their random event.  Happy writing!


Welcome scribes and scribblers, tale-tellers and textual-titillators, to the epic writing challenge of the age.  I want you to throw a motley crew of unsuspecting characters into a strangely, hauntingly, mysteriously

Abandoned Place

The abandoned place can be a physical space (ruined city, dilapidated building, an inentionally sealed tomb, or just a pristine but mysteriously empty edifice), or a mobile setting large enough to host a drama (ghost ship, space wreck).  The important thing is that it was once occupied by intelligent beings, and subsequently abandoned (or at least apparently abandoned ;)).  The drama that takes place inside the abandoned place is up to you.  It can be comedy, suspense, survivor horror, etc.  I look forward to being immersed in your creativity!

DEADLINE: Sunday January 24, 2016

Good luck to all participants!

Petty Deity

It's almost hard to conceive these days, with several of the largest global religions now obsessed with a single deity with vast, immeasurable, almost laughably paradoxical powers, that way way waaaaaay back in time there was more of a continuum of the divine.  At the top there were indeed fairly powerful gods, but even they had to fear their sons or enemies, lest they be overthrown.  But beneath them there were a range of lesser gods, and even quasi- or semi-divine beings, blending at the bottom into the upper echelons of mortal society.  It is somewhere down towards the bottom of this continuum that I want our authors to focus this time.  Taking the Romans as an example: they had thousands of these petty gods, each looking after very tiny and specific elements of life.  Fontis (or The Fons, as he was sometimes known) was in charge of only wells and springs.  That's it: no other duties listed.  Lateranus (not a way of saying goodbye to someone you don't like) confined his powers to ovens.  Lacturnus put the sap in plants.  Serritor was in charge of holes and ditches.  And Cloacina has the honour of presiding over the main sewer pipes (but presumably even lesser deities were responsible for the feeder lines).  This got me to thinking: what if there were petty deities for all the minor contrivances of modern civilization?  Gods of light bulbs, or toothbrushes, or dryer lint, or nose piercings, or insoles, or oversized belt-buckles, or nail clippers, or the microscopic little ball at the end of pens, or the little nests of hair that accumulate in shower drains, or... well, you get the idea.  What would their eternal lives be like?  What would be their struggles, their envies, their rivalries or their distractions?  What would it be like emotionally to be divine and immortal, but at the same time pretty insignificant in the big scheme of things? 

You have two weeks to explore these themes or parallel ones of your own devising.  Voting may or may not be along the lines of the following:

Best Character: Probably your divine creation, but maybe some mortal he/she is tormenting perhaps?
Best Plot: Someone tries to resolve some sort of conflict in a gripping or entertaining way.
Best Tone: Can you bring the reader to some understanding of what it feels like to be omnipotently minor?
Best Background World: Is the setting more than just a blackened stage with a sole spot-light?
Best Style: Encouraging the composition of memorable turns of phrase, or bold new ways of combining words.
Most Substantive: The reader actually takes away something meaningful from their short time with your words.

Deadline will be Monday November 23rd at 11:59 pm Hawaiian time.  I look forward to lots of marvellously petty entries.  Have fun and get writing!

Welcome super scribes and hilarious hacks of all hues and hemispheres, to the most famous and prestigious writing contest in the history of mankind!  The one, the only, Fortnightly Writing Competition! 8-)  Your topic, should you choose to accept it, is:


When there is nothing but a postage-stamp sized bubble of safety between you and oblivion, people tend to get territorial.  They tend to give in to their basic, basest survival instincts.  They tend to get suspicious, nasty, devious and sneaky.  Or maybe the ordeal brings out the best in them: heroism, altruism, extreme creativity?  Whatever the case, being crammed into a very confined place with fellow survivors is a certain formula for high-drama with even higher stakes.  Do not confine yourselves to a literal (littoral?) lifeboat: any confined space of refuge will do.  It could be an escape pod in space, or a bomb-shelter on earth, or something so daring and bold that I wouldn't be able to think of it if I scrunched up my eyes for ten minutes and grunted at the effort. ;-D  The only solid requirements of your story are:

1) A place or vehicle of refuge from certain or probable death
2) More than one initial occupant
3) Drama!

Deadlines have been extended due to OROW falling on our natural deadline, plus lots of people make big non-internet plans at the end of summer.  Official deadline is Sunday September 6, 2015, which should give you lots of time to write, or at least lots of time to procrastinate. (roll)

Your work will be judged on the following criteria

Best Character: Most believable or captivating or magnetic or unique: could be main character or supporting role
Best Scenario: Replacing our usual Background World/Setting category: who had the most creative scenario, or the most vividly described predicament?
Most Suspenseful: Replacing our Atmosphere category, which story left you at the edge of your seat, yearning and dreading to find out what happens next?
Best Writing Style: The technical art of combining words in clever or gripping ways.
Cleverest Ending: Sometimes the best suspense leads to a disappointing conclusion.  Which story had the most satisfying ending?

Good luck to all entrants.  Please do intend to vote if you submit: it makes the competition more interesting for the rest of us.  Write!

Adventure Related Talk & Chat / OROW Dating Thread
« on: 04 Aug 2015, 05:54 »
Yeah, that's right. ;-D

I've collaborated with many an AGSer in my day, and in just about every circumstance I've discovered a great sense of camaraderie and an admirable skill-set far beyond my own abilities.  From Ascovel's philosophy and game-analysis to Radiant's unholy scripting abilities, and from Problem's brilliant musical powers to Yarooze's unshakeable optimism, and from Cat's careful attention to detail to Ponch's eerie ability to belch and snore at the same time, I genuinely feel as if these collaborative relationships have helped me grow as a developer and a person.

Thus, with about three weeks to go before OROW, I'm thinking about partnering up.  Hey, maybe I'll hook up with someone and maybe I won't, but for now I'm interested in seeing what's out there on the singles scene.  I'd probably be interested in working with someone I haven't before, at least in a major capacity -getting back together with an ex is rarely a good idea. ;)  What am I looking for in a relationship?  Well, this is more of a one-week fling, so exnay on the long-term ommitmentcay (Baron doesn't need any clinging vines).  Ability to communicate and compromise would be key.  I'm not so fussy about specific skills or experience, since I've been around the block a few times and could probably fill in any gaps. :=  My ideal partner would be aged 18-63, not because I'm ageist but because I'm not entirely convinced that my mom didn't make an account here at some point and I don't think our relationship can handle the kind of pressure that OROW would inflict. (roll)

So what about me?  I have absolutely no pre-conceived ideas about plot or game-style for the competition (parameters to be announced, I'm sure), but I have been thinking it'd be nice to experiment with a new drawing style I've been developing.  I'm young at heart but lengthening in the tooth, quick to laugh and slow to anger, mildly disorganized and often pressed for time.  I like long walks on the beach except when there are jellyfish involved, but I hate pina coladas!  What are they made out of, anyway?  Sour cream?  Guh!

All right, so let's see what kind of action is out there!  Don't get put-off if I dance with more than one of you as I shop the market -I intend to inspect the goods before I make a purchase.  :)   Even if there's not enough hours in the competition to work with everyone, rest assured that my heart is big enough to love you all. :-*

So.... Wanna dance? ♫

Welcome poets, scribes, and shameless hacks of all ages!  This fortnight's topic is....

Little Folk

Little Folk have it tough on the bottom rung of life.  They get stepped on, have their homes unthinkingly cleared away to make parking lots, and have to breath air at butt or sock level.  But there are advantages to being tiny: you can fit in places that larger, more powerful beings cannot.  You can subsist on mere crumbs, and ride around on toys and steal all kinds of stuff as long as it's not too heavy.  Sometimes whimsical, sometimes humorous, sometimes edifying, stories of wee folk have existed as long as stories themselves.  Your challenge is to write a story of an entity of less than 3'4" in stature (approx. 100 cm), or a society of such folk, in any format of your choosing.  Obviously short stories would be apropos, but we'll read just about anything you can write (we might even deign to vote on it! ;)).  Little folk constitute anything that suits the definition above, but might include things like: midgets, dwarves, elves, fairies, pixies, brownies, smurfs, mice, fraggles, toys, ants, cockroaches, toddlers, babies, gremlins, gnomes, pixelated adventure game characters scientifically transplanted to the real world, and extremely stunted giraffes.     

Your work will be due at midnight Monday July 20, 2015, with voting to commence the following day to ensure that we haven't left out any Pacific islanders.  Good luck, and watch out for birds of prey!

Completed Game Announcements / Fridge Follies
« on: 22 Jun 2015, 04:35 »

Fridge Follies

Baron and Ponch collaborate on this epic one-room journey of a small Starfruit in a big fridge.  Winner of the November 2014 MAGS "food theme" competition, this little gem of a game has finally been remastered and fully voiced for the consumption of the wider gaming public.  Despite an approximate playing time of 5 minutes, this game is chockablock full of zany humour and compelling dialog.  So what are you waiting for?  In the time you've taken to read this promo you could have finished the game already!

Download from the Database

Gameplay: Single click. 

Credits: Concept by Baron & Ponch.  Art and animation by Baron.  Most of the dialog is Ponch.  Scripting was half'n half-ish.  Ponch found music & sounds.  Baron did the voices.  Frodo did our betatesting.

Edit: ...and Frodo and Grundislav did our Scottish and Spanish translations, respectively!  Now who was responsible for the German translation, I wonder.... (roll)

That's right folks, it's the FWC's own WHODUNNIT Competition!

Mysteries can take many forms, from missing biscuits to murder most foul, to weird sci-fi scenarios where psychics are harnessed to machines to predict crimes and cars self-drive in three dimensions, but the predictions of who the culprit is still come rolling dramatically down a Rube Goldberg marble run :P.  But it is considered one of the highest art forms of fiction to weave a mystery that is both solvable (if you can piece the clues together properly), and yet confounding to the vast majority of readers.  Your goal for this competition is to craft such a mystery according to the following criteria:

-Target of 1000-2000 words.  We don't disqualify you if you spill over slightly, but don't miss it by an order of magnitude.
-There must be hidden clues that point to the real perpetrator (but of course red herrings are very welcome as well)
-The perpetrator must not be revealed!  Instead we will guess WHODUNNIT?  at voting time, with the big reveal afterwards!

The criteria your work will be judged by will probably include:

-Best character (most believable, compelling, adorable, captivating, or mesmerizing)
-Best setting (best described/developed location for the mystery)
-Best word craft (stylistic marks for good word choice or turns of phrase)
-Best crime (be creative!  It's worth 20% of the votes!)
-Best mystery (the subtle weaving of clues and colour to make the story compelling to our sense of curiosity over WHODUNNIT?!?)

Deadline is midnight June 2, 2015, with voting to be started by me at some point the following day.  Good luck to all participants!  Get out there, and get writing! ;-D

Lost in Translation

Why must all the native English writers benefit from an inherent advantage in our little writing comp?  This time around I challenge you to write a short story in another language, and then translate it into English using a tool like Google Translate.  If you are a monoglot of the English persuasion, you will have to write your story in English and then translate it into another language -or perhaps several - and then back into English.  You may edit the text after the fact to either correct glaring errors or (preferably ;)) to enhance them: the whole point is that each text should read at least a little awkwardly so that the playing field is levelled.

Here's an example:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

-Abraham Lincoln, 1863

...and the same, translated from English to Maori, then Swahili, then Mongolian, then finally back into English (with a bit of help):

Four goals and seven years ago our fathers birthed out of this continent a new family, and brought them the freedom of the same culture.

Well, ok, nobody's going to write something that complex, but it could be fun.  You don't really need to go through the whole translation rigmarole if you can write something that appears to have been computer translated.  Consider that an additional challenge. ;)

Any subject goes, but as computer translation (especially unedited) makes for some hard-slog reading I'm going to ask all contributors to limit their original text to an arbitrary 623 words.  That's a bit short, so if you want to write a fragment of a story (maybe from an incomplete hieroglyphic ruin or something), then that's cool too. If you really need more direction as per theme, write something about Hobos on the lam.  :=

Deadline is Tuesday April 14.  I will start voting on the 15th so nobody feels short-changed of time.  Since the prose might be a bit choppy and nonsensical the voting categories will give added weight to ideas and characterization.  Some possible voting categories include:

Best Character (so good that it shines through)
Best Editing (nobody wants to slog through something completely unreadable (roll) -keep it entertaining! ;) )
Most Unholy Analogy Gone Awry (some things don't translate well -ham it up if you notice this!)
Best Plot Despite Weird Discrepancies (does the gem of your story shine through?)
Best Moral (which piece communicates a real, genuine and important lesson despite a bit of garbling and roughness around the edges?)

Good luck, and have fun!

The Rumpus Room / Welcome to the Hotel Exotica
« on: 21 Mar 2015, 02:01 »
I'm working on speed drawing for 10-20 minutes a day, as a way to improve my art and to get warmed up for drawing something I might actually use in my current project.  But I got to thinking, why squander all my rubbish art on my own poor eyes alone? :=  So I thought I might have a stab at resurrecting our interactive fiction game, just for kicks and giggles.  So here's how it will work: I will try to update the game every night with a piece of game art that takes only 10-20 minutes to draw, as well as some explanatory text.  If you haven't participated in one of these games before, here's how it works: you submit commands via text-parser-style to see if you can beat my game.  Please precede your commands with the >> symbols so that I know what your command is.  So post something like:

>>eat rotten sandwich, but don't barf until you're right in front of the mayor

...and then see what happens in the game.  Let's begin:

Welcome to the Hotel Exotica stars Jimmy Wag, a fiery yet diminutive private investigator, and his partner Larry Coffstopsky, a blind eccentric with the superhuman ability to track down anyone in the world by smell alone.  Larry is "The Finder" and Jimmy is "The Seeker" of Find & Seek PI, a firm that picks up where official law authorities leave off.  Now, in the damp of a late autumn evening, they have tracked their quarry, a runaway teenager, to the Hotel Exotica, a seedy establishment on the wrong side of the tracks.

You are carrying: a loaded revolver, three spare bullets, half a ham sandwich, case notes, and a wallet.

Larry confirms that this is the place.  The front entrance is just to the north, while a dark and scary alley lies to the east.  The street appears to be deserted despite -or perhaps because of- the early hour.  Now what?

The Joint Committee of Writing Topic Allocation (ie Sinitrena & Baron) presents...

Ineptitude in Personal Ads

    Love, obviously, is an affair of the heart, but in the quest for love some people obviously leave their brain behind.  For this Valentine's edition of the Fortnightly Writing Competition, we are challenging you to write a fictional Inept Personal Ad wherein your main character is looking for love or companionship.  The format is completely open to the writer's discretion, but can possibly be: a traditional print ad, a dating website profile, a dating site video transcription, a love letter, etc.  The length and tone are up to you: it is an easy topic to have some fun with, but we feel the topic also avails itself to critical analysis of the expectations of what "love" is in this day and age.  We advise you to read the voting criteria (below) carefully, since our ideal entry will balance both humour and thoughtfulness.  But first, some examples to get the creative juices flowing:

   The voting criteria will be as follows:

1) Best Character (most inept, or most date-able, or most rounded, or most endearing....)
2) Best Use of the Language of Love (ie best word-choice/style)
3) Best Hook (the strategy the character uses to stand out from the crowd to get attention)
4) Best Social Commentary (Who has best revealed the good and ugly about modern society and its ideas of love)
5) Best Overall (Most entertaining, sweetest, etc.)

Deadline is February 21, or until there are at least three entries.  There will be no tie-breaking vote by your contest organizers, since we reserve the right to participate (being the two most reliable participants in the FWC in that we have neither of us missed a contest that we were eligible for in the past 2 years (nod)).  As potential participants, we will vote just like everyone else does.  So that this does not lead to confusion about when the contest is over, a strict voting deadline will be enforced (the exact date to be determined once the contest closes).

   Good luck to all participants, and happy writing! ;-D

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