Challenges

Final Result for the season

Cat:                 34 points

Francesca:      21*

Suzanne:         20*

Ros:                 20

Morgen :         19

Phil :                17

Catherine :      17

Open Page 3

It’s called Open Page because there is no brief, no restrictions on genre, theme. Please keep your word count reasonable. I would have thought if you can’t say it in 1500 words then you may need to prune.  The only requirement is that it should aim to hold the reader’s attention and impress them favourably. 

Novel extracts, short stories, flash/micro/macro/nano fiction, fragments, recipes, drama, poetry, song writing, non-fiction, biography, memoirs, reviews, experimental pieces, rants, blogs etc. Think of something I haven’t mentioned and submit it to the Open Page!

Your Open Page entry should be preceded by a brief introduction stating the nature of the piece and the word count. This is important as otherwise we can all be a bit clueless on what you were trying to do. Add any other useful information: why and when you wrote it; any problems you’d like comments on etc.

1st place Morgen 9 votes, 2nd place Cat 6 votes, 3rd place Suzanne 5 votes


Challenge 8 – An apology

Write a thank you letter. There you go. Easy peasy. Job done. Thank you, over and out.
Oh wait…a tad too easy peasy.
Here’s the thing. You must write a thank you letter to someone you’ve never met. A total stranger, in fact.

1st place Francesca and Cat – 11 points each, 2nd Place Phil, Suzanne and Martin – 10 points each, 3rd Place Maria – 7 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after challenge 8:
Cat: 31 points
Francesca: 20*
Ros: 19
Suzanne: 18*
Catherine : 16
Phil : 16
Morgen : 15


Challenge 7 – Fill the Gap

Dear fellow Alphas,
It is with great pleasure, I share my first Alpha Challenge. I’m naming it, Fill the Gap.

The challenge is relatively straightforward, and should allow for lots of creativity and the ability to write in whatever genre you decide. 

There are just two rules that should be followed please:
1. Your entry must begin with this sentence: THE LETTER ARRIVED ON A TUESDAY.
2. Your entry must end with this sentence: THAT IS A STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY.(no need to use all CAPS, but the wording of these opening and closing sentences must open and close your submission exactly as written above).
Use up to 300 words to fill the gap between any way you wish.

The sentences provided are NOT included in your word count, so you have up to 300 words to fill the gap. 
A title is always helpful, and is NOT counted in your word count either.

1st Phil and Cat 14 points each, 2nd Gloria and Suzanne 10 points each 3rd Rick 9 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 7:
Cat: 27 points
Ros: 18
Francesca: 16*
Suzanne: 15*
Catherine : 15
Morgen : 14


Challenge 6 


The outline for your latest challenge is to write up to 300 words from the point of view of a hitherto unknown, or little-known, person connected in some way with a well-known character or event. Napoleon’s hairdresser?  The porter at Macbeth’s castle?  One of the other pupils at Hogwarts? We must be able to at least deduce the identity of the famous thing, even if you don’t actually tell us.Please send your response to me by Tuesday 22nd. February, 12.00 pm at the latest.
Yours in brotherly writingness, Rick

P.S. Alert Alphabots will have noticed that 22/02/2022 is a numerical palindrome ! (Is that even a thing?) 

1st place Ros – 12 marks, 2nd place Suzanne – 10 marks, Joint 3rd place Christine and Catherine with 9 marks each. 

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 6:

Cat:                             23 points

Ros:                             17

Francesca:                  15*

Catherine:                   14

Morgen:                     13

Suzanne:                     12*

Christine:                    12

Stephen:                      11


Open Page 2

Each month a regular challenge is set to give Alpha Writers a chance to flex their writing muscles and engage in some friendly competition. Read on for details of present and previous challenges, entries and results!

Our next challenge is the 2nd edition the Open Page. By way of introduction I’ll simply refer you to the following paragraphs from the information I sent out on our first Alphaday. You already know the idea: share some of your personal writing with us. You’re free to decide what you’ll treat us to.

 “The Open Page allows members to share their personal writing with fellow Alphas. It is a much wider – and looser – concept than the challenges as there is no brief. Novel extracts, short stories, flash/micro/macro/nano fiction, fragments, recipes, drama, poetry, non-fiction, biography, memoirs, experimental pieces, rants; articles about writing, words, grammar, politics, ethics, other art forms etc. are all suitable. Find me something I haven’t mentioned and submit it to the Open Page!

There is no minimum word count for the Open Page, but to avoid a collated file that’s too long to read and assess in the time available we advise you to show due consideration to your fellow Alphas and to limit the maximum word count to 1,500. Consider the average Alpha attention span!”

*Please, remember to supply a brief introduction to your piece plus the word count. I find that very helpful.

1st place Stephen 8 votes, 2nd place Gloria 7 votes, 3rd place Cat 5 votes

The Alpha Leaderboard after the Open Page 2nd edition:
Cat: 22 points
Francesca: 14*
Ros: 13
Catherine: 12
Morgen: 12
Stephen: 10
Christine: 10


Challenge 5  

Character developed through dialogue 

In 300 words or less, present a dialogue between two people, talking about a third, absentperson. The third person may be anyone, dead or alive.

The emphasis of the challenge is to show the distinct characters of all three people primarily through spoken words, supported by actions.

There are no other restrictions e.g. the 2 characters can move location, time can pass, other  people may speak.There is no requirement to produce a story, but obviously you may.

It is advisory to make the character developing dialogue at least 2/3 of your entry.

1st place Ros – 15 marks, 2nd place Francesca – 9 marks, 3rd Morgen – 8 marks

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 5:

Cat:                             20 points

Francesca:                  13*

Morgen:                     12

Ros:                             12

Catherine:                   11


Challenge 4

The Challenge is to tell a story with a maximum of 300 words.

Please follow the classical three unities of Aristotle.

  • Time: The story unfolds within a three hour time span. No time for backstory/flashback.
  • Place: The story is contained in one place. A small location. Stable, barn, garden, small café, lock-up garage, house or room in a house…whatever!
  • Action: Only two, three or four characters.  No sub-plots.

AND… Please include in the story the words Christmas and Present. Not necessarily together or in that order.

Advisory  A title always helps and will not be included in the word count.

1st place Catherine and Cat – 13 points each, 2nd place Morgen – 8 points, 3rd place Christine, Phil and Sarah – 7 points each

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 4:

Cat:                 19 points

Francesca:      10*

Catherine:       10

Morgen:          10

Ros:                 8

Christine:        8

Suzanne:         7*


Challenge 3

It’s my pleasure to issue Challenge 3 today! 

It’s a photo prompt and very simple – just 300 words of prose inspired by this picture. No extra prize for anyone knowing where it was taken!

1st place Cat – 14 points, 2nd place – Suzanne – 12 points, 3rd place Martin – 11 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 3:

Cat:                             15 points Francesca:                  9* Morgen:                     7 Ros:                             7 Suzanne:                     6* Catherine:                 6 Christine:                   6


Open Page 1

The Brief: Open Page 1st edition, Season XVIII 

The reason why it’s called ‘Open Page’ is that there is no brief. In our regular challenges we have to adhere strictly to the given brief; it may ask us to leave our comfort zone, and for that very reason it’s a useful exercise – even when it feels like constraint. The Open Page on the other hand, gives us free rein. It’s open to any piece of writing that we’d like to share with the group and get some feedback on. 

The only requirement is that it should aim to hold the readers’ attention and impress them favourably (the ‘wow’ factor). There are no genre restrictions. Novel extracts, short stories, flash/micro/macro/nano fiction, fragments, recipes, drama, poetry, non-fiction, biography, memoirs, reviews, experimental pieces, rants; articles about writing, words, grammar, politics, ethics, other arts etc. Think of something I haven’t mentioned and submit it to the Open Page! 

The Open Page entry should be preceded by a brief introduction stating the nature of the piece and the word count. Add any other useful information: why and when you wrote it; any problems you’d like comments on etc. 

Write a new piece, polish up one that should have won that comp or flesh out the idea you jotted down somewhere etc. 

1st place with 6 votes each Cat and Ros. 2nd place with 5 votes each Christine and Francesca. 3rd place with 4 votes Morgen.

The Alpha Leaderboard after the Open Page ed. 1, Season XVIII:

Cat:                 11 points

Francesca:      8*

Morgen:          6

Ros:                 6

Catherine:       5

Christine:        5


Challenge 2

Dear Alphas,
Here is your brief for challenge 2: write a story backwards.

Use up to 300 words to tell a story using reverse chronology. How strict we are with time shifts is up to us, but the piece should start at the end and finish with the beginning of the action. 

To help you get the idea, I’ve included three examples of reverse chronology flash fiction below:
Currents by Hannah Bottomy
Goodbye Piano by Megan GiddinsKeys by Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber

1st place Francesca 18 points, 2nd place Cat 15 points, 3rd place Morgen 12 points.

The Alpha Leaderboard after Ch. 2, Season XVIII:

Cat:                             7 points

Francesca:                  5*

Catherine:                  4

Morgen:                      4

Suzanne:                     2*



Challenge 1:

I’m sure we have all experienced being in queues, especially in these socially distanced times. So this challenge is: –

Write an internal monologue of a person stuck in a queue.

As usual, the word limit is 300 words.

1st place Cat 18points, 2nd place Catherine 11 ponts, 3rd place Morgen 9 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 1, Season XVIII:
Cat: 4 points
Catherine: 3
Morgen: 2
Francesca: 1*
Suzanne: 1*

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