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!

Season XV

Challenge 4

Challenge 4 – The Haiku Christmas challenge! 7 days of Haiku’s from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve (or if you prefer Christmas Day to New Year’s Day)

Deadline: Tuesday 8th January 2019 – Someone remind me to send out a reminder on the 1st!!!

Definition of haiku :an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively – also:a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference.

A haiku is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form that consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. A haiku expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible words. The form gained distinction in the 17th century, when Basho, a Japanese poet considered the greatest practitioner of the form, elevated it to a highly refined art. It remains Japan’s most popular poetic form. The Imagist poets (1912–30) and others have imitated the form in English and other languages.(Merriam Webster)

It employs highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons.

Some examples:

Winter solitude –

in a world of one colour

the sound of wind

Written by Basho, a 17th century Japanese haiku master.

Some more modern ones

DECK THE SHELVES by Kim Rodrigues


Christmas by Gail Lewis

OK so challenge is to capture the experience of your Christmas in 7 days of Haiku’s. Remember that traditionally the Haiku includes allusions to the natural world, and to the seasons.

Hope this works for people


Challenge 3

Herbert Read believed that ‘Art in its wildest sense is the extension of the personality.’
Using the photo below as a prompt, in 300 words, write about the artistic scene it depicts. That’s it.

Open Page 1

Brief for the Open Page, 1st edition, Alpha Season XV.
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.

Morgen 6 nominations, Christine 5 nominations

The Alpha Leaderboard after the Open Page ed.1 Season XV:
Ros: 7 points
Jackie: 6
Morgen: 6
Sarah: 6
Christine : 5
Phil : 4*
Gloria : 4

Challenge 2

Please write a dialogue-only piece between two people.  In 300 words, with no extraneous identification of who is speaking (no `he said..she replied…`) in fact no descriptions or explanations of any sort outside of the dialogue.
Just pure dialogue between two characters.
No theme is specified.  You may choose your own.
1st place Rosemary 20 points, 2nd place Sarah 10 points, 3rd place Elizabeth 8 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 2:

Ros:                 6 points
Jackie:             4
Sally:               4
Sarah:             4
Phil:                 2*
Suzanne:         2*

Challenge 1

This is a very straightforward challenge to get us all warmed up: 300 words of prose on the subject of “Heat”. So, there we are – nothing complicated to start off with! Entries to me please by midnight GMT Tuesday 2nd October.

1st place Sally 18 points, 2nd place Jackie 13 points, 3rd place Rosemary 10 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 1:
Sally:               4 points
Jackie:             3 points
Rosemary:      2 points
Suzanne:         1*
Phil:                 1*

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