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 XVI

Challenge 8

Challenge 8 is to write a drabble: that is a story of exactly 100 words. Not one more, not one less. Titles are not included in the word count. Please do not write poetry or an anecdote, drabbles are fictional stories of an exact length. The theme of your piece must be ‘purity‘. Interpret that as you will.

Finally, I will be checking the entries using, so please do the same and ensure they meet the brief.

Challenge 7

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Simple – write no more than 300 words to describe a terrifying situation. Your character can be dangling from a cliff top. They may have had news that makes them fear the future. Perhaps they are alone in the house and hear a bump in the night. Your choice, but your character needs to be …well…a tad fearful.

But here’s the rub. You knew there’d be one! This challenge is a Cliché Free Zone.

Describe your character as you will but you must refrain from popping eyeballs, clammy palms, dry mouths, spinal chills and frozen blood.

The English language has oodles of words. Choose some better ones.

Challenge 6

Three hundred words of advice as they would have been given by Jane Austen entitled “My writing advice for gentle ladies…from idea to publication.”

1st place Rick. -16 points, 2nd Place Suzanne 12 points, 3rd place Maria and Linda 9 points each

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 6:

Jackie:                         19 points
Ros:                             17*
Linda:                         14
Sarah:                         13
Phil:                            13
Rick:                            11*
Stephen :                    11

Open Page 2

It’s getting to the time to come up with something extraordinary for our  Open Page, edition 3, Season XVI.

Include a a brief introduction stating the nature of the piece, the word count, and any other useful information, including the areas you’d like feedback on.

Remember, there’s no brief, no restrictions on genre, theme or word count. At the same time, it should have enough “wow” to propel readers out of their chairs, beds, hammocks. Everything is welcome, e.g., 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, etc…

Try not to exceed 2,000 words. But if you really need extra words, then feel free. We can always stop reading.

1st place Jackie – 6 votes, 2nd place Ros and Elizabeth – 5 votes each

The Alpha Leaderboard after the Open Page 2nd edition:

Jackie:                         18 points
Ros:                             16*
Linda:                          12
Phil:                             12
Sarah :                        12
Stephen :                    10

Challenge 5

It’s the season when pantos really come into their own (Oh yes, they do!), with many of them originating from fairy tales. So I thought it might be nice to update one of my favourite stories – that of Cinderella – from one of the ugly sisters’ point of view. Max. three hundred words, please, excluding the title if given.

1st Linda – 14 points, 2nd Jackie and Ros – 10 points each, 3rd Phil – 9 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 5:
Jackie:              14 points
Ros:                  13*
Linda:              11
Phil:                 10
Sarah :             10
Stephen :           9

Challenge 4

It’s your 100th birthday! Yes, for your next challenge, I’d like you to write a diary entry for the day before, or the day after, your one hundredth birthday. Comical, moving, dramatic, as long as it’s no longer than 300 words, the choice is yours.

1st Sarah – 15 points, 2nd Gloria – 11 points, 3rd Stephen – 10 points.

The Alpha Leaderboard after challenge 4:
Jackie:                         11 points
Ros:                             10*
Sarah:                         9
Stephen:                     8
Phil:                            8
Gloria:                        7+
Elke:                            7
Linda:                          7

Challenge 3

Please write 300 words of dialogue. This means purely a conversation between 2 or more people with no extraneous words such as ‘he said / she shouted / he retorted’… etc. But you are all to begin with the first line:

‘There is a surprise waiting for you in the garage’.

The piece can be serious or funny, however you like!

1st place Phil – 16 points, 2nd place Chris – 10 points, 3rd place Linda – 9 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 3:
Jackie:                         10 points
Ros:                               9
Phil:                              7
Elke:                              6
Linda :                           6
Stephen :                      6

Open Page One

Most of you are familiar with this by now so I’ll just outline the idea.

It’s called Open Page because there is no brief, no restrictions on genre, theme or word count. The only requirement is that it should aim to hold the readers’ attention and impress them favourably (the ‘wow’ factor). 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.

Send your entry to me before the deadline, ie midnight BST on 05/11/2019. Write a new piece, polish up one that should have won that comp or flesh out the idea you jotted down somewhere etc.

As for the word count just bear in mind that the average attention span of Alphas has its limits. We prefer to avoid full-length novels and are happy with a simple haiku. On the whole it’s better not to exceed 2,000 words.

1st Jackie – 6 votes, 2nd Stephen and Elke joint with 5 votes each

The Alpha Leaderboard after The Open Page, 1st ed., Season XVI:
Jackie:                         9 points
Ros:                             8
Elke                             5
Stephen:                     5
Linda:                         4
Martin:                       4
Morgen:                     4
Sarah:                         4

Challenge Two

You have been commissioned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to write an updated set of words for Great Britain’s national anthem. She’s bored with being sent victorious and wants to hear something a little more relevant, although still serious in tone. Whatever Philip might think, this is not the time for humour. Modernising the monarchy is one thing, but she does not want to be a laughing stock.

The tune will remain the same but please can you submit three verses relevant to a modern day country. A link to the existing lyrics (for meter only) and tune is here.

First place Ros – 23points, 2nd place Morgen – 21 points, 3rd place Linda 13 points.

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge2:

Ros:                 7 points
Jackie:             5
Morgen:          4
Linda:              3
Maria:             2*
Rick:                2*

Challenge One

The Story Challenge.

Write a 300 word story about a moral dilemma centered around either: Joy. Scorn. Or Relief.
This is a story challenge i.e prose with a beginning, middle and end. (No poetry or non-fiction.) Your story can be in any genre you like (e.g. romance, horror, science fiction etc.)
Simple as that!
1st place Jackie – 14 points, 2nd place Ros – 13 points, 3rd place Suzanne – 10 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 1:
Jackie:             4 points
Ros:                 3 points
Suzanne:         2 points
(The rest:        1 point)

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