Open Page 3

Hi Alphas,

Happy Easter and may all your problems be chocolate coated.

Our next challenge is the 3rd edition of the Open Page. 

You all know the drill, but for those of you who have been distracted, here are the ‘rules’.

 “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 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!

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

1st place Andrea – 6 votes. Joint 2nd place Tony, Morgen Suzanne & Andy with 5 votes each.

Final result

Challenge 8

This challenge is based on the French literary movement of Oulipo.

By imposing multiple restrictions on the processes of writing, Oulipo writers seek to find what literature might be, rather than what it is. Essentially, constraint = creativity.

Here are the constraints for Challenge 8.

  • Write a story of up to 300 words without the letter ‘e’
  • No words can start with ‘w’
  • No paragraph can be under 50 words (including dialogue)

Have fun with it.

The Alpha Leaderboard after challenge 8:

Morgen:                     28 points

Ros:                             20

Francesca:                  19*

Martin:                       19

Phil:                            15*

Andrea:                       15

Andy:                           15

Challenge 7

Francesca was adamant ‘no dialogue’ in the last Challenge, so, as a total contrast, your task this time is to write 300 words max of pure dialogue

Although the dictionary defines dialogue as ‘a conversation between 2 or more people’ (amongst other definitions) please restrict your conversation to just 2 characters.

Please use this as the exact opening line:

‘Don’t ever ask me to do that again.’ (This does not count amongst the 300 words.)

I leave it up to the writer to decide on punctuation and layout but please pure dialogue – no tags such as ‘he said’ ‘she screamed’ etc. 

1st place Phil 13 points, 2nd place Ros 12 points, 3rd place Morgen 8 points.

The Alpha Leaderboard after challenge 7:

Morgen:                     24 points

Ros:                             19

Martin:                       18

Francesca:                  16*

Andrea:                       14

Andy:                           14

Phil:                            13*

Challenge 6

Thoughts and Perceptions    No Dialogue

Person A  does something. The what, is entirely up to you, eg receives a prize on stage, trips on a stone, buys a book, rows a boat, drives a red car at 3.00am… anything you like,

Three onlookers, B,C,D, witness the event.

You are to get into the heads of B,C and D;  write from their individual POVs, giving their thoughts on the matter. No dialogue… just thoughts.

eg person A is on stage playing the piano

People B, C, D  sit in the concert hall, witnessing… get in their heads and give us their thoughts. 

Then give a brief tying-it-all together section if you wish.

But still No Dialogue.

1st place Martin & Andy 11 points each, 2nd place Francesca 10 points, 3rd place Phil 8 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Ch.6:

Morgen:                     22 points

Martin:                       17

Ros:                             16

Francesca:                  15*

Andrea:                       13

Andy:                          13

Stephen:                     10

Open Page 2

Our next challenge is the 2nd edition of the Open Page. See below for explanation.

1st place Tony – 7 votes, 2nd place Andy 6 votes

The Alpha Leaderboard after the Open Page 2nd edition:

Morgen:                     21 points

Ros:                             15

Martin:                       13

Francesca:                  12*

Andrea:                       12

Challenge 5

Write a 300 word story based on a picture.

1st place Ros & Martin 11 points each, 2nd place Morgen 10 points, 3rd place Andrea 9 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 5:

Morgen:                     18 points

Ros:                             13

Martin:                       12

Francesca:                  11*

Andrea:                       11

Challenge 4

You are a time travelling assassin. Your next hit will be in November 1973. You can decide the place and the victim. You can also decide if it will be a success, and how you’ll dispatch the victim – the more imaginative the better please. 

You’re free to approach the subject any way you wish.

Two other criteria:

You must make reference to one of these five songs:

Midnight train to Georgia by Gladys Knight and the Pips

Desperado by the Eagles

Live and Let Die by Wings

Life on Mars by David Bowie

Jolene by Dolly Parton        

and you must include the number 50 at some point.

1st place Andy 12 points, 2nd place joint – Francesca, Andrea and Morgen – 10 points each, 3rd place Ros 7 points

The Alpha Leaderboard following Challenge 4:

Morgen:                     15 points

Francesca:                  10*

Andrea:                       10

Ros:                             9

Martin:                       8

Cat:                             7*

Stephen:                      7

Challenge 3

Write a story or poem in a maximum of 300 words in which you include the use of all five senses. (touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste).

1st place Cat – 13 points, 2nd place Morgen 12 points, 3rd place Suzanne and Martin 10 points each.

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 3:

Morgen:                     12 points

Ros:                             8

Cat:                             7*

Francesca:                  7*

Andrea:                       7

Martin:                       7

Stephen:                      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. 

Joint 1st place Morgen & Ros 7 points each, 2nd place Stephen 6 points

The Alpha Leaderboard after the Open Page edition 1

Morgen:                     9 points

Ros:                             7

Francesca:                  6*

Andrea:                       6

Stephen:                     5

Martin:                       5

Challenge 2

300 words 

This is a journalism brief.  Write a biographical appreciation of a person who has died, or resigned/retired.

Further Information: 

The person is fictional but could be inspired by a real person. S/He was important, a well-known figure, either globally, nationally or locally.

Maybe it is someone from, sport, politics, church, entertainment, business, etc. Your call!

You are a professional reporter with integrity.  Your objectivity is beyond question.  So if there is scope for any revelation about your subject you will employ innuendo and your choice of incidents in the life/career of your subject.

We may judge the entries to this challenge on the basis of interest and engagement and wanting to know more.

A non word count title would be good ( I forgot last time!) And you can give your by-line if you wish.

But I’m getting carried away now!  Above all, as ever, be creative, use your imagination and ENJOY the writing.

Write what you feel, it will be within this brief!

1st place Andrea 13 points, 2nd place Morgen 9 points, 3rd place Ros 8 points.

The Alpha Leaderboard after Challenge 2:

Andrea:                       5 points

Francesca:                  5

Morgen:                     5

Martin:                       4

Ros:                             3

Challenge 1


For this challenge, I am providing you with a short backstory. As we’ll all be starting with the same backstory, there is no need to waste your word count repeating it.

Your challenge is to write what comes next. Anything goes, except changing what came before, which is this:

Your main character is a bus driver. The bus driver has just finished a long shift and has driven their bus back to the depot. Before leaving to go home, they are required to clean their bus so it will be ready for them when they return to work in the morning. In doing so they find something unexpected…

1st place Francesca – 14 points, 2nd place Martin – 13 points, 3rd place Morgen – 10 points