IWT 9 - Infinite Writing Tournament 9
Deadline - December 31, 2012
After a long-waiting delay which certainly wasn't due in part to laziness, apathy, or new job weariness, I present to you: The Infinite Writing Tournament Nine! This year's theme? The Character Grab-bag. All stories should be completed by Dec 31st, 2012, although we'll probably end up with an extention. Your story must at least include three of the characters listed below. Failure to do so will result in eventual disqualification. Any member, of any tenure and skill, is welcome to participate. All you have to do is sign up in this thread, and declare your intent to enter the contest. Bear in mind that this intent is a legally binding contract, and failure to submit a story as promised will result in SHAME. All contest participants must vote for all stories in the contest. Failure to do so will result in SCORN. If you hadn't guessed it by the capital letters, these are very bad things. Bad, bad, scary bad. Wooo. Scary.
The following rubric will be used for this contest. Below are general guidelines for each category, which should be taken with a grain of salt. Perhaps several grains. Maybe even a whole chunk.
Plot and Originality- How well was the story written? Were you eagerly awaiting more, or did reading the whole story become a tedious chore? How creative was the story? Were there aspects which surprised you? Or were you able to predict the whole thing like a Made for TV Movie?
Enjoyment- This is your chance to be a critic. Abuse it. Dense authors like Dickens or Hawthorne may be considered literary greats, but that doesn't mean you have to like their work. What did you like? What didn't you like? What made you want to hurl your computer against the wall? What would you have done if you were the author?
Style and Grammar- Grammar is obviously important. How many typos and errors does the work contain? Is it still readable? Or should it be taken out back and shot, like a pre-teen's diary? Grammar is rather straightforward, so this category also covers style. Are the sentences too short to create imagery? Is the work so dense with prose that you cannot determine if anything actually happens? Are the grim, dark events in the story ruined by the fifth-grade vocabulary?
Theme- This category is solely devoted to the characters. How many were used? How many of them were used well? Did the author pick characters who were meant for each other, or did they surprise you by using characters which didn't seem to have much in common? Were the characters critical to the plot, or did they merely appear in the background of someone else's story? How many of the characters used were created by the author?
The Character List
The character list is split into four main categories- Name, Physical, Mental, and Special. Name is pretty obvious. Physical, as you would expect, details any physical information about the character, such as their age, appearance, hair/eye color, clothing tastes, ect. Mental, of course, details the more intangible facts, such as personality, disposition, and behavior. Character Background and History, when not mentioned or hinted in the Physical or Mental categories, may be invented at your whim. Special is what gives this contest an extra twist. The condition(s) described in the special category must be satisfied somewhere within your story, or the character has not truly been included in your story. This can happen in a small dead-end, or in the successful conclusion of the story, but it must be written into the submission for it to count. An empty room with a promise to fulfill does not count.
The character list submissions have been closed. Bear in mind that I was not the only person to create characters for this contest. Don't blame me if you can't find three characters that you want to use.
Clear as mud? Well, whatever. Here's the list.
Physical: Connor is an optimistic young man of 17 years. He has short, brown hair that his overbearing mother has never let grow past his shoulders. He is not muscular in any sense of the word, although his scrawny frame does not bear much fat on it, either. His skin is fair from lack of sun, and his hands do not have the hard calluses of manual labor like his father. Connor's clothers are well-kept, and they are not often made dirty. Everything is carefully tucked and fully buttoned, much to the ridicule of his peers.
Mental: Connor has a sort of youthful optimism which is a direct result of his sheltered upbringing. He has difficulty understanding the decisions and motivations of dark or evil people, as he has no way to relate to them, or to understand their life experiences. He trusts people almost instantly, and is quick to forgive people who apologize. He is mildly aware that the world is not a nice place- someone told him about the city once... but surely if you just ignore them, they won't cause you any harm? He is content with life at home, although he does find it to be a bit boring. Acting as a third parent to his three younger siblings is tiring, and he is slowly becoming aware that if he does not leave home soon, life may weigh him down with obligations.
Special: Connor's childlike view of the world must be shattered by the end of the story. The magnitude of scale is up to you. Show him that the world can be cruel, or completely ruin his life. It's up to you.
Physical: Wren is a confident woman, somewhere past adulthood but before middle age. She has light, brown hair which she often wears in a ponytail for practicality. Her frame is light and narrow, and her breasts are much smaller than she would care to admit. Her appearance is well-maintained, although she insists it has everything to do with cleanliness, and nothing to do with looking attractive. Her clothes are simple and practical, although she does own a few formal outfits for special occasions.
Mental: Wren is a fierce feminist. She is very intelligent, and she does not have much patience for stupidity or male bravado. Her sense of humor is rather dry, and she is not a big fan of doing anything which would require her to be outgoing. She does not like to defy social expectations, unless they are sexist. She would much rather stick to the background, where she can excel in secret while the visible, rash idiots foul each other up. In the event that she is confronted about something, she refuses to back down. She has had the reputation of a cold, emotionless bitch since adolescence; of which she is very proud.
Special: Wren must do something which is completely out of her comfort zone. You decide what it is. Maybe it's something embarrassing or excessively girly? Maybe she needs to play nice with a chauvinist pig?
Physical: Franklin is an old man, over fifty and/or five years past the average life expectancy. The years have not been kind. His hair has been gone fore decades, although he is clinging to the white rim that he has left. He is slowly losing the ability to care for himself, and his frail, wrinkly body looks as though he could be taken out with one swift gust of wind. His eyes still show the fierce personality of his youth, even if the rest of him has slowly decayed.
Mental: His name is Franklin, It is not Frank, and it is certainly not Frankie. Details matter. He has never been one for misleading or inaccurate information, and he is certainly not going to stop now. Always the principle of the thing is more important than the thing itself. Expect most conversations with Franklin to resemble long-winded rants or lectures on your stupidity or carelessness. He does not intentionally act mean to people, but since he refuses to back down, it usually happens anyway.
Special: If your story contains magic, Franklin was once a skilled mage. If your story contains advanced technology, then Franklin is morally opposed to it. If your story contains the supernatural, then Franklin does not believe in it. If your story contains none of these elements, then Franklin cannot count as a used character.
Physical: Madeline is a healthy young woman in the prime of her life. Her skin is smooth, soft, and free of blemishes. Her long, flowing hair frames her fair face in a curtain of gold, although it is a highly impractical style. Her fingernails are long and ornate; clearly Madeline is more trophy than human. She is very well-endowed, and her choice in open-shouldered clothing reflects this.
Mental: Madeline is precisely aware of how attractive she is. Ever since she was a teenager, Madeline has gotten everything precisely how she wants it, without having to work for it. Between her rich father and an endless procession of potential suitors, it has been some time since Madeline has truly experienced disappointment. Anyone who gives her what she want is a mere tool; anyone who opposes her is an enemy to be ruined. Her social status is the only thing which matters.
Special: Your story must contain one of Madeline's attempts at seduction and/or manipulation. It does not have to be successful.
Name: Snuggles McSquishbottom
Physical: Snuggles is a young Caucasian woman in her early twenties. She has spectacularly unexciting straight brown hair, small eyes of a nondescript color and a generally mousy appearance. She disappears into over-sized clothing articles which are the physical embodiment of her almost crippling shyness.
Mental: In seemingly diametric opposition to both her outward appearance and character, Snuggles is obsessed with the notion of achieving great fame. No one is sure exactly what it is that Snuggles does. Perhaps Snuggles herself is not even sure. What is certain, however, is that her astronomic aspirations belie her almost laughably homely appearance and inscrutable personality. What is Snuggles? Is she a diamond in the rough or just another prancing pretender to be sniffed out and sent away?
Special: Snuggles will not truly have appeared in any given story unless she creates an article of dubious value, somehow successfully turning said article into a fad of tremendous popularity, either momentary or lasting.
Physical: Tall man, muscle bound. His head is shaved or he is bald. He's a total badass. He speaks with body language; head nods and arm folds and what-have-yous. He never speaks (or if you chose, he speaks only rarely; should have less than 50 words of dialogue by him in the entire story).
Mental: Bailey has been through some shit in his days. He is wary of everyone but those few people whom he trusts. He is agreeable enough if you don't mind the silence. And he helps out wherever he is needed. Definitely a pessimist.
Special: Bailey will save one of the other main character's lives in the story. If your story does not involve a life or death situation of any type, or you cannot find even find a vague metaphorical interpretation of him "saving someone's life", then you cannot use Bailey.
Physical: Alice is pretty in a kind of off-beat way. Her style of dress is pretty plain, her hair is also plain. She wears glasses, has a light dust of freckles on her cheeks and nose, and has a warm smile that shows mostly straight teeth.
Mental: Alice is intelligent but reserved, she often will have the answer to the question at hand (or an idea that could lead to it) but doesn't speak up because she lacks the confidence to do so. She is quiet most of the time, speaks meekly or hesitantly. She is often awkward and aloof, but somehow this only makes her more appealing to others.
Special: Alice will have something traumatic happen to her in your story.
Name: Jonesy (Jones, Jonesie, whatever)
Physical: Jonesy is thin and wiry and fairly out of shape. He has dark hair and dark eyes, dresses in average enough clothing. He has a slight limp to his step from an old ankle injury.
Mental: Jonesy tries to be a good guy but the truth is; he's an addict. You choose the addiction, but whatever it is it controls his life. When he is without it for a certain period of time he becomes edgy, the longer he goes the more on-nerve he becomes. When he's not strung out, he's lively and entertaining. He has strong leadership skills, when he's not being irrational and strung out. Jonesy is intelligent and confident and full of charisma (most of the time).
Special: His addiction will have a major impact at some point in the story, be it positive or negative.
Physical: Shanksy is a brown bear of the American variety. On the smaller side and very lean, he prefers to move about on his two hind legs whenever possible. He is known for his somewhat eccentric dancing skills and can frequently be found shuffling along the street to the beat of his very own drummer.
Mental: Shanksy is a fully sentient bear, possessing human-level intelligence. He is a self-proclaimed shaman, artist, lover and explorer, though none of these claims can be precisely verified. All that is known for certain is that he has made a somewhat successful career of hawking his artworks in the esoterica market. He is terribly fond of tea and is typically drawn to close friendships with women, especially those who are willing to dote upon him.
Special: Shanksy has a dark secret! In order for his character to be fully realized, he must be confronted by either a figure from his past or by a present-day character who has found him out. The nature of this secret is such that it will bring ruin to Shanksy if it is discovered.
Physical: Damon is a young boy of about 12. He is of a slightly athletic build as he is an outside explorer type. Staying inside or in one place for too long causes Damon to become anxious. He has tousled light brown hair and steely blue eyes. Oftentimes he has scrapes or bruises he is not aware of; not unusal for adventerous boys like Damon. He likes to run, wrestle and climb; he is skilled at all three.
Mental: Damon is considered one of the bravest kids around. His brothers, sisters and in fact all the local neighborhood kids look up to Damon as this sort of courageous hero who is phased by nothing. In actuality Damon is afraid of many things but he activley goes out to conquer every one of his fears so he will not be ruled by them. He is respectful to everyone except the most cantankerous of adults and he attempts to make a friend out of anyone he meets, a potential weakness some people tell him.
Special: Damon is dead. In no way during the story is Damon ever alive. If you incorporate Damon into your story he must either be a ghost or part of another characters past memories, in which Damon can only be used in flashbacks. How Damon died is up to the author and may or may not be revealed at the writers discretion.
Physical: Lucas is a tall, lean man of about 30.He has a well maintained hair style and is always clean shaven. Looking professional is of upmost importance to Lucas, often wearing the best clothing money can buy. He is not inherently intimidating physically, but he trains near daily on various fighting techniques as to never be caught off guard by an attacker even if there is little danger of such an incident ever occurring. His hair is dark, his eyes are piercing and sullen, his facial features sharp.
Mental: Lucas is a devious schemer who is always looking to step on other people to reach the top. Positions of great power and wealth beckon to him constantly. Anyone with a higher standing causes him great jealousy for he believes no one can surpass his intelligence. He is obsessed with finding peoples weaknesses and maticulously plans out every variable of a situation so he can anticipate it. To other characters he seems like he is ten steps ahead of everyone else. His weakness is that he doesn't have much stock in the abilities of people far beneath him. A janitor or maid don't even exist to someone of Lucas's stature.
Special: At some point during the story, Lucas must destroy another characters life by manipulating a situation to his advantage. It cannot be obvious at first that Lucas was behind the plot, the mystery can be revealed later. In fact characters accusing Lucas of foul play will not be believed until enough evidence can be found to indicate him.
Physical: Zo'ileninaath is a giant floating amorphous blob of glowing green energy. He has one singular giant eye, surrounded by tiny eyes in various locations on his body. Some sort of strange metal halo structure surrounds his upper portion, indicative of perhaps, a royal crown. Squid like tentacles, spindly horse hooves and skeletal humanoid appendages portrude and retract into his body constantly, always shifting. His voice is incredibly loud and exponentially increases in volume the longer he speaks. Anything more than a handful of sentences and the character speaking to Zo'ileninaath is either physically killed or driven mentally insane.
Mental: Zo'ileninaath believes himself to be a god. He will often discuss the fraility of mortal flesh as well as his hand in certain historical events. He finds the trials and tragedies of mortals to be hilarious and will often mock mortals for not having the ability to ascend to godhood as he has. Strangley, he seems to be fooled by simple riddles as if he cannot comprehend human word play. His voracious appetite leads him to meddle in the affairs of mortals, either by attacking them or employing them to satisfy his current craving.
Special: Zo'ileninaath is either a powerful deity in the story or a mental hallucination of a character. The appearance of Zo'ileninaath must somehow change a characters outlook on life, for good or bad.
Physical: Raoul is what most women would call a .hunk,. with exotic Mediterranean (or some fictional equivalent thereof) features, curly dark hair begging to have fingers running through it, brown bedroom eyes and an athletic body. His body is his temple and he looks after it religiously.
Mental: Raoul is a narcissist and a pussy hound. He takes what he wants as he pleases. He is infatuated with himself, his appearance and perceived greatness and would be thoroughly shocked to find out someone else didn.t either want to be him or want to fuck him (or both). He is charming, though sometimes aggressive, and his high opinion of himself and general sense of invincibility makes him prone to rash, if also entertaining antics. The little rejection he gets, he doesn.t take very well and he.ll begin a dogged pursuit even to the point of stalking. Repeated rebuffs may earn someone his ire because, after all, who.d want to deny themselves of him?
Special: If you.re writing fantasy, Raoul is a prince or the son of some high-ranking noble. If you.re writing science fiction, Raoul endeavors to live forever. If you.re writing horror/paranormal, Raoul turns out to be a killer of women. Because of recklessness or ego, Raoul must get his comeuppance by being humiliated, injured, disfigured or all three regardless of genre, otherwise he cannot count as a used character.
Physical: Naylor is a tall, fit man of middle age who keeps his appearance tidy and attire simple, but formal. He has short, black hair, ice-blue eyes and a sharp, stony face lined with wrinkles.
Mental: Naylor is strait-laced and no-nonsense; he has a goal and he.s going to accomplish it, come hell or high water. As such, he.s not especially friendly in manner and prone to sarcasm, when he.s got the time. He believes in serving something greater than himself and fall on your knees and pray if he thinks you.re in his way of doing that. Naylor has an interrogative nature and can easily go too far if not held in check by someone else. Nonetheless, this zealotry makes him very efficient in gathering information and forming connections most others would miss.
Special: Naylor identifies himself exclusively by his surname and no other name is ever revealed in the story. If you.re writing something set in the real world or the future, Naylor is a government agent. If you.re writing something in a fantasy world, he is either a knight, royal bodyguard or the agent of some (benevolent) clandestine order. Naylor must be the right-hand man to someone powerful who is not the main character. Naylor must sacrifice himself to save them.
Physical: Zoe is a little girl of 4-6 years of age. She has blonde hair worn up in pigtails, cheery blue eyes and a constant smile. Her favorite colors are pink and blue, so she wears lots of both. She doesn.t like shoes, so she is almost always barefoot.
Mental: As a young child, everything seems magical to Zoe. She is high-spirited and, while largely normal for her age level, unusually precocious about some things thanks to her great curiosity about the world around her. She also loves to meet and talk with people and will frequently share with them the new things she.s learned.
Special: Zoe must be the one to figure some riddle, puzzle or other mystery out thanks to her mix of knowledge beyond her years and childlike nature.
Physical: Beary is a teddy bear. .Nuff said.
Mental: Beary is always with Zoe, so is presumably loyal to her. He goes back and forth between giving advice about being a good person and making silly puns.
Special: If you.re writing fantasy, Beary is inhabited by the spirit of a deceased jester. If science fiction, Beary is a robot who's gained self-awareness. Otherwise, Beary is just a normal toy Zoe carries around with lots of pre-recorded sayings. Beary must be used if you use Zoe and must comfort someone besides Zoe at some point in the story.
Name: Unknown (stray dog).
Physical: This dog is a boxer, brown with white splotches; floppy ears and a short nub of a tail. He is not yet an adult, though he is nearing that age.
Mental: This dog is wary of strangers, though after watching people for a while, if he determines that the people are "okay" he will approach. He is protective. Boxers, if you are unfamiliar with the breed; are active and playful and pretty much always around the people they care about. Also, he likes to dig.
Special: At some point in the story, this dog will dig up an item that will be important to your plot, be it a resolution or a pivotal point.
Physical: creepy little fuck. wears a robe.m hangs out in bushes.
Mental: shit i dont know. probably completly insane. likes little kids or somthign. I had sex with his mom last night and it was good.
Special: endmaster must molest a horse
Name: a juggalo
Physical: name is matt. or watever. He is a JUGGALO. Real buff guy, face paint and a nose ring. smokes weed. drives a big ass truck.
Mental: awesome at fighting. Hangs out wih his friends. smokes WEED. Listens to ICP all the time. likes setting thigs on fire, intrested in demonology. works in a bookstore He relies heavily on masculine bravado to fill the gaping chasm in his soul where his self-esteem ought to be.
Special: has to insult a customer and burn someons house down in mindless anger, after someone completely embarrasses him.
Physical: Alaazar has no true physical form. Whatever he truly is, that information was lost long ago. Alaazar inhabits/ possesses objects and animals. His physical form is that of whatever he possesses whether it be a chair, eagle, hamburger, ect. While inhabiting an object/animal, Alaazar usually has a higher level of strength and maneuverability then the original would have. He can only leave the possessed item after it has been physically killed or destroyed.
Mental: Alaazar has severe amnesia which makes it difficult for him to remember anything past his last couple of possessions. He is always willing to help someone in need or danger. He will offer physical help or if unable to, will provide valuable information about his surroundings to assist another character. Alaazar is stealthy and loves to spy on people. He despises arrogance and cruelty; he will not help a character who exhibits any of these traits. He is woefully attracted to beautiful women, often flirting with them knowing full well they would probably never have anything to do with him, especially if he is in a strange form.
Special: Alaazar can only possess one item or creature for the duration of the story. If destroyed, Alaazar can not been seen again during the story. If the story is not set in a fantastical setting Alaazar can be a figment of a characters imagination. In that case the possessed item must then have some sort of sentimental value to the character.
Name: Noah. Aliases, any of which can come into play at your discretion: Isaac, Jack, Vic, Mars, Seth.
Physical: White. Caucasian. I'm not racist, shut up. Noah is a well-built man with dirty blond hair, with which he is meticulous; he is young, verging on middle-aged, and moderately fit. He may visit the gym occasionally, but prefers to get his exercise walking the streets. He has grey and accurate eyes. Noah is financially solvent; if he owns a car, it's a recent model, and he cares for it. His clothing is cut to his appearance and is casual, predominantly white or tan/light-colored. He can be a little careless with shaving, but stubble becomes him. He has some skill with firearms.
Mental: Noah is a thief. It is his sole occupation, and shapes his life. He is intelligent, sociable, and a highly moral person. He chooses his victims deliberately - rationalizes his actions - but for the most part cares deeply for other people. If he hurts someone, he feels it. He is a strategist, and a skilled chess player; he appreciates the arts, but if he has artistic talent, it's undeveloped. At heart, he is an idealist, and believes himself untouchable. There is a vague emptiness inside him.
Special: Noah must do something that goes against his values. He will hurt someone he cares about, or violate one of his core ideals.
Physical: Skye is slightly tall with straight, dark red hair and deep green eyes. She's fit, but not muscular, with a fair complexion. Her dress is "comfortable, but functional" - with an emphasis on the comfort, e.g. softer fabrics over jeans - and a preference for earth tones. Her grandparents are Irish or Scottish. She drinks tea and generally avoids meat. Her skills come from endless work with her hands, chiefly gardening and calligraphy.
Mental: Skye can best be described as a healer. While her past isn't necessarily tragic, she witnessed or experienced something traumatic that profoundly affected her. On the surface, she's strong, if a little quiet. It's a front she works to maintain, and some people mistake it for coldness or distance. Skye is a pagan, and her faith is important to her (if you want to choose or make up a denomination, by all means). She has a deep need for space, periods of solitude, and some kind of artistic expression, and surrounds herself with water, natural light, and carefully tended plants. If any of these things are missing, her world feels "off." She tries to make whatever space she occupies an oasis or sanctuary of tranquility and life.
Special: If your story takes place in a town, a city, or away from the countryside, Skye must realize her vision and utterly transform something ugly, offensive, or harmful into an instrument of change that reflects her values. If your story takes place in the country, Skye must find something to heal or cultivate.