Author Topic: Love Letters - Spring 19 Prompt  (Read 21 times)

Matra Hammer

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Love Letters - Spring 19 Prompt
« on: March 13, 2019, 04:47:23 AM »
Glad tidings to all. Spring approaches, the dust is thick, and I've completely forgotten how formatting on this board works. Let's try a...

Writing Prompt!

Oooh, the handy buttons made it easy.

Love Letters is a characterization challenge which opens with a letter, cuts to a scene where the recipient acts upon the opening letter, and closes with a return letter from the recipient to the initial writer.

Hope to see all of you giving this a shot - Spread the word!

Hard Details

Due Date: March 25th, 11:59 PM

Participants will write Three sections.

The first section is a letter between 100 and 400 words from character(s) A to character(s) B.

The second section is 400-1000 word scene revolving around character(s) B reacting to the contents of the initial letter. This scene cannot be a letter and must contain dialog.

The third and last section is a letter between 100 and 400 words from character(s) B to character(s) A.

And that's it!

Send the completed draft in a PM to Matra Hammer.

I will repost the entries in this thread once the deadline is over. By default, each submitted draft will receive public feedback from me and will be posted anonymously.

A quick example of how it'll look.
Title: “Dog Apples” yes, you must provide a title.

Section One: a letter from Boss Mary to Newbie Pat about four apple crates being delivered.

Section Two: scene of Pat freaking out because his warehouse can only fit three crates. He panic talks at his dog, imagines the dog giving advice in return, and enacts a cunning plan.

Section Three: a letter from Pat to Mary sheepishly explaining his cunning plan...and the totally not a big deal disaster which followed.

General Tips

> Avoid the temptation to dump a ton of information any section, especially the intro letter.
> Consider the word limit AFTER you're done writing - first write a letter, a scene, a letter and only after you’re done go back and trim.
> The more characters you add the more difficult this'll become.
> If you're hurting for a starting point then think about the last letter you wrote, or the last fight you lost, or ask me or a friend for an idea.
> Focus more on the characters popping more than the story. One will lead to the other, and my feedback will focus on how the characters read over the overall story.
> Read the whole draft out loud, but ESPECIALLY read the letters and dialog out loud. Anything that feels wonky likely is.
> Characters are made interesting when we relate to, or empathize with, their Wants and Needs.
> Knowing how you want the entry to end will inform most everything else.

Preemptive FAQ

"Is this a contest?"
No. The entries will receive unbiased, craft-forward feedback from me (and I hope others) but there will be no formal grading system or vote. The default anonymity repost is for the ease and comfort of the writers, and is optional.
"Does my submission need to be Redwall related?"
Yes and no. Keep your entry as PG13 with low-fantasy anthropomorphic animal critters in medieval times. You don't have to talk about the Abbey or Martin or tow the vermin v woodlander line, or even have it set in Mossflower, but the Redwall spirit must remain.

"...I still don't get why this is a challenge?"
How do you make a letter interesting to read? What's the difference between the way a person talks and the way they write while keeping it true to the character? How do you provide critical information to a reader while making the correspondence sound natural? What're the best ways to amp up a character's appeal/voice as we read their letters, hear their dialog, see them move? There's a lot more to balance here than most realize, and that'll become clear in the drafting.
"It's called Love Letters, but I'm not really into the idea of romance..."
That's fine! The title is meant as someone saying 'Hey, just love letters' because they're a unique characterization tool. You can write about love, war, friendship, or whatever theme/genre you'd like. The only restrictions are as previously stated: “PG13 with low-fantasy anthropomorphic animal critters in medieval times.”

"I can't make the deadline! Can I have more time?"
It's 2 weeks for 600 to 1800 words. That's 4 to 6 pages at most, 1 and change at least. You can have all the time you need, but any entries PMd after the deadline will not receive feedback from me. They'll still get posted for others to read.
"Well, who cares what you think?"
I'm a published author with a history of providing fair, balanced, and helpful feedback. Others can attest to my insight, but the cold reality? Where else are you going to get professional, one-on-one feedback for free?
"Let me rephrase that: I don't care what you think."
Just fine by me! Join in anyways and let me know when submitting if you don't want feedback. I'll keep my possum trap shut, you'll have fun / an excuse to write, and everybeast wins.
"Why the anonymous reposting? I don't like it; can I just say who I am?"
Short answer: Yes, just drop a line in the thread and say 'this one is me!' if you'd like. Long answer: It's my hope that I'm not the only one offering feedback, and it can sometimes be easier to do so if you don't know who wrote what. Bias is pretty powerful, and this way people can focus on the content and not the how and why of the author.