March 5, 2012

Second Challenge (4th Platform-Building Campaign)

You all know Rach, right? Over at Rach Writes? Well, the girl has gone a little crazy this time. Lots of prompts and added challenges, so you can torture yourself as little or as much as you want.

I went with three of the challenges (three being an added challenge), each written in the dystopian genre (another added challenge as I've never written in the dystopian genre before): the pitch, 200 word story using prompt #1, and the five-line story using each of the five prompts.

My theme is life and survival in a newly dystopian world, and so I have used water as a strong life symbol.

You can go HERE to check out the other entries. I am #25 if you want to "like" mine.


A blip, no bigger than a tear drop, a tiny hiccup in the earth’s perpetual spin, results in the struggle to survive in a new world and a new society for those lucky enough to find their way to the safety of the bridge.

Under the Bridge

I shifted my position, wincing at the pain in my leg.

“Try not to move,” said my companion. “That cut on your leg is pretty deep.”

Rain water dripped from points off his drenched hair. He had given me the trash bag, first slitting the side and slipping it over my head like a hood, the odor of rotting garbage hugging my face.

The concrete bridge had collapsed, sending pedestrians cascading like a waterfall to drown in the lake of debris below.

I didn’t remember. I awoke sitting here, partially protected under the remains of the bridge, the rusted support beams etching a painful tattoo into my back.

Time escaped me.

“What’s taking so long?” I croaked. “The rescue people – what’s taking so long?”

No sirens blared. No barking, no chirping, no buzzing, no engines.

It disturbed me.

“Where are the others? The other people from the bridge?”

He didn’t answer, only sat with eyes closed, adam’s apple gliding up and down.

It all felt wrong. Terribly wrong.

I leveraged myself up, hands scraping against the rough surface. Dragging my stiff leg, I shuffled to the opening.

Nothing but barren land, leveled, ravaged.

No one was coming.



Each bridge, dark, dank, wet, safe.

Each child, a miracle.

Each splash of water, life.

Each search through rubble, a treasure hunt.

Each energy field, a field of hope.


There are five prompts, four of them are photographs:

Prompt #1:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt #2:


Prompt #3:

Prompt #4:

Prompt #5:

Here are the challenges. Do one or more of the following:
  1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
  2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
  4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts
  5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.

For added difficulty/challenge:

  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme (feel free to either state the theme in your post or leave us to guess what it might be)
  • Write in a genre that is not your own
  • Ask Challenge entrants to critique your writing. After the Challenge closes, you may wish to re-post your revised piece(s), and I’ll include a Linky List at the bottom of this post for those wishing more feedback on their revisions (note: revised entries will not be judged, so please label clearly your original post and your revisions. Please do not offer critique unless someone asks for it, as per the usual blogging conventions. If you do ask for critique, make sure you ask for it clearly so people know you want it, and please be prepared to receive feedback that may not be 100% glowing. If you are a critiquer, please be tactful and courteous, and remember to provide positives as well as negatives.)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

First one is powerful! Didn't expect the twist.

Melissa said...

Nice job! Really loved the poem. You get a vote for sure!!!
Melissa Maygrove entry #14

Morgan said...

Nice job capturing the dystopian feel. It was scary! "Liked" ;)

A.E. Martin said...

Nice use of the prompts, I liked the voice of your piece, really put me in the story.

Nancy Thompson said...

I loved the pitch and Under the Bridge best. Solid writing and powerful images. Very nicely done. Though this was difficult challenge, you made it look easy! I'm a new follower and entry #5. Nice to meet you!

Lady Gwen said...

Alex, thanks for your kind words:)

Melissa, thanks for the vote!

Morgan, a scary thought, huh?

A.E., thank you - it's my "end of the world as we know it" voice.

Nancy, not an easy challenge, so thanks for your kind words - and following - yay!

S.P. Bowers said...

Nice, You did a good job describing the situation in so few words.

Lady Gwen said...

S.P., thank you - it was certainly a challenge:)

Kevin Hiatt said...

Love the pitch. So few words but really good hook. I wanna read more about the bridge, what makes it safe, what the new society looks like. Very interesting read. +1 like.

Kevin (#19)

Lady Gwen said...

Kevin, thank you much. Yeah, I don't know what happens next, but it would be interesting....

Rachel Morgan said...

"the odor of rotting garbage hugging my face." <--- gross, but a great sentence!

Tara Tyler said...

waiting in pain for help is the worst anticipation!
good job!

Liza said...

Your flash fiction is awesome! Liza (#30)

Sarah Pearson said...

I particularly loved the story - such a sad last line.

JEFritz said...

Very nice and dystopian-like. I definitely want to read more.

Siv Maria said...

Very visual piece of flash fiction. Love this line: sending pedestrians cascading like a waterfall to drown in the lake of debris below.

Jennifer Fischetto said...

Good job. I'm a sucker for dialogue. :)

Julia King said...

Whoa, great job! I love this line the most: "the rusted support beams etching a painful tattoo into my back." Very descriptive. I can feel the pain. Way to go!

Esther Spurrill-Jones said...

That was very good. I liked the way you built up to the shock in the last line.

Lady Gwen said...

Rachel, yeah, I grossed myself out with that one.

Tara, I did rather like the anticipation build-up. Thanks for noticing:)

Liza, you're awesome. Thanks:)

Sarah, thanks. My first attempt at distopian. It was fun:)

JE, thanks for you kind words:)

Siv, quite a mouthful, but I liked it too. Thanks for noticing:)

Jennifer, dialogue does help move it forward. Thanks for commenting:)

Julia, thank you very much for your kindness:)

Esther, thanks for noticing the build-up. Hard to do in flash fiction:)

Gwen said...

I really felt the desperation and horror of the protagonist in your flash fiction entry. Good job other Gwen!

meradeth said...

Intriguing! I wish there were more to read, which is a good thing :)

Lady Gwen said...

Other Gwen, thank you. I had fun writing it!

Meradeth, awww, you're so sweet:)

Carrie Butler said...

Nice! I love that we both went the same route with the bridge thing. Too cool! :)

Michelle Pickett said...

I loved the imagery/description...the odor of rotting garbage hugging my face...that's great!


Nick Wilford said...

Your short sentences/paragraphs did a great job of building the tension in the first story. It felt very bleak, but this is sweetened by the five line story, which feels almost like a poem to me. Very vivid imagery. Nice job!

C.M.Brown said...

I enjoyed reading all your entries. I can feel the horror of your characters situation, very deep powerful message. Well done!

clarbojahn said...

Love dystopian. It seems so good that I'm amazed you don't always write in this genre. Love the ending. So strong. #55

Traci Kenworth said...


Sylvia van Bruggen said...

Hi! I am one of the judges for the second challenge. I am happy to announce you are through to Round Two! Congratulations :D

Lady Gwen said...

Carrie, thank you. Great minds think alike, lol!

Michelle, thanks for your kind words.

Nick, I was going for bleak, so thank you!

C.M., awww, thank you so much!

Clarbojahn,thanks. I think I will try dystopian agaon.

Traci, thank you!

Sylvia, oh I am so doing my happy dance right now. Thank you for liking my story!!!

Mina Burrows said...

Nice twist for sure. I wasn't expecting that. Well done!
New follower too.

Lady Gwen said...

Mina, welcome! And thanks for the nice comment:)

Nancy Thompson said...

Your campaign entry has been shortlisted and is now entered into the semi-finals! Congrats and good luck!!

Lady Gwen said...

Nancy, you totally made my day!!! I've never gotten this far before. I'm so glad you liked my story *I'm doing my happy dance and grinning hugely* YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! WHOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'M FEELING SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! *happy sigh* Did I mention how happy I am?

Honey said...

Loved the line where the rusted bridge etched a tattoo on her back. Nice!

The Capillary said...

Your flash fic was a great read. :)


Jessica Salyer said...

Glad I'm not there.:) Great job!

Treelight said...

Your pitch made me wonder what kind of special bridge all that was about and I really liked your flash-fiction.
"the odor of rotting garbage hugging my face." ... wonderful :)

(I'm #82.)

Lady Gwen said...

Honey, thank you, I made it up myself:)

Capillary, thank you - I had fun with it:)

Jessica S., glad you're not there? Then I've done my job - thanks:)

Treelight, the safety of the bridge was just a lil' something I made up:)