"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Monday, 24 August 2015

The challenge of an online writing community - sharing WEP's successful Spectacular Setting's challenge.

Hi all!

Another week has begun for some of us! What an exciting week I've just had with monitoring the WEP challenge with Yolanda Renee. It was a mammoth effort, still ongoing. We've yet to choose a short-list of the 3 best entries to hand over to our Guest Judge, Donna Hole, who will put them in the order of Winner, Runner Up and Encouragement Award. This is the hardest part of WEP, especially this challenge as we received nearly 50 entries to read, comment on, promote, and finally judge. The winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and there will be a surprise gift decided by the numbers we load into random.org.

The entries have been amazing and those that participated have been blown away by the quality.

Halloween is usually our biggest roll up. How many are going to turn up in October with their creepy stories, photos and artwork?

Here is a sample of some of the entries for Part A where you had to share a setting that blew you away, then tell us why:

Home 2010

Angeline Chee from Cutting the Map shared why she loved this night shot of Singapore...
"I revel daily in the history and architectural marvels of England, always feeling regretful that Singapore had chosen to rid ourselves of many a heritage marker in order to build the modern city. At that moment, though, (watching the National Day Parade), the glitz and glamour of our Central Business District (CBD) stopped my heart."

Part B asked that you shared something you created yourself:

Michelle Wallace from Writer in Transit shared a fantastic shot of  Moyos, South Africa's first building on a pier then wrote a flash fiction using that setting:

Moyos - at night!

Moyo means heart.
It’s a place that holds my heart; a place where the heartache began. In another lifetime. When I was another person. No good dwelling on that now. All in good time…
Today is a new day…
A new day means endless possibilites. Just like the sand grains stretched on either side of the walkway which extends to form the pier, jutting 150 metres into the Indian ocean.
The surrounding location is popular. Competitive vendors offer over-priced beverages, stale breadrolls and quick-congealing condiments. Accidents and near-misses occur between slow-moving pedestrians and high-speed rollerbladers. A bicyclist wobbles through throngs of walkers and joggers, his cell phone glued to his ear.
Sand sculptures dot the area, transporting it into a living gallery of artwork that is unique.
“Look at the sand sculptures! Can you believe it?” Familiar words uttered by a steady stream of visitors.
Faceless people, nameless people… aboard the conveyor belt of tourist living.
A new day.
The same routine.
A replica of countless moments.
Father smacks his crazy brat whose tantrum competes with the life-guard’s whistle. The high-pitched squawk of a lone seagull completes the trio of cacophony.
“Look, the rickshaw man. Let’s stop him. If you behave, maybe we’ll go on the ride.”
Bribery is a good diversion. It works with kids. Well, most times.
“But dad, I thought we didn’t have enough money? Plus you promised we could take a photo with the sand dragon. How are we gonna go on the ride and take a photo if——–“
A hot glare is the answer. It rivals the blazing midday sun, silences any further comments from the older sibling.
I feel a headache coming on. Hold tight. Why do I subject myself to this? Breathe. Slowly. In and out. Remember the goal. This is temporary… so close to finding out…
“Where’s mom? She’s taking forever…”
Breathe. In and out. Another day in paradise. The conveyor belt is in motion. Predictable, as usual.
“Dad, does he build these all by himself?”
… kid, you’re watching me with an odd expression. I don’t bite, you know. I’m not mute or deaf either, just in case you’re wondering…
“Wow. How does he get the alligator’s skin to look so real? The other sand guy built a rhino. I also saw the big five. The animals. Really cool stuff. We’re talking about poaching at school, dad. ”
You can show your admiration for attention to detail by donating something. A ten or twenty to have your picture taken next to the sculpture? Surely you can spare that?
“You got some cash on you dad? Whoa———– a wad of notes! Does mum know? You said money went missing from your bag…”
A five? You can’t be serious. What’s that in your currency? You ARE a foreigner, aren’t you? You can be more generous. 
That’s it kid. Take the ten.
“Not a word to anyone, you hear?”
Ah, I see your wife. She’s waving. The one in the leopard print bikini? Oh, THAT’S your wife. Quick, pass the money. She doesn’t have to know. Can’t disappoint the boy now, can we?
“Dad what’s poaching?”
“Ask your mom. She’s the expert. It’s what she resorted to the first time we met…”
Cherry lips purse followed by a disapproving stare as she cradles a puppy who wiggles in an attempt to get loose.
“Mom, what took you so long?” Brat tugs at her hand while she inspects her facial artwork in a compact mirror.
You’re back madam. Mmm, I see your face has been painted. You went for the intricate floral design? Surprising choice. Lots of designs, patterns, shapes. Reminds me of life. It moves in unruly patterns… in circles… it’s never linear. The miniature paw prints… now that seems more your style. You strike me as an animal lover. No disrespect.
“Dad who taught them how to make these? How long does it take to complete one?”
A slew of ingredients such as sand, sea, time, patience, lots of love… that’s all you need to know. The process? Nothing special. You’d be bored stiff.
“Do you know the artists pay a monthly fee to the local council? But they don’t make much money from these works of art. What a pity we’re a bit cash-strapped.” A sigh flutters away. She gazes at the sand sculpture.
The older boy smiles at his father, who’s attention is divided between the brat and the puppy. A tug-o-war stalemate.
“Look. The Rickshaw ride. There it goes again. You said that we can go on the ride after—–“ but his brother scoops him up, swings him around and they tumble onto the sand.
No, the sand sculpting story is not very exciting. But I could tell you another story. One that haunts my sleep. 
A story of skeleton beams and life before sand sculptures. 
Now that would keep you riveted. 
But look, the tide is turning.
“What happens to the sculptures when the tide comes in? Oh no, don’t tell me they’re washed away! What about night time? Do they just leave it?”
I sleep next to my creation, ma’am. No warm, cosy bed for this artist. Well not yet. But soon.
“Let’s walk to the end of the pier, honey.”
Run along. Cocktails at the pier bar is an experience you don’t want to miss.
“Boys, come, let’s go!”
Ah, new customers… step this way, sir. Would madam like a photo next to the sand sculpture?

A fantastic entry, as were so many others.

Thank you Angeline and Michelle for giving me permission to share parts of your entries.

  • Will you join us for a creep-fest in October?


  1. Glad you had such a huge turnout. Obviously writers missed WEP.

  2. There were so many great submissions that I don't know how you'll choose. Good luck to Donna.

  3. Delighted to see this enterprise still going strong!

    1. It is for sure. And you are most welcome to submit your photographs or non fiction. Most welcome.

  4. Well, Denise and Yolanda, a great beginning! I'm still making my way through the entries, and I don't envy Donna her task. Good luck to all! (My slow reading is due to computer issues. . .)

    1. Hi DG. I'm reading some for the third time and it only gets harder. This may take awhile! Thanks for participating. I just left another reply on your site.

  5. My grueling duties as a rare blood courier kept me from visiting as many as I wanted. :-( Like my young hero, Victor, I run for the fun not the trophy so I merely posted for the thrill of putting my prose out there. :-) I did several different posts to help advertise your Challenge.

    Considering my type of fiction -- you know I will be there for Halloween. :-)

    1. Yes Roland. It's a busy life for most of us, isn't it? Sorry for not getting around to read your 3 or 4 extra posts, but it was gruelling enough reading nearly 50 posts once, twice, three times...Phew! Now to decide on winners!

      Yes, I think your comments helped Yolanda name the Halloween challenge! :-)

  6. It was my first time participating and I am happy that I did.

    1. Shalom, Pat! Was so lovely having you on board. Thank you for your support, your thoughtful critique and for your wonderful entry!

  7. Mind boggling how much talent there is out there. Inspiring.

  8. I'm still trying to get through all of the entries - I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them, which means I tend to spend more time reading entries, looking at the photos and artwork, reading the comments...

    This was an especially entertaining challenge (for me) because there was so much latitude and every entry was totally unique. I'm thankful that I don't have to judge. :)

    1. Any suggestions gladly received Li! I'm just getting so stressed trying to make a short list! :-0 And thanks for doing the rounds. Greatly appreciated.

  9. Hi Denise, busy weekend, busy week. It's was a wonderful opening for the WEP and today I'm concentrating on choosing my top three. One more go through, but this time with a fun goal in mind! Great wrap up post!

    1. Gah, we did give ourselves a task with choosing three!

  10. Beautiful story! I'm still slowly working my way though all the entries. I've got an idea for the Halloween WEP, so y'all will definitely see me!

  11. Hey Denise!
    Great to see my entry posted here.
    I'm still busy visiting the WEP participants... the entries are WONDERFUL!
    I'm not good with the spooky stuff, so I'll have to start preparing early for the October creep-fest.

    1. Ah I like to get scary occasionally. Hope you can prepare yourself Michelle!

  12. Brilliant turn out at the WEP, am a bit behind with the reading, still catching up. Loved Michelle's entry! You guys will have your work cut out :-)

    Have a great weekend, Denise.

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