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Take Me Somewhere: A Writer's Challenge

Updated on September 12, 2016
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Inspiration From Annart

It's been a great week in the life of this writer. I participated in a producer's challenge hosted by a local film making group, Movie Making Throughout the Bay. MMTB's goal is to bring film production jobs back to the San Francisco Bay Area and is used as a vehicle to unite Bay Area filmmakers.

I wrote the film, Unfamiliar Grounds (2014) and it premiered this week in Berkeley. Right now it is being pitched to other festivals in hopes of a wider release. The challenge was interesting in that we were given 4 prompts that had to be included: A shoe, a garden, crazy eyes, and the line, "How many of them are there?"

When I first heard of the challenge, I almost turned it down. I was in the middle of healing from a Traumatic Brain Injury and wasn't sure if I had the ability or the stamina to take on such a unique project. It grew and stretched me as a writer, and I'm so glad that I accepted the challenge. Even though it was difficult, the pride of finishing and watching the completed film, was well worth the effort.

Ann Carr's (Annart) Challenge

Last week, in my HubPages feed, the same image kept popping up from different writers. Intrigued, I clinked on Jodah'sTear's Across the Waves and was met with a beautiful story prompted by a challenge from Ann to create a short story from a painting of hers. I tracked down the original challenge and decided that I wanted to do it too. I looked at the image, and in two hours on a Saturday morning, I wrote I Will Return.

Now, almost a dozen writers have taken the challenge and have produced wonderfully unique stories off of a single image. It really is spectacular and showcases the talent on this site.

As writers we are looking for a sense of camaraderie and purpose--for our tribe.  Join this short story challenge.
As writers we are looking for a sense of camaraderie and purpose--for our tribe. Join this short story challenge. | Source

Why Do a Challenge?

There are several benefits to participating in a challenge. It may sound difficult, but you will always have a quiet pride that you stepped up to the plate.

Camaraderie

On a large site like this, you might feel lost and unknown. Sometimes you wonder if people are even reading your work. You want it to feel less like a sterile content mill and more like a circle of writers on the corner coffee shop. Joining a challenge will give your work more exposure, you will meet new people, and receive feedback on your work. It will make you feel like you are a part of something bigger than just writing a story.

A Way to Market Yourself

When you step up to the plate and accept the challenge, you are showing the writing community that you are confident in your abilities as a writer. Your work isn't just drifting off into page 17 of Google purgatory— no it is being featured on every participant's hub and on the main challenge Hub. Participating in a challenge is a great opportunity to build your writer's platform.

It Will Stretch You as a Writer

The best part of a challenge can actually be the hardest part: the prompt. The prompt may help you break a serious case of writer's block, giving you a focus and an inspired direction. However, a prompt can be confining, and it will make you have to think of a story within certain bounds and restraints.

It Will Get You Writing

Writing challenges are fun and will inspire you to write, even if you don't feel like it. Writing for a challenge is good practice for if you plan to be a professional writer. Whether you plan to write screenplays, ghostwrite novels, become a copywriter for a corporation, or have to submit to your editor and agent's wishes, learning how to write within bounds is a useful skill. You may not always have the choice on what you write, and by doing a challenge, you are practicing how to write within a client's request.

It Will Boost Your Confidence as a Writer

I was intimidated to accept Ann's challenge, because deep down, I wondered if I had what it takes to put my work out there and be a part of something so wonderful. Me—miss I have a Creative Writing degree from CSU Long Beach—miss I've worked with some of Hollywood's finest—miss I have several short stories up on kindle—miss I've been writing for HubPages for over two years with tons of friends and views.

I think that, as writers, we are often bipolar about our abilities. We put so much of ourselves into our work that it is hard to separate the writer from her words. We rip ourselves open and let everyone see inside. At the end of the day, with our trophies in their cabinet, we never feel like we have "made it." I have come to find that most, if not all, artists feel this way.

I have also come to find that those who judge their work the hardest, are often the experts of their craft. At the end of the day, when all of the critics have returned home, they desire to push their own limits and produce immortal work that will entertain themselves.

Really that is what it comes down to, at the end of the day, I want to be entertained by the stories I tell. I want my readers to walk away from a story, thinking about the world differently and confronting the emotions that have risen within them. At their core, the purpose of stories are to retell and identify with the human experience. We are all on this train together and it's good for us to rub shoulders with one another every once in a while— even if it's uncomfortable.

Source

Write a short story from the picture prompt above and the line, "You can never return."

THE CHALLENGE

Write a short story from the picture prompt and the line, "You can never return."

The Rules:

  • Use the picture above as the cover image, so that we can all identify which short stories are part of the challenge.
  • Submit your story by Nov. 15th.
  • Have fun!

How it Works:

  • Write a short story by Nov. 15th, 2014 and write the title of your story in the comments section (HubPages doesn't like links in the comments and I don't want to get any of you in trouble).
  • I will put up a link on this hub to all participants.
  • Feel free to share this Hub with your followers and social media. The more participants the better!

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who voted. However, the poll feature doesn't allow it to be updated without losing the previous data, so I have decided to forego the polling aspect of this challenge.

The writers who participated would love some comments on their hubs, so if you like their story, show them some love by sharing their work and showing them some love. You may never know how much impact a word of encouragement has on a new writer.

Comments

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jen, I would love to, but time is not on my side at this moment. I did take part in Ann's challenge, and it was great fun, and I'm sorry for not doing yours. Oddly, tomorrow, I'm issuing my own challenge to all of you. It must be that time of year for challenges. :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Jen, this is a wonderful article and I will be accepting the challenge..the photo should inspire many different stories. Glad you have given us two weeks though. I need the prompt at the moment. I haven't written a hub since Ann's challenge and Tears Across the Waves..thanks for mentioning it so kindly.i will get on it as soon as I can.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      I'm an ex squid. I have never done a writers challenge before, something new to me. I would like to try, but not sure how these are done. Do we add the picture, "Train Station" at the top of our story and write our story about it, add photos as we go? Very Interested.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Bill, you are the busiest and the hardest working writer I know. That's the hardest part of being a writer--finding the time to write all of the things we want.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Jennifer, woo hoo, another challenge! Count me in. Sounds like fun. billybuc also has one going so I'm going to be busy. Thanks for putting this together.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Jodah, thank you for joining in. I love your writing and was hoping you'd join.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Elsie, I'm so glad that you are doing your first challenge. Welcome! I hope the experience is a blessing to you and that you grow as a writer.

      Yes, you use "Train Station" as the first picture in your story, so that when your story pops up in the feeds, everyone knows that your story is part of the challenge and will read it and vote. Otherwise, it might be hard to tell who has accepted the challenge and which story they wrote in response to it.

      Any other pictures you use are up to you. Adding pictures can add to the story and break up a very long bit of writing. Readers are used to a break as they turn the page of a book or kindle, but there are no pages here. A 3000 word story in one shot can be daunting for a reader. HubPages will most likely rank your hub better if you use more of their capsules, pictures included.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you very much for replying. I have already started writing, looking forward to seeing how others are writing one so it will give me a better idea of how to do it the right way.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      I'm looking forward to it! It's looks like several people are already working on a story. It's so exciting.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Good luck Crisantonio. I look forward to reading it.

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 2 years ago from Jackson, MS

      I had so much fun doing this! I have completed your challenge... thanks so much for starting it! My hub is called "Ghost School - 10 Ways to Haunt a Train Station"

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Here's my challenge finished. Thanks for the opportunity.

      Leaving-Home-Writing-Challenge-Response

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Ghost Train and Leaving Home have been added. Can't wait to read them.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Chris, I love your stories and would be honored that you took up the challenge. I just finished Billybuc's and had a blast. I look forward to reading your stories from both challenges. Don't you think we should have one of these a week???

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I've finished my story for billybuc's challenge. Now it's time to start with your competition, Jennifer. I have my basic story line in mind, so now comes the particulars. I'm looking forward to writing this story. You have given some really sharp prompts with the photo and the phrase, "You can never return." So, I'm off to the writing desk. Actually, I'm off to hike on the Appalachian Trail for a couple of days, but I'll take a notebook with me.

    • write-with-coffee profile image

      Maria K 2 years ago from Bangalore

      Hi Jennifer, thank you for posting this challenge. I'm relatively new to HP. Even though I started an hp account two years ago, I've been largely inactive here so I was quite excited to see your challenge on a forum. I've started working on it and look forward to posting it here soon. Thanks for putting this together.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Jen, I have finished my response. It is called:

      One Way Ticket (or The Train From Purgatory)

      I hope you enjoy.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Hi Jennifer, I'm just letting you know that I'm still on board with your challenge. I just got back from a backpacking weekend, and I'm ready to get writing. Looking forward to a great response.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Chris, I can't wait to see what you came up with. Writing out in the wild is a brilliant idea. You are like the Romantics, writing while taking long strolls through the woods. It has a way of freeing your mind and heightening your senses--both useful things for a writer.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Maria, welcome back. If you dive in and put your work out there, you will soon have tons of followers and a sense of community. I highly recommend these challenges because it will hone your writing and you will meet tons of new friends.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Jodah, I just read it. Thank you so much for taking on this challenge. The story was awesome!

    • cynamans profile image

      cynamans 2 years ago from Washington DC

      Hello availiasvision. I will like to take the challenge. Please check my page for my response to your challenge in a few days. I hope to upload my short story to the picture you provided.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Cynamans, I can't wait to read it. Post the title to your story in the comments when you are done.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Great to have another challenge; what a lot in one go! I'm already formulating my response.

      You've captured the writer's thoughts and feelings well with this and you've pin-pointed great reasons for responding to challenges.

      You're right that we're our own worse critics and I think we should be.

      Difficult to choose at the moment. I'm waiting until after 15th Nov before I vote.

      Thanks for the inspiring prompt. Thanks, too, for the mention of my challenge. That's open-ended in case anyone was wondering!

      Ann

    • cynamans profile image

      cynamans 2 years ago from Washington DC

      Hi Availiasvision,

      I just posted my response to your short story challenge. My hub is called Going Somewhere Fast.

    • write-with-coffee profile image

      Maria K 2 years ago from Bangalore

      Jennifer, thank you. I've finished writing my short story for your challenge. It's called "The Silver Lining."

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Cynamans, thank you for participating, I added your story to the link web.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Hi Jennifer, my story, "Ain't Never Comin' Back" is published. Finally I get to read the other stories. I didn't want to get other people's ideas in my head before I wrote mine.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Cam8510, I'm adding in your story right now. I have high expectations coming from the great Chris Mills. that's a good idea not to read the other stories until you're done. I've been amazed at how vastly different the stories have been.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I've gotten to two of the others now and I'm impressed so far. Great things are coming out of these challenges. Thanks for presenting us with this one.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      It really has been amazing. You should read Elsie's if you want to be blown away! It is a true story.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Chris, that was a wildly entertaining tale. I love that you like to add music to set the mood. A very talented writer you are.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Availiasvision: I just read what you sad about my short story, thanks, you just hit a string on my heart reading that.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      I just read about this challenge on Elsie's article and loved it. I hope you get many responses. Will share it for you as well.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      First I have to say I so enjoyed this hub. Loved the bi-polar reference, so very appropriate.

      I'm loving all these challenges but am away from home babysitting. Should be home on Saturday and will certainly start working on my reply to the challenge.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • 10.ABDUL profile image

      10.ABDUL 2 years ago from 90037

      Have a short ready for this pic i must have to write it as a hub first and publish it first. Am I on the right track.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Have just published my response to this challenge. It's called 'CLICKETY-CLACK'. Bit late, sorry, but I've had big problems with internet access.

      Thanks again for issuing this challenge. It's generated so many great stories so far!

      Ann

    • 10.ABDUL profile image

      10.ABDUL 2 years ago from 90037

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Ann, thanks for participating. I can't wait to read it.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Jennifer, I was just thinking about film festivals and the film you have been working on. There is a festival in Traverse City, Michigan called the Traverse City Film Festival, put on by Michael Moore. It is quickly becoming recognized in the world of film festivals. Just thought it might be another option for you.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hello Jennifer (Availiasvision),

      So nice to meet you and finally getting around to the person who issued this wonderful challenge here! I have enjoyed reading each response that I have come across, and all are brilliant. I noticed that I have not read them all here, and so I did not vote in your poll yet. I must say that it will be a very hard choice.

      Congrats on your film! That is so amazing.

      I truly love this hub here and appreciate you. I have always participated in challenges, but here of late I have not been able to publish. I do hope to remedy that this weekend.

      I see you have participated in others' challenges too, so I must catch up reading your responses, which I am sure are wonderful.

      Voted up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

    • AngeShearer profile image

      Angie Shearer 2 years ago from Whangarei, Northland

      Hi Jennifer thankyou for your awesome challenge in which I accept....what a great pic very inspired. ..my title is My Majestic Ride....I must apologize for my confusion of thinking this was one of annarts she has however put me on the right path.

      I love these challenges as they really bring out people's creativeness....thankyou once again for this great topic

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Jennifer, I know of one more person writing a story for your challenge. It's exciting to see some people trying fiction for the first time.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Abdul, I added yours in. Thanks for joining in on the fun.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Chris, thanks for the tip. I wrote the film and it had been out of my hands since it left my computer. The production company is working all of the deals. Writers, we're the worst loved people on set. Once it leaves a writer's hands, it become the vision of the director. My director did an excellent job and brought the story to life in 90% of what I envisioned. It feels good to see it come alive in the way I pictured it as I wrote it.

    • 10.ABDUL profile image

      10.ABDUL 2 years ago from 90037

      Thank You I'm working on posting the first reading of this poem at Inner City Arts i hope you check it out and share it wow this is a great experience receiving all the valuable responses.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Faith. It is lovely to meet you as well. Thanks you so much for pinning tweeting and commenting. Yes, the submissions have been wonderful--and it looks like the votes are coming in. I have found these challenges to be very helpful in sparking creativity in my own writing journey.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thank you are for participating. As the submissions have come in I was updating the poll. However, I just realized that every time the poll was updated, it erased the previous votes. I have decided to delete the polling box because it isn't working the way I had intended. Thank you all for voting and commenting. I know that several of the writers have mentioned to me that the comment feedback alone was helpful.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Ange, I added you to the link.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Chris, I also love seeing new writers blossom and challenge themselves. Many writers don't realize their talent until they commit to a writing project and try it.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Abdul, that's fantastic. I'm glad to see that you're branching to outside of HubPages--that takes guts.

    • 10.ABDUL profile image

      10.ABDUL 2 years ago from 90037

      It is because of hub pages I want to link the video with the piece on hub pages so I must branch out to at least YouTube

    • Loreva13 profile image

      Lorenzo M Vasquez III 2 years ago from El Paso, TX

      Jennifer, I just competed the challenge! Here is the title:

      Guilty-Only-Of-Love

      Thank you!

      Lorenzo

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      I've been having so much fun with all of your stories and wanted to join in too. I wrote a short story titled, "Last Train to Genoa." Enjoy!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      The actual title is "You Can't Go Back" but you can see from my link I changed it:

      https://hubpages.com/literature/Who-Says-You-Can-N...

    • Loreva13 profile image

      Lorenzo M Vasquez III 2 years ago from El Paso, TX

      Jennifer, my apologies! My short story is now published and you should be able to add it to the list. Thanks again!

      Lorenzo

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks for your story Loreva, I'll add it it right now.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Availiasvision,

      I see your deadline to participate in your challenge is today! I am planning on participating in all of the challenges issued here on HP, and being you have a deadline of today, then I will attempt to have mine published today. I hope the deadline is until Midnight here in my time zone, which is Central Time Zone?

      I have been so busy with the usual life challenges, and have not been able to publish here of late. I hope to do some writing this weekend.

      In reviewing your rules for the challenge, does the line, "You can never return" have to be included in the title, photo prompt or in the story somewhere?

      I love participating in challenges and it looks like this one was enjoyed by many.

      Hope your weekend is wonderful so far.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I'll answer for Jennifer as it's been four hours since your comment. I think that line just needs to be anywhere within the story Faith. can't wait to read yours.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, Thank you so much, Jodah! After reading others' submissions that is what I was thinking too or maybe to just have the concept ...you can never return, but wanted to make sure. I hope I can make it by the deadline! Lol. I appreciate you.

    • Loreva13 profile image

      Lorenzo M Vasquez III 2 years ago from El Paso, TX

      If you can't make the deadline, still let us know so we can checkout your work. Looking forward to enjoying some more entries.

      Lorenzo

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, thank you so much, Loreva! You are very kind.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      It is getting late, so I am not sure I will be able to finish it up as I would like it to be ... will see. Although, if I go by California time, I will have more time to wrap it up ...

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Faith Reaper,

      Of course you can still join in. Originally I had created a timeline for voting purposes, but I took away the voting capsule because it didn't function the way I wanted. I'm really excited to see what you come up with. The line just needs to be anywhere in the story. Happy writing!

      Jodah,

      Thanks for chiming in and helping out.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Faith Reaper, go ahead and take your time. No need to keep yourself up. Just take all the time you need to make it the best it can be.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Thank you, Availiasision, and I appreciate that, but I certainly do not want to be a rule breaker as the others were able to submit their submissions before the deadline as you still have set in your rules. Maybe I can just use it in a Flash Fiction piece without the prompt photo in the future at some point.

      Thank you, again, Availiasvision and Jodah.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 20 months ago from the short journey

      Hmmm. Lots of writing has been bottled up the last few months and something creative sounds good… Maybe I'll be back!

    • 10.ABDUL profile image

      10.ABDUL 20 months ago from 90037

      Please do @RTalloni

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