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Author Topic: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition  (Read 3723 times)

Offline BlueBard

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Okay, here's one to try...

Write a story in the superhero genre, minimum 300 words, that incorporates imagery from one Beatles song, or any one song written by Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, or Starr during their careers.  As always, the story must be "PG-13" and conform to forum rules.  The story does not need to quote the lyrics, but it should have recognizable links to the song and reference all visual imagery.  The subtitle of the story should identify the song.

To use "Penny Lane" as an example, a story would contain all of the scenes.  There would be a barbershop, a car, a fire engine, someone selling poppies from a tray, pouring rain, and blue skies.  All of the characters in the song would be present, but need not be specifically named as long as they are described.  The story does not have to follow the song in a linear, one-after-the-other fashion and the scenes could appear in any order.

The point of this challenge is to stretch yourself in communicating visual elements.  The unofficial deadline is Labor Day (September 6th, for those outside the US).

Note:
This is just a friendly writing challenge and currently there is no judging.  If there is sufficient interest (at least six submissions), I will try to assemble a panel of judges and possibly even come up with some sort of prize.  Bear in mind I can't offer a prize or make this an official challenge unless I get three judges, and I'm not going to all that trouble unless there are enough people participating.
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Offline Xenolith

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2010, 07:21:20 PM »
ha ha

I love these fiction challenges.  This is a good one. 

Looks like Maxwell's Silver Hammer is out.

Also, can I just provide a synopsis of the Say, Say, Say video?  :)

Isn't there a Paul McCartney song about Magneto and the Titanium Man?

Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 07:48:46 PM »
ha ha

I love these fiction challenges.  This is a good one.  

Looks like Maxwell's Silver Hammer is out.

Also, can I just provide a synopsis of the Say, Say, Say video?  :)

Isn't there a Paul McCartney song about Magneto and the Titanium Man?

Just remember, the point of this challenge is to challenge yourself in writing visual elements into your story.  The song you pick doesn't matter so much.  I could have provided a list of visual elements you had to work with, but that wouldn't be as challenging or as much fun.

There are lots of Beatles songs to choose from, even if you don't take into account songs written after the group broke up.  Do your best to draw as many visual elements as you can out of the song lyrics you pick.  If you really, really want a challenge, pick something like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".  That song is all about visuals; the challenge would be putting them all together in a superhero story that actually made sense.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 07:57:13 PM by BlueBard »
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Offline Xenolith

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 08:50:02 PM »
I was just pulling your leg.  I'm a huge Beatles fan, so this should be fun.


Offline Viking

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2010, 06:33:55 PM »
Whereas I am pretty much unfamiliar with the work of the Beatles.  Are they the folks who did Yellow Submarine and I Want to Hold Your Hand?

And no, I'm not pulling your leg.  I'm that unfamiliar with their work.

Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2010, 08:12:08 PM »
Whereas I am pretty much unfamiliar with the work of the Beatles.  Are they the folks who did Yellow Submarine and I Want to Hold Your Hand?

And no, I'm not pulling your leg.  I'm that unfamiliar with their work.

You would be correct, Viking.  Those chaps.

And familiarity with the Beatles is not really a prerequisite.  I chose that band for this challenge because: a) they are fairly well known in the US and abroad, b) they have a lot of songs to their credit, collectively and individually when you count Lennon and McCarthy's solo careers, and c) many of their songs have visually rich lyrics, particularly anything by McCartney or Lennon.  A little time with Google search should turn up a wealth of information concerning lyrics.

The aforementioned "Penny Lane" would work quite well as a visual source for one of your Lion & Unicorn stories, in fact.

Here is a starting point for finding some McCartney songs you might well be familiar with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Paul_McCartney_songs

And a fairly exhaustive list of Beatles' songs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Beatles_songs
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 08:20:08 PM by BlueBard »
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Offline ow_tiobe_sb

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2010, 08:23:04 PM »
Oooh!  Oooh!  I've dibs on "Happiness is a Warm Gun!" :P

Just kidding.  I never seem to find the time (or the talent) to participate in these fiction challenges properly. *pout*

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Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2010, 08:40:33 PM »
Oooh!  Oooh!  I've dibs on "Happiness is a Warm Gun!" :P

Just kidding.  I never seem to find the time (or the talent) to participate in these fiction challenges properly. *pout*

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I rather doubt you are lacking in the talent department, sir.  Even if you were, I've watched some especially dreadful authors improve with time and practice.

But I can empathize with lack of time or inspiration, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 08:45:26 PM by BlueBard »
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Offline Tawodi Osdi

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 02:06:03 AM »
This does sound like an interesting challenge.  I happen to be a Beatles fan though I had to sell off most of my best CD's and DVD's a few years ago for trivial items like food and gasoline.  The biggest challenge would be finding the time between all of the reading and writing I have to do for college, but I think I will give it a try.

Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 12:47:03 PM »
This does sound like an interesting challenge.  I happen to be a Beatles fan though I had to sell off most of my best CD's and DVD's a few years ago for trivial items like food and gasoline.  The biggest challenge would be finding the time between all of the reading and writing I have to do for college, but I think I will give it a try.

Time is running out.  I thought I might post something myself, but the well has been dry.  Nobody else appears to have anything in the mix, either.

The bright spot is, if there are only a couple of good entries they get bragging rights for doing what nobody else could.
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Offline Alaric

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 01:50:24 PM »
Yeah, I've been meaning to write something, just haven't been struck by inspiration... It was a good idea for a challenge, though. Maybe I'll get something done this weekend...
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Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2010, 03:56:52 PM »
Just to point out, this isn't an "Official" challenge, so neither is the deadline an official deadline.  Think of it more as a goal.
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Offline Xenolith

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2010, 04:21:59 PM »
I've got it on my calendar.

Offline ow_tiobe_sb

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2010, 11:49:17 AM »
Just to point out, this isn't an "Official" challenge, so neither is the deadline an official deadline.  Think of it more as a goal.
'Tis a relief to know that!  I've some interesting sketches drawn up for an entry to this unique challenge, but I've had precious little time to flesh out the blasted thing.

Of course, having the leisure of time might make no difference whatsoever: I tend to conceive Borgesian stories and then proceed to write with the speed of a blind and lame Moses seeking Canaan.

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Offline Xenolith

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2010, 02:55:12 AM »
I get a big fat F for FAILURE, but I do have an excuse.  My cat, Pete, died on Saturday.  He was 16 years old and will be missed.  I got him right after college and he was with me through thick and thin.  So, since Pete died I decided to get another cat, in Pete's honor.  I brought one home on Sunday around noon, and by 4 PM she had crawled into the cold air return ductwork.  She thought it was pretty fun, but I was in full panic mode.  I have been watching her like a hawk since then.  So, anyway, I'll get something together, but this weekend was pretty sad/scary/happy.


Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2010, 02:56:18 PM »
I get a big fat F for FAILURE, but I do have an excuse.  My cat, Pete, died on Saturday.  He was 16 years old and will be missed.  I got him right after college and he was with me through thick and thin.  So, since Pete died I decided to get another cat, in Pete's honor.  I brought one home on Sunday around noon, and by 4 PM she had crawled into the cold air return ductwork.  She thought it was pretty fun, but I was in full panic mode.  I have been watching her like a hawk since then.  So, anyway, I'll get something together, but this weekend was pretty sad/scary/happy.

Sorry to hear about your cat, glad to hear about your new kitten (?).  No worries on the challenge, especially since the deadline was more of a goal than anything.  I don't even have an idea, let alone a story, so you're more successful than I am. :)
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Offline Xenolith

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2010, 09:17:52 PM »
The sky was gray and a white, smoky fog permeated the air.  Rain began to fall.  Little droplets of water spattered the ground.  It was cold.  Nobody moved.  Nobody said a word.

“With all due respect…” the grounds keeper started, but stopped short.  His words hung in the air for a long time before anyone reacted.  He shifted his feet nervously, pretending he had never said a thing. 

Slowly, one by one, the guests tore their eyes away from the black coffin, now covered with a thousand mirror-like rain drops, and turned their gaze to the young woman who stood beside the gravesite.  She was a million miles away.  Her beautiful blue eyes were in sharp contrast to the gray haze surrounding them.  Those eyes were impenetrable.

A light flickered to life atop a power pole at the graveyard’s entrance.  It’s smoky, orange radiance barely penetrated the gloom.  “Yes, it is time to go,” she said.  There was no emotion in her voice.  “It’s done.  It’s over.”  Nobody moved to console the woman.  She shed no tears, and offered no final words. 

If anyone had known her, if anyone had really known her, they would have realized she was completely lost now.  Everything was gone.  There was simply nothing to live for anymore.   

One by one the grievers attempted to offer thier condolences, but could not.  Something about her pushed them away.   What could they say to her? 

A red-haired girl, in her late teens at best, embraced the blue-eyed woman as warmly as she could, but awkwardly retreated when it was not returned.  “I’m sorry,” the girl said, “he was a great man.”

It was then that a fire lit behind those blue eyes, and they blazed.  Tension which had been stored in that thin frame erupted at once.  An imperceptible electricty filled her body. 

“No!” 

This solitary word was filled with rage, despair, and a terrible desperation that was both powerful and frightening.  The blue-eyed woman looked at the grievers as they stood in the rain, staring back at her.  Suddenly she realized the impossible had happened.  He was gone.  Her head began to spin. 

She ran through the onlookers who did not try to stop her.  She ran away from the last place on Earth she wanted to be.  A quick jump and she was in the air.  Black hair and porcelain white skin soon gave way to black feathers.  Soon, a large, black raptor flew through the night sky, its blue eyes visible through the gray haze.  It cried out as it ascended and disappeared, lost in millions of raindrops falling from Heaven.  The others could only look on in wonder and guilt.  They had lost Nighthawk, and few thought to see Black Bird ever again.

***

I don't do a very good job writing about emotions, so I gave it a shot.  I was listening to the Beatles, "Black Bird" song and decided I needed to write something for this challenge.  I reserve the right to rewrite.  :)  I normally let stuff sit around for a few days so I can edit it somewhat objectively, but posted this right after writing it.

Offline Glitch Girl

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2010, 02:18:02 AM »
None of it felt real.

I sat in the witness chair operating on automatic as the attorney asked me question after question.

Did I know the deceased - yes, Joan lived next door, we were friends.

Did I know the defendant
- I'd seen him a few times.

What was my impression of him - quiet.  We didn't speak much.  He was studying medicine or something.

What did you witness on the night of the 15th - I came home and Joan's door was open, I looked inside and she was on floor and there was blood...

Did I see the defendant
-no.  Just Joan, lying there broken in the blood...

Most of the rest of my testimony was a blur as the image flared in my memory.  So much blood.  Oh, Joan.  God, how could this have happened...

I think I was done when they led me back to my seat in the courtroom.  I barely looked at Edison as he sat by his defense attorney.  He didn't look like a person who could beat someone to death, not back then, not even now.  He just sat there, barely glancing at me, having whispered conversations with the lawyer.  I couldn't read him, but I don't think I ever could.

I wanted to go home.

I probably should have, but for some reason I stayed.  I guess part of me wanted to know how it would end, so I sat and watched and listened.

The testimony continued. Experts, witnesses, each took their seat and answered questions, all flowing by me in a blur.  Evidence was presented, fingerprints strips, lab reports, even the murder weapon, which according to one of the experts, had been scrubbed so clean it gleamed.

And then, Edison's sister Valerie took the stand.

They called her a hostile witness.  I'm not sure it was supposed to be literal, but it suited her.  Valerie was convinced her brother was innocent and that the state was railroading him. I'm not sure what they wanted from her, but in no time it all broke down into chaos: she was shouting at the prosecutor, her sister Rose who was sitting a few rows away from me was shouting at the baliff, the bailiffs were tying to make both of them be quiet, and the judge was threatening contempt and possibly even jail time.

In all the confusion, I think only the defense attorney noticed Maxwell Edison get up and before anyone could stop him, he grabbed Exhibit D and made for the judge who was still hammering for order...

I remember somebody screamed.

And for a split second, I remember seeing the claw hammer shine as if it was made of silver, pure and pristine, almost as if in a dream.

And the next, it wasn't.  Not any more, the shine marred red from the fatal blow.

Bang.

Bang.
--------------------

Actually I got inspired tonight so I put this together.  I'm surprised no one beat me to it. Hope Y'all like it.  
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 08:01:17 PM by Glitch Girl »
-Glitch Girl

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Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2010, 01:02:46 PM »
Sheesh, GG... I never knew you had such a talent for disturbing imagery.

I'll withhold further comment until I see whether anybody else posts anything, but good job Xenolith and GG!
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Offline Xenolith

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2010, 02:18:14 PM »
Maxwell's Silver Hammer II: Courtroom Justice! coming soon to a theatre near you.
Nice.

Offline Glitch Girl

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2010, 04:36:11 PM »
Thanks BB, :)  I'm glad you liked it.  I wanted to work the teacher in there too, but no matter what I did, it felt awkward, but looks like I still managed to keep the gist of the song.  (of course, now I have to go back and fix some typos I missed the first time through)

Speaking of imagery, you had some nice moments in there too Xenolith.   
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Offline ow_tiobe_sb

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2010, 06:20:09 PM »
Right, well, I've officially started an entry for this challenge.  Hopefully (for me, not for the reader), I will be able to finish it before the onset of 2011...

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Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2010, 06:30:43 PM »
These questions go to everybody who even thought about attempting this challenge... you can PM me if you like or reply here.

Was the creative goal of this challenge (visual imagery) easily understood?
Was the "deadline" goal realistic?
Was the minimum word count goal realistic?
Was it too difficult, or too gimmicky?  
Did this challenge spark any creative ideas at all?
Did this stretch your writing ability at all?
What did you like or dislike about this challenge?
Is it easier to participate in challenges in the Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?
What could have been done differently to encourage you to participate?

Your answers will factor in the next time I dream one of these things up.
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Offline ow_tiobe_sb

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2010, 07:36:36 PM »
Was the creative goal of this challenge (visual imagery) easily understood?
Yes.

Was the "deadline" goal realistic?
Perhaps, for anyone who can rub together two hours of uninterrupted thinking and writing.

Was the minimum word count goal realistic?
Yes.

Was it too difficult, or too gimmicky?
No.

Did this challenge spark any creative ideas at all?
Yes, I hope so.  That will be for others to judge.

Did this stretch your writing ability at all?
I sprain something every time I attempt to write.

What did you like or dislike about this challenge?
I thought 'twas incredibly original and fun, especially for fans of the source material.

Is it easier to participate in challenges in the Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?
All seasons are (almost) equally difficult for me, it seems, perhaps with the exception of summer.

What could have been done differently to encourage you to participate?
Short of convincing me to quit my faculty position, divorce my wife, and orphan my child, there is nothing I would have you do differently.

With that said, I sincerely hope that my talk of a late entry does not strike one as making a mockery of this challenge and its attempts at observing a flexible deadline.

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« Last Edit: October 04, 2010, 07:38:49 PM by ow_tiobe_sb »
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Offline Xenolith

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2010, 08:16:01 PM »
I agree with all of the previous responses.

Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2010, 01:02:35 PM »
With that said, I sincerely hope that my talk of a late entry does not strike one as making a mockery of this challenge and its attempts at observing a flexible deadline.

Nope. :D

Here's where I'm coming from... I am not only an amateur writer, but an avid reader starved for material.  My goal is to encourage others to write, and to write well.  The best way to do that is to make creative writing fun.

My goal for these unofficial challenges is to give people an excuse to stretch themselves and to practice writing.  That includes me.  I had a glimmer of an idea with this one, but couldn't figure out where to go with it.
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Offline Tawodi Osdi

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2010, 03:56:19 PM »
I think the challenge is interesting enough.  I even have a story floating around in my head that I would like to do, but with college, finding the time to write it down isn't easy.  For me, challenges over the summer and winter breaks are the most feasible.

Offline Glitch Girl

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2010, 06:02:51 PM »
Was the creative goal of this challenge (visual imagery) easily understood? - Yes.

Was the "deadline" goal realistic? - Yes, just real life for me was uncooporative.

Was the minimum word count goal realistic? - there was a word count?  ;)

Was it too difficult, or too gimmicky?  - I don't think so.  

Did this challenge spark any creative ideas at all? - If it didn't you wouldn't have had an entry.  ;)

Did this stretch your writing ability at all? - I think so.  I haven't had a chance to write "dark" within a real-world setting in quite a while.  It was a nice change.

What did you like or dislike about this challenge? - Timing for me was bad.  Anything around DragonCon tends to get forgotten, but that's a personal chronology.
 
Is it easier to participate in challenges in the Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Hard to say really.  Depends on what's pending.  I've got some outside work that tends to flux a lot.

What could have been done differently to encourage you to participate? Again, the timing thing, but that's neither here nor there.  

so, does this mean you have another idea in mind?
-Glitch Girl

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Offline BlueBard

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2010, 12:58:07 PM »
Quote
so, does this mean you have another idea in mind?

Not now, but probably soon.

I'm not real big on Halloween challenges, so if somebody else would like to jump in and offer one up feel free.  The only idea I had along those lines was a parody of B-movie horror/sci-fi, but I'm a bit meh on that.
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Offline BWPS

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Re: Unofficial Fiction Challenge: The Beatles Rock Band Edition
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2010, 04:44:46 PM »
Late entry, sorry.

Driven Mad!
by this guy here

A superhero named Ultimate Damage was running to save people from a building which had been set on fire by a monster who was angry that Ultimate Damage had defeated him in battle and caused ultimate damage to his face which was now mangled in quite a horrifying way so that now whenever another fire-breathing monster saw him they would scream and fire would come out of their mouths and go all over his face and burn it which made it look even worse and so this monster's life had basically been a downward spiral since the day he met Ultimate Damage who at that moment was rescuing the last of the monster's victims from the burning building: a 300 lb schoolmarm who was passed out from the fumes that were caused by the fire which was caused by the monster whose name was Furimous and since she couldn't walk anyway, there were two reasons Ultimate Damage was forced to carry her out of the building (which was on fire) which proved extremely difficult considering her weight despite the fact that Ultimate Damage had some degree of super-strength, it was not designed for the task of carrying large schoolmarms moderate distances but rather causing ultimate damage to monsters such as the one who had set the building on fire named Furimous and was now so determined to kill Ultimate Damage that all he wanted in his life at this point was Ultimate Damage and he wanted him so bad that it was driving him mad so he went after Ultimate Damage who was carrying a 300 pound schoolmarm in his arms and started displaying the madness that was caused by how bad he wanted Ultimate Damage (to die) and used his claws to attack Ultimate Damage but Ultimate Damage dodged his attacks and turned around and caused the ultimate damage to the monster's exposed brain which was filled with madness and the monster was forced to fall down dead and Ultimate Damage ran away from the fire as the building exploded and set the schoolmarm down.
"She's so heavy!" he exclaimed.
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