Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Trim'n'Taut Writing Challenge with a Prize and ROW 80 Check In

Scissors Cuts Paper
Courtesy of Glen Pebley, at stock.xchng

Trim'n'Taut Writing Challenge:

Last check in I gave you the transformer writing challenge: to take a tweet or Facebook status update and like a transformer, keep unfolding it until you had a story outline. 

Well, today we are going the opposite way. The challenge is to take a full story and trim it  down into the length of a tweet. 


Well, first of all it helps you really focus in on the key elements of a story.

Second, it is a great skill for pitching. If you can think of the snappiest way to present your whole story, rather than rambling on for 3 hours trying to describe everything, you just might be able to pick up a publisher while in an elevator. 

Third, we all like to tweet about our books, don't we? 

To make it more interesting, I'm offering a prize to the best attempt in the comments. I'm going to offer a copy of Anne Lamott's fantastic book on writing 'Bird By Bird' because I believe every writer should read it at some stage. 

There are three categories, but the overall winner will be from any of them.

The beginner level challenge is to take a short story or a TV episode and try to condense it all down into one sentence. 

(I will just say that my best friend is very good at this, harsh and cruelly so. When I won a creative writing award at college she came up and said 'I hope it wasn't for that story where he ran, ran, ran and then fell off a cliff.' Of course it was, and unfortunately that was a pretty accurate description of the piece, but hey they still gave me the award!) 

The advanced level is to take a novel or movie and try trimming it down. 

Finally, the expert level is to take an entire series and strip away everything until you have the key element. 

The result should be identifiable as the original story, and extra points if you can make it sound interesting and engaging as well. 

This is open for a week until I sit down to write my post next Wednesday 24th April. Anyone in the world can enter, you just have to be prepared to give me your address so I can get Amazon to ship you out the book.

ROW 80 Check In:

So my goal was to write a blog post or article each working day. 

My ROW 80 check in for Sunday was a bit late and got posted on Monday instead, so that sort of counts as I did a post for Personal Fitness Base Camp on Sunday reviewing my first week of training for a half marathon. 

Tuesday I did my Killer Online Platform post here on 100FD about how to build your own website. I had already put together a lot of this and saved it as a draft. However, I spent my lunchtime adding more, and then int he evening had to do further research to respond to a question in the comments (which was a great question).

I wanted to do another post for Personal Fitness Base Camp, but just couldn't think of anything to say other than that our prayers are with those affected by the Boston Marathon attacks. It was such a shock to me, as I start my training for my first half marathon, to imagine what it would be like getting to the end of a marathon and have your world crumble down like that. 

The newspapers today reported about the 9 year old boy who was waiting to give his dad a hug at the finish line and was killed by the explosion. My heart went out to the father, who had just pushed himself through the wall, pushed himself to the finish line, used up all his reserves, about to celebrate, and instead is now facing the worst emotional marathon of his life. 

All I could do was prayer.

Strangely it has made me take my training a bit more seriously. 

Then today I spent my lunch break checking out other blog posts by ROWers. When I got home I tried to record a new video blog (sort of difficult all by yourself, but I'm getting the hang of it, and have finally managed to connect up my DSLR with my Mac, so I can control it via my laptop, which makes things a lot easier.)

And now I'm writing this post. So, overall, I'm counting that as a win! 

So, let's see how I go for the rest of the week.

Don't forget to add a trim'n'taut story tweet in the comments for your change to win a copy of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott! 


  1. You know who I am!Thu Apr 18, 11:23:00 am

    First point: unkind! Second point: have you ever read the John Crace Digested Reads? They are HILARIOUS (I've just googled them and apparently he is still writing them - I thought they hadn't been done in many years) and exactly the concept you are talking about. See here: (Another fun fact about John Crace: the only book of his I've read is Being Dead, which I stole off that dude that time. Feel a bit guilty now.)

  2. That's a great challenge! However, I'm rather brain dead after my first week at a new job so I'm going to pass for now BUT I will be saving this idea :)

    All the best with your training!

    And good luck with the post a day goal. It's certainly doable.