Create Challenge, November 2021: Twice-Told Tales

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Create Challenge, November 2021: Twice-Told Tales

No writing on the courthouse walls

'Where do you get your story material?' That question is the bane of writers. This year, you don't have to worry: you get to use story material that's tried and true. The trick is: you put your own stamp on it.

This is all free and legal. Storytellers have been doing it for millennia. Now it's your turn.

Pick a tale: any tale.

  • Take it from an ancient text. (Ancient texts are Public Domain. Just don't use any modern copyrighted translations.) Have you ever read the Mahabharata? It's a wild ride.
  • Take it from a folktale. Something as simple as 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' or as complicated as the saga of Baba-Yaga-with-the-Bony-Legs. Lots of folklore collections out there: try somebody else's folklore for a change.
  • Take it from a legendary corpus: from Robin Hood to King Arthur to John Bunyan and His Blue Ox, there's lots to choose from.
  • Take it from an old book. Just be sure it's out of copyright.
  • Use the Thompson Motif Index. It has numbered folklore types.

What do you do with the tale? Anything you like!

  • Reset it in the present day.
  • Move it to the future. Or another planet.
  • Retell it as film noir.
  • Recast it with werewolves or zombies. Or hairdressers from Connecticut.
  • Turn it into an academic treatise, with copious footnotes.
  • Tell it in its original setting, only with greater detail and deeper psychological insight. Or read the story resistantly, and change the interpretation of events.
  • Mix and match: Combine folktales and keep the reader guessing!

Just make it fun to read. And make sure it takes 30 chapters to do it in.

You can have six months to plan your opus. That gives you lots of time to procrastinate, change your mind, look up sources, mull over themes and references, make notes, lose the notes, rewrite the notes, have your dog chew up the rewritten notes, argue with the dog about appropriate behaviour toward paper, rethink the premise, make up names for characters, lather, rinse, repeat.

If you have the whole thing written in a month, good. Let it sit for a week, then go back and start polishing.

If you have the whole thing done and dusted by 1 November, good for you. There are no rules about when you do the actual writing. (We're not that other website.) The only rule is that you don't post it until November – and then, you post only one episode/chapter/stanza (should you write an epic poem) per day.

If you've done your writing ahead of time, you will have more time to spend reading everybody else's work. If you prefer writing to deadline, be our guest.

As usual, you need to create an A-space for your novel. Then, either add each chapter as a thread on the bottom of the page, or write each page as a separate A-page and link it to the title page. You may illustrate as desired, as long as you use Public Domain sources or it's your own work. See the Editor if you need any pictures, sketches, or maps loaded.

Have fun out there! Y'all are getting good at this!

Create Update: The stories were superb, as always. Here's a handy reference for those who wish to binge-read them.

Camelost: What happens when the Once and Future King meets UK mental health professionals? Could Tennyson have imagined this? In a word, no. But FWR did.
The Electrical Journey of Izzy Himmelfarb: Izzy Himmelfarb is wanted by the police. Not only in Illinois, but also far in the future. Can Charles Hoy Fort, Nikola Tesla, Nellie Bly and Jack Finney help him in his quest to repair the situation and get back to his own era in time for the next set at Woodstock? Yes, reader, this is your Post Editor at work.
Pilgrims' Inn: Paulh has spent all month in a travelling inn. No, the guests aren't travelling. The inn is. They're all fictional, too. Drop in for the food and conversation.
The Cosmic Adventures of Captain Edgeifsir: Tavaron has been taking us all on a journey through space and, let's face it, a universe full of stray memes and tropes. It's a universe where all your science fiction dreams come true. Take a wild ride.
Robyn Hoodie: That's Not My Apocalypse! (Mine's RED): Caiman Raptor Elk hasn't let the pandemic get him down. Or stop his young characters from enjoying themselves. Virtual school has never been so much fun – at least, for the teens.
Beauty or Beast?: SashaQ has woven an intense narrative about a more serious and personal search, giving a deeper meaning to a 'twice-told tale.'
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