I have issued matt_doyle a writing challenge.
For a while, I've been toying with the idea of doing something in this vein, and Matt's just the
Here is what I wrote to Matt:
Here's what I'm thinking: you pick the genre -- thriller, horror, mystery, sf, fantasy, what have you. Then I will come up with a genre-appropriate pitch for you. The pitch will either be a gimmick or a scenario ([if the latter,] probably an opening). It will not be overly detailed. Your challenge will be to turn this into a six-thousand-word story of publishable quality.
Oh, and he has exactly one week.
Why would Matt do this? What is on the line? I am paying SFWA rates, five cents a word. Yes, folks, this week you have a chance to watch Matt's nimble fingers earn him three hundred smackers. In exchange for this grand (hah) munificence (feh), I get exclusive electronic rights to the story.
Unless he sells it.
That is where the pawning comes in. I am not buying this story so much as Matt is pawning it. If Matt can sell the story somewhere else, my electronic rights become non-exclusive. I will still have them, but Matt can also publish the story electronically elsewhere. (Writers, please feel free to comment on the business end of this: I want to be fair but hopefully preserve a vague chance of breaking even. If it's not fair, if either of us is still getting screwed, alas! But I will know how to do things better for the next time.)
I asked Matt if he would mind doing this as a public challenge, and he does not, so now you all get to watch him succeed or fail, complete with daily word counts and writerly agonizing.
For the record, Matt picked fantasy. Specifically, dark fantasy, on the horror edge of things, which if you know Matt's work is no surprise.
This is the prompt I gave him:
An adopted child seeks her birth parents.
She finds them.
His deadline is 6:30 PM EST, Monday, August 29th. I will be on a plane, so I will be counting on you folks to keep him honest.
Go, Matt, go!
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