Home Forums Gauntleteers 2017 Third Challenge

This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Steven Lugo 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
  • Author
  • #78738

    Steven Lugo

    Third Challenge: “Take Me Back to the Start”

    The jumping-off point. The first small step. The beginning. The loneliest number. Or, what fine authors long before you and I came around have called, Chapter One. Let us present to you a leg of your marathon journey with a bit more freedom, but a lot more hills. The going gets tough, but the prize grows larger in the distance.

    Your next challenge is to choose any speculative fiction novel that you love, and to review its first chapter.

    Now, maybe it’s not for WYRM to explain true love to you, but we know a few things about love. We know that love conquers all, and that one cannot hurry love. We also know that we want you to choose a novel that you love. Choose wisely. Do not choose a novel because you merely think it is very good, or because it is an example of great literature, or anything like that. We want something you love.

    You shouldn’t try to show off, in other words. We know your favorite novel is not Ulysses. Don’t even try telling us that it is. Don’t even try.

    We are not assigning the source material for this round because we are not going to try to read every first chapter you guys choose. And that’s the point. The review you submit can serve to pitch this book to somebody who has not read it. It is not your standard crit, and should be nothing like a school essay.

    Between the five judges, we’re pretty well-read, but when judging time comes around, if any of us have read the chapters you’ve chosen, we are not going to value our own impressions of these chapters over your own. You will be judged solely on your review.

    This is the Gauntlet, so don’t hold back. Be critical. Absolutely address the chapter’s flaws, but address them while also making sure we know why you love the chapter/the novel. It could even be, “I love this book, but I admit ch 1 sucks. Here’s why.” Sky’s the limit, and bonus points if any of us decide to go buy your favorite books.

    Here are some things we don’t want.

    No high school English paper reviews. No prologues, preludes, forewords, or any such. First chapters only. If you want to review a novel that doesn’t have traditional chapters, then you can either choose another novel you love, or as the saying goes, ‘figure it out.’

    This is a one week challenge. We are here to entertain any questions.

    Deadline: Saturday, Sep 30 @10pm EST



    I’m super excited about this challenge! And, for the record, I am a high school English teacher. I’m currently grading a stack of high school English paper “reviews.” (Notice “reviews” in quotation marks?) I definitely want a break from that when I read these entries! 😀

    I’m also super looking forward to some awesome reading suggestions. I need a new favorite book!



    I have a question about the repeated “no HS English essay” instructions. My nonfiction entries are often more essay style, so should we be changing that and being more personal and less formal? Or are you referencing the quality of HS essays (versus, say, college ones)? Or are you perhaps clarifying that you want a review not an essay (with opening statement, arguments, closing statement and reiteration, etc)?

    ETA — I’m super excited for this round! It’s going to be hard to choose which book to use. ^_^

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 4 weeks ago by  AlexisAHunter.

    Steven Lugo

    Oh, we definitely meant to change that essay-writing style to a more personal and less formal style. Personally, I don’t think college essays would do much better in the Gauntlet than high school ones. ‘Tis the robotic quality of them we find disagreeable. As for the second part to your question, I’ll just say that what we want is a chapter review which can in part pitch this story to an unfamiliar reader. If this is a book you love, then you’d have no trouble recommending it–while at the same time being honest–right?



    Excellent! Thank you for the clarification. 😀 Just remember you DID ask for more personal if my entry gets all TMI-ish. XD (Jk!)



    on blackhole’s edge
    drifts me in

    — Todd Hoff


    You shouldn’t try to show off, in other words. We know your favorite novel is not Ulysses. Don’t even try telling us that it is. Don’t even try.

    Shyeah. I mean, everyone knows Finnegan’s Wake is superior.

    What true feeling for their’s hayair with what strawng
    voice of false jiccup! O here here how hoth sprowled met the
    duskt the father of fornicationists but, (O my shining stars and
    body!) how hath fanespanned most high heaven the skysign of
    soft advertisement! But was iz? Iseut? Ere were sewers? The oaks
    of ald now they lie in peat yet elms leap where askes lay. Phall if
    you but will, rise you must: and none so soon either shall the
    pharce for the nunce come to a setdown secular phoenish.

    One does not even see how any chap with half a brain might prefer Ulysses.

    monocle prairie dogs


    (How Hoth Sprowled Met the Duskt the Father of Fornicationists But is the name of my new pop punk band.)



    Question: Are we able to talk about the whole of the novel? Or is this limited to discussion of the first chapter and its craft and implications?

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by  shawnproctor.

    Chy Burch

    Sorry for the copy & paste, but I feel like it contains/alludes to the best answer to your question: “Be critical. Absolutely address the chapter’s flaws, but address them while also making sure we know why you love the chapter/the novel.

    It could even be, ‘I love this book, but I admit ch 1 sucks. Here’s why.’ Sky’s the limit”



    Just to make sure I am understanding this, if we are addressing the whole novel in context of the first chapter, yes. But if we are just addressing the novel (and our love as it) as a whole, then more questionable?

    (Sorry, sometimes these fine details feel like they can be read two ways, and I don’t want to veer wildly away from your intended perimeters. Also, sometimes I’m slow on the uptake.)


    Chy Burch

    Dude, we’re not going to tell you what and what not to include in your entry, beyond what’s written in the prompt post. As long as you follow the prompt, you can add any other damn thing you like–even a different take on the prompt. It’s all up to you, what makes you feel like you’re turning in a great entry, and what you can do in the time allotted. Them’s the rules. That’s it. If it’s a great addition/interpretation, it’s great. If it’s not, then sometimes the rest of the entry is so great it makes up for the deviation. Sometimes it’s not.

    So, should you address the novel in a context other than of the first chapter? It is 100% up to you. It could be awesome. It could be a disaster. It could catapult your entry up above the others. It could eff your entry up completely.

    It just depends on how you work it, you know? I hope you don’t want us to tell you how to work it. Because there’d soon be a dance-off, and do we really have time for that?



    Bizarro, I lol’d so hard at the gif. Gah, I love nerdy humor!


    One aims to please. Pip pip.



    It’s my birthday Saturday! Same day as the deadline! (Is that a good or a bad sign?)

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.