Survivor X, Challenge 1: Fiction 59

Week one was an optional week for the contestants in order for everyone to get their feet wet and get to know their teammates.  22 out of 24 contestants showed up to play, including all eight on my team, Nibbish & His Vogons.

This week’s challenge is almost always the first challenge as it is short and accessible.  Very simply, write an entire story in exactly 59 words.  Scoring is on a 1 to 5 scale.  Here’s what I put out:

Jackie finished her lunch, said goodbye to her friends, and went outside to wait.

“Hey Jacqueline!” she heard behind her. “Are you expecting someone?”

Jackie hated that name. Looking up at the shrill voice, she replied sternly, “Yes, my mother is coming to pick me up. I’m taking her out to lunch.”

The nurse sighed and walked back inside.

And now for the judge’s comments.

Spooky: Hey, we have some layers here. Spoiler alert (oops, I forgot that was a team name, but I mean this): a little deception goes a LONG way with me, and Jackie has some going on here. I also get a sense of who she is just from the way she hates her proper name. I can’t tell if Jackie is a mental patient or if she’s just a deceptive nurse, but I’m sure this is interesting either way. 4

DK: Simple, but effective, without a “Gotcha” or anything, and the two lunches thing suggests a depth of conflict at the same time as the story itself is complete and satisfying. 4


So, a good start.  I was kind of expecting these scores, and I got them.

I actually wrote this in my head while I was driving to work.  When I got home, I typed it up, and it was 58 words.  I found a place to add an adjective I think, and it was done.  The last couple of times I did this challenge, my original story was 20 to 30 words longer and I had to really pare it down.

Next week is a team challenge, and with the group of guys I got around me, I’m pretty excited about it.

5 thoughts on “Survivor X, Challenge 1: Fiction 59”

  1. I felt this was worth a 5 based on my interpretation. I took it as our grandma at a younger age while she was working at a nursing home. That doesn’t make sense I guess given the generic nurse coming out to talk to her instead of a known co-worker. The 59 words were really efficient at describing a character and her relationship with her mother. That she would intentionally eat a lunch before going out with lunch to her mother said volumes. Then despising the long version of her name most likely used by her mother.

    Then you go an explain that it was about an alzheimer patient. While that made more sense it doesn’t seem as deep to me anymore. I don’t know how I feel about that version since I saw it the other way first.

    1. Huh. I guess that is one way to interpret it. But the “looking up” part implied she was in a wheelchair as well.

      I just read an article on famous songs that the artists wrote as a joke and people found deep meaning in them (e.g. Smells Like Teen Spirit). It’s also why many artists don’t say what their work was “really about” because it can ruin it for people who felt a different way.

      By the way, I used Grandma’s name just because I wanted an old person’s name that could also be a young person’s name.

      1. I didn’t think you necessarily wrote it as grandma-fiction, that’s just where my mind went given the name and tie-ins to the real deal. I definitely missed on a couple obvious cues to your intent with the story though. Sounds like I’m more than ready to be a survivor judge!

        1. I miss one story’s point, and that’s enough for this gag, eh?

          Here’s the rule: if the reader misses the point, it’s the writer’s fault. Period. Granted, I’ve never stopped being pissed that I missed Shawn’s meaning.

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