Survivor XV, Challenge 1: First Meeting

I’m back playing another Survivor-themed writing contest at Spookymilk’s blog. This time around we have twenty-eight contestants, a rather intimidating number. There are four teams of seven. My team (chosen by anonymous draft) call themselves Liam Neeson’s Walrus. The other team names are Miranda Priestly’s Unholy Sweater Crisis, Freshly Ruptured Hymen, and Big Brass…Band. My teammates are as follows:

Leif Bierly: Has played Survivor four times and has finished as high as eighth place.
Brian David: Has played one writing Survivor and finished in eighth place as well.
Bret Highum: Has played every Survivor game since IX and has finished fifth twice and sixth three times. His worst finish in a writing contest is eleventh.
Brooks Maki: The winningest Survivor ever. He won Survivor VI, VIII, and Turbo, and has four other top ten finishes. In fact, I’ve been lucky to have him on my team every time.
Margaret Martin: Has played once and finished third.
Colin Woolston: This will be his tenth Survivor game. He only has three top-ten finishes, but is a strong writer as evidenced by his victory in Play With The Prose.

Needless to say, I am quite pleased with the team I was drafted to. The judges this season are Kelly Wells (aka Spookymilk), Dan Kautz, and Matthew Gilman. I’ve been judged by all three in the past and have scored fairly well with all of them, though I’m mildly disappointed there isn’t a lady judge.

Scoring is with the now standard medal system. Half of the contestants each week get medals from each judge. So, one-sixth get a gold, one-sixth get a silver, and one-sixth get a bronze, worth five, three, and one points respectively. Most weeks, the team with the lowest total points will have to vote somebody out. At some point it’ll be announced that all teams are merging, and then it’s every man for himself.

I’ll post my stories after they have been judged, along with any commentary regarding the goings-on with the Survivor aspect of the game. The previous times I played Survivor, I finished in 4th place and 2nd place. I hope I have the fortune of writing as much this time around.

The first week saw us having to write a story about two people meeting for the first time.

Word Limit: 150

“…and the boy did. And the tree was happy. The end.”

Mirabelle closed the book. “Now can I tell you a story, Mommy?”

“Of course, dear. I love your stories.”

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. One day, she met a handsome prince named Derrick. They had a fish and salad for dinner and talked a lot. They liked each other a whole bunch. One day, she married the prince and lived happily ever after. The end!”

She smiled, brushing Mirabelle’s hair aside. “Good night, sweetie.” She kissed her on the forehead.

“Did you like the story, Mom?”

“I did! In fact, I can’t wait for your next story tomorrow night.”

Mirabelle’s smile put the exclamation point on an otherwise awkward evening. She’d eventually tell her that she wouldn’t be seeing Derrick again. Just not tonight.

K: I would have taken the happier ending here, but it’s not as special of a moment if it’s not also a teachable moment for the kid down the road. This isn’t the best dialogue we’ll see all season or anything, but a lot of love came through in a short scene. BRONZE

DK: Cute and suitably unsettling. Poor kid.

MG: I feel like there were key bits of information that needed to be relayed here. Like assurance that Derrick was someone in Mommy’s life, other than the last paragraph (where some pronoun confusion reigns). Or that Mirabelle knows some stuff that Mommy doesn’t. Again, the final paragraph seems to suggest as much, but neither the mother’s reaction nor the daughter’s demeanor gives us enough of a clue to really bring it across.


Kelly is correct that it’s not my best dialogue. There’s not much of a picture of who this mom and daughter are, other than they love each other. Gilman is also correct in that I have some pronoun confusion that makes the story’s reveal mildly confusing. My intent was to show that Mommy just went on a first date, Mirabelle knew about it, and desperately wants to have a father. I suppose I just could have been more explicit.

Despite my poor showing, my teammates pulled through. Margaret, Colin, and Brian all had strong scores. We finished in third place out of the four teams and do not have to kick anyone off the island. Sweater Crisis finished in last, and eliminated one of their two rookie writers. Our next challenge will be a team Choose Your Own Adventure story. Good times.

One thought on “Survivor XV, Challenge 1: First Meeting”

  1. Beau, I got what your story was all about before I read the judges’ comments. The first thing I thought was that Mirabelle wanted a new daddy, and that her mom was dating someone, and she hoped that would be her knew daddy. I didn’t think of it as a first date though, rather that Mommy had been dating Derrick for a while, so she already knew Derrick a bit, and so thought he would make a nice Daddy. I had no confusion with the pronouns that MG mentioned.

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