Science Fiction Microstory Contest discussion


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message 1: by Andy (last edited Feb 29, 2016 07:43AM) (new)

Andy Lake Science Fiction Microstory Contest (March 2016)
The theme* for the month follows this note from the competition's Creator/Director, Jot Russell:

To help polish our skills and present a flavour of our art to other members in the group, I am continuing this friendly contest for those who would like to participate. There is no money involved, but there is also no telling what a little recognition and respect might generate. The rules are simple:

1) The story needs to be your own work and should be posted on the Good Reads Discussion board, which is a public group. You maintain responsibility and ownership of your work to do with as you please. You may withdraw your story at any time.

2) The stories must be 750 words or less.

3) The stories have to be science fiction, follow a specific theme and potentially include reference to items as requested by the prior month's contest winner. The theme for this month is posted below.

4) You have until midnight EST on the 22nd day of the month to post your story to the Good Reads Science Fiction Microstory Contest discussion. One story per author per month.

5) After, anyone from the LI Sci-Fi group or the GR Science Fiction Microstory Discussion group has until midnight EST of the 25th day of the month to cast a single private vote to Jot Russell () for a story other than their own. This vote will be made public once voting is closed. Voting is required. If you do not vote, your story will be disqualified from the contest. You don't need a qualifying story to cast a vote, but must offer the reason for your vote if you don’t have an entry.

6) To win, a story needs at least half of the votes, or be the only one left after excluding those with the fewest votes. Runoffs will be run each day until a winner is declared. Stories with vote totals that add up to at least half, discarding those with the fewest votes, will be carried forward to the next runoff election. Prior votes will be carried forward to support runoff stories. If you voted for a story that did not make it into the runoff, you need to vote again before midnight EST of that day. Only people who voted in the initial round may vote in the runoffs.

7) Please have all posts abide by the rules of Good Reads and the LI Sci-Fi group.

8) Professional comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated by any member in either group and should be posted to the separate thread that will be posted at the end of the month and all voting is complete to avoid any influence on the voting. Feel free to describe elements that you do and don't like, as these help us gain a better perspective of our potential readers. Remarks deemed inflammatory or derogatory will be flagged and/ or removed by the moderator.

9) The winner has THREE days after the start of the new month to make a copy of these rules and post a new contest thread using the theme/items of their choosing. Otherwise, the originator of the contest, Jot Russell, will post a new contest thread.

*Theme for the March 2016 contest:

Theme: Truth – particular, abstract, ambiguous, relative, absolute, disputed, lack of…. any way you please

Required Elements: A non-Earth or very-different-Earth setting
Forbidden elements: Tears. Guns. Miracles.

message 2: by Timothy (new)

Timothy | 21 comments Great challenge, Andy. I was planning to take March off but this may suck me in. Forbidden elements is a nice twist.

message 3: by Andy (new)

Andy Lake Hope you do, Timothy.

I think there's a lot of scope in the parameters, but I wanted to take away some of the 'soft' buttons with the 'forbidden elements'

message 4: by Heather (last edited Feb 29, 2016 10:43AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments The challenges over the past several months have really gone up a few notches in terms of what good challenges they are. And this one's no exception, Andy, with its nice balance between the panoramic dimensions of its possibilities, and, its 'required' and 'forbidden elements' together bringing a reminder to engage in some, belt tightening, story-writing discipline.

message 5: by Thaddeus (new)

Thaddeus Howze | 60 comments Just when I thought I was out, you may have pulled me back in, Andy. Feeling a story building within me...

message 6: by Andy (new)

Andy Lake Good, good.
I look forward to witnessing lots of truthful writing ...

message 7: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Absolutely, Andy--superb choice of theme. I too have been thinking I might be out but am utterly pulled in by your choices--of theme and of "forbidden" elements. No surprise you did this!
In fact, story written and posted now.

message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Wow! The two stories posted so far have set the bar high! Both are easily categorize-able as 'can't put that book down, gotta read it to the end' type tales ... and that's just one of the truths, that I see in them.

message 9: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Zylka (carriezylka) | 223 comments Paula, Thaddeus, and Timothy what did you mean by "out"?
Were you all thinking of leaving us?

I've been lax the last few months. Clever idea with the forbidden elements Andy!! And congrats again on the win.

message 10: by Timothy (new)

Timothy | 21 comments Carrie,

Can't speak for Paula or Thaddeus but my "out" status was only for the month of March. I will certainly continue to read and occasionally comment in monthly group discussions, always with the caveat, as time allows.

message 11: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Hey, thanks, Heather. Yes, it's not just about kids, for sure. lol.

message 12: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments OH and all super stories already, Richard, Jack, Chris. Already it's going to be an impossible vote.

message 13: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Zylka (carriezylka) | 223 comments You guys kill me.
It blows my mind that the people in this group can not only churn out a story so fast - but that they are really, really good stories.
Just goes to show the level of talent in this group!

message 14: by Marianne (new)

Marianne (mariannegpetrino) | 352 comments I prefer no hard restrictions for soft elements, so I think I will pass this month

message 15: by Andy (last edited Mar 02, 2016 03:12PM) (new)

Andy Lake I think you may have misunderstood, Marianne.
By 'soft buttons' I meant easy ones. I recently read about a dozen novels or short stories from new writers, and lost count of the number of times I read 'tears streamed down her/his face'. There must be other, deeper, more nuanced, more interesting ways to express emotion. Let's try them.

And I was sent an anthology of post-apocalyptic stories. EVERY ONE of them centred around control of and use of guns. Ye gods, I thought, is there no other scenario possible, like human cooperation? Or manipulation of people without weaponry?

And then I keep coming across stories with an easy-out with a miracle or deus ex machina. Best way to avoid a decent build in a story, I think.

So the aim in the 'forbidden elements' is just to encourage us to think a little differently - to try some new ideas.

All in all, a wide prompt like 'truth' is far less restrictive than most of the more specific requirements we've had in the contest.

message 16: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Zylka (carriezylka) | 223 comments Ironically right before I posted my story I had to go through and check to make sure I did not use any of the forbidden elements. And lo and behold I sure did. Had to delete sentences referencing tears three times!

message 17: by Andy (new)

Andy Lake LOL, Carrie.

I trust there are other ways of conveying the feeling, e.g. through tension in dialogue, body language etc.
I would hate to think of you bottling up all that emotion :-)

message 18: by Heather (last edited Mar 02, 2016 07:03PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments @ Andy, I hope my writing "g*n" wasn't cheating! ? :-) (I coulda meant "gin" ... it would still make sense in the sentence I used it in!) Just kidding! I believe I stayed within the restrictions. True!

message 19: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Zylka (carriezylka) | 223 comments Andy - nope, instead of being a big cry baby I made her super pissed.
And I actually think it worked out better in the end. :)

message 20: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Oh okay, hopping in here, yes and my Moria-Gate truthing's not some magic miracle mode, btw, right? Like, different strokes for different worlds . . . just joking; I love this theme, this month. Problem is, one can think of so *many* stories for it.

message 21: by Heather (last edited Mar 02, 2016 08:49PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments I liked your story this month best of ALL your stories so far, Paula ... (without even knowing what Moria-Gate is! {Did Moria Carey do something weird?/morph the truth? sometime?} OR is this it? "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm is a narrow stone bridge crossing a chasm within the eastern gates of Moria. It lends its name to Chapter 5 in Book II of The Lord of the Rings, in which Gandalf referred to it as Durin's Bridge. The bridge was built to guard the East Gate of Khazad-dûm." - Wikipedia)
But anyway, the way the 'truth' changes on a word, from someone, and then becomes even more true is so true to life ... and hilariously done "she's chicken!" => the steaming smell of deliciousness (for those who aren't vegetarian lol) => a young, bigger beaked-predator emerges out of once-was ... => well that's up to our perpetual-child imagination/truth AND what we observe in really-truly life that goes that way, every day, every way ...

And Carrie, the super pissed works great ... far more effective than tears any day!

message 22: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Thanks, Heather. And yes, the Tolkiien.

message 23: by Heather (last edited Mar 03, 2016 07:25PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments And on that point you made, Paula, about how this month's challenge led to a quandary (a cross-trails!) as to which story (path), of many in your head, to choose ... the challenge has led me to think I'd like to chose a path that is leading (in my imagination) my March story to a whole new challenge (for me) of actually constructing a story-town/hemisphere/world of my own: a novel.

I'm fascinated by the Eastern and Western perspectives and the fact that the hemispheres (philosophically) are becoming more West:East, left:right ... and less ... Northern:Southern, European:Oriental. Look at China in Africa - they might be taking the place over, but they also model (a type of) non-violence and (a type of) respect. And - as described by a Defence analyst expert on the telly last night - in the South China Sea at the moment America (our strongest ally) is 'asking' Australia to 'test out' freedom of the seas by sailing a bit close to the wind, literally, where ever there is a storm brewing in the South China Seas disputed islands 'physical debate.' It is seen as less confrontational, by America, if li'l ol Australia happens to innocently stray into an area that China (our biggest trading partner) is claiming. And China could shoot down one of our planes-that-had-strayed in 'their air space' without it being so likely to fully awaken the beast within the American bosom as that awakening might be likely IF China directly attacked an American plane!

And such a novel, if I write it, would be the story place in which I could mosey about and discover more about those beasts and demons and protectors and betrayers and jokers and ... that really do inhabit the dimensions within and without us, and what they will look like, and be called, 100, 200 ... years from now when we know more about them (scientifically as opposed to 'just' the ancient gnosis of them, which we for now have to rely on ... for those of us who don't just completely dismiss their existence out of hand!)

message 24: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Well no, for me it wasn't a quandary, Heather, but thanks. --Okay, so here's the thing: you've a good idea there for a novel, so write a few pages of it, write to yourself some more ideas and characters about it, write its outline, and go on writing it. (cf.Lessing's Golden Notebook.) Go for it, yes?

message 25: by Heather (last edited Mar 04, 2016 06:27AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Thanks for the advice and encouragement. I will definatly do those things you suggested. Also thanks for the mention of Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook". (I hadn't heard of it, though I have read some Doris Lessing many moons ago.) I just had a quick look though on Amazon and will download the kindle edition probably later tonight.

Funny you should mention the Golden Notebook's concept (as something I might be able to learn from re my idea for a novel ... with its idea/modeling of 'bringing all the components together') because I have also been thinking of making the memoir I am trying to do into a type of an anthology where I would take those particular 750 word stories I've already done that are relevant to it + some I haven't done yet and expand, and do some reworking of them, to some longer length (maybe 2000 words each) and start each of the 3 sections, that I want the memoir to have, with one of those 'short stories' relevant to that section.

The memoir would become, in other words, a tale of the experiences - joys, pains, lessons ... - that caused/is increasingly causing me to attempt to find and hone my writing voice (with the stories as the 'examples' of that attempt.) Does that sound as if it would work, to your editorial eye/ear? I hope that's OK to ask here.

message 26: by Heather (last edited Mar 04, 2016 11:23PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Paula, I did buy the Kindle format of The Golden Notebook ... and am really glad I did. I like something that Lessing says along the lines of: "one's stories rarely being read the way the writer hopes they will be read." (That goes for one's life too!)

Some of the reviews are scathing but answered by another reviewer - a psychotherapist - who points out that the book 'seems fragmented' because that's what it is about (duh!) ... and the solution attempt/reintegration attempt.

I know what it is to be reeled in, terribly, to someone else's persistent attempts to keep everything in their life (including 'real people') excessively compartmentalized SO THAT they, and they alone, can bring together all the compartments in a way they can 'cope with' ... no matter what the real-life-tragedy-of-an-outcome that brings for 'those other people.'

The problem is, if you are one of those 'real people' who have been rendered into a 2-D, cardboard cut-out of a character in the contrived scenes you have been cast in, (especially when 'the caster' keeps saying its what has happened to them) how can you take the scraps of your own life - and the people in it - from your own perspective and properly integrate the aspects of Life? How can you even know what 'proper integration' is, or know that you know ... other than a gnawing disquiet?

I guess you can be like Anna (I haven't read the full novel{('s) compartments/notebooks} yet ... so I don't really know, yet) but far better, I'm guessing, if you can be more like Lessing (but in your own way.) Lessing mentions about it being 'easier' to 'say truth' in fiction rather than non fiction form (for the universality opportunity it brings - for others to bring their own story into the reading, I suppose.)

message 27: by Heather (last edited Mar 05, 2016 08:46AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments I've changed the very beginning of my story (hopefully so as to help give some more conceptual prominence to the story's main underpinnings) now that I have begun to read Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook." (On the other hand I might have wrecked it ... by taking away that subtlety for the reader to find, or not, as the case may be.)

BTW, this link has an interesting piece on ways of seeing things (... things such as 'the truth') as given in the book "The Geography of Thought." (There is a link within that article to a detailed summary of Geography of Thought by Dr. John D. Eigenauer ... but that link is broken. A working link to the summary is

message 28: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Then, Heather, there are Russell, Wittgenstein, the earlier epistemologists, logicians, etc., . . . Not to mention Plato. Enjoy.
Just received a book today by a friend who's in philosophy, so am thinking about it.

message 29: by Heather (last edited Mar 07, 2016 07:25PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Yes, I will enjoy exploring those minds, Paula ... thanks - which reminds me, I must get back to reading Logicomix - An Epic Search For Truth, which I bought and was enjoying very much, but didn't finish reading at the time, for some reason. And, I also want to start reading all I can on the latest very small dimensions physics (luckily with the net there are lots of translations into laymen's terms ... articles and forums etc ... about.) That's what interests me (for the novel I want to expand my this month's story into): the possible future renewing of "a natural philosophy" of Truth that might (should, logically) include the whole spectrum across ancient and modern knowledge. Its a shame they changed its name to "science." That seemed to lop off a whole chunk of 'knowing possibilities.'

I've changed the beginning (mainly just the beginning) (and the title - a bit) of my story, again ... trying to find the right balance between subtle vs being direct, when it comes to the question(s) I want to pose in my story and also the sorts of answers I hope the reader might find within the story ...or better still, be inspired to laterally-think their way to finding their own answers to, beyond the story.

And this specific March challenge topic has made me now think that I actually want to do 'the memoir' that I am 'working on' as an anthology of my exact writing attempts that I have made in this group (same word length, title, content etc. ... as opposed to an expanded, re-worked form.) And, for 'the glue' to bind the stories to each other I want to write 'something of the real-life episodes' the individual stories reflect. I am giving it a working title of "Worlds Apart - A Mythical Memoir" ... but hopefully it will be more about the hope of integration of individual truths, including grief-ful ones into some mythical and celebratory state of being - somehow - in The Truth. (Maybe when I get to about another year's worth or so of stories here I'll have enough to do that?)

I still want to also take this particular month's story and expand it into a novel. I am also hoping a future month's story challenge might spark the philosophical seed I am pondering into story-existence. (Hopefully it will have some comedy in it too - I wish one of you monthly winners would set a comedic theme sometime soon!) This graphic novel I am thinking of is one whose plot and picture imagery I am playing about with/storyboarding, but whose spark-of-life I am still waiting to be released into my imagination via these monthly story challenges.

message 30: by Heather (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments I've finally finished my March story ... after about a million edits.

(I don't really have a good reliable writing program - Open can suddenly crash right in the middle of some crucial writing moment, so I'm forever having to copy and paste to an email 'compose' blank sheet and email, to myself, progressive versions if i don't want to risk loosing my work completely, so its easier to just edit straight onto the GR page.)

But finally my story says what I wanted it to say! Stubborn little things they can be, these stories I write. I have to keep coaxing and coaxing and coaxing, sometimes.

message 31: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Good then you have it up now, Heather. I don't know your finances/priorities, but the student/home model of Word is under $150 and quite adequate, or maybe someone has a loaner, even.

message 32: by Heather (last edited Mar 10, 2016 10:09PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Thanks for that Paula, yes I should check out some alternatives to Open Office, such as the one you suggested and maybe find something 'on special' sometime. (Priority-wise, I'm on track to have my house mortgage completely paid off around this time next year - if I keep paying the bit extra above what I have to pay on it each month ... and I can't wait to be rid of that mortgage and truly own my own home! ... humble though it may be. It has a nice ambiance and lovely memories. So I have to remain 'extremely mean' with what I spend on 'extras' for now ... (I hope it doesn't keep showing up in 'notifications' every time an edit is done, as is done when a post is made on GR. I don't think it does as I don't get 'notified of other people's 'edits' ... or maybe they're all just too clever to need them! lol )

message 33: by Heather (last edited Mar 11, 2016 01:23AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments This one looks like it might be good, Paula. It's called yWriter It says its free and was written/developed by a computer programmer and author (including of a science fiction series), Simon Haynes.

He says he designed it for novel writing - which sounds good - but can also be used for smaller pieces. I'm keen to get started on my planned novel and continue with the work for the memoir (... I'm not sure yet if I could adapt it for graphic novel writing. ) But I do know that the copy and paste onto email 'compose' or straight onto GR or just risk Open Office's 'temperament', just won't work for the longer writing projects!

(Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. Sometimes I get used to 'just putting up with stuff' and forget there's alternative options! So thanks for the prompt.)

And there's a video tutorial of it here,

What do you think? Does it look good to you? Thanks.

Actually I just saw on the video it has a storyboard feature (+ 'pictures'/drawings can be uploaded) so writing for the graphic novel and 'placing' the images in place may well be feasible.)

message 34: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Don't ask me software questions, Heather; I've no idea. What I do know, as an editor, is that if you'll be wanting to send manuscripts out for consideration by publishers, journals, etc., they'll almost *have* to be sent in .doc, .rtf, or possibly .pdf format---and you'll be much more set to do this if you write them in Word. This may change but for the near future, get Word; it's not so expensive.

message 35: by Andy (new)

Andy Lake That's right, Paula.
And though some people don't like Microsoft on principle, I think the range of editing, reviewing and formatting functionality in Word make it the most practical and versatile tool to use for writing.

message 36: by Ronald (new)

Ronald Jones | 58 comments @heather: I glanced at your past postings and I didn't see any mention of this software: Scrivener is suppose to be great for authors. You can try it out for 30 days free. If you decide to get it, the software costs $40-$45 (U.S.). (I'm planning on testing it in the near future.)

message 37: by Heather (last edited Mar 11, 2016 07:09PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Oh, that's a good point I hadn't thought of Paula: about what the folk the writer is sending their writing to like!

And what you mention too, Andy re the range of functionality with Word is important. (My computer which was second hand didn't come with Word so that's why I have this dilemma.)

And Ron, no I didn't know of yWriter before. I just went looking for options yesterday - because my March story is in a way a bit too densely packed into 750 words. I changed the sub title 'again' to make it shorter (to read the title that is, ... its not included in the word count) ...but still want all the concepts that were in the longer subtitIe to be included. I ended up settling on a metaphor - a golden compass - for all that stuff wanted to fit into my story.) I hope as a novel, 'it' (ie, the complexity of the philosophical duel) will work better ... by having more words for teasing out of all the threads) But it really drove home to me how primitive my current way of tackling 'writing practicalities' is when I was trying to 'separate out ideas in my mind' so I could look at them better. Scrivener sounds good too.

I'll have to just say to myself that if I want to take my writing further - which I do - then, in an age of everything being computerized, including how one communicates with publishers, editors etc, my getting some such software is NOT a luxury!

message 38: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Is Scrivener stand-alone, or is it to use WITH Word, Ron? (I don't know--asking.)
Ronald wrote: "@heather: I glanced at your past postings and I didn't see any mention of this software: Scrivener is suppose to be great for authors. You can try it out for 30 days free. If you decide to get it, ..."

message 39: by Ronald (new)

Ronald Jones | 58 comments @paula: It's standalone software. Here's part of the Scrivener blurb:

"Scrivener provides all the tools you need to prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing. Print a novel using standard manuscript formatting or an academic paper in a standard style such as APA or MLA. Export your finished document to a wide variety of file formats, including Microsoft Word, RTF, PDF and HTML—making it easy to share your work with others. Save screenplays to Final Draft format with your synopses and script notes intact. Or self-publish by exporting to ePub or Kindle* formats to share your work via iBooks or Amazon, or for reading on any e-reader. And for those who want to typeset their own work, Scrivener supports the MultiMarkdown markup language, giving users with more exacting requirements all the power of exporting to LaTeX, XHTML, and more."

Here's the link:

message 40: by Heather (last edited Mar 12, 2016 11:08AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Also, here's a youtube video too called "Schrivener for Windows Demo" by David Lee Martin.

He goes right through to uploading the finished book to Kindle - book cover and all, using Schrivener ... (and he goes through a lot of the process of getting the book ready for publication.) He says its less cumbersome than Word. He talks about uploading to multiple platforms, using images and much more.

Ron, I'm now completely sold on Schrivener and will take the free 30 day trial. so thanks for mentioning it in this discussion. I had heard of it but somehow just assumed it would be too dear. But I think it will be very good value. (Even with the unfavourable-to-Australians exchange rate its still a good price.)

I noted that the blurb at literatureandlatte says that the trial is 30 days of actual use of Schrivener (not just 30 consecutive days whether you use Schrivener on each of those days or not.) So if you use Schrivener every single day the free trial lasts a month but if you use it only once a week during the free 30 days of use trial, it would be 30 weeks before you had to choose whether to take the paying option ... and therefore get to keep, on Schrivener, all the work you did during the free trial.

(And there's other videos on youtube too, Paula re using it. SOme of those people use it very simply and others go into a lot more of its functionality ... plus I think there's a $10 instruction book too you can buy from Schrivener. I saw that somewhere.)

message 41: by Marianne (new)

Marianne (mariannegpetrino) | 352 comments Just back from yet another funeral (my uncle). Catching up.

message 42: by Marianne (new)

Marianne (mariannegpetrino) | 352 comments Put up a story. No guns; no tears; no miracles. And truth where you find it. Maybe.

message 43: by Andy (new)

Andy Lake Very pleased you're entering a story, Marianne, and I wish you sincere best wishes at what sounds to be a very difficult and testing time.

message 44: by Marianne (new)

Marianne (mariannegpetrino) | 352 comments Thanks, Andy. I dreamt it, so I figured what the heck. And thanks to everyone for well wishes :)

message 45: by Marianne (new)

Marianne (mariannegpetrino) | 352 comments And you know you are in for a strange week when you find out that your therapist has died while you were away at a funeral.

I think the Grim Reaper and I need to have a talk.

message 46: by Heather (last edited Mar 18, 2016 10:02PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments I'm pretty sure I've now got my March micro story the way I want it - bar a final read through to try to fix any punctuation and make sure the word count hasn't inadvertently crept over the limit ... and the like.

Two points of grammar-and-punctuation that I particularly battle with, are:
~ when to use colons and semi colons,
~ quotation marks and inverted commas and where punctuation marks go in relation to them ... when that occurs at the end of a sentence.

*re colons and semi colons: the least confusing explanation I have ever seen is this one I just found, at
"Simply put, the colon is used to provide a pause before introducing related information, while the semicolon is just a break in a sentence that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop."

*re quotation marks, inverted commas and punctuation marks: especially at the end of a sentence ... well I'm still working on that one! So far I have found that it is the general rule that punctuation marks go inside things that might surround a word (like quotation marks or inverted commas), but I'm still not quite sure if that rule really does apply equally as much whether the 'surrounding things' are ' ' or " ?"

There seems to be lots of exceptions to what seems to be the rule: that punctuation marks go inside the surrounding things ... eg, exceptions such as,whether the tradition I am writing in is British English or American English, whether I am quoting what was said by someone else (eg someone other than myself or someone other than a character I've created.) I was taught in the British English tradition - and so I write 'colour' not 'color' and 'favourite' not 'favorite' yet I use " . " not " ". (which I think is from the American English tradition!)

Just a couple of the other (main) 'project problems' I had - but have really enjoyed trying to resolve, within 750 words (!) - within this particular month's philosophically and emotionally and empirically densely-packed challenge ... courtesy of Andy's choice, were:

1.) which particular 'bit', within all that density, to extract and work on, in more detail. For example, empirically, I wanted to include what I had experienced; the issue of Respect/Disrespect for each other's truths ... but there were not enough words if I also included the main idea I wanted to work on, which was the issue of the nature of Truth:truth and how that 'nature' is interacted with by 'human nature!' I tried including the 'Respect" issue in the sub-title (because of the title's lack of word limit) but it just came out like a, crazy long-subtitle AND crazy short-essay, weird mix! (So I decide to leave the 'Respect' issue, more or less, out ... to be picked up again in my follow-on projects)
2.) whether to 'try to' make this a completely stand alone story (and so have more characterization and plot) or try for a (still somewhat 'stand alone' but mainly) 'story contextualized' reflections on 'the nature of Truth:<>truth ... and hope that that 'story context' aspect would, of itself, reflect 'enough tension' ... for now. I chose that latter option because what I am most interested in is how I want to go on and expand &/or otherwise use this 'story', beyond how it stands so far, in my evolving writing projects.

In all though, this has been probably the very best - in terms of, enjoying the challenge, learning opportunities presented, and follow-on story writing/graphic noveling ideas generated - of all the monthly challenges so far.

message 47: by Paula (new)

Paula | 886 comments Heather, the US form puts commas and periods that end a quote INSIDE the end-quote marks, with the placement of ! and ? dependent on whether their function is re the quote or re the whole sentence ("I asked her, 'Why?'"; "Why did you say 'Run!'?"). In normal, sane English-language countries, commas and periods, like ! and ?, are placed inside or outside the close-quote mark depending on whether their function is with the quoted material or with the external sentence.
This doesn't really answer your question of the logic or formal elegance of their usage/s, but it seems pretty standard. As for which--" or '--functions for the inner set of quote marks when a quote happens within another quote, I believe the usage is exactly opposite in US English and Anglo English, but I'm not sure. Then of course there is philosophy, where the whole idea is to use as many sets as possibly at every chance.

message 48: by Heather (last edited Mar 19, 2016 08:48PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Thanks Paula,
I've settled on the American English way re where to put quotation marks and punctuation marks in relation to one another (and hope I've understood how it also applies to inverted commas.) I still want to use the British English spelling of words I am used to, though! ... though even some British English spelling has morphed towards Americanization eg using 'z' (we say "zed", you say "zee," though I've noticed it is now often pronounced as "zee" on televison, here, so a whole generation might have already forgotten/be in the process of forgetting, "zed"?) instead of 's' in words where "ize" is put on the end instead of "ise" ... eg "dramatise" has become "dramatize."

I don't quite understand what you means by "sets" in "Then of course there is philosophy, where the whole idea is to use as many sets as possibly at every chance" - except if you mean that when philosophizing one tends to qualify everything and try to point out exceptions and contradictions, etc so as to avoid having 'left anything (... any "set" of things) out'!

message 49: by Heather (last edited Mar 19, 2016 10:20PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments "Many, a true word said in jest," Jeremy! hahahahahahahahah Brilliant.

message 50: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Lichtman | 264 comments Thanks Heather!

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