Friday, October 24, 2008

The Friday Challenge - 10/24/08

URGENT UPDATE! Vox cross-linked to this post, and one of the comments on Vox's post smacked me upside the head and got my attention. Strange that I never noticed it before, but Bane really hated Halloween. I mean he really, seriously, deeply, hated Halloween. If you want to verify that and have a high tolerance for profanity, go to Bane's blog and search for "Halloween" or read his posts from late October of any year. The man truly, passionately, and profoundly hated Halloween.

Therefore, honoring him with a Halloween-themed story contest now seems like a truly bad idea.

However, the challenge still stands. The guy had a great gift for the scare-the-heck-out-of-you moment and the turn-your-guts-to-ice scene. I understood why he chose not to write for professional publication — I disagreed with that choice and tried to convince him to change his mind, and failed — but I think that talent of his magnitude warrants some kind of appropriate recognition. Somewhat sheepishly, then, I now rename this the First Annual Bane Memorial Frightening Fiction Contest, and we'll look for a more fitting date on which to hold it next year.

But as I said, the challenge remains. We're looking for the best short story that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. You can try to write it in Bane's style, if you think you can, but his was a remarkable talent, and if you don't think you can pull it off you're better off aiming for the style of a lesser writer, like Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe.

P.S. And if you really want to do something worthwhile in his memory, consider visiting his blog site and chipping in a contribution to the medical expenses fund.

With much embarrassment,

No doubt many some a few of you are might be wondering what's going on with this blog in general and with the Friday Challenge in particular. At present I'm up to my armpits in a First Rule* situation that originally promised to keep me insanely overloaded through the end of November, but now, thanks to a rejuggling of the workload, a reshuffling of priorities, some changed design parameters, and some adjustments to various project schedules, it promises to keep me oversubscribed through at least mid-December.
[The First Rule of Being a Professional Writer is: Paying work on deadline always comes first.]
I'm not complaining. I have paying work to do, and in economic times such as these I'm not about to turn up my nose at any legal work.

Still, while I've not been ignoring your contributions to the Friday Challenge, I certainly haven't been holding up my end of the conversation, either. I will try to get caught up on all of that this weekend, but in the meantime, I have a new Friday Challenge for you that must be announced today. Introducing—

The First Annual Bane Memorial Frightening Fiction Contest

That's right. Bane is gone — for real this time, sadly, but that's another story — but love him, hate him, or fear him, you must admit, the guy knew how to tell a creepy tale. Ergo, in honor of the passing of our late mutual friend/foe/sparring partner/bĂȘte noire, that's this week's challenge: write a genuinely scary story.

The deadline for this challenge is midnight Central time, Thursday, October 30, with all entries to be posted on the morning of Friday, October 31. As always, we're playing by a penumbra of emanations from the official Friday Challenge rules, and playing for whatever is behind Door #2, unless I happen to think of something more fitting in the next few days. Any questions?

Bane wouldn't have wasted time asking questions...