We won’t talk about how far behind I am. Seriously, it’s bad, but the sewing project of doom is finished so I know I can catch up. I’m also going to do a post with a summary of what I produced last month and a couple of extracts, just as soon as I finish last month’s challenges. Ahem. Anyway, I’ve just got back from the SFX Weekender in sunny Cambersands. We all had a really great time and since I haven’t had a chance to plan the challenges for this week I’m going to be inspired by one of the author panels I attended. The title was ‘Dual Britannia: Creating Alternate Englands’. So this week is going to be about creating an alternate history setting and writing in it. 2 guesses as to what the Monday challenge is…
Monday 7th Jan â€“ Description Challenge
Pick a location you want to work with and come up with an alternate version of it. Describe some of the key features. London was very popular amongst writers at the weekend, but don’t feel constrained. I think it would be nice to see an alternate Manchester, or maybe a Kendal. Or maybe you want to stick with the place you live.
Tuesday 8th Jan â€“ Dialogue Challenge
Now you have an alternate society I want a conversation involving one of its leaders. Anything from President of the United States to head of the parish council goes. It can be about anything and with anyone you like, but it will probably be more interesting if they’re talking about some kind of challenge the society you’ve created is facing.
Wednesday 9th Jan â€“ Scene Challenge
You are to write a scene of a book set in your alternate reality. Not just any scene – the first scene. The challenge is to decide what info about your setting you’re going to give the reader right away and to think about how you’re going to introduce them and still have an interesting scene with some action. No, you’re not allowed to write one of those prologues that’s just an info dump about your setting. That’s cheating :P. You have to have a character in the scene.
Thursday 10th Jan â€“ Dream Challenge
Dream a little dream of me. Yeah, you know the drill. Next!
Friday 11th Jan â€“ Poetry Challenge
Let’s make this one a bit different. Pick any poem you like and rewrite as if it were written in your alternate history. I have no idea if this will work at all, but I’d suggest approaching it by searching for poems that contain an element that you have changed in your reality. If it doesn’t work at all, stuff it, just write a dirty limerick instead :).
Saturday 12th Jan â€“ Flash Fiction
Write a piece of Flash Fiction using your setting. If you didn’t get an idea for something you fancy doing during the week you may write something involving a crime. Maybe something interesting is against the law in your setting :).
Sunday 13th Jan â€“ Potluck Challenge
It would be easy to say ‘hey, let’s plan a novel in our new setting!’ but I haven’t even done my vamp plan yet, and plans take a lot of thought, so let’s just unwind and take a breather with some more free writing this week. Use the word ‘Alternate’ as the prompt, but it doesn’t have to be about alternate realities.
And we’re done! I just made that up on the fly. Phew. Better start planning the rest of the month now.