You know I look at the past pictures and wonder. How much of our writing mojo is being stretched to accommodate the environment of the subject presented in the image as opposed to the subject.
I mean if the subject of the images are diverse...that is quite fun. But, coupled with the subject, are the environments the subject is presented in (obviously landscapes are a duality) creating a rhetorical problem.
We basically have time, space, and mystery to delve a story from one environment to the other dictating a certain strain on plot. I know the old trick is to find one that can be anchored to the environment and others that can have ambiguous environments. But, is this really that integral to the exercise...does it make it better? I'm not sure.
This isn't supposed to be easy; but, I can't help think it would be more fun if most of the background was stripped from some of the more obvious 'subject' pieces so that deep dense jungles aren't juxtaposed with barren deserts.
What do you think?
I'm NOT trying to impose or suggest the changing of this current contest!
But...as the event rolls along it might be fun to create iterations.
-Like a contest that has a character picture, an environment picture, an object picture, and a mood picture. That sounds fun!
-Or have all of the subjects cut out of the background so that we are only presented with direct images and not straining to direct the composition through multiple environs.
-Or even an event that is all environment or abstractions...perhaps too artsy huh?
What are some other ideas?
"Like a contest that has a character picture, an environment picture, an object picture, and a mood picture. That sounds fun!" I really like this idea, Wild Gazebo!
Sometimes you really have to turn yourself inside out to include the disparate backgrounds in the pictures. I know the point is that it's hard to write a story based on a bunch of disjointed images, but often the story suffers when there are too many elements to shoehorn in.
Hm, sometimes (even often) the story does suffer. But...some of the stories are truly creative in integrating all of them. Well, they all are a bit but some roll more naturally, and they seem to do best, and therein lies the challenge. So in one sense it is a writing competition (creating a theme, characters, etc, etc) and in another case it is a test of imagination.
This is almost always very fun to watch. And challenging for the writer. So it offers something for everybody!
Of course there are other formats we could follow, or themes...occasionally to mix things up.
I agree that we end up with a few overall themes because of how the competition is run - there almost always has to be some element of time travel, mind travel or magical travel in order to incorporate all of the pictures. In one sense that does limit things. In another sense, we are all gamers so have a plethora of ideas about how to instantiate such travel.
I would be happy to participate in other formats, and it would probably instill a breath of fresh life into the competition.
I'll think more on it as I have gray matter to spare!
Yeah, I'm not trying to inspire a CDM revolution.
I just think the disparate images can still be present to boggle the mind and challenge the writing without the hindrance of puzzling environment into a story that wouldn't normally cater to it.
I mean environment can be as important a device as character if taken to heart and I feel the composition suffers 'more than necessary' when it shifts to accommodate a random image. It is a device that is stolen...so as to be harder to accommodate the 'contest' of incorporating the images.
And I know...arggg...it's supposed to be hard. But...I think the contest would be better with a little tweak.
And I think this is a great place to brainstorm some other potential tweaks!
Are there any other ideas?
I am not, nor ever have been a CDM judge. I haven't even ever participated in a tournament (except, apparently, one that never got off the ground).
But, it seems to me that the focus of these events has always been creative writing, and that that ought to account for the problem you are suggesting exists. That is to say, must a contestant be expected to take every element present in a picture and strain the reader's imagination to make them fit, or would it be better (as I tend to think), for the writer take the tone, theme, and focus of the picture and incorporate it?
This would naturally produce better submissions to read, as the focus of the tournament shifts from skill of manipulation toward skill of interpretation and communicating such.
I have been both a CDM judge and participant. Much of my writing disappeared in the great post fire of '06 (still suspicious) and in both cases (participant and judge) I think I was really looking for tone rather than the letter of the law. That's just me, though, others may be more militant.
I'm completely new to CDM, but I would think it is better to use elements (inc. the focal point) of a picture in successful and creative ways rather than using the entirety of the image in a mundane manner.
I like CDM as it is because everyone who volunteers is such a fantastic writer that there needs to be some strong limiter. Remember, it's not a writing contest but a creative writing contest. Otherwise it would devolve into a popularity contest. I am a big fan of the 4 Oracles from the In A Wicked Age RPG, and sometimes wonder how a writing contest based on randomized drawings from this website would work out: http://www.lumpley.com/oracle/4oracles.php