Freestyle, Round 2!

After a missed couple of weeks, it’s time to continue our Freestyle Adventure Series. We had some really good story seeds turned in, but unfortunately my idea of a comment voting system didn’t work out — the plugin was definitely sub-optimal. In lieu of that and so we don’t have to wait another week, I just picked our winning seed and image. Unfortunately, a high percentage of them failed to follow instructions and either weren’t written in second person, weren’t gender-neutral, or didn’t have a good jumping-off point.

Our winning story segment comes from the puissant pen of … Skybandit!

The cobwebs were thick upon the intricately carved altar, throwing odd shadows from the guttering candle in your hand. Your uncle had never installed electricity in the basement of the ancient mansion that he had left you in his will. Opening the crumbling book to the page he had marked before his horribly bloody death, you fulfilled the only proviso to gain the full inheritance by reading out the words on the crumbling parchment, stumbling over the strange words.

Perhaps you should have been more careful with your pronunciation, for in a flash and with a rumble like a Californian quake, there appeared …

Thus your challenge this week is one of two things (or both, if you fancy a challenge):

  1. Write the next short section of our ongoing adventure using the seed in blockquotes above and what is depicted in the winning image, below. The text should be written in second-person point of view (“You are a young warrior of the Wu Tang Clan”) and should be gender-neutral. The section should end with an open-ended statement making it easy for the next person to hook on their section, something like “You turn the corner and see …” or “Leaping from the cliff, your wild hands scrabble along the rocks and encounter …” or “Heat vision blasting, out of the corner of your eye you see descending from the clouds a …”, that kind of thing. The goal is to make it easy for the next person to know where to jump off.
  2. If writing isn’t your thing, you can post a link to an image you’ve created in HeroMachine that the next person will have to incorporate into their scene. It might be a human character of some sort, or an animal, or an item, or a scene, or whatever you like.

If you choose to write the next segment, here’s the image you must somehow incorporate into the story, courtesy of Keith_Kanin:


(Click to embiggen.)

I’ve installed the GD Star comment rating system, which I hope will be more stable than the last plugin I tried. Registered users can vote for entries they like with a thumbs-up; the image and story with the most thumbs-up votes wins!

If this turns out not to work, I’ll just pick the best story and image like a regular contest.

Good luck!

18 Responses to Freestyle, Round 2!

  1. …before you a terrifying apperition! Long, white hair billowing behind it, it advances towards you, shreiking at the top of its lungs. You see that instead of legs, it has a flowing, etheral tail, ending at the center binding of the old book. Thinking fast, you dart around the spector and back to the tome…

    If you wish to try to close the book, turn to page 7…

    …or…

    If you wish to finish the incantation on the parchment, turn to page 12…

  2. I realize I’m adding in a decision point kind of early, but I always liked the CYO books that made you start thinking right away, without too much exposition…

  3. Do we want decision points? I don’t see us building up an actual book here, but if you guys think we should try I guess we could. I just don’t get mechanically how we would do that. I was thinking just that we’d end up with a short story of some length that careens madly from one thing to another.

  4. I kind of thought that there should not be any predetermined choices that might restrict the creative freedoms of other writers. But if people like to do it that way, why not to give it a go.

  5. True. I guess if people want it that way then they’ll up-vote those entries, and if not, not.

  6. Jeff Hebert:
    Do we want decision points? I don’t see us building up an actual book here, but if you guys think we should try I guess we could. I just don’t get mechanically how we would do that. I was thinking just that we’d end up with a short story of some length that careens madly from one thing to another.

    Ah, sorry. I thought from the way I read week 1’s that we were doing this as a CYO story, like the ones we do on thursdays. You can ignore my entry, I’ll think of another one…

  7. …your uncle! Well, perhaps not exactly. His teeth were pointier, his eyes redder, and his skin paler. Not to mention you could see through him. But the face was unmistakable. It was the same fierce nose, the angry eyebrows, and thin lips. It was his voice, however, that finally convinced you.

    “Who dares…! Oh, it’s you. Sorry, my eyesight’s not what it used to be.” He gave you a small smile. “I have a warning.”

    “A warning?” you asked.

    “Beware,” he moaned a long, dire warning, “Beware!” He reached out one pale white hand, the red nails pointing like daggers toward your heart. “They’re coming for you…”

    Cowering in fear, you used the book to ward off the apparition.

    “Are you listening?” your uncle’s spirit asked. “This is important. Stop waving that book through me, it’s expensive. And annoying.” He sighed. “Where was I?”

    “Beware?” you offered helpfully with a sheepish shrug.

    “Right. Beware,” he continued his ghostly wail. “They’ll–”

    “Who, uncle?” you interrupted.

  8. Replacement entry: …a terrifying apparition! It has the form of a human woman, but wrong; it is rail-thin, with yellowing, parchment-like skin stretched over its bones. Its face is that of a demonic beast, all sharp, nashing teeth and red, staring eyes. It rises up from the center binding of the ancient tome on a trail of etheral smoke, its long shock of white hair blowing behind it in the sudden vortex of wind seeming to come from the book itself. The specter looks around, seeming to search the dusty room for some unknown thing, then locks eyes with you. You are unable to look away as the creature suddenly shrieks and begins to slowly glide towards you…

  9. Gero: Ah, sorry. I thought from the way I read week 1′s that we were doing this as a CYO story, like the ones we do on thursdays. You can ignore my entry, I’ll think of another one…

    I like the decision points. The votes will decide whether we go with them. ;>

    Speaking of votes. Weird that I can thumbs up in the Character Contest put not on the Freestyle page. Just thought I would mention the glitch.

    Lot of stuff coming down the pike lately. Giving me seriously mental block and killing my attention span. Only one entry in the Greed contest so far. And I forgot to use the naming convention. Like I said, too much going on personally and professionally.

    I’m sure older HM’ers can relate. “CYOA” used to mean “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Nowadays, it means “Cover Your Own…”

    Off topic: Jeff, where’s the best place for the “Suggestion Box?” There a link on the HeroMachine website or should I e-mail you direct. I have a couple of ideas to kick around. Thanks.

  10. The Atomic Punk: I like the decision points. The votes will decide whether we go with them. ;>Speaking of votes. Weird that I can thumbs up in the Character Contest put not on the Freestyle page. Just thought I would mention the glitch.

    Are you logged in? I know I couldn’t vote until I logged in to the little Secret Lair/Wordpress thing (first time I’ve had to do that since I made the account)…

  11. The Atomic Punk: Off topic: Jeff, where’s the best place for the “Suggestion Box?”There a link on the HeroMachine website or should I e-mail you direct.I have a couple of ideas to kick around.Thanks.

    Generally best to e-mail me directly, Mr. Punk.

  12. Gero: Are you logged in? I know I couldn’t vote until I logged in to the little Secret Lair/Wordpress thing (first time I’ve had to do that since I made the account)

    Yes, it’s set to let you vote only if you’re signed in and registered. I thought that would be more fair.

  13. I logged in but I still can’t vote in this thread, while like the Atomic Punk I was able to “thumbs up” on the contest thread. I’ll keep trying.

  14. After I posted that last message, I am now able to vote in this thread. Probably just needed to refresh the page.

  15. Wouldn’t feel right about adding more text, since I got to start it off, so here’s a picture to inspire the next writer.

    Enter…the Gate of Delerium!

    http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/skybandit/Skybandit-GateofDelerium.jpg

  16. Hey Jeff, was the site down yesterday? Because I tried to get on a couple of times and kept getting an error page instead…

  17. Yes, the site was down most of the day due to internal problems at DreamHost.

  18. …your mother-in-law. She was always such a ghastly creature, even before she died. Always moaning about how you and your family never spent much time, never allowing the kids to come over. She was a banshee, even then, yelling at you for the slightest thing. She’s been haunting you for quite sometime, but has only been a trivial nuisance to you, a Vatican trained monster hunter. However, it seems that words spoken from the book are empowering her. She lunges at you, forcing you to stop reading and roll out of the way. You reach down and open your trusty monster hunting case and pull out your…