This Gauntlet should have been posted on Friday, 5 November. It wasn’t. But, it is posted now, so that’s something. Right?
The challenge is to expand on these two sentences:
I opened the door and picked up the package on the porch. Right away, I knew something was wrong.
Take this sentence and turn it into the first 250 or so words of a thrilling adventure story. Save your submission as a Word document with the file name Gauntlet 6 [Insert Your Name Here]. For example, my file would be Gauntlet 6 Mr Chance. Email all submissions to mchance at theregisschool dot org.
Submissions are due Thursday, 18 November, and I’ll post the submissions during our Thanksgiving holiday. I await your responses.
Well, that didn’t work.
I got no responses to my last challenge. I must have done something wrongly. Not enough encouragement? Insufficient announcements?
This school year, the Knights of the Mightier Pen have not burst upon the scene in anything like a dramatic fashion. Neither have I been exactly vigorous with the posting schedule. Fortunately, I don’t give up that easily. I now have several new Gauntlets ready and waiting. I shall post the next one tomorrow, 5 November. After that, I’ve marked 19 November for the second challenge this month.
In other news, my 7th and 8th graders are writing short stories this month. We’ve not made much progress…yet. For our stories, we’re going to use a tried-and-true method of advancing a plot while generating suspense. My inspiration is Franklin W. Dixon, the nom du plume used by the various authors of Hardy Boys mystery stories that have published more or less continually since 1927 all the way into the twenty-first century.
The Hardy Boys books must be doing something right. They regularly sell at least one million copies a year. Part of what they do right is their formula. Each chapter in a Hardy Boys story ends with some of danger or reversal of fortune befalling the heroes or someone close to the heroes. The next chapter then deals with that dilemma before advancing the plot and then throwing another curveball at Frank and Joe. This creates a sort of roller coaster effect in which the plot drives forward in a chain of conflict-climax-conflict set pieces that encourage readers to press on for just one more chapter.
Our short stories this month mark the first time I’ve attempted to guide so many students through the creative writing process aimed at producing a complete, short adventure story.
The Knights of the Mightier Pen gather in the hallowed halls of the Regis School in Houston, Texas, to share their tales and poems.