Sunday, June 26, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge: part 17, "Lines"

When this exercise was hosted over at Porky's Expanse!, he always chose the word for the Expanders! challenge based on some relevant happening or theme. This week, the word choice was relatively easy, although getting to the computer to write the actual post was hard. As I've mentioned before, my son is in a production of "Much Ado About Nothing" this summer, and today marked the day that he needed to be "off book". Consequently, much of the week here has been spent practicing his part and running to and from rehearsals. At this point, I could probably act as a passable understudy for every character he interacts with on stage. A good part of my business week has been taken up with the sorts of administrative details that require standing in queues or waiting on hold while bureaucrats accidentally delete your file and ask you to resubmit forms for the third time. After a week of this, I've begun to notice a certain haggard look to my face, and a least a few new wrinkles. I'm putting it down to stress and dehydration, not age, and, as this is a fiction blog, I can get away with that. The clincher for today's word choice was this post at Porky's Expanse, regarding the boundaries between SF and Fantasy. The common thread binding them all together? Lines, and that is the word of the week.

If you aren't familiar with the Expansion Joints project, it all began over at Porky's Expanse!.

The rules are just as they are described over at Porky's: as much narrative as you can cram into fifteen words, one of which must be the word of the week.

This can take the form of

1. An epyllion,or litle epic, a stand-alone fifteen-word narrative, or

2. An epos, or 'epic'. Instead of an independent 15-word story, you can choose to develop someone else's story from a previous week, or extend your own story from week to week. Just write the next installment. If it has 15 words, uses the word of the week, and continues the story, you've done it.

There are two important things to think about if you choose epos. First, you should have the permission of the person who wrote the story you will develop. If anyone writes a 15-word epyllion or adds to an epos and is happy for others to develop it later, please say so, with something like 'for use in an epos'. Second, by using specific elements of someone else's story, we technically create a derivative work, so it's best to avoid this.

There are a number of generous contributors who have given express permission to use some of their writing as the basis for epos:

Porky, the founder of the project, offers up all of his contributions.

GDMNW has opened up the three stories here.

Dave G_Nplusplus makes any of his Expanders! stories available for use in an epos.

Arlequin has an epos running on his Expanders! page, and he has graciously extended permission to play with any or all of the contributions there.

Andy, over at The Creepy Corridor, has also made his epos posts available for expansion.

And, as always, feel free to use any of the stories on this blog that are tagged as "Expansion Joints" in an epos.

Words that have previously made an appearance in an Expanders!/Expansion Joints include: food, fort, stuff, elf, rogue, pass, fool, hammer, note, temper, table, twisted, missing, sacrifice, spirit, rush, and tie, in case you are of an historical bent, or wish to write a complete set.

When you've finished writing your entry for this week, either post your 15-word story directly in the comments here, or leave a link in the comments to the blog page where we can find it.


  1. Clever choice. Somehow I overlooked your post in the roll and I was even looking out for it. Will get to creating and hopefully have something up very soon.

  2. I think this is another example of Blogger having a glitch. 11:42 am is plausible as the time when I started the draft, but I didn't get back to it until almost midnight. Somehow, the start time became the posting time.

  3. Blogger has been nobody's friend recently lol.

    Okay, mine for this week is;

    The events leading to the loss had resulted in lines being drawn within the team.

    Hosted here.

  4. @Arlequin, We're really getting a sense of the complexity of the situation here. I like what you're doing with this.

    My entries for the week are here, and Porky has written a wonderful response at the Expanse!.

  5. @ Arlequín - Lines within the team are the way I went too, and are a very natural thing.

    @ Jennie - Thanks, and for hooking it up too. I only just now remembered I needed to! I was pretty engrossed.

  6. @Jennie - I didn't set out to be complex, far from it in fact, but it's beginning to take on its own life. A tad worrying lol.

    @Porky - I liked that, especially the 'lines through hearts' bit. Most weeks you manage to provoke a great deal of thought from only 15 words!

  7. I thought better of you. Lines are nothing more then a matter of perspective captain.

    @ Jennie - I am glad I made you laugh in last weeks bit.

    @ Porky - 'Lines through the heart'... I like it! Consider them stolen lines if you don't mind. (also 15 words... just saying...)

    I'll be in some corner stealing more idea's...


  8. Thanks to you both.

    @ Captain Kellen - Very clever use there. And you're welcome to the line, inasmuch as it's mine to give - I can't claim a concept like that!