Thursday, January 12, 2012

Expansion Joints Challenge, part 39: "Pick"

When this exercise was hosted over at Porky's Expanse!, the word for the Expanders! challenge was based on some relevant happening or theme. I'm continuing the tradition here. I apologize for the dearth of links in today's post, but I am still a bit under the weather here, and wanted to be sure that I got this up. If you read Science Fiction and Fantasy, you might already know that this week marks the start of the Tor Reader's Choice Awards where you can vote for the best SF&F novels, short fiction, comics,and book covers of 2011. This is your chance to make your voice heard. There are no restrictions on where the works were published, so short pieces or comics from bloggers like Porky's Expanse (and the many excellent pages it links to), Hereticwerks, or other places on the Web where such things sometimes make appearances would seem to be eligible. There's no limit on how many works you can include in your voting post, so there is no need to choose too carefully - don't leave out anything you really liked. Moving into the political realm (which many might argue still leaves us firmly in the domain of fantasy), the US Republican presidential primary season kicked off in earnest, with the first actual binding votes cast in the New Hampshire primary.(Please, don't ask me to explain the Iowa caucuses.) Closer to home, the season's first fabulously sweet Indian River murcotts (also known as "honey tangerines") were harvested from local groves and made their way to my table. The theme here is perhaps disappointingly clear already: the word of the week is "pick".

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.

C'nor, at Lunching on Lamias, gives consent to use any of his entries, which are partly located on his blog, but mostly strewn throughout the comment threads here.

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, tie, line, free, break, cut, opening, close, shock, balance, field, blow, file, die, fall, vent, skip, back, stand, plague beat, pin, present, and resolve, 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. Here's mine then, loosely linked to the themes in your inspiration.

    The orbital AI was cut-price, but accurate:

    "Pick us off! Bring down the dropship! Ov-"

  2. @Porky- I love this. Idiom can be a very tricky minefield to navigate, and playing with it is so much fun!