Announcing: WritersChallenge – Christmas 2015

2015 December 1st – December 24th 24 chapters
Okay, so this is something out of the ordinary. It’s not a challenge that will take place in a given room of time, but one that lets you work as much that you want, until December – when it’s to be published. Basically the project is built on the idea of a ‘Christmas Calendar’. Most of you might be foreign to what this is, so I’ll try to explain it:

The concept of a ‘Christmas Calendar’:
An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count down to or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas. Many take the form of a large, rectangular card with “windows” of which there are usually 24: one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. The doors are opened starting with the first one. Consecutive doors are opened every day leading up to Christmas Eve. The calendar windows open to reveal an image, poem, a portion of a story (such as the story of the Nativity of Jesus) or a small gift, such as a toy or a chocolate item.

In the Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland) there are also a tradition of having a so-called ‘Julekalender’ (the local word for an advent calendar) in the form of a television and/or a radio show, both starting on the first of December, and ending on Christmas Eve. Over the years, there have been several different kinds of Julekalender; some directed at children, some at both children and adults, and even some directed at adults alone. [Source: Wikipedia]

The idea:
This is what I’ve grown up with and I really love the tradition. However, there are just a few number of stories that are based on this idea since most creators chose to create them using TV and radio. Not only that, but I recently found out that the rest of the world is missing out on it. It really is a tragedy in my opinion. The sensation of Christmas for 24 days, and each day opening a little package with the continuation of an exciting, funny or heartwarming story. It really made Christmas special for me.

So, last year (2014), I had just gotten into a good writing rhythm, and suddenly I got the idea: Why not make one myself? My own little piece of Christmas. And so I did. I could have chosen to do a normal, original story, but since I’m the person I am, I chose to do one in a fandom. The reason for this was both that I feel really, really comfortable in that universe, but also that I feel that more people might try reading it if they already knew the universe.

Since I’m so good at actually working continuously on my stories I thought it would be fun to write a fanfic that had the same structure as the Julekalenders. I will base the story on a fandom – and I have to say that the fandom I know best (and that also have quite a few readers) is ‘Naruto’. So yeah, I was thinking of making a Naruto story with 24 chapters (and one additional in the start to inform the readers of the concept with Julekalenders). Each of the chapters will be quite short. 500 words maybe? Except the one for the Christmas even the might be twice the length.

Rules / Guidelines / Restrictions:
Okay, so normally I give you very few restrictions. You have the time and something that is some way can be connected to the theme, but that’s that. This, however is different. It’s not plenty of rules, but those that exist, are essential. Here they are:

#1 – The story has to have 24 (or 25) chapters.
The ‘Christmas Calendar’ is there to help you count down to Christmas. For us Nordic people, this is 24 days since it all ends with Christmas Eve, but for you that mainly celebrate ‘Christmas Day’ on the 25th, this day can also to be included. When it comes to the length, it’s totally up to you and what you think you might be able to do. Personally, I went with a 500 words a chapter as something to go after. It doesn’t mean that I wrote that number each day – the length varied from 350 to 2.000, but it’s good to have an idea of the length when you plan out the content of that day.

#2 – A chapter is to be published each of the days.
It’s a counting function that counts down to Christmas. Because of this, one chapter is expected each day. The chapter is to be out on that date – preferably as early as you can as it might have readers in other time zones that are way ahead of you. AND, if you know that you will be away and unable to publish one day; do publish it ahead of time. If you do so, it’s up to the reader to follow the ‘rule’. If this whole ‘one a day’ seems stressful, it’s also a solution to either upload all at once, or just take it in portions. BUT REMEMBER: ALWAYS STAY AHEAD OF TIME.

#3 – Each of the chapters is to be about a new day.
The idea is that the events in the chapters happens on the day that the reader is reading it. This means that you cannot continue just where you left of the previous day. Yesterday is gone, and now the characters are ready for a new day. There is of cause one exception to this rule, and that is if there is an event that takes place at midnight. In this case it could be possible to pick up where you left off, however, I advice you to rather include the night into the day before, and then start a new one after a jump in time.

#4 – It’s Christmas.
Yeah, it’s Christmas, so it’s pretty logical to write something that have to do with Christmas. HOWEVER, if you’re not celebrating this, but something else, then you can of course use that as inspiration instead. Also, if you want to, you can choose to stay away from the typical Christmas things, and rather just focus on December as a month. Is it a typical, snowy winter? or do you live where the climate is different?

#5 – Don’t postpone it!
Okay, so this is more an advice that anything else. Although the project isn’t to be up until December, it’s no reason for you not to start the process. 
Note that you can begin writing at this very moment if you’d like. Because this time, it’s not the time frame for the challenge as much as it is the final product; the 24/25 days of stories. Be sure to make a plan and a draft of the events, and then, use a few minutes to work on it now. If not, you might end up like I did in 2014 – sitting alone and writing like mad on Christmas Eve to get the last chapter out there.

So where do I sign up?
Well, I have a FaceBook event on it, and it would be nice if you could ‘join’ it there. CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK. This is the place where more info will be given, and also the place that I hope to gather the links from all the participants. There will of course be given a sum-up on this blog as well as the links to all the stories, but this will not happen until after the event, and it will in a way ruin the experience for you as a reader.

Questions?
Well, I guess that’s all. However, as I am familiar with the concept – both the ‘Julekalender’ and the writing of one, I might not see what is clearly missing. So, if you have any questions about any of this, do not hesitate to contact me. You can either ask in a comment here on WordPress – but make sure to subscribe to replies if you’re not a registered member. You can also contact me on FaceBook [CLICK HERE], or you could just fill in this form here: [CLICK HERE].

Until next time.
– Winny

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