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Second Contest

Category 1

Two people, who are very close to each other--family members, engaged to be married, whatever--each have a secret. For whatever reason, they decide to share their secrets with each other. One of them has always wanted--deeply--to be a werewolf. (Or substitute your favorite werebeastie of choice here.) The other is such a werebeastie, and hates it...

Category 2

A wizard is looking for a familiar, and has found an ideal candidate. Unfortunately, the candidate in question is a human--and, needless to say, the taking of humans as familiars is forbidden. But if you're powerful enough, there's ways around that... Just turn the human in question into an animal (with spells strong enough that other wizards won't see through them), make any necessary (or desired) mental changes, and you're all set.

This arrangement could be voluntary--for example, maybe the human in question desperately wants to learn magic, and this is a chance to do it. Of course, it could be not-so-voluntary as well.

For bonus points, tell this story as much as you can from the wizard's perspective. (We've had plenty of stories about what it's like to be the transformee in such a situation, like the excellent Island of Circe; stories about being the transformer are a bit less common.) Of course, since familiars often have a mental link with their masters, the two perspectives may not be that different...

Category 3

Come up with a game, or a sport, that involves shapeshifting.

The game doesn't have to be friendly; it could be a way of resolving duels, for example. It can involve violence, but it shouldn't be violent to the degree that death of a player is likely. It can involve sex, if your tastes run that way. :-)

Creativity is key here; just taking an existing game and tacking shapeshifting on it, like the story with the poker game where the losers were turned into bimbos, probably won't do the trick.

The game doesn't have to exclusively involve shapeshifting--if the players were wizards, for example, it could involve other kinds of magic as well. But shapeshifting should play a major role; otherwise the story is on the wrong list. :-)

If you just write down the rules of your game, that's all you need to do. But you'll get major extra credit if you can also write an interesting story about the game.

You'll also get extra credit if you also come up with rules that the non-shapeshifting members of the list could use to play the game--with dice, or cards, or a roleplaying system, or whatever. (It also helps if the resulting game is actually interesting. :-) )

Category 4

Write a story with two or more main characters. The main characters are turning into animals, physically and perhaps mentally. (These should be mundane, modern-day animals--not dinosaurs, dragons, etc.) Maybe it starts happening just as the story starts; maybe it's already partially happened before the story starts. How is this happening? Why is this happening? What are the characters trying to do? What else happens? That's up to you. The only rules are: that the main characters have to be completely and permanently transformed into their animal forms physically (not necessarily mentally) by the time the story is over, and that the transformation is irreversible (so the characters can't change back during the story, and there shouldn't be any real hope for their doing it afterwards).

So the most important thing, of course, is to write a good story within that framework. But here's another challenge for you, that I'll be judging heavily on: Tell me as much as you can about the main characters--about their personalities, their plans, their feelings for each other, and so on--purely by describing the actions of the characters. Try to avoid just telling me what characters are thinking. And, if at all possible, do not use dialogue at any point during the story. (Telepathy, writing messages in the snow, etc. all count as "dialogue". Basic communication--pointing, barking, simple diagrams, etc.--is all right.)

Category 5

This is going to be an interesting category; I think we'll either see some great stories, or it'll bomb spectacularly. Or quite possibly both. :-) And I will tell you up-front that this is a one-time thing; even if I run another contest, I will never do this category, or one like it, again.

Go back through the TSA-Talk mailing list archive; the URL will be in the signature at the bottom of this post. Find a story that's at least three months old, that you didn't write, that you think deserves a sequel (and/or a completion, if it's incomplete).

Write one.

A couple of points of clarification. First, try to find a story that hasn't had anything written in it for three months. (In other words, if the author started posting parts of the story six months ago, and finished two months ago, it shouldn't count.) I know it can be hard to know for sure when you're looking in the archive; just look through the "by author" pages for the last couple of months, and check for more posts by the same author.

Second, and most important, please make sure to give the original author proper credit! If at all possible, please contact the original author and ask for permission first (my experience is that most authors will be flattered). And if possible, when you post your story, please include the URL of the original story; that makes it a lot easier for people to read the original, and know what the heck you're talking about. :-)

Category 6

By far the most popular category in the first contest was "What if you woke up furry?"... so let's try it again, with a few twists.

You have the ability to turn into one particular animal. It has to be a full animal form, not a morph; and it has to be a modern-day animal, not a dinosaur or unicorn. (Sorry; gotta draw the line somewhere...)

You can change back and forth from your human form to your animal one at will, though doing it too often might tire you out. You can even change forms in your sleep... and you might well wind up doing that.

Because here's the catch: You're an animal for _exactly_ twelve hours per day. If you spend a total of twelve hours in human form during a day, you automatically transform into your animal form, and can't change back until midnight. Likewise, if you spend twelve hours in animal form, you're stuck as a human for the rest of the day. (So, if you never changed voluntarily at all, you might start a day as a human, be forcibly transformed into an animal at noon, stay that way until noon the next day, when you'd be forced to turn human again; and so on.)

Did you just wake up with this little "condition"? Did it start some time ago? Have you always been this way? Are you the only one, or are there others? What are all the niggling little details of how the transformation works? And what caused this in the first place? That's all up to you...

Category 7

"I may not know much about art, but I know what I like..."

Come up with a new transformation story--animal transformation, gender change, age regression, whatever--that involves art as the means of transformation.

To give you an example of what I mean, I've written a sample story. (And yes, feedback on it is more than welcome, and will count towards the contest feedback prizes. I hope to revise it in a few weeks.) You can use the characters and ideas from this story if you like; or you can come up with something completely different.

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