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WeeklyDisplay

The Weekly is a community project in the form of a series of micro-fiction contests, inspired by the discontinued Community Writing Competitions on Halo Waypoint. Each week, users can challenge themselves to write a short (few hundred words, usually) prose response to a prompt chosen at the start of the week by the competition's judge. At the week's end, the judge selects a winner to receive a shiny new Weekly Winner eraicon on their entry's page, and the entry will then be displayed on Recent Changes for the next week for all to easily see and read.

The project was conceived in response to a long-standing downturn in prose writing on the site, in hopes of encouraging more prose by presenting a painless, easily-attainable length as a target instead of a hopelessly-long novel length. The ideas the writers incorporate to hone their craft under such constraints might then become the seeds for events their own characters go through, or even be worked into whole other long stories.

How To Participate

At the beginning of each week, a new prompt will be posted on this page, including a maximum word count, for users to write in response to. Working with in the length and topic restraints (which could have to do with theme, or subject, or writing style like "only dialogue"), users then write their response and create a new page on which to post it. Remember to include a Writer Template ("{{Writer|your username}}") at the top and categorize it "The Weekly" ("[[Category:The Weekly]]") at the bottom. A paragraph at the top can be added to introduce the piece and context for it without going towards the word count, so long as there's a horizontal line ("----") between to make set them apart distinctly.

Then, simply add a link to your entry's page in the scrollbox for the appropriate week for it to be counted. The judge (User:Lordofmonsterisland) will then read the entries, between the following Monday-Wednesday depending on availability, and pick a winner for the week. Bear in mind, the judge's decision may be based on subjective judgements, but good spelling, grammar, and punctuation go a long way towards impressing by presenting a professional and easy-to-read appearance. Winners will then be given a unique Weekly Winner eraicon and displayed on the Recent Changes page.

Users can also visit the talk page to suggest prompts and topics for future weeks.

Entries

Week 53: A New Beginning

With my year of filling the role of judge out, I now gladly hand the responsibilities of the project over to slowfuture, who has guest judged before and volunteered to take it on. May we all wish him luck, and ourselves in our responses to the prompts he designs.

I would first off like to congratulate Ahalosniper on his superlative running of the Weekly for the past year, I hope I can continue his good work.

Prompt: So, one thing I remember about the site when I first joined middle of 2008, there was a huge exploration in what happened following the post-Human-Covenant War; most of which was more warfare if my memory serves me correctly. But for my first prompt, I'm hoping to allow you to write something happy and positive, perhaps in contrast to Sniper's final post - but if I know Halo Fanon that's unlikely! In about 600 words or less, write how your characters felt as the HCW came to an end and how they hoped the future would be. Are they excited for the future? Are they distraught as they are forced to rebuild their worldview? Good luck.

  • Promotion by DarthNicky
    • This vignette captures two things about this prompt that I had hoped to see -- one example is, albeit, only mentioned in passing -- and that is of people leaving the military after a war that raged for three decades, and of promotions in the wake of what I have always imagined to be resignations en masse. So I commend you for this. As for the content, my biggest complaint is how rushed the entire scene feels. There's very little time to allow the scene to settle - I would have liked a little more back and forth between the two before moving onto the crux of the piece. Secondly, I would have liked a little more description. Small touches like mentioned that Lucas had the patches promptly on display for O'Neil or that the datapad was next to him, highlighting that Lucas was prepared. It's a minor gripe I know, but it is important in storytelling. For example instead of 'Lucas then ushered him out of his office,' you could say. "Lucas raised his hand and swiftly waved it towards the door." It just allows for a more visual experience. A small issue, but you say 'resignation of resignation'. That aside, I'm looking forward to reading more of your entries as the weeks progress!
  • Reflection by Sierra-A143
    • Another interesting piece. It's true that for Spartans the war never really finished and likely would never really finish. The UNSC will always have those who wish to fight against it. Like above, and this is something I am going to try and impress while I'm the judge, is the importance of showing rather than telling. For the third and fourth paragraphs I would have liked to have some description of Nathaniel's body language, as opposed to the telling of the emotions that he was cycling through. Again it's small things like this that allow for your characters to come alive in your work - and you do have examples of this later in your piece. My rule of thumb is that when I go through discussing emotions my character feels I try and include one or two reference to their facial expression or stance, or something as simple as balling their hands into fists, turning their knuckles white. Regardless, I found the ending to be very touching, it's good to see that despite the despair Nathaniel feels there is some reason to feel some joy.
  • Scarred by Timothy Emeigh
    • There seems to be some contradiction between the mini blurb at the top of the piece and the actual contents of the piece, or I might simply be misunderstanding the intentions of such. Regardless this is a well-written piece but it doesn't really discuss the prompt I had in mind, instead that is relegated to the last couple of paragraphs. I feel like it might have been better to instead have the piece focus on her in the cockpit, that way it allows for a dialogue between herself and someone else. It would let you dive deeper into the recon aspect of her career and why she is so excited to return to piloting. While it might not match up perfectly with the prompt I do want to stress that this is a very well-written piece and am excited to read more of your work.
  • Something Felt Wrong. . . by Slower Than Most
    • Perhaps the darkest and most hopeless piece put forward in this weeks challenge - and a good one at that. However, my one enduring complaint with it is the telling rather than showing. This piece feels like someone is just telling me what's wrong instead of using Aylla herself to highlight the pain and loss she feels, as well as how ill at ease she feels with her replacement organs. I would have loved a description of how she looked on the bed, a mention of her face as she tries to come to terms with the anguish of losing her squad. It feels very cerebral and detached considering the depth of emotion you are dealing with in this piece, and it's especially disappointing because of how well this piece is written. I would like to see an expanded version of this piece because it has the potential to be the turning point of your character's development.
  • Someone Else's Victory by Actene
    • Ah, Stray and the Rat Pack. A criminally underused asset of yours if I may say so. I'm going to use this piece as a teaching exercise of the importance of showing rather telling. This piece is chock full of description and it is easy to visualise the entire scene and its lacklustre surroundings. The best example is that of Estebar "curled a fist around the barrel of her rifle" - this in particular informs the reader that she is angry without explicitly showing us. It allows us to imagine the tightening grip, the scowl upon her face as she hears news that she knows isn't good for her and her planet. Stray 'slunking' behind his comrades is a good word choice to end the piece on. Stray was made for one thing - war, and he contributed almost nothing to it. If I had one thing to complain about, I perhaps would have liked Stray to feature more prominently in this piece but that aside, this is my pick of the week.
  • Breath by Brodie-001
    • You know, when I came up with prompt I was imagining the Arbiter in his ship as he left Earth, and I expected to be met with a plethora of Voi pieces. Luckily enough I got a diverse list and my imagined prompt to dissect! Perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses of the Voi scene in H3 is how bereft of people the ceremony is, perhaps due to the limitations of technology in 2007 and we as a community have come together to fill in the gaps. This piece adds new vibrancy to that particular scene. The camaraderie between these Spartans is immediate and apparent, you've done an excellent job of highlighting that these men really have been fighting together for decades and for that I commend you. I have one issue and that is the small part where Marco comments on the formal dress being monkey suits and Jax's reaction to that - I would have just liked to see a small description of how stiff or awkward Marco looked in the suit. That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece.

Week 54: Betrayal

Prompt: Quick thanks to Brodie for giving me the idea for this prompt. So in Halo, each of the two warring factions has their own internal conflict - the URF and the larger Insurrection, while the Covenant has its religious heretics. While the larger halo novels has given us a series of colourful UNSC rebels they've never given us much detail why they would defect other than some throwaway corruption comment. For this prompt I would like you all to write about why someone, doesn't have to be one of your characters can be one created exclusively for this prompt, would betray their allegiance to their particular faction - whether UNSC to the URF, or a Religious Heretic coming back to the fraternity of their Covenant. 600 words or so should be enough. Have fun!


Week 54: A Moment of Doubt

Prompt: So for this prompt, I'd like you all to write about a particular part during the war, be in HCW or a post-war conflict, that one of your characters began to doubt the legitimacy of their mission - was all this really worth fighting for? By the end I'd like to see whether or not this doubt has been resolved or strengthened by the events around them. I'll give you about 1000 words - Have fun!

*Division by Brodie-001 - Winner

    • One of the most conflicting things about Humanity after the end of the HCW is how quickly that old tensions and issues resurface. Indeed these soldiers deployed here knew they were fighting for their very species existence and now that they have a reprieve they have to deal with this? It's exactly what I wanted when I asked for this prompt. However, I would have loved it if you had focused in on one of his troopers in particular, would have just heightened the human element of the piece. All in all, a good piece.
  • Faithless by Lordofmonsterisland
    • I must admit I did not expect any piece to focus on the Jiralhanae, they are not a species I often associate with empathetic emotions. This is a good emotional piece that really personalises the experience felt by our protagonist. If I had one particular criticism is that I'm not sure I understand the ending - is he going on a rampage? But it insinuates at first that he's sick of violence by going looking for more violence? Perhaps I'm misinterpreting but that's how I understood it. That aside, I enjoyed it.
  • Was it all worth it? by Coolbuddy379
    • First off I think it's important to point out that you describe the planet in a similar fashion three times within the first four paragraphs. It would be better if instead you started off with particular aspects of the planet's glassing, gradually increasing detail for very specific parts of the occurrence. I also would caution against using etc. when giving examples in fictional prose. That aside this exactly the kind of piece I was looking for and I am glad you submitted it!

Week 55: Fly Me to the Moon

Quick update! LOMI and I have agreed to rotate judging duties on a tri-weekly basis. I'm currently too busy with work to really devote time to this exclusively -- as you can see by my late judging. In order to ensure this competition continues we've decided to work together. Anyway, I'll see you all in a few weeks - now LOMI, over to you!

Prompt: For this week, I'll give you a short and sweet prompt with a lot of creative freedom: give me something involve anti-gravity, real or simulated. Doesn't matter how, just be creative with the idea. Evokes those same feelings of "wow" and "this is pretty cool" we felt doing outer space firefights in Halo 2 and Halo 4, or the cinematic rush down a Guardian from Halo 5. Around 600 words should be sufficient, so good luck!

  • Derelict by Brodie-001
    • I like how you use this to hint at the possibility of the Banished without stating it outright - the subtle hints work well. I also like how there's emphasis placed on the fireteam working together to clear the ship. Perhaps it's just me, but it always seems like we, as fanfiction writers, forget to show the Spartan-III's team efforts or have them running solo. There was nice focus on the differences in combat that anti-gravity presents, though nothing particularly eye-popping. As for technical notes, I would say there are just a handful of things that could've been worded different: leaving out the last sentence of the highly descriptive fifth paragraph, or changing the phrase "and began the slow journey" to "trudged" or "slogged". Just small things here and there. Overall, a very solid piece.

Week 56: Know Your Enemy

Hey there, LOMI still here! I'll let it slide if you need a little more time to finish a submission for last week's prompt, but now it's time for me to get the next prompt started promptly. Ha! Yeah, I'll show myself out after this...

Prompt: Halo Wars 2 is coming up on us fast, so let's celebrate shall we? In about 500 words or so, give me a piece about a commanding officer trying to take control of the battlefield. Are they fretting over the situation from a UNSC outpost, watching monitors and unit statistics to determine their next move? Could they be a Covenant warrior, charging the frontlines alongside their finest warriors? Or is it something more shadowy, like ONI or the Created manipulating things from afar? Show me what you've got, ladies and gents


  • Unexpected Resistance by Minuteman 2492
    • Definitely a very brief scene, which brings to mind my first note: I'm not really getting a big picture here. By the end of the piece, I've come to realize that this is some form of rebel attack against the academy. However, I wish this had been made more clear at the start. At first I thought it was a live-fire test for the cadets, then a battle with the Covenant, before it all cleared up at the end. I believe the concept makes for something unique to this piece, but the execution is a little bit of a "text wall clump." The very first paragraph suffers a bit in formatting: periods, colons and semi-colons would've been useful to you, breaking up the orders more efficiently. Similarly, the last two paragraphs mix dialogue and prose in ways that don't work well. In the future, consider breaking the paragraph into smaller pieces, usually starting with the various dialogue lines. However, in the grand scope of things, it does give us a good view of a commander working to keep his troops together despite difficulties, and that's why I named it this week's winner.
  • Painful Silence by Sierra-A143
    • A lot of dialogue in this piece, which keeps telling us what's going on. Normally, I'd say the dialogue adds flavor to a piece, but here it's almost too much. I would've liked to have seen more descriptors in the story: the words are being said, but how? And when a description was given, it was detached from the dialogue, making it feel like an unrelated detail. For the first few paragraphs, there's no context given for who's speaking since everything is in pronouns. I'm not sure if you were trying to create mystery, but I only saw confusion. Giving names up front to associate dialogue to helps keep things flowing without needless overthinking. Finally, while some of the details are nice, they seem to be said then glossed over: someone fired a nuked at Spartans? There is a fireteam of Spartans working for ONI? Why is CHANCELLOR confused by the number of friendlies at first? A nice piece, but further clarification would've been helpful.

Week 57: LvUrFR3NZ

Prompt: This week is pretty simple, ladies and gents: it's Valentines Day this week, so give me your best shorts on love, loss and the feels. All in good taste though, please. Keep it around 600 words or less, and good luck!

  • Stargazing by Timothy Emeigh
    • Emotionally speaking, this was a very nice piece. It conveys a very tender, simple love without using words, much like the lovers by the end of the story. It also captures upon the idea of how fragile and fleeting love can be, especially in the midst of a war. That said, from a technical standpoint, it could use a little work. The entire story is four very blocky paragraphs: while that's not bad, given the lack of dialogue, paragraphs are meant to break apart separate thoughts. As an example, the second paragraph could've been split in half at "but tonight was different," as that sentence begins a description of why it's different. Similarly, when you start listing things - such as the second sentence of the third paragraph - you tends to use a lot of commas, when instead you could reword slightly and divide the ideas into separate sentences. So instead of "Millions of tiny specks of fire blazed and twinkled in the dark, Sirona’s moon casting... [etc]", it would read something like "Millions of fiery specks twinkled in the dark as Sirona's moon cast a blue glow across the scene. The orange light... [etc]". As a final note, you overuse "flowery" descriptors too often. In the previous example, I changed "millions of tiny specks of fire blazed and twinkled" to "Millions of fiery specks twinkled;" "tiny" is implied by "specks," while blazing and twinkling denote two different things.
  • Talitsa February by Actene
    • There's not really much for me to note when it comes technical points, so I'll focus on the emotional and story-telling content. I'll say first that the small, quick details really help draw the scene in my mind: Zoey's quick, nervous movements around Simon, probably coupled with a nervous hair swipe or tap of her finger on her knee, foiling well to Cassandra's calm, subtly aggressive demeanor and Simon's thinly veiled anger. You can almost feel Simon gritting his teeth while mockingly mimicking "who would've thought?" back at Cassandra. I also enjoy that this really plays on all the themes I presented as possible aspects for this prompt: Simon has lost, Cassandra has love and maybe a little loss, and Zoey has a good old case of the feels. I will note that while I feel everything flows really well, the final paragraph is a bit of a dud, mostly in the last two sentences: I would have found it better had Zoey given commentary within her mind, as it would feel more personal than merely stating things as the detached narrator. That said, I still feel it is deserving to be the winner of this contest.
  • 600 Trillion Miles To Home by Ajax 013
    • Usually I get on to people for not having enough paragraph breaks: this story feels like it suffers from a large block of text followed by too many paragraph breaks. Personally, I would have cut the opening paragraph down to a quarter or third of the original size, such as "Ajax took a calming breath. He steadied his hand, and looked at the blank monitor, catching a glimpse of his reflection as he pressed the call button. Sitting back, the computer began ringing as it crackled to life, before the monitor sparked and a woman's face appeared. Lying in bed, bedraggled auburn hair obscured her face as she stared into the camera." Afterwards, the dialogue back-and-forth works really well, though I feel it's too many paragraph breaks. How to remedy this exactly, I honestly don't know - I don't have all the answers to writing technicalities, only suggestions. I'll say that this is a very different emotional perspective for Ajax, as love isn't something usually associated with him: the small lovebird touches, with awkward hand motions, distracted mutterings and the inability to spit it out. Hopefully we can get some more depth to Ajax in the future as well.

Week 58: Recommissioned

Prompt: So, at the suggestion of Actene, we're going to try something a little unconventional this week. Instead of submitting a short story, I want you to give me your best pitch for a fan-made faction for Halo Wars 2 DLC. Tell me about the faction, their strategies, unit types and even a campaign storyline if you have one in mind. Show me what you've got, fanonites. Somewhere less than 800 words please: something more akin to an RTS manual breakdown versus a Halopedia article

  • Halo Wars 2: Swords of Sanghelios DLC by Ahalosniper
    • A rare entry from Sniper, and first post at that. On top of that, it manages to give most of the things that I asked for. The campaign is a very brief synopsis, but it gets across the ideas for a nice DLC run that works well with canon. While there's little to add in regards to base building and combat style, the leaders and unit types provide a good grasp of the variety of Swords units and how they can be upgraded. Given the concise, manual-esque nature of the entry and all the myriad things it offers, this is my pick for winner of this challenge
  • Halo Wars 2: The Raiding Legion DLC by Actene
    • While I would've liked to see more about units, given how the Kru'desh are a rather unique faction. Covert Siphon is a rather unique leader power, but otherwise they all seem rather standard. The campaign does stand out, especially compared to many RTS campaigns, and manages to tie into and explain much of Simon's story in a very unique way.
  • Halo Wars 2: Republic DLC by Ajax 013
    • I really appreciate how much effort you poured into this, apparent in the amount of content you had to cut to fit the word limit. I also have to say that I like how you drew on both fanon ideas and canon, since one of the staples of RTS is to draw on new ideas as well old, established ones. That said, there's not a lot of uniqueness to this - even disregarding other candidates - and there's no campaign to speak of, both of which being things I was hoping to see from this entry.
  • Halo Wars 2: Insurrection DLC by Another Poetic Spartan
    • There's a nice bit of lore digging here, with the inclusion of things like the Rumbledrugs, and I think this would work really well if it was paired with Lieutenant Davis' Freedom from Tyranny idea. That said, like many of these, I see you did not get to fully finish it, which leaves to wonder what else you might have added.
  • Halo Wars 2: Freedom from Tyranny DLC by Lieutenant Davis
    • While offering me two interesting teases for rebel-themed campaign ideas, teasing me was all you really did. The use of Daniel Black was unexpected, but he and Robert Watts as focal characters would make for a nice contrast. Perhaps you can expand on these ideas in your own articles later.
  • Halo Wars 2: Yanme'e Swarms DLC by Sev40
    • First of all, props for being the most out there faction idea: while everyone else work on ideas for Sangheili and Humans, you went out of a limb and did the Yanme'e. Obviously you didn't get to finish, but I like the way you started forming the Yanme'e Queen as a leader with an on-field unit. Not sure if you had in mind that she would be the base-builder or would summon extra bases, but interesting ideas nontheless.

Week 59: War of Wits

Prompt: So stretching the Halo Wars theme to the max, did anyone catch the nice little commercials of Cutter and Atriox warring over used cars? Something about that, as weird as it is, amuses me. So we'll keep this prompt nice and simple: humor. Come up with something humorous, no matter what the form, when it's set or who's involved. Around 600 words or so, please. Good luck to you all.


Week 60: Goodbyes

Prompt: So I'm back! For this prompt I want you to write a final goodbye between some of your characters, it doesn't necessarily have to be sad! Play with varying emotions and come up with something unique! 600 words or so should be enough! Good luck, have fun!

  • War is Sacrifice by Actene
    • A goodbye was requested, and a goodbye was delivered. I like this glance into a portion of the Chancer V mythos that we never really get to see. It may not be a teary-eyed or death-filled goodbye, but it effectively generates and keeps an aura of sad finality for two characters I've never seen meet before. It also shows the dichotomy between the two rebel leaders: one accepts his fate thanks to his hardened background and one only knows to run when the world he knew collapses. Honestly, I don't have much to weigh in on this piece besides these notes: the structure seems well formed and I don't have any real notes on pacing.

Week 61: Put Off Till Tomorrow What Could Be Done Today

Prompt: Procrastination. Laziness. These are just some of the reasons why I'm not posting a prompt until Thursday for a project called "the weekly." That said, let's explore that same theme with your pieces. Putting things off always has consequences: write me a short piece about a character or group that ignored a problem or kept putting it off, but now it's finally come back to haunt them. Around 600 words, preferably.


  • It's A Survival Blanket by Actene
    • This is a definite change of pace compared to many of your other works, focusing on a quiet moment and intimate feelings more than action, betrayal and moral questions. It also draws on the sympathetic side of Simon buried deep in the character, which is drawn out by the caring Cassandra. You do manage to create a nice back and forth between the Gammas, with the patchwork fabric serving as the vehicle for that conversation. As far as grammatical issues are concerned, there's only minor things. A few places with unnecessary words, such as "what seemed like" in the third sentence, or some alternative punctuation use like adding an ellipsis to the middle of "Wait. Bedsheet?" in the eighth paragraph.

Week 62: Et tu, Brute?

Prompt: The Ides of March was a week or so ago, and we haven't had a good battle prompt in a while, so combine the two for this week's challenge: give me a fun battle scene, but try to have it related to some form of betrayal, whether literal or metaphorical.

  • Ambition's Debt by Actene
    • Perhaps it's just me, but as much as I liked that fight scene, I wish you'd cut down on the word choice. It has a nice pace, but it needs words removed to give it a faster, rapid-fire approach. Simon isn't just in a fight here, he's losing the fight, being beaten by Amber, and the word pacing should reflect that. The betrayal, on the other hand, was well played: while Amber's fight and seizing of Simon's "throne" takes your attention, Diana's subtle, secret betrayal is the one that Simon - in all his tangled, twisted glory - was worried about. A worthy winner, all in all.


Week 63: Pimps at Sea

April Fool's everyone! No prompt this week. Since we've had some prompt time delays over the past few weeks, I decided to give it a rest for one week and let everything reset.

Week 64: One to Remember

Prompt: I've played a lot of Halo over the years, and there's nothing quite like getting together with your friends and completely owning the battlefield. But when the tables turn and its a free for all between your friends, things get a bit more sticky, and that "one story" about you and another guy 1v1'ing tends to get murky down the road. So in that same vein, capture some of the awe of a one-on-one fight between your character and an opponent - preferably another character of yours, but it can be a new character or just a random enemy.

But don't settle for just a fight scene. I want you to give me the juiciest fight scene you can, but give it to me from both fighters perspectives. Maybe their recollections are the same, or maybe the details they notice are very different. In any case, in 800 words or less, give me a battle scene worth remembering - no matter what the details are.

  • Run Silent, Run Deep by Admiral Benjamin Church
    • The first thing that hits me is the unnecessary capitalization in the first sentence. It's a trait that carries on throughout the rest of the story, along with several other grammatical issues, most notably lots and lots of comma splices. All of this would be easily avoided with a simple run through Microsoft Word or some other editor. Secondly, while the prompt did call for two different viewpoints, the slashes to separate them feel very abrupt and unprofessional: tildes (~) or a line (----) would give a cleaner transition, though one through pure prose would have been preferred. After that, I don't really see the point in the story... probably because there isn't one. Admiral Church showcases an impossibly superpowered battleship that blows up another ship with its improbable armament. I'll not diverge into the current NCF issues with those pages here, but perhaps you should consider the why of this scene. Even if Church's warship is super powered and the enemy is outclassed, there should still be more to the scene than "they're blown up." For example, when the UNSC Infinity shows up, it usually outclasses all other ships: despite this, there's a tension to the scenes, because there's always a fear that a critical mistake could be made and the enemy would gain the upper hand.
  • Sins of the Past by Actene
    • I'll note I like that this follows up on a previous Weekly entry - pretty sure this is only the second time we've had one post that relates to another. I'll say that this manages to balance thought and the pace of combat better than your last post: though it's actually a bit slower, it works out as Simon and Tatiana feel like they're slowing down as the fight wears them down. I also like that there's a bit of irony between Tatiana's internal monologue and Simon's current state: while she tries to say dead people like Venter and Kahn hold no sway on her, Simon, who is nearly dead, is still toying with her 'perfect' life to the very end. For me, it is this shift in perspective that pushes it to the forefront as a winner.
  • Rebel's End by Timothy Emeigh
    • I like the subject you chose, since it plays right into the alternating opinions idea. The banter is flowery in places, but it also gets to the point and allows you to focus on the fights. That said, some of the grammar gets in the way of enjoying the rest of the story. For example, in the first paragraph, you have the sentence "Following hallways illuminated only by flashing red lights, Dmitri and his two bodyguards, one a young female, Kate Guillou, pushed through the grunts going in the opposite direct, on their way to man the defenses." Perhaps a better format would have been "Following hallways barely lit by flashing red lights, Dmitri and his two bodyguards pushed down the hall. One bodyguard, a young female named Kate Guillou, pushed through the grunts ahead of Dmitri, reaching the room first." I could be misunderstanding the context, but I feel this would have worked better. That said, the fight scene carries a bit of weight, though I feel it goes on a bit too long for normal, unaugmented humans in my opinion.

Week 65: To Infinity and Beyond

Prompt: Space is a major playing field in the Halo universe, especially the novels, but it's something that characters usually look at in one of two ways: either they are amazed by it or terrified of it. For a sailor, it hosts a vast unknown for them to explore, but for a soldier it's a strange place where their skills are useless. So give me a piece that reflects how your characters react the great blue yonder in roughly 500 words.

  • Orbit by Brodie-001
    • Here we have a story that gives us an angle we usually don't get in Halo fiction: a training mission for something that's not ground soldiers. I like the constant interplay you created with the details of the story: family warned Erika about death and despair awaiting in space, but she ignored the warnings and now its here; she sees Reach, a peaceful place, and then is informed of the ensuing battle; she wonders at the stars, and then has their horrifying contents crash down on her world. All very nicely wrapped up in such a brief scene, making for a very nice winner this week.
  • Cosmos by Coolbuddy379
    • My first note is that Anon seems like an odd choice for an AI name, but I digress. This piece is rather short, so I don't manage to get much of a grasp on characters or the situation besides the required musings on space. That said, you manage to bring out Tyler's obsession, his memories and all things associated with those traits in this fleeting span, which I enjoyed. However, I did notice quite a few grammatical issues that you should work on in the future. The last sentence of the fifth paragraph, for example, would've benefited more if "did not know" was after the first comma, and all the descriptors were listed as a series of questions instead. Also, just a personal comment, but I feel the pacing would've worked better had the asteroids occurred immediately after the slipspace exit, then allowing Tyler and Anon to gaze upon the stars once the danger passed.
  • Weightless by Spartan-D042
    • While space and the wonders it affords were definitely part of this piece, I feel like it didn't quite hit the prompt: this story is all about Lancaster finding a peaceful spot, and space happens to be that place. However, he seems more concerned with relaxing for a moment and escaping reality than the stars in front of him. On a more technical note, while most of the story is pretty solid, I feel like the attempts to pseudo-bookend the story work against it instead. Lancaster has relished his feelings enough, and once he starts pulling himself in the reverie is over, so thinking back on it again is just retreading old steps. As for the title drop, I think would've been best left off, since there was an earlier place the word weightless was used that is far more fitting and subtle, thus making the final phrase redundant.
  • The Stars' Memories by Timothy Emeigh
    • My initial thought upon reading this is that these are four very blocky paragraphs. Fewer words and more concise thoughts would likely help, such as shortening the fourth sentence to "It was why she alone had chosen the view of the stars, rather than join the crowd and gaze upon the Covenant fleet behind them". One notion that has been drilled into me by teachers is that flowery words and needless repetition are rarely as effective as driving the point home quickly and purposefully. I'll also note that there are minor grammar qualms here and there, but the one that sticks out is the second paragraph's odd sentence splice. You appear to have taken two different wordings for the same idea and accidentally left them in a single splice. All that said, I like the direction you chose to go with this piece; not enough for a win perhaps, but a nice tonal choice, befitting the prompt I think.

Week 66: Dust and Echoes

Prompt: Benjamin Franklin once said, "Without continual growth and progress, such words as 'improvement,' 'achievement,' and 'success' have no meaning." So, what happens when one of your characters runs out of progress? What happens when they've finally achieved what they've always dreamed of or wanted to do? I'm not concerned particularly with how they got there, so much as what they're feeling: are they satisfied? Or does the victory feel hollow? Or is it something else entirely? In roughly 600 words or so, give me your response to this situation.

  • The Flame by Spartan-D042
    • I've delayed this review a bit too long, but here it goes. Overall, I don't feel there's a lot for me to critique. Looking over the grammar, there area few places where your sentences run on when breaking them up when be a better option. "He thought he'd feel something, but no, he felt nothing, except the tinge of remorse when he found the trophies. " could've been "He thought he'd feel something, but no. Nothing except the tinge of remorse when he found the trophies. ". From a story telling perspective however, I feel like I'm missing some context. You give me the basic layout of what happened, but the final paragraph changes the emotional content for me. Why is Cody saying he was the one that killed his student? I thought this was about Doram murdering everyone? Perhaps it's a personal issue, but I feel the story missed something that would've helped bring it to a proper close.

Week 67: Stop and Smell the Roses

Prompt: The five senses how we experience the world around us - unless you count vague "sixth senses", but that's a whole different boat. Out of these five senses, we most often focus on sight and sound, with a secondary role going out to tactile feelings. But what about that most oft overlooked sense of smell? After all, just the slightest hint of a smell is known to trigger all kinds of memories and feelings. So in about 600 words, write a short piece about your character(s) and their experience with smells.

  • Copper Scent by Actene
    • I give you guys a nice, cozy "smell" related prompt and you deliver sex. Although not exactly the smell I was expecting either. Sex scenes are notoriously difficult and awkward to try and write, but I have to say you managed to do a pretty good job (in my personal opinion). You did manage to make smell a key to this scene, since it's what kills the mood rapidly for Cassandra and highlights the differences between her and Simon. Despite that, this is definitely about the two characters and how their relationship is developing, but it manages to show that quickly and efficiently.

Week 68: Devil in the Details

Prompt: So based on the past two weeks entries, I've noticed that certain details can make or break a story. Two weeks ago, a fact at the end gave me a sense of confusion about the piece, while last week the smell was a detail that changed the story's course. But so often we tell stories that have a point, but they meander through everything to get there. So my challenge this week is to create a story where one, single detail is critically important to the story. 800 words is the upper limit, so good luck.

Week 69: Another Year Older

Prompt: Well that prompt may have been too specific, so here's a little more broad of one. It's my birthday this month, which makes me think we shed a bit of light on our characters birthdays. Is it time for sadness as a Spartan realizes they don't know about theirs? Or is it time for a party in the midst of dark times to lighten spirits? You decide. 600 words or so should do.

  • Another Fruitless Year by Actene
    • Unlike a lot of your pieces, this one lacks a sense of context really. We have an internal monologue where Kopa gets to reminisce about his life and ponder his choices, but we aren't really sure why. Still, I enjoy all the small mentions of Sangheili culture you bring into this to make his feelings truly unique, and overall it is a nice piece, though not a particular stand out for you.
  • Living off War by Distant Tide
    • I see you introduced it with the note that you're not usually a short fiction writer, and that's fine, but I'll still offer my unbiased opinion. The core concepts are there, but the grammar and structure of the narrative need work. There is a lot of tense disagreement throughout the story - usually stories are written entirely in past tense, while this one swaps between past and present quite a bit. There is also a plethora of run-on sentences and word redundancies. As a small example, "single-purpose task" or "No atmosphere. No air." both restate the previous idea, while sentences like the last one of the first paragraph are run-off with an order that makes it difficult to understand what's going on. The story itself is a decent idea, but unfortunately it's trapped behind some difficult reading; nothing that can't be fixed with time and practice, but enough that I'll pass for this round.

Week 70: AI's a Crapshoot

Prompt: We know that Halo 6 isn't getting announced and released this year, so it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer to see what the Created are up to in the universe. Which means it's the perfect time for us fanoners to figure out how those AI are ruining our characters lives! In 600 words or so, explain what some of your characters are up to in the present day of the Halo universe.

  • End of an Age by Actene, Shift by Spartan-D042, and Wait And See by Distant Tide
    • Normally, I would review these entries separately. However, given the similarities between them and the very few criticisms I have to make, I have deigned to write a single entry addressing things I felt each entry did well. End of an Age is very straightforward in its approach, detailing the current situation of each of the characters involved and where they seek to go from here. It also manages to cover the most characters and plotlines, stretched all across the galaxy. Shift, meanwhile, is focused around one group, dealing with each one's personal motivations and how they are trying to cope with the galactic power shift. Each character's current arc is given a lengthy description because of this approach. The final entry Wait and See suffers from a bit of formatting problems - several line breaks disrupt the italic formatting, whether by design or accident I'm not sure - but otherwise it gives something of a middle crowd between the other two issues, focusing on characters and grander arcs alike. Some of the references confused me at first (I had to do a little research before I realized what 'Boson Spartan' meant) but overall it does a good job. In the end, while all the entries are good contenders and serve their purpose very well, I felt like the focused format of Shift put it just a little bit ahead of the other two.

Week 71: Nowhere to Run

Prompt: Your character is up against the wall, literally or figuratively. They've got nowhere to go, stuck in a dead end situation, or the only survivor of some terrible plot. Show me how they deal with that sort of situation, in 500 words or less.

  • Despair by Brodie-001
    • So I've noticed your stories tend to be a bit on the long side, but this one stood out to me since it was roughly double the limit. Gonna have to keep a closer eye on you guys in the future, aren't I? Anyways, I'd say this definitely gives off a very good picture of utter despair that I was hoping for: Aila has nothing left to lose, leaving her with a choice to detonate herself but she's still questioning it. Something we don't get a lot of in fiction I'd say; usually we have people either happy to make the sacrifice or too scared to do it. Rarely do we get the mid-ground: "I do this because I've got no other choice, and I'm not happy about that." You definitely nail the gloomy atmosphere and Aila's mindset, which makes it a very nice piece in my opinion.

Week 72: Burn the Witch!

Prompt: Heretics? Hypocrisy! How dare you!? Humanity can be awful people, and long story short, people hate change and hate when their world views are challenged. In 600 words or less, give me a short on your characters getting wrapped up in some nice hypocritical situations - whether they're the hypocrites or not is up to you.

  • Full Debriefing by Actene
    • There's something rather interesting about watching an incredibly capable field operative hit the brick wall of military bureaucracy and suddenly become utterly helpless. I think you've really captured Venter's dismay at having everything he has worked for be for nothing, and instantly seeing past the facade of care that the woman debriefing him is putting up really nailed home just how bitter he seems about the whole situation.

Week 73: Glory Lies Beyond the Horizon

Since LOMI's away this week, I'll be taking care of the prompt and last week's review!

Prompt: Charge! When your goal is dead ahead, sometimes the only way forward involves a lot of speed or a lot of violence. Or both. With an upper limit of 1000 words, give me something about your characters rushing ahead to achieve victory - or not.

Behind the Scenes

  • Each of the first year's challenge titles are named after an online credits challenge from one of the Halo games.

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