The October 8 Challenge!


The October 8 Challenge — Golden Age Mysteries!

As I’ve mentioned here recently, over the next year I’m offering my friends, mentors, and peers in the Golden Age Detection blogosphere a chance to focus their writing — not on individual Golden Age mysteries, but upon topics that span different authors, themes, etc. You can find that post here, and I recommend it for background.

Here is the “Bingo card” and the “rules”, such as they are. As I’ve said, I hope to stimulate your creativity, not your obedience; if you need to break these rules to produce an interesting essay, feel free to do that. The challenge will run from October 8, 2014 to October 8, 2015. I will keep track of any essay that is brought to my attention as being an entry in this challenge; if all else fails, by editing and re-editing this post, but in some way everyone’s efforts will be collected in this blog.

On October 8, 2015, I’ll be asking all interested parties (contributors and my readers) to select essays that they feel were best. The three participants who receive the most applause will each receive a small token of my esteem; a collectible paperback from my large collection, and I will do my best to tie the specific book to the theme of the essay.

You can create a line of four squares horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The idea of a “Bingo” was selected to stimulate you to get some work done, not to make you write something in which you’re relatively uninterested; I’d rather see one great essay than four ordinary ones. The other criteria:

  • Each group of books must represent the work of at least two different authors.
  • Each group of books must contain at least three volumes.
  • Volumes of collected shorter stories are welcome as long as all the stories fit the selected criterion.
  • Ambiguous words like “theme” or “location” are meant to be interpreted generously.
  • The books you select should, generally speaking, have been published before 1950. Please don’t misuse the privilege, but if a book written after 1950 directly relates to your chosen theme, feel free to include it as part of the group. The primary focus should still be upon GAD books and authors. (I expect that A-1, about a single series character with multiple authors, will almost always include books written after 1950.)

As I’ve said, please feel free to interpret these criteria liberally. If you have a great idea for an essay that breaks the rules, then break the rules. When you complete an essay that you intend as an entry, please leave a note in the comments section here; those of you who are fellow members of the GAD group on Facebook can certainly communicate with me there. I’ll keep track of the entries and display links to them all in the way that seems best; at this point, I’m not sure whether I’ll need an enormous apparatus or a simple one, so let me deal with this as seems best. Not to worry, I want people to read your work, so I’ll do my best to steer them to it.

Your comments and questions are very welcome and I’ll do my best to respond.

If you click on the colourful chart below, it will expand to full size.

October 8 challenge chart


20 thoughts on “The October 8 Challenge!

  1. Bev Hankins says:

    You know I’m in, Noah! (And the bingo card looks great, btw). I don’t know that I’m quite in the league with most of our GAD contributors (you included), but I’m going to do my best.

    • Noah Stewart says:

      Well, I do tend to run towards the L-O-N-G form essay, and you pack quite a bit into pieces that are easier to read and enjoy. Perhaps I’m just trying to steer people towards my own verbosity. But I hope you have fun with it!

  2. tracybham says:

    I feel a little out of my depth having read your posts, and posts by many others who comment here, but I definitely want to contribute in some way. So I will do my best. It will be enlightening and educational and fun.

    • Noah Stewart says:

      Apparently I have to approve comments, Tracy, which is why this didn’t appear for a while. But the more the merrier! I’m hoping to stimulate some thinking and knowledge-sharing. Thanks for joining in!

  3. John says:

    Like the dancer said in that long running Broadway show – “I can do that!” I’m in, my friend. This I will be my incentive to return to meaty essays rather than my last couple of cursory and mundane reviews.

  4. Bev Hankins says:

    Noah: Just completed my first square: Group of books from the 1940s.

  5. Bev Hankins says:

    Noah: I have officially completed my challenge commitment. One Bingo logged with this final essay: The Detection Club. This one is actually more in your league–length-wise. 🙂 Thanks for putting this together! I’ve had a lot of fun doing the essays.

  6. neer says:

    Hi, I know not even a month is left for this challenge but is it still permissible to sign-up for it? I feel like getting back in the writing-mode. Do you plan to do it next year too?

    • Noah Stewart says:

      This challenge didn’t seem to arouse much enthusiasm in my blogging friends so I hadn’t planned to repeat it next year, but — since you ask — I’d be happy to extend the invitation for another year to give you some time to look into it. Please do write something and post about it here, and thanks for your interest!

      • neer says:

        Thank you so much. Will be writing a post about it soon And hopefully next year there would be a few more participants. Perhaps Bev, whose posts got me interested, would like to repeat it too.

  7. neer says:

    Hi Noah

    As the challenge enters its second year, here is my signing-up post.

    Thanks once again for extending it for a year. I am excited about this.

  8. neer says:

    I did not realise that Oct. 8th is your date of birth. A very Happy Birthday. Happiness always.

    • Noah Stewart says:

      Thanks! It’s been quite a year! I’ll join you in wishing a happy birthday to my fellow October 8er, blogger and award-winning mystery biographer Jeffrey Marks.

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