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5th Community Writing Contest - result

OP Flugel Meister

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Waypoint Community Contest 5 - Back to basics. You can write big stories, but can you deal with the small ones?

RESULT:
Finally, it's here.

Top 3 result
  1. Ran and Shai - Sgt Avina Verana: An interesting insight. Would have loved a little more personality to Avina, but interesting nonetheless.
  2. Wraith0912 - Anthony-024: Loved the introduction of 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome' for additional depth.
  3. Crimson Flyboy - Captain Miller: A competent write-up that tends to avoid hyperbole.
Wait, where are the results for the previous contest?
  1. Are you nuts? There was a 10,000 word limit.
  2. In all seriousness, I'm still marking those. They will be out in the coming days.
What have you got to do?
Write a psych evaluation report of no more than 200 words on one of your own previous Halo characters. This must be of either a marine, a Spartan or an ODST. Just one, not all three.
  • Word length: no more than 200 words. This is set in concrete and is not a flexible number.
  • The entry must be realistic. Not humerous. No clichés or Mary Sues here. I don't want superman. I want humans. No hyper-lethal nonsense either.
  • Top 3 entries will receive a forum badge from Grim. if you've already won you won't get extras. Sorry.
  • There is no need to title your report, but feel free. The title will not count towards your word length.
  • 1 entry per person
  • The entry must be written by the person submitting it. It must also be a complete, standalone entry.
  • Entries must be in English
  • Prose entries only. No poems. Sorry.
  • The contest will run until May 15th 2017
  • Late entries or those not in line with the listed criteria will be disqualified.
  • All entries are to be posted on this thread once complete. Not linked to other sites or pages.
  • Use paragraphs
  • There is no requirement to include dialogue. This is a written report.
  • Do NOT include references to official characters in the Halo universe, such as Halsey, Chief, Hood etc.
  • No swords. Don't mention them, don't describe them, don't have your character use them.

Visit the Community Writing Workshop if you have any questions on this competition or any writing issues.

Advice:
200 words isn't a lot. So don't waste time getting to the point. Provide enough background to support the evaluation, but don't go overboard. Imagine this is being written by someone at ONI for a high ranking official. An example will be provided below. Imagine this as 'Describe Your Spartan' but with less hyperbole and more sensible.

Sage Advice:
  1. Read the criteria again, you'll have missed something.
  2. I said read the criteria. Why are you here already?
  3. Read the above advice. Remember, no hyper-lethal jibber-jabba. I pity the fool who gives me hyper-lethal.
EXAMPLE Psych report (use the following format for your entry):

Psychological Assessment:

Subject: Li - Spartan III (B-128)

Li is a troubled individual with a long and detailed history of egotistical intentions and their resultant actions, particularly when it comes to the Covenant. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary he continues to deny his involvement in the theft of several Covenant close quarter weapons from the secure storage facility in the Hashva Valley on Onyx. Efforts to repatriate these items have thus far failed.

Li often exhibits a disregard for authority and finds it hard to mix with other team members – preferring, instead, to work alone. A result of his abandonment, no doubt. As of late, B128 has expressed an interest in improving his communications and technical relay training, perhaps with the actual intention of qualifying this time, though I have my doubts.

I recommend a remedial phase of team-orientated training and assignments so that he may prove himself useful in larger engagements, and with larger squads.

(155 Words)

Visit the Community Writing Workshop You know you want to.
The part that says "no references to other characters", is that supposed to be characters from the established Halo universe, or characters we've made ourselves, or both? Because the person I'd write about has been affected by another person I created. Just asking for clarification, I can do without I think.
For those who like to research before they write, such as myself, I will provide an adequate link I found that gives an enlightening perspective on how, and why psych evaluations are given to soldiers, before, during, and after training or commencing operations. Please keep in mind that this is not the only kind of source you can locate to help with this competition. There is a plethora of articles and information to be found. Also, this specific article in question is 7 years old. The information within it, assuming it has not been updated over the years, may be slightly out of date. Also, the methodologies talked about in the article are 20th and 21st century operations and quite possibly may not apply to any future generations within the Halo universe, i.e., the roots within these reasons may be the same later on, but the specifics on the surface may change over time. As such, for those of you who would like to research and read this article I have provided before submitting, think about these kinds of ideas of change and how to incorporate them within your writing to strike originality.

Also, several canon examples of various psych evaluations (assuming you have access to them) would be Adjunct 3 of Halo: First Strike (Definitive Edition), the beginning cutscene of Halo 4, and (I'll provide another link below) the ONI Candidate Assessment Program viral Campaign used for marketing Halo 3: ODST. Not sure if there are more, but those are the three that first came to mind.

And, if you want to check out another Halo related psych evaluation-esque source, then check out the Halo: Reach psychological evaluation page on Halopedia. I'll have it's link below as well.

Article
ONI Candidate Assessment Program
Halo: Reach Psych Eval

I hope all this helps, and good luck to you all.

Sincerely,
p1ay4OURFUN
J kid789 wrote:
The part that says "no references to other characters", is that supposed to be characters from the established Halo universe, or characters we've made ourselves, or both? Because the person I'd write about has been affected by another person I created. Just asking for clarification, I can do without I think.
I've amended the criteria accordingly. It's now more specific and states not to reference official characters established in the Halo canon.

But be wary of referencing your other characters by name, especially because we won't have any idea who those people are. And technically you can't tell us.
Okay, let's try that again. Now, for this one, I've gone with something really creative and okay, I just used the Donniger guy from the last one.

SUBJECT: Colonel Johnathan Harlan "Steelfist" Donniger

Colonel Donniger joined the ODST Corps in 2515 on his 18th birthday. Owing to his excellent discipline and frequently reporting the infractions of his squad, he reached the rank of Lieutenant and was assigned to guard the Governor of Vulpes Pablo, Michael Cowry. After six months of serving Cowry, Donniger was relocated to the sparsely populated colony of Saint Helena. Said reassignment was completely incidental and had nothing to do with allegations that Donniger led an unsuccessful bloodless coup against Cowry. These allegations are just as fictional as the allegations that Cowry won the 2523 Vulpine General Election through dubious means. Three months later, Donniger committed mutiny, resulting in the deaths of 22 soldiers and Donniger's detainment. His refusal to testify resulted in eight years' imprisonment before the Amnesty Act assigned him to the ODST Battalion, “Forlorn Hope”. Three years’ experience later saw him transferred to Fast Fox Battalion. 80% of the Battalion was lost during the fall of New Haven, ensuring his promotion to battalion leader. Donniger remains unmarried and childless but enjoys a positive reputation among his men for frequently acknowledging their concerns, despite his cold and stoic personality.
Now, for this contest, I decided to spend hours coming up with a new original character called.... nah, actually, I just did the guy from the last thing I did.

Captain Edwin Jasper Marlowe joined the UNSC Navy in 2514 aged 17 after three failed attempts to enter the UNSC Army, primarily to escape issues at home. Following two reprimands for repeated dereliction of duty, Ableman Marlowe was stationed on the colony of Saint Helena, commonly used by UNSC officers to dispose of unwanted enlisted men. However, following an attempted mutiny lead by ODST Captain Donniger, Marlowe remained loyal to the UNSC and became leader of the surviving loyalists for two weeks until reinforcement arrived. At the beginning of the Human-Covenant War, Marlowe was promoted to ensign and served under Commander Elizabeth Morrigan for six years before being granted the rank of captain and command of his own ship. Since then Captain Marlowe remains of the UNSC’s finest minds for strategy. Despite his physical weakness (as his multiple rejections from high command to lead troops on the ground attest to), Marlowe has made few blunders in battle. He does not allow emotions to cloud his judgement, and maintains that his policy of ensuring the safety of civilians first is done out of pragmatic concerns for his troops’ morale. His justification for this tactic is poor at best.
This must be of a marine, ODST or Spartan.
Psychological Assessment
Subject: Yakushev, Maria (S4 - 061592-MY)
Reporting Agent: [REDACTED]

Spartan Yakushev has been found in violation of Spartan Ethics Protocol (SEP 304.17) following the death of her squadmate [Hackett, Emily]. Though the mission was a success, Yakushev has developed a deep-seated, almost irrational hatred towards non-human species, primarily the Sangheili. While this may serve as useful motivation against known and future alien factions, it undeniably presents a significant challenge to standing alliances with Sangheili Nations.

Spartan Yakushev’s behavior is, at times, not limited towards non-humans. Minor incidents include: verbal argument with squadmate [Richards, Evan]; destruction of issued UNSC equipment [MA5D-ICWS] in an outburst of “venting”; consumption of alcoholic beverages beyond suggested regulations.

Counseling has established that an emotional bond existed between Spartans Yakushev and Hackett [KIA], the exact nature of which was not forthcoming. It is recommended by this Office that Spartan Yakushev be placed on medical leave and undergo extended counseling in addition to military and physical training (STO 11.6) for no less than [four months], after which her combat readiness will be re-assessed. Pending a positive review following [four months], Spartan Yakushev will be re-assigned to Fireteam Helbound, and rotated back into combat service.
Contest 6 should be a letter
Contest 6 should be a letter
Was About To Tell Him That Lol.
Psychological assessment
Subject: Fitch, Maj. A.

Major Fitch is an exceedingly proficient soldier and combatant, however his capacity to lead is increasingly nullified by the tangential needs of vengeance. His acts on the battlefield often display a violence apparently performed for its own sake, and the burgeoning reality of peace seems only to exacerbate this.

Fitch has not confessed to the murder of the Sangheili attachés on the Requiem missions, but I do not doubt his involvement. It is my view that he is withholding testimony until sufficient evidence offers an opportunity to assign his name to the crimes, at a volume that could be considered somewhat worthy of the scale of his pathological opposition to the species.

This indifference towards both his own fate, and our recognised chain and structure of command, manifests in increasing detachment from his unit and his responsibilities as an ODST officer. He has become as much a liability as an asset.

I am actioning immediate demotion to First Lieutenant. I would go some degree further and recommend a full court martial, however I infer from your request for this evaluation that you have another purpose in mind for him. As such, I sanction his transfer to ONI effective immediately.
Contest 6 should be a letter
That's an interesting concept, I would like to see that for sure.
Contest 6 should be a letter
As it happens, that's planned for a bit further down the line. I had to write out a letter from a character last year during my creative writing. Proved really useful.
Contest 6 should be a letter
As it happens, that's planned for a bit further down the line. I had to write out a letter from a character last year during my creative writing. Proved really useful.
Good.

OT: Say, where will the critiques for contest #4 be posted?
Contest 6 should be a letter
As it happens, that's planned for a bit further down the line. I had to write out a letter from a character last year during my creative writing. Proved really useful.
Good.

OT: Say, where will the critiques for contest #4 be posted?
I'll let everyone know once I've decided and will link to them where I can.
For those wondering what the new year [2017] holds for the writing contests, here's the list, complete with descriptions.

  • Be succinct (May) - write a 200 word psych report on a specific individual. The lesson here is to be concise. Learn to write small.
  • Character creation (Jun) - Create two characters that don't get along. The lesson here is to avoid hyperbole and clichés.
  • Letter (Jul) - One character writes a letter to the other. The lesson here is to build the character, not the world.
  • Description (Aug) - Describe a specific environment. This will get you used to using description and making your environments realistic and vivid.
  • Action (Sep) - Provide a short action sequence. The focus here is to get writers used to describing action.
  • Dialogue (Oct) - Get used to using convincing dialogue. Convincing dialogue is a joy to read.
  • The Event (Nov) - Isolation. A mysterious event takes place and your character is the sole survivor. Go.
  • Open Writing event (Dec) - Use what you have learned to craft a convincing story.
Important things to note.

  1. The above list is subject to change. Specific settings, word length, characters and events will be set by me. So don't try getting ahead by starting on your December entry now. You may find it completely unusable for the contest.
  2. Each new Contest will begin with a teaching element and an example. Use it. Your writing will improve as a result.
  3. The word length will change with each contest.
  4. Try something new. It's hard to let go of a character you're currently developing or struggling with, or even doing well with, but sometimes cutting the cord can be a liberating and rewarding experience. Don't constantly rely on a list of old, previously created characters.
  5. Enjoy it. Though there are spoils for winning, namely in the form of a forum badge, the aim here is to have fun. That's an order!
For those wondering what the new year [2017] holds for the writing contests, here's the list, complete with descriptions.

  • Be succinct (May) - write a 200 word psych report on a specific individual. The lesson here is to be concise. Learn to write small.
  • Character creation (Jun) - Create two characters that don't get along. The lesson here is to avoid hyperbole and clichés.
  • Letter (Jul) - One character writes a letter to the other. The lesson here is to build the character, not the world.
  • Description (Aug) - Describe a specific environment. This will get you used to using description and making your environments realistic and vivid.
  • Action (Sep) - Provide a short action sequence. The focus here is to get writers used to describing action.
  • Dialogue (Oct) - Get used to using convincing dialogue. Convincing dialogue is a joy to read.
  • The Event (Nov) - Isolation. A mysterious event takes place and your character is the sole survivor. Go.
  • Open Writing event (Dec) - Use what you have learned to craft a convincing story.
Important things to note.
  1. The above list is subject to change. Specific settings, word length, characters and events will be set by me. So don't try getting ahead by starting on your December entry now. You may find it completely unusable for the contest.
  2. Each new Contest will begin with a teaching element and an example. Use it. Your writing will improve as a result.
  3. The word length will change with each contest.
  4. Try something new. It's hard to let go of a character you're currently developing or struggling with, or even doing well with, but sometimes cutting the cord can be a liberating and rewarding experience. Don't constantly rely on a list of old, previously created characters.
  5. Enjoy it. Though there are spoils for winning, namely in the form of a forum badge, the aim here is to have fun. That's an order!
September looks most challenging for me, at least.
I suck at dialogue, mostly because I suck at carrying on a real-world conversation.

Can't wait for the tips!
Psychological Assessment:

Subject: Nikolanovich – Spartan III (B-298)

Socially, B-298 has estranged himself from Beta Company, yet can operate cohesively in a unit. This runs counter to our understanding of his antisocial behavior. It seems that Niko simply does whatever he’s told. This is less a product of indoctrination, and more a side effect of the relationship between him and his sister (File B297 “Venka”).

Obedient, efficient and reserved, at first glance B-298 would appear to be the model soldier. However, Niko has repeatedly been criticized for operating without regard to self-preservation. To put it another way: in a different time, he would have made an excellent kamikaze pilot.

B-298 has a cautious, thorough approach to taking in information, and demonstrates a capacity to anticipate dangerous situations and respond to the cues anxiety provides. But his ego instincts have become so impaired, he lacks baseline inhibitors towards self-destructive inclinations.

This likely stems from a negligence of nurturing behavior at infancy and, in B-298’s case, an emotional separation due to the manipulative way B-297 has applied it in the past.

That’s not to say he isn’t capable of mustering rage and aggression, the key is provocation. B-298 simply needs the right push.

(200 words)
I suck at dialogue, mostly because I suck at carrying on a real-world conversation.

Can't wait for the tips!
Then you've come to the right place.

One piece of advice is that when two characters or multiple characters are talking don't always have them definitively answer each others questions. Inject subtext (less obvious context) into the conversation. So..."It was quiet last night, for once," I said, breaking the silence in the back of the truck. "They must be slacking. I finally managed to get some sleep. How about you?"

Andy shuffled in his seat. ‘These seats are hard,’ he muttered. "You’d think the CO would spare no expense, especially now."

"Well, we’ll be out of here soon enough, mate." I replied. ‘Pastures new. Then we’ll get the rest we need, and deserve."

The above example shows two characters (Andy and Rob) conversing. You'll notice that Andy doesn't answer Rob's initial question. Instead, he fixates on how uncomfortable his seat is. This provides additional context but still leaves a lot open to the reader to interpret.

Is Andy purposely ignoring or being dismissive of Rob's question, or is he simply distracted? Or is it something else entirely? That's up to the reader to interpret here. Another writer might have simply told the reader what was going on, which spoils the whole scene and means the reader misses out of some great character interplay.

The opening lines to this story are as follows:When I first joined the military, my Drill Sergeant gave me one piece of advice: “In war there’s only one unchanging constant….” Like most recruits I thought it was death.
“It’s hope,” he said. “Hope that you’ll survive. Hope that you’ll make it through the day without a large calibre bullet turning your skull into one big crater. Hope that you’ll make it home.”

He was, of course, wrong. And it didn’t take me long to find out why.

As you can see, this mixes dialogue and a statement into the opening paragraph.

Try writing something original, that isn't necessarily Halo related. Like all stories, Halo, and science fiction in general still depend on dramatic elements. So experiment with regular dialogue. Later on you can use this with your Halo material.

And remember that the dialogue used in the cut scenes in the games won't be the same as what's used in the novels.
Psychological Assessment

Subject: Anthony-024, Spartan-II

A technological interest such as the one Anthony-024 possesses can cause concerns among virtually anyone, including myself. Prior to his last engagement at the Battle of Earth, [024] was known to have an interest in aerial experimentation, often modifying certain aspects of aircraft in direct violation of protocol. While his efficiency in flight combat is certainly adept, there is concern that [024] may make a modification that results in his and/or others' demise.

Adding to the aforementioned concern, [024] is beginning to exhibit signs of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, as evidenced by claims of seeing blue/dark blue patterns of light where none are to be found. It is my belief that this is a direct result of a combination of his proximity to the slipspace event over New Mombasa and actions regarding explosive munitions taken immediately afterward. Though he claims they are of no concern, I firmly believe otherwise.

I recommended conducting a further medical analysis concerning [024]'s vision; it is possible additional implants, a permanent, custom HUD, or even re-augmentation will be required. When solved, there is a minute possibility he could be involved in designing future UNSC aerial combat vehicles.

(199 words)
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